Airplane Ridge

My final peak for the day was Airplane Ridge, further along, the West Mesa trail. The trail worked its southward. Cuyamaca Peak loomed over me to the west. The trail was mostly empty as the peaceful quiet surrounded me. I crossed the dry Japacha creek and began to slowly gain some elevation. As I neared the sharp right to begin the climb toward Airplane Ridge, I made the short detour to see the monument for which the ridge is named.

On December 7, 1922, a twin-seat model biplane carrying Col. F.C. Marshall and Lt. C.L. Webber crashed into a ridge near Cuyamaca Peak. Despite extensive searches, the wreckage and pilots’ remains weren’t discovered until May the following year.

After pausing for a bit, I continued on as the day was getting warmer and still had the summit and return trek to the car. I worked my way up the ridgeline until I found a reasonable spot to leave the trail and reach the high point itself.

I rested under the shade of a tree, enjoying the sweeping views to the south. With my third peak bagged, I begin the 3 miles back to my car. Toward the end of the hike, my IBT began to tighten, making it a bit uncomfortable.


I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea-kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

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