Poser Mountain P300
Pine Ridge P300

Thu, Jun 2, 2022
Pine Ridge
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profiles: 1 2


I had planned to do these two summits the previous day, but the morning had warmed quickly and I called it a day after doing the first summit. Today would be similar - very nice around sunrise while temps were still cool, but soon getting too warm. The first hike, which was all cross-country, was a delight. The second, almost all on trail, was too warm and the annoying flies were out in force.

Poser Mountain

This summit is located in the Cleveland National Forest, about 2mi northwest of the previous day's summit, Chiquito Peak. Like Chiquito, Poser is covered in chaparral with nary a tree. Access is from the south via well-graded Viejas Grade Rd. The road connects Descanso to the east with the Viejas Indian Reservation to the west. It would have been faster to drive in from the reservation, but I only realized this afterwards. I also learned afterwards that there is a use trail running up to the summit from the SSE, visible in the satellite view. There are GPX tracks on PB by Michael Sullivan and John Strauch that approach from the SE, going cross-country. John has been to the summit half a dozen times with the Monday Maniacs, also seemingly oblivous of the trail, or choosing deliberately not to use it. I used the same starting point as the GPX tracks, but did not refer to them after starting. The cross-country is not difficult on these south-facing slopes, so missing the trail is not a big deal. The lower slopes were the easiest, with open areas of grass and yellow flowers. The brush becomes more crowded as one gains altitude, but mostly hip-level and I found no need to crash though any of the denser stuff. I reached the summit in just under 40min, a distance of 3/4mi with 700ft of gain. There was a county survey marker and metal post just north of the summit. A register can is found at the summit rocks. A loose page dated to 2003 left by a Monday Maniac party. Another party from the same group left a notebook in 2011 that now has 15 pages of entries. The views from the summit are outstanding. The higher Cuyamaca Mtns rise higher to the east. Viejas Valley lies below the southwest, with Viejas Mtn to the west. To the southeast is Chiquito Peak, the summit I had climbed yesterday, its large summit boulders clearly visible. I returned back down via much the same route, returning to the Jeep an hour and a half after starting out.

Pine Ridge

The weather had been wonderful for the first hike, but it did not last. I drove 25min back out to SR79 and north to the Green Valley Campground in Cuyamaca State Park. Day use is $10, but the kiosk pay machine was signed for Out of Order, so today it was free. I parked at the picnic site just on the north side of the Sweetwater River (dry this time of year) and followed a 3.5mi loop route up and over Pine Ridge, lying west of the campground. I walked the paved road through the campground to find the start of the Pine Ridge Trail. I'd have struggled to find it without the GPX track I'd downloaded, as the only signage was a small trail sign right at start between two of the campsites. The wide trail winds its way up chaparral-covered slopes, often over head level. Views open up periodically to the surrounding state park. I had expected this to be a pleasant bit of non-bushwhacking, but in addition to being too warm already, the flies were out in abundance. This included the in-your-face, standard coastal chaparral flies that plague one during the summer months, but also large, rust-colored ones that would bite hard as soon as they landed on me. A breeze would have kept them at bay, but it was mostly calm this morning. At the trail's highpoint just below the summit, I ducked into the brush for the short bit of actual bushwhacking needed to reach the top. Mark Adrian and a few other Monday Maniacs had left a register here in 2014, now with six pages of entries. Cuyamaca Peak rises to the north, the highest summit in the range. Other views are not as good, blocked by high brush and the regrowth of young pines. I only stayed at the summit long enough to sign the register and snap some quick photos - the flies doubled their efforts if I stopped moving. I descended Pine Ridge to the north on the continuing trail, meeting up with the Arroyo Seco Fire Rd. This is a pleasant road that follows the Arroyo Seco to its junction with the Sweetwater River. It travels through shady oak woodlands, a pleasant respite from the non-shady Pine Ridge Trail through chaparral. The road ends back at the picnic site where I'd started. It wasn't yet 9:30a when I finished up, but I was more than happy to call it a day and head back to Rancho Bernardo...


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This page last updated: Fri Jun 3 13:53:47 2022
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