Guatay Mountain

While the rainy Memorial Day weekend put a damper on any big hiking plans, Monday afternoon availed itself for some time on the trails. I mulled several options as a candidate, but in the end, I settled on Guatay Mountain out near Pine Valley. This peak was the first peak I did after my neck injury. It was going to be interesting to compare the two summits.

As I unlocked the gate to the trail, I could hear the stream flowing nearby. Like so many trails, it was slightly overgrown from all the rains we had this year. As expected, some of the steeper sections had become more rutted as well.

I followed the trail for about a mile before reaching the metal fence indicating the turnoff toward Guatay Mountain. This section also showed the effects of our winter, requiring some straddling of the trail to work my way up. The weather was perfect for hiking, a light breeze and perfect temperatures made the climb upward pleasant.

I remembered much of the trail as it passed under my boots. I was curious to discover the difference once I got to the steeper section of the hike. I remembered that it took some effort the first time.

This time I found myself working my way upward without any issues. Glancing northward toward Cuyamaca, its summit was still encased in clouds.

Soon the summit came into view. I took a short break and signed the register. I looked over at Long Valley and debated if I should consider doing it as well…

I headed back down the trail, reflecting on how different these two summits have been. The first time pushed me and gave me confidence that I could hike again. This time, it let me know that I had the strength to complete my 100 Peak Challenge Reboot.

Soon I found myself crossing that small stream again, knowing that this hike was nearing its end. Once back in the car, I decided not to tack on Long Valley, and just enjoy my summit of a Guatay.

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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