Elevation Gain: 764ft
100 Peaks Challenge 2021 peak #4
Afoot & Afield #113
There are several hikes on the 100 Peaks list that are low-hanging fruit, that I can do on weekdays throughout the year. Hikes that are not too long, and not too far from home or other places I go sometimes – for example, for Red Butte at Torrey Pines, I will probably do that one day that I have a doctor’s appointment nearby.
The lowest of the low-hanging fruit near my house is Sycuan Peak. It’s about 20 minutes from home, and only two miles round trip. Sounds like a weekday hike to me! I have Tuesday mornings pencilled in for my weekday hikes, but today I had an 8:30am meeting, so I couldn’t do it then. I did, however, have a few hours free at midday. The outside temperature at 11am was 59 degrees in the shade – as cool as it’ll ever be in East County on a clear day. Time to hike!
I had done this hike once before and recalled that it’s steep, rutted, and exposed. All of those things are still true. I also remembered that the trailhead rises abruptly off the side of a winding road, with no parking or signage – also true. I got there a little before noon and started climbing, avoiding the gaping canyons that comprised this trail as much as possible.
The summit itself was through some bushes and up a boulder. I found the survey marker, and a glass jar containing what passed for a trail register. The inside of the jar was wet, with a few sheets of saturated paper. I had grabbed my running Camelbak instead of my usual daypack, since the hike was so short, so I did not have a replacement logbook with me – and the paper was too wet to write in, so, oh well.
On my way back down the rutted trail my bad knee was screaming at me. This makes me nervous as I still have 96 mountains to descend for this challenge. I am babying it as much as I can – icing it now as I type. Hopefully it’ll be less grumpy this weekend. Despite this I was still home and showered with plenty of time before my 2pm meeting. Peak #4 done!
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