Distance: 4.9 miles round trip on trail
Summit Elevation: 2183'
Elevation Gain: 1515'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.21
Round trip time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Recommended water: 48 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free at Jamul Road turnout
Part two of our San Diego Sierra Club peak quest was about a 30 minute drive from Viejas Mountain on Jamul Road. There is a turnout with ample parking and when we arrived, only a few other vehicles were there. Vance was still breaking in his boots and taped up some hot spots before we started. The trail switchbacks up the bump directly ahead. At the top of the bump, take a hard left on the dirt road. The road to the right heads down the other side of the bump. After you pass the first bump, the trail gives up about 100' of elevation before hitting the second major section of gain. Here, I led the group into the first of two mistakes by taking a use trail up what appeared to be the continuation of the ridge. When the use trail faded away, it became clear that the trail bypassed this ridge so we did a short cross country correction. At this point, Vance had worked up two leg cramps and decided to rest at the bottom of the second section. We left him a walkie-talkie and headed up to the McGinty summit. Before we got to the top, Vance informed us he was going to wait for us to summit and come down.
We got to the McGinty summit and found neither a benchmark nor register. We took some summit photos, including a shot of the three of us. Like Viejas, the views were OK, but would have been much better on a clear day. As we started down and rounded a corner, we saw Vance valiantly trodding up the final hill. We encouraged him to continue to the summit while we waited. He had somehow fought his way up in spite of leg cramps and would bag the second peak after all. The back-to-back hikes had roughed him up a little, but he seemed no worse for the wear. On the way back, we made a second navigational error, veering off to the right when we should have continued over a rise. Other people have made the same mistake and now I understand why. For every other minor bump or rise on the way back, the right choice is always to continue along the side of it, except for this final one where the correct path goes over it. Despite documenting it here, I expect many future hikers to wander off track at exactly this same junction.