Fox Hound Point
Quake BM P300
Peak 3,459ft P500
Blair Peak P300
Rego BM P300
Peak 3,290ft P300

Sun, Feb 24, 2019

With: Karl Fieberling
Patrick O'Neill
Matt Yaussi
Tom Becht
Iris Ma
Bill Carpenter

Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX

Continued...

Today's hikes in Anza-Borrego SP were all around Blair Valley, a popular camping area in the middle of the park. There was a YMCA camping group of several hundred people occupying a large area when we arrived. At the end of the day they had packed up and completely cleared out when we passed by, save for the 4 porta-potties and a lone red camp chair that someone had forgotten. We left half of our cars at the entrance just off paved S-2, using the three jeeps to drive us to the various starting points. None of the day's peaks were long nor more than class 2, but it still proved enjoyable.

Fox Hound Point

This was the shortest and easiest of the day's outings, found at the northeast corner of Blair Valley. We could drive to the base of the peak within 1/4mi of the summit and it would take us less than 20min to climb the steep, boulder-strewn west slope to the summit. A few loose pages placed less than a year earlier served as a register. There are neat views of Little Blair Valley to the southeast and Blair Valley to the southwest. Snows on the Laguna Mtns and Granite Mtn added some contrasting color to the greens of the valleys.

Quake BM

Found at the southeast corner of the valley, this one was barely longer than Fox Hound Point. The highpoint is about 10ft higher than the benchmark, the latter found a short distance north of the highpoint. Daryn Dodge had left a register at the benchmark in 2017, no one signing in until our arrival. Bill led the group back down the hill after a brief stay, finishing up around a quarter to ten.

Peak 3,459ft/Blair Peak

These two summits are found at the southern end of Blair Valley, less than a mile apart and could be done together in a triangular loop. We moved our vehicles a short distance though it was hardly necessary - it would only save a few minutes' time from starting where we did for Quake BM. We went to the further and higher of the two first, Peak 3,459ft. We had a pleasant stroll across the flats of Blair Valley for the first 4/5mi, then an easy climb to the summit for the last 1/3mi. The granite-topped summit held a register left by Mark Adrian a few years earlier. So far it's accumulating entries at the rate of about one per year. To the west is Mason Valley separating our low perch from the much higher and snowy Laguna Mtns, making for as fine a view as one can find in Anza-Borrego. It took us about 45min to travel from one summit to the other. The second summit featured a much busier register with 12 pages of entries, thanks to its inclusion on terracache.com. On the way back to the vehicles, Tom and Karl made a detour to visit PB-only Rich BM, a sad little bump near the valley floor.

Rego BM

Matt, Iris and Bill headed home, leaving four of us to finish the afternoon's agenda. Rego BM is located on the west side of the highway at the northwest end of Blair Valley. It rises more than 1,000ft above the pass where S-2 first enters the valley and the distance was about 1.4mi each way. While Patrick stayed behind to futz with his solar array and charging system, three of us headed up the East Ridge on what turned out to have the nicest hiking of the day. While the other peaks boasted plentiful rock and sharp cactus things, Rego BM had much less of both after the initial climb up from the road. The ridge had a nice gradient with open, green grassy stretches and Tom struggled to find something to complain about. We spent most of an hour to reach the summit, arriving around 2:15p. Another very busy register was found here, dating to 1999. It featured an entry from Andy Smatko in 2003, only a few years before he died. Our return was a bit faster, getting us back to Patrick and our vehicles shortly after 3p.

Seyer BM/Peak 3,290ft

Our last stop of the day was to Peak 3,290ft, found in the southwest corner of Blair Valley. We drove south on S-2 for a few miles, parking on the right side of the road at a large turnout where we were about 3/4mi north of the peak. Karl pointed out that there was another PB-only benchmark on our way, so we spent some time making a slight detour to find it. I didn't have it on my GPSr, so we were navigating by the peakbagger app on our phones, mostly letting Karl do the leading until he hesitated once too often and we resorted to making fun of him. In and out of one minor wash to another, the search seemed a bit lost until I spotted a tall pole sticking out of a cairn. While Karl had his eyes glued to his phone, I sarcastically turned to Tom and said, "Do you suppose that's it?" And it was. To be fair, Karl would have found it without our help, but it was fun to ride him about it nonetheless. It seems that someone has taken the trouble to put all 275 of the San Diego County benchmarks on peakbagger.com and they have become somewhat popular destinations, much like Rego, Rich and Quake, earlier today. Paul Frieman, an early San Diego Sierra Club explorer who was prominent in the creation of their peak list, had left the register in 1996. Wes Shelberg, another of similar mold, had visited only a few months later. We added our own entry to the Seyer BM register before heading up to the more impressive Peak 3,290ft which at least looked like a peak rather than a survey marker. It had Richard Carey's familiar red cans left in 2016 with most of the names recognizable. The previous visitor, someone from NZ, had been here earlier in the day, an odd coincidence, considering there's only 2-3 parties visiting each year. It would be after 4:30p by the time we'd made our way back to the cars, taking a somewhat different, more direct route on the return now that we didn't have Seyer BM to mess with.

We returned to Stag Cove where we'd spent the last few nights to pick up Karl's car and shower before heading to Borrego Springs for dinner. We tried to eat at Patrick and Tom's favorite 70's-era dining establishment at the Borrego Golf Resort, but we were strongly discouraged by the hostess since they were short-staffed and had only one cook. so we ended up at Kieslings Kitchen for a second night which wasn't bad at all. We later retired to the trailhead for Travelers Peak (also called Palm BM) where we spent the night.

Continued...


Brian Browning comments on 03/13/19:
Hmmm... I summited P3290 the same day Richard Carey placed the register so either I missed it or I just missed him!

SteveB comments on 03/29/19:
Turtle Power Lives Forever!
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