I am working on my Peakbagger SD County 100 list. Jack was looking for a workout. We got together Monday 17 Dec in Ramona and drove to Ranchita.
Parked at the top of the long downhill grade to Borrego Springs. This hike was all cross country, no trails on a cool crisp morning (temps about 41). Getting to the target climbs was actually quite easy with some brush and cactus but lots of open spaces. The rains softened the ground which made you feel like you were walking on pillows. Very nice. We passed BM Bonny on the way out. We decided to climb it on the return trip. It was very easy. We noticed a significant number of homes on our selected route. There were fences but mostly old rusty and fallen and only one No Trespassing sign. Difficult to determine if we were on private property or not. Our intentions were to stay away after past experiences.
The trek to BM White was scenic as there was evidence of many deer in the area. We didn’t see any but plenty of tracks and scat. We had a little rock hopping on the last part of the ascent but it wasn’t bad. Did not see a sign in register at the top. There was a very small marker, quite different from the normal Geodetic markers. View from White was grand. We could see our old hikes on Webo, San Ysidro East, Sirens, and Kay. Looks so benign from up there but I remember that hike being quite difficult. Kevin getting speared by the cholla, my first experience with rock climbing on Sirens, coming off the mountain in the dark, getting separated, descending the very steep terrain in the dark and trying to avoid being impaled on cactus….yes, I remember it….fondly??
The only challenge on the descent from White was how to avoid encroaching on a nearby property. We transited the edge of White as much as we could but had to drop into a depression on the way to The Thimble that was surely on private property. We made it OK and started the ascent. Thimble isn’t a very long or high peak but it is technical. We encountered much brush and cactus which sometimes helped and more often hindered our progress. Jack is always on the lookout for fallen deer antlers for Dorie. I found a nice two pointer that I donated to keep him in good favor with her. Terrain steepened and became very….rocky with less loose dirt. Hiking poles became a hindrance rather than an aid at this point. We decided to leave them behind as we needed hands to negotiate the rocks. Just before the top we encountered a very difficult section. We scouted multiple options before choosing the one that was nearly vertical and required LOOOONNNNGGG legs, like Uwe’s. We weren’t sure we could overcome it. We dropped our packs and I went first. There were small but needed hand and foot holds, somewhat like climbing the wall in the gym. Both of us have limited flexibility and that was a hindrance but we made it. View from the top was spectacular. Dark ominous clouds hovered but no rain fell.
Our next concern was the descent. Often times that is tougher than the ascent. In this case, as we had no pack and no poles, it was much easier. Just needed to stretch a little more than was comfortable. We reunited with our gear, had a snack and headed down. Once out of the rocks, our movement became much easier and we made great progress. The only casualty of that climb was Jack’s pants. He nearly ripped the seat out. He enjoyed a nice air conditioned hike back. As we transited the private property, we heard shooting. Big guns and little guns. Hoping we weren’t in the impact area, we made every attempt to skirt what we thought was the property line. We got back into safe area and quickly retraced our steps to BM Bonny. Wasn’t much more than a big pile of rocks. Very easy ascent except for the wind. We were on a 1′ wide ledge hanging onto the main rock, came around the corner and got slammed with heavy gusts of wind that quickly ripped my hat off and I saw it disappear down amongst the rocks. No chasing after it. I looked down the hole and couldn’t even see the bottom so wrote that one off. On top there was a small basin and even a register. The last person up that climb was 23 Nov. It was too windy to stay up there long so we came down and quickly made our way back to the truck. Had to pass a small community of maybe 5-6 manufactured homes.
Total stats were 7.5 miles, 2,500 feet of climbing, and maybe 6 hours. Very easy day and 3 more peaks to add to my list. I now have 47 of the 100. Of course, Jack and Uwe completed that list a long time ago and are working on the 281 peak list in San Bernardino, San Gabriel area. Click on any picture to see slide show.