I was finally able to arrange to go hiking with Derek, the creator of the 100 Peak Challenge. He had recently opened Burger Bench, which had been keeping him quite busy. He wanted to scout for possible campsites on Whale Peak for a camping trip with his daughter and I needed to summit it. Win-win.
We met in the early morning near our houses and headed out. The ritual stop at the Jack-in-the-Box in Ramona got some food in our bellies as we headed out into Anza Borrego. Just off S2, we turned east and worked our way down the dirt road. Derek had a high clearance car so we were fine as bounced along. The trailhead for Whale Peak is also shared by Pinyon Mountain. We hoped to summit it afterward.
After working our way up the wash, we continued south across a grassy flat along a faint trail. Then we began working our way upward again, past the junipers and pinyon pines. Soon, we emerged into a nice valley.
Derek poked around for some possible campsites for a bit before we headed toward the east. Derek pointed to the wash to the west and cautioned the watch yourself combing back down and not to accidentally head down that way…
The trail continues to push upward, with steep sections followed by flatter sections. The summit is still not in sight, even with all this hiking, but after some more quad-burning climbing, the actual summit is achieved.
We drank in the views, while we enjoyed some well-earned snacks. I found the register and signed us in, then photographed the Benchmark.
We headed back down to the car, stopping to chat with another hiker working his way up. Derek filled me more on the navigation story, but I won’t recount it here…
We chatted about the challenge some, as we continued back down. Back at the car, we refueled before we tackled Pinyon Mountain.
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.