After being unable to attempt Square Top, we decided to summit two other peaks nearby. Since Gail needed to finish Palomar High Point, we drove partway up the Palomar Divide Trail and hiked to the top. The second peak, since we all had the entire day free, was hiking Combs Peak. We made our way out Chinuahua Valley Road then onto Long Valley Road. Once we reached the trailhead, after encountering someone also driving east, who decided to stop in the middle of the road and take a piss. Thankfully, he did not also pull into the trailhead. The road was marked with new mile markers that also had the Boy Scout oath upon them. At the trailhead itself, a new PCT trail magic shelter had been built since I had been here last. Since it was the start of the northbound season, we expected to see a lot of folks working their way northward.
The four of us cruised up the PCT to the turn-off and started the steep ascent. In just about .5 miles, we would gain some 600′ of elevation.
We meet two other hikers just getting ready to descend as we reached the top. The views are still one of the best in the county. Atop the summit, we could see snow-capped San Gorgonio and San Jacinto to the north. To the east, we spied the Salton Sea. The benchmark and register were both found.
Again, carefully working our way down, the expected stream of PCTers appeared. We would stop and wish them well on their journey. I wondered what each was seeking on the trail…
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.