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3/1/06 Article Links [Andy Palmer] [Hammer]

Robert Millington (Hammer)

Wednesday, 3/1/06
Eliminator to Magic Mountain

A Magic Day

Eliminator Launch, Wednesday March First, 10:30am, and the greyhounds are still in set up mode as the rabbits are flinging themselves into the air.  By the time the first grey puppy launches the rabbits are out of sight but their scent still lingers in the air and is very easy to follow.  Running down the range chasing the rabbits is easy this day since climb rates are very good, cu’s are popping, and all the points are consistent.  The “rabbits” are usually easy to catch.  The rabbits are cagey though.  They like to hide in clouds so the greyhounds have to be alert.  The first two rabbits encountered that day were especially quick to hide in the clouds.  I was the lead dog so I chose to run down the Alfa rabbit who was further down range and let the other puppies have something to gnaw on.

As I approached the power line crossing I caught sight of the lead hare.  Like the others he was quick to duck into the clouds, which were only just above the ridge.  This guy was quick and cagey so I came up with a plan to lure him into the pass where it would be relatively easy to dispatch him.  From power line level I moved to Noon Peak and laid my trap.  Within a few moments I was hidden in the clouds and ready to pounce.  On came the rabbit nibbling at the bait.  From out of the back of the clouds I moved on to W. Divide leaving a trail of tender morsels for my prey.  My trap was baited and ready but the bunny for some reason scurried off into the bushes leaving me empty handed.  Saddened by this turn of events I left the clouds of Divide Peak at 5500 ft. and wandered on to White Ledge and found my way back into the clouds to ponder my situation.

After some deliberation I moved east since I had heard of the great rabbit hunting area of Ojai.  At first I was concerned since the sky was blue to beyond Chief’s Peak.  I saw no rabbits but thought if I could get to the clouds at east repeater I might be able to flush out some game.  After rattling the bushes and clanging through some more clouds it was obvious that all the rabbits of this valley were in their warm little burrows.  I had one more place to look for something to chase…. The mysterious Oat Mt. in the “land beyond”.  To get there I knew I would have to deal with the crags of far off Santa Paula Ridge.  As I came to the west end of this fabled mountain I could tell that an ill wind was blowing from the north.  Trying to stay on the mountain was impossible as was, it seemed, getting to Oat Mt.  Was this it?  The end of the hunt?  Noooooo!!

I had missed my chance at the last rabbit and would not make it to Oat…. What to do, what to do?  I continued on in what seemed, at the time, a vain search for the elusive cottontail.  Now that I was low enough to be out of the north wind and into the west valley flow I formulated another new plan.  I had heard of a park that was even further east and wondered if it might attract any little bunnies.  All I had to do was get there.  I couldn’t see the “Park” from where I was so I headed to the northeast quadrant of the village of Fillmore.

There is usually some lift in the foothills where there is also a large communications facility.  There weren’t any rabbits there but the lift was adequate to boost me to a height that I could see the spires of the “Park”.  I had to repeat this process twice more en route and each time the lift was weaker and not as high.  Was I doomed?  Would I be able to make it? …. well I did make to that “Magic” place but there were no rabbits.  I knew very little of the land beyond the proverbial “plate glass window” of I-5 but what I could see from 2000 feet ASL looked unappealing.  Nothing but spider webs & asphalt, roofs!  The day seemed done.  I was done.

Landing was assured in a large field next to the magic park.  (Who is keeping score?)
Eliminator to Magic Mountain
Time 2:59.40
62 miles
max climb rate1500 ft / min
max altitude 6200 ft

Much thanks to Jim and Greg for retrieval.

 

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