Long Valley, at Long Last

Long Valley Peak
April 6, 2021
Miles: 4.1
Elevation Gain: 1,109ft
Gaia Track
100 Peaks Challenge #47

I had intended to hike Long Valley Peak a couple of weeks ago on another weekday, but hit Cowles & Pyles instead. My hesitation was that it’s long enough that I’d have needed to start well before down, and LVP is fairly remote. I don’t mind hiking in the dark; and I don’t mind hiking solo; but not both at the same time on this trail. Last weekend while enjoying spring break in Tucson, a couple of my peak squad knocked LVP off their lists, and I wanted to get it done too, so when Casey agreed to join me for a weekday hike I jumped at the chance. It was particularly nice of Casey to join me since it’s a long drive for her.

We planned to meet at the trail head around 6am and we were both about twenty minutes early – since I had a 9:30am meeting, I was eager to get started. This trail head is immediately off the freeway in Pine Valley, and appears to be a popular spot for motorbikes. The trail wasted no time in climbing up a steep slippery slope immediately. The first mile and a half or so followed a rugged Jeep road in a straight-line to the southwest before taking a sharp left turn onto a narrow trail. The trail soon started ascending – motorbike tracks were with us for a while but eventually gave out as the bouldering started. The bouldering near the summit was minimal, not exposed, and super fun. We made quick work of it and soon emerged at the summit. The trail is almost entirely on the west side of the peak, so it was not until the top when the early morning sun burst into view.

There was a register at the summit but it was full. I had a scrap of paper with me but forgot to replenish my pack with a fresh book – I try to keep an all-weather notepad and a pen with me just for this reason, oh well. We left our names, took our photos, and started heading back down.

We were moving along but not running – it felt like a good pace. The weather was perfect, nice and cool and shady. When we compared our moving time with our friends, who hiked this in the middle of a hot day, the times were surprisingly similar. And the moving time was also identical to another hiker whose track we followed. I guess 2:22 is the magic number for this hike! Ok, forty seven down.

About Erika Lawson

Blogging from El Cajon, CA, just east of San Diego. I mostly blog about hiking, but also traveling and family life as a working mom. I also have blogged about my experience dealing with (curable) breast cancer with as much humor and disdain as possible.
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