Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stonewall Peak

Last weekend's adventure included a hike up to Stonewall Peak, which is about an hour east from San Diego. We got lucky and had one of the most beautiful days of the year.

We met up with the rest of our crew at the Paso Picacho Campground, the trail begins just across the street. The trail surrounds you with fragrant wild lavender and white California lilac this time of year. The scars from the 2003 Cedar Fire are eerily beautiful the way the burnt limbs contrasts with the white bark of the trees.

The panoramic view from the Stonewall Peak summit is amazing. On clear days you can see all the way to the Salton Sea, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park can be seen to the east, and the mountains of Baja California to the south.

A fairly easy 4 mile hike, the switchbacks took us (with 3 kids) about 2 hours to reach the peak, and about 1 hour back down. We were all on the lookout for snakes and sure enough found a baby rattler in-between some rocks on the summit. I later learned that it is a rare speckled rattlesnake, crotalus mitcheli.

There were the customary cuts and scrapes but we avoided any major injuries all the way down the trail, until the end. About 50 yards from the bottom of the hill Paul, Marks brother, twisted and sprained his ankle, and had to be carried back to the car. It swelled up pretty good, sure hope he is better in time to go to Zion next month!

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