Susana left for Argentina on Thursday 4 Oct. Saturday morning I hiked Monserrat with the Spartan group. Pretty easy day. Sunday I hiked it again with a twist. Just before the big climb to the water tower, there are trails leading south to a large rock formation above avocado/citrus groves and the new housing being built along I-15. I hiked along the ridge-line hitting all the little peaks. Pretty easy hike but I didn’t have gaiters and my shoes/socks were soon filled with stickers. Needed to clean them out twice. My goal was to climb the rocks but right at the base, there was a house. I didn’t know it was there as it was hidden by the groves. The only reasonable access was to pass directly through the front yard and I decided not to intrude so turned around and completed my Monserrat trek. Finished at twilight.
Monday was a federal holiday. I decided to work on my San Diego County 100 list. First up, Cuyamaca Peak. I drove out hwy 76 to 79 to Julian to Lake Cuyamaca to Paso Picacho campground. They wanted $10 to park and I didn’t want to pay so the guard told me to go back two miles to Trout Pond and park. Makes the hike a little longer (8 miles) but much better. The route from the campground is all paved. From Trout Pond it’s fire roads to trails eventually intersecting the paved road just below the peak. A very easy beautiful route. About 1.5 miles of trail was pretty rocky but nothing we haven’t experienced before. Looked like a tower under construction at the peak. Views were spectacular. The return was uneventful except for my feet. I wore my new Marine Corps Infantry boots. They are very comfortable and my toes don’t jam on the downhill, however, I started to get blisters on my heels immediately on the descent. This has happened to me before wearing combat boots. I’m hoping it’s just the insoles and will replace them before my next effort.
I returned to the trail head and had a little lunch. I decided my feet weren’t too bad so headed up Stonewall Peak and Little Stonewall Peak. From Paso Picacho, the Stonewall ascent was very short. From Trout Pond, it was way longer…over 4 miles. Trail was good all the way. I saw a bunch of wild turkeys. They didn’t seem too afraid, just stayed out of my way. A small ridge separates Little Stonewall from Stonewall. The trail passes right on by and, for good reason. The brush is so thick, it’s virtually impassable. Given enough time and bushwhack patience, I probably could have made the peak. I did try but the brush was just too nasty. I continued on to Stonewall. I was very, very impressed with that peak. Views are spectacular, wind was cold, stairs and handrails helped get to the peak with a little viewing area. I met a few hikers up there. Took me longer than expected to make the summit and I realized that I would not be able to make my 1800 fit-camp in time. So I took my time on the descent with hurting feet. I got back to the car at 1700 and took a photo of both peaks from the trail head.
On the way back, I passed Inspriation Point and had to stop for a photo. Salton Sea was in the distance. Temps never got above mid-60s all day. I don’t know exactly how far/high the day was but I guess it was about 16 miles and 5,000 feet.
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