Another Six-Peak Weekend

Garnet Mountain
June 12, 2021
Miles: 0.79
Elevation Gain: 223ft
Gaia Track
100 Peaks Challenge #73

Pine Mountain
June 12, 2021
Miles: 4.1
Elevation Gain: 489ft
Gaia Track
100 Peaks Challenge #74

Garnet Peak
June 12, 2021
Miles: 2.3
Elevation Gain: 450ft
Gaia Track
100 Peaks Challenge #75
Afoot & Afield 5th ed. Trip #174

Wooded Hill
June 12, 2021
Miles: 1.5
Elevation Gain: 185ft
Gaia Track
100 Peaks Challenge #76
Afoot & Afield 5th ed. Trip #186

Peak 1820 and the North Clevenger Canyon Trail
June 13, 2021
Miles: 5
Elevation Gain: 1406ft
Gaia Track
100 Peaks Challenge #77
Afoot & Afield 5th ed. Trip #51

“Big” Black Mountain
June 13, 2021
Miles: 0.45
Elevation Gain: 90ft
Gaia Track
100 Peaks Challenge #78

I’m way behind in writing up these hikes so let’s see what I can remember! This was our third six-peak weekend so far in this challenge. The first was our four-peak Saturday out in the desert followed by two peaks up in north county; and the second was our epic desert weekend out in Ranchita – much more challenging than this one, that’s for sure! For the most part these peaks were all pretty easy, but one of them gave us a run for the money with the navigation, resulting in more bushwhacking than I was expecting – hence the shorts!

We have been holding off on hiking in the Laguna and Cuyamaca mountains until it got too hot to hike anywhere else, and now seemed to be the time. We started with Mount Laguna. All of the hikes in this challenge in Mount Laguna are standalone hikes in that they are not close enough to each other to do two at once, which has actually been pretty common on this challenge. However, some of the hikes are super short. So we went through and figured out some grouping that made sense. Our original plan was Garnet + Pine + Garnet + Monument, but by the end we were worn out from our unexpected bushwhack on Pine, and the rising temperatures. So we swapped it out for Wooded Hill.

We started in the north of the recreation area and worked our way south, beginning with Garnet Mountain. This is an obscure peak off a gated Jeep road next to Kwaaymii Point, not to be confused with the much much more well-known Garnet Peak, which we would bag later in the day. It was an unremarkable hike, mostly up a the Jeep road with a bit of off-trail bushwhacking to the summit. We debated whether the purple flowers on the hillside were Poodle Dog Bush and concluded later that they were not – wooly blue curls and yerba santa was our conclusion later.

Next up was Pine Mountain. I’ve hiked along the Pine Mountain trail a couple of times, but never attempted the peak. I knew that there is no trail to the peak so I downloaded a few different options. The first option took us briefly along a road (which was actually lovely – shady and with a meadow-full of lupines) and then headed into the thick brush. Nope. Backtracking along the road we attempted the other route I’d downloaded. The scrub brush was below chin-level but still quickly became too thick to penetrate. Fortunately we had a signal and Kali was able to find another route that approached from the southeast. This route was perfect – still no trail, but no bushwhacking either and it was straightforward to the top. We learned later that another workable option would have been to continue across the north of the mountain along the Jeep road.

At the flat, broad summit of Pine Mountain we were attacked by flies. The summit itself was pretty with its eponymous trees, but because of said trees there was absolutely no view. We found a good enough spot to take our obligatory photos and got the flock out of there.

The rest of the day was relatively uneventful. We had all climbed Garnet Peak multiple times before, and we made quick work to the summit and enjoyed the views. We made the decision to save Monument Peak for another day and instead do a quick run up Wooded Hill. And it’s good that we did, too, as the flowers were glorious, and if we had waited for later in the summer we surely would have missed the show.

Sunday was to be a bit cooler and we decided to see if we could squeeze in Peak 1820 along the North Clevenger Trail early enough in the day that it would not be too hot. None of us had ever hiked this trail but we knew it would be less showy than it’s sister trail to the south – that trail heads south out of Clevenger Canyon, and hence is on a north-facing slope, blanketed with flowers. Today’s hike to the north was in the blazing sun always. But it was pretty in its own way with typical chaparral shrubs and meadows. The boulders at the beginning of the trail are covered with decades of graffiti – according to Casey, who grew up nearby, it’s a ritual for the seniors at the local high schools to make their marks.

We decided to explore the trail a bit and continued past the turnoff for the peak to see where the trail would go. There is another peak that some hike to in that area. We took a look but opted not to climb it, and returned to our objective – peak 1820 – a minor bushwhack off the main trail.

With that done, our last peak of the weekend would be a driving peak. “Big” Black Mountain in Ramona can only be hiked by trudging up a long and hot Jeep road – no thank you. As luck would have it, we have access to a Jeep! Tara’s trusty steed got us up to a large parking area near the top in no time, and we hiked the last half mile to get to the antenna-covered summit. Totally the way to go, I would not want to walk that road!

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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