Friday, October 3, 2014

Peak Bagging in CA

Hot Springs Mountain (6,533) – I wanted to test out my calf and this county high point seemed like a great option.  I landed in San Diego and drove 2 hours to the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation.  Google directions were spot-on and I arrived at the entrance station for the reservation at Noon.  After paying my $15 entrance fee I tried driving up Hot Springs Mountain road but it is blocked and locked about ¼ mile from the main road.  I turned around and headed up the main road to the camp.  The campground looks overgrown and not much used.  There is a new sign “Los Coyotes Campground” right at the road junction with the unsigned Sukat road.  Previous trip reports noted it was 5 miles to the summit from here.

I drove up Sukat road 1 mile from the camp and parked at the turnout (5,100’) next to the “Left Turn road” sign.  I could have driven further but wanted to get in an 8 mile run (it turned out to be 7.6 miles round-trip).  I ran the 3.7 miles up the road, sticking with the main road the entire way.  There were a number of roads that met up with this one but it was pretty easy to figure out which way to go.  Near the top I saw 3 or 4 people in a 4-wheel-drive heading down from the summit.  They were the only people I saw in the reservation.  It took me 43 minutes to complete the easy run to the top (there was even some downhill).  I spent 5 minutes on top at the ruined fire tower and another 5 minutes heading over to the slightly higher bump where the County High point was.  There were a number of trails and the woods were very open, so there was no problem finding the high point.
I took it easy running down, hoping to not beat up my legs and was back at the car in 34 minutes for a total of 86 minutes round trip. 

Boucher Lookout (5,400’) – After bagging the San Diego county high point I drove to Palomar Mountain State Park with the goal of getting in a third run of the day AND bagging a fire tower along with the State Park high point.  It took me an hour to drive to the park, I went a somewhat longer way so that I could check out the climb up “South Grade Road” which would be the course I’d be climbing in the ElliptiGo world championships on the following morning. 

I paid $10 for the use fee and the trail map and headed over to the Silvercrest picnic area to park.  I was hoping to get in 2.4 miles for an even 15 mile day, so I trotted down the road then took the Boucher trail up to the fire tower.  There was a group visiting the tower and I was told if I wanted to wait I could also get a tour.  I didn’t want to wait around so I headed off down the road and then added on a little extra climbing the Silvercrest trail to get the proper mileage.
The views from the platform next to the tower were pretty spectacular.

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