||Story||Photos / Slideshow||Maps: 1 2||GPX||Profile|
Peak 6,260ft later climbed Wed, Apr 20, 2022|
After dropping my wife off at the San Diego airport in the early morning, I headed east on Interstate 8 to the Laguna Mtns on the western edge of Anza-Borrego State Park. I planned to spend three days in the area visiting summits along the Pacific Divide, a long-term project of mine. It was a bit too warm in the lower reaches of the park for comfortable hiking, but around the 5-6,000-foot level, it was quite pleasant.
Starting from the utility road at 9:25a, I spent the first 30min on a leisurely stroll around the property, passing through an unsigned wire-gate on the south side of the property, around the end of another fence near the SE corner, and over a third fence in the dry creekbed on the east side. I think it would be fair at this point to continue north along the creekbed to pick up an old road that connects with the hiking trail, adding an extra half mile each way, but removing any need to bushwhack at this point. Not knowing this at the time, I did what Michael did on his return by ascending a grassy gully found shortly after the last fence, heading northeast. The grass give way to heavy brush about 100yds short of the trail. It's an ugly stretch, but I got through without much damage to skin or clothing. It took but 10min in the brush before I popped out on the trail overlooking Thing Valley to the west. The trail/road then climbs to a saddle and down into an adjacent drainage. After 30min on this, I reached a junction and turned north onto a more overgrown spur road. This heads up the drainage for about 25min to an old prospect on the west side of Pt. 5,664ft. Here the road becomes a very overgrown single-track that continues for another 20min or so, until due west of the highpoint. I left the trail here where the cross-country is not nearly as bad as it initially looks. Michael describes some of this as "stiff nasty brush" that "bruised and cut up my legs even with pants on", but I didn't think it was that bad at all. Still, it took about 40min once I left the trail to cover about half a mile, fairly slow going. If I learned anything from years in the Ventana chapparal, the brush dictates the pace for you. If you try to go faster, it is usually to your own detriment. Near the highpoint, I did what Michael had done, following from one rock outcrop to the next. It not only made for less brush, but it added some scrambling challenges for variety. I reached the highpoint just after noon, 2.5hrs after starting out.
During a short break taking in views, I left a register on the highest rock outcrop, then carefully retreated back the way I'd come. It was only marginally faster in the reverse direction, taking another two and a quarter hours. I made two deviations from my ascent route, but neither proved valuable. I tried a different line through the brush from the trail to the grassy gully, and then another option when traveling around the south side of the ranch. This second part proved obviously worse - better to stick closer to the fenceline on that side. Upon returning, it wasn't yet 2:30p, leaving me time for more adventuring.
This page last updated: Tue May 10 09:38:33 2022
For corrections or comments, please send feedback to: email@example.com