In the pre-dawn, we headed out to Anza-Borrego to attempt to summit Indianhead. This would have been my 94th peak. Along for the summit were Gail Welch, Susie Kara, and Ted Markus.
We hit the trail just as the sun rose. Quickly we found ourselves at the first palm oasis & the easy part of this hard hike was now done. The water was still flowing nicely from the canyon, and flowers still dotted the desert floor. Now we began working our way up the canyon, scrambling over boulders and crisscrossing the stream multiple times.
As we neared the third palm oasis, two hikers were enjoying their breakfast atop one of the very large boulders. Soon we reached our exit point from the canyon onto the push up to the ridgeline. The sun had climbed above the mountain and was certainly warming us up.
The climb up was intense. Insanely steep and loose rocks everywhere. While the hillside was covered in flowers, these served to hide the cactus.
The steepness and the rising temperatures were starting to take a toll on me. We took several breaks as we made our along to the ridge proper. Finally, I reached my limit and made the call to abort the attempt.
Once we reached the canyon floor, we took a much-needed break in the shade. We then began working our way back down the canyon, the heat reinforcing our decision to turn back. We knew the forecast, but we were hoping to make it up and back before it became too hot. Oh well. We reached within .8 miles of the summit but still had some 1,200 feet of elevation to gain. To say this was no easy hike would be an understatement.
The water and flowers continued to amaze us. Although it was a failed summit, the nature show in the canyon made up for it.
We finally reached the first palm oasis. I had actually used up my water, so Ted and Gail gave me some of theirs. Although I grew up in Bakersfield, I no longer have the resistance to heat. I’d bet the four of us were a sight to see as day hikers were headed up.
We reached the cars and shed our gear. Thanks again to Ted, Gail, and Susie for tagging along. So next weekend….??
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.