Friday, January 9, 2015

Viejas Mountain

Hiked: 1/9/2015
Distance: 3.2 miles round trip on trail
Summit Elevation: 4187'
Prominence: 1627'
Elevation Gain: 1475'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.18
Round trip time: 2 hours
Recommended water: 32 oz.
Parking/Fees: Adventure Pass on Boundary Truck Trail
Difficulty: Easy

Noel, Rod, Vance and I set out to bag two San Diego Sierra Club peaks on a somewhat overcast day. This was our first time out with Vance and his first hike in a long time. It took us a while to get through the morning traffic and when we arrived at the trailhead, it was overflowing with cars. We had the misfortune of tackling the same peak as a local hiking club who had at least 25 people on the mountain, most in the 60+ age range. I have great respect for my elders (there are fewer of them every year) thrashing it out on a trail, but their large group held us back in both directions and cost us some time.

The trail has a good bit of gain for a short hike, but I was expecting it to be more difficult. The trail was typical of the San Diego area with some extra loose rocks, but mostly unremarkable. After climbing to a saddle the trail splits. To the right is an American flag, but the summit is about another quarter mile to the left. Vance was pausing for additional breaks and was a few minutes behind us. We stopped to goof around on some boulders just off the trail until he caught up, then continued to the summit. A windbreak on the summit had been constructed from stones and at least a dozen people from the hiking group were milling around and eating snacks. We all signed the register, then I went hunting for the benchmark. Noel found a reference marker and I scouted in the direction it pointed, eventually finding the triangulation benchmark hidden on the far side of the windbreak. The views from the top were hazy, but probably would have been great on a clear day. On the way back, we made the small diversion to the flag and took a group photo. Rod thought he had found a snake in the brush near the flag, but we couldn't flush it out.

Starting up the trail to Viejas

Still in love, more than ever

Rod and I goofing around on some boulders

The other hiking group on the summit

The Viejas benchmark

The benchmark, hidden under the windbreak, the register is on the inside

El Cajon from Viejas

At the flag

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