Guatay Mountain

Well, after a much longer time off the trails, I was finally able to start summiting again. After the plantar fasciitis emerged in the early part of 2018, I took a couple of months off to let it recover, little did I know that time off would extend for almost half a year. While on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, two of my discs in my neck silently herniated. I went from planning my next hike, as my foot had recovered, to now being in tremendous pain. After three months of treatment, I was able to carefully resume hiking. I had done some of the minor peaks around my house that I have never bothered with to test out the neck. Finally, I was ready to try a real peak, and Guatay seemed to fit the bill.

I drove out the summit fairly early to beat the summer heat. When I arrived at the trailhead, a couple was just waking up from spending the night in their pickup bed watching the previous evening’s meteor shower. We chatted for a bit, and I headed off.

I backtracked along the road until I spotted the trailhead, almost hidden from view. The trail follows the creek along the eastern side of the mountain for a bit. Just long enough to warm up your leg muscles before the real climb begins. Coming to a metal post, the trail turn left and begins its steep climb toward the summit.

After a bit, the steepness eases as you reach the main ridge to the summit. The surround peaks also start to come to view, primarily Cuyamaca to the north.

But, Guatay has more work to be done in order to reach her summit. Two more steep sections lay ahead before the top is reached!

To the west, you can see El Cajon Mountain and the surrounding communities, to the south is the Los Pinos Peak/fire lookout in the Pine Creek Wilderness, Cuyamaca Peak stand proudly to the north, and looking back to the east, Mt. Laguna.

After a short rest, and signing the register, I headed back down the trail. So far the neck was feeling fine, and the leg wasn’t too bad. Along the way, I encounter some younger hikers heading up. One of them informed me she left her poles back along the trail. I told her that the section toward the top is a lot easier if you had them. She declined my advice. We parted ways, and I wondered why did you even bring them?

The descent was uneventful as the day got hotter. I was glad for the early start. I found myself back at the car, happy to finally be back on the trails.

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, Central Coast, 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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