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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Saddleback Butte State Park - "Gale force winds"

The group drove about 90 minutes into the Mojave Desert and gathered at the trailhead for a photo with the our objective in the background.
(photo credit: Lori Peterson) 
Alex was thinking, "alright, enough with the photography, let's start hiking."
The wind was gusting as we began hiking toward the summit of Saddleback Butte.
(photo credit: Lori Peterson)
A Joshua Tree silhouette along the trail.
(photo credit: Jorge Martinez)
The plan was for us to reach the summit at sunset.
Gale force winds were buffeting the upper sections of the peak.
According to the Beaufort scale a gale is defined when it is difficult to walk against the wind. (wind speed between 39–46 mph). Everyone on the mountain would have agreed that walking against the wind was very difficult. Sometimes we were almost blown off our feet.
Returning hikers passed me on their descent off the mountain but Sadie and Phil were still on the summit when I arrived. It was so windy that I could not hold the camera steady for the panorama above.
(photo credit: Jorge Martinez)
Hikers returned to camp in the fading twilight of the sunset. Noah in silhouette.
(photo credit: Jorge Martinez)
The members of the group prepared dinner at their individual campfires.
(photo credit: Jorge Martinez)
Soon marshmallows were being passed from hand to hand.
(photo credit: Jorge Martinez)
And s'mores were made.
(photo credit: Jorge Martinez)
After the wind moderated everyone gathered around the campfire to continue a tradition.
The tradition never disappoints and always creates excitement.
(photo credit: Jorge Martinez)
Later that night after campers began heading into their tents, truck campers and RVs, a bearded figure wandered from camp to camp checking campfires.
Dawn at Saddelback Butte State Park and soon everyone would break their camps and begin the journey home.

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