Monday, January 09, 2012


I've been doing some more hiking, trying to stay in shape.  Several weeks ago I went on a hike with an Internet "meetup" group called "Take a Hike". The chosen hike was up Viejas Mountain out in Alpine.  At 4,187 feet it was a good workout with a steep trail to the summit.  There were about 7 hikers in the group all of whom were way younger than me and a whole lot faster.  I was with the group three times during the hike.  At the beginning, on the summit and at the end.  I basically did the hike by myself, so I won't be hiking with them anytime soon. The views from the top were great with a breeze out of the east it was clear all the way to the coast.  The above photo is looking east from the summit.

Next up on the day after Christmas, I drove out to Borrego and hiked around the western end Harper flat.  This huge bowl-shaped valley is in the heart of the Vallecito Mountains and accessed via a 4 WD drive road and a short hike up a wash.  This area was the site of one of the largest Indian camps in the area.  Lots of evidence of the Indian inhabitants with numerous morteros and lots of pottery shards laying about.  I walked about 6 miles, gaining a loosing around 1,000 ft in elevation and only covered small percentage of the valley.

For Christmas 10 year old Grandson McKyle got a new pair of hiking boots courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa.  Grandpa figured he might get a new hiking partner out of the deal and what better place to try the new boots out, but Whale Peak.  Not the easiest hike around but a whole lot better after I discovered that there was actually a trail of sorts to the top.  There is some minor boulder scrambling at the beginning and just below the summit, but that made it all the more fun for McKyle.  As described in the previous post, it is just a little over 2 miles to the summit with an elevation gain of 1300 feet.  To reach the trail head, 4 WD is required.  If you cannot make it over the big boulder in the road, it adds about 1.5 more miles of road hiking to get to the trail head.

McKyle's dad, Gary decided to tag along so with an early start we arrived at the trail head at 7:30.  It was pretty cold and windy, but clear with great views on the way up.  In some spots there was still some icy snow left from the last storm which was about 4 weeks ago.  With lots of cactus to dodge and some trail finding skills, it took 1 hour and 45 minutes to gain the summit.  It is a pretty steep climb in places and I noticed on the way up, I was the only one breathing heavy.

We spent about 30 minutes on the summit, signing the summit register and eating a snack and then heading back down.  No one fell down on the way back and and except for McKyle having a minor encounter with some cactus we arrived unscathed at the trail head around 12:30.

Both Gary and McKyle agreed that this is a great hike.  I think it has become my favorite in San Diego County and I'm sure I'll be returning again.  If anyone wants to climb up with me, let me know as I'd be happy to show you the way.  Just ask my friend Gary who followed me partway up last month. (see previous post)