I had planned to try to summit Sugg Peak with the expert guidance of Susie Kara, but alas she was under the weather. Since I was already up and ready to go, I had to quickly pivot to an alternate plan. The challenge I am starting to face with my remaining peaks is that many are long and difficult, and not suited for a solo attempt. Luckily, Peak 3339 was still on my list of peaks left to summit.
I drove out toward Boulevard as the sun rose over the mountains. Frost lined the side of the road from the recent rains. As I drove north along McCain Valley road, I passed the turnoff to the trailhead to Mt. Tule. Soon I came to the Lark Canyon OHV Staging Area, which has several pit toilets.
Continuing north along a well-graded dirt road I reached the Carrizo Scenic Overlook. I turned off here and parked at a nice turnout. The trailhead is to the east beyond a fence. I passed a few picnic tables and a metal grill before descending steeply down.
The route to Peak 3339 follows a motorcycle trail most of the time, so navigation is not difficult. Unfortunately, this is an inverted summit, meaning that you start higher than the actual summit.
I worked my way down the trail, reminiscing of my former dirt bike days, and secretly hoping I might catch a ride back up…
The peak was one of the bumps basically straight ahead of me in the distance, however, the trail turns northward for a while before returning to its eastward route. The advice I read recommended staying on the trail as long as possible before heading cross-country to the peak.
As the peak drew near, I eventually decided it was time to leave the trail and begin the actual climb to the summit. I unfortunately worked my way a tad too far south along the peak cluster. Navigating back to Peak 3339 from the south, I did not find any easy routes up. So, I worked my way back to the west side of the peak. There I found a nice route that took me basically to the top.
There I scrambled to the top of a nice block and enjoyed the view. I did not find a register. It might have been on the other block, but I was not comfortable scrambling solo to check it out.
After a snack, I headed down from the summit and began crossing the open desert to rejoin the trail. The windmills stood out along the ridge to the west, reminding me of the climb still to come to get back to the car.
Oddly, I never heard the sounds of any motorcycles, although I saw many being unloaded earlier. No complaints, as the quiet of the desert is always welcome. As I made my way back up the steep incline, I met a fellow hiker. With a copy of Afoot and Afield In San Diego in hand, he was out exploring as well. Turns out he is a fellow Gaucho. He graduated a few years before me with a degree in geology. We chatted for some time before we went our separate ways.
As I neared the end of the trail, I picked up two beer cans that were tossed to the side of the trail. Ugh. Although I had hoped to summit Al Holden as well, I did not want to venture out to it solo. But this was such a fun hike, I figured I would return with some friends to explore the area more another time.
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.