Elevation Gain: 1402ft
100 Peaks Challenge 2021 peak #8
Afoot & Afield #109
Last week’s weekday hike was Sycuan Peak. This week’s was Viejas Mountain. Seems I have a thing for casino hikes – if only they ended with an all-you-can-eat buffet! Wah-wahhhh!!! (Sorry, bad joke only locals will get!)
I have Tuesday mornings pencilled in for my weekday peak bagging but once again that did not work with my schedule; this past Tuesday we had a painter coming over and I knew Tad would not appreciate me skipping out for that. So, I replanned for today. Somewhat last minute, the night before, I texted Kali and she was in! We arrived at the trailhead at 6am sharp, along with a random guy who passed us, running up with his beautiful dogs. We chose 6am because we both needed to get to work, of course; but the side benefit was that the sun was just rising as we got to the peak.
The trail to the peak is very rocky but not rutted. No navigation issues – it is easy to follow. Near the top you arrive at a false peak but quickly the true peak comes into view and it’s an easy traverse to get to it. A flagpole of some kind was bolted to a boulder – it had no flag, and was not there the previous times I’ve been up there. Lots of effort to be an asshole, apparently. The summit itself has a well-built rock windbreak with a can for the peak logs tucked away. We looked at the logs but did not sign – they were messy and mostly full. I would have liked to linger on the summit a bit longer, but work beckoned, and we turned around pretty quickly. On the way down we passed two friendly young men heading up, and that was it – a lovely morning on a quiet trail.
This is the third time I’ve hiked Viejas Mountain. The first time was in 2018 when I was not in great shape; my moving time stats indicate that it took me nearly three hours! The second time was this past summer, when I was in the same condition I’m in now; but it was a JMT training hike and I was hauling a 30lb pack. It took me 2 hours and 13 minutes. Today Kali & I practically ran up and back down the hill and clocked in at under two hours, FTW!