I wanted something a bit on the shorter side, so Long Valley Peak seemed like a perfect option. The trailhead is just off the 8 in Pine Valley. As I parked, the air was brisk, but I knew that was not going to last once the sun rose. A couple of dirt bikes were getting ready to head out on a nearby trail.
The trail follows the power lines for about a mile and a half. I remembered the rolling nature of this section. It was a good way to test my ankle. The sun poked over the Laguna mountains to the east, but the shade and slight breeze kept the temperatures pleasant. The peak loomed in the distance, standing alone.
When the road makes its right turn, I made my left turn onto the single track and the real climb began. The trail was fairly easy to follow, with just a few spots that took a quick moment to spot the continuation.
As I got closer to the summit, the trail became rocky and steeper. Making my way up, the view behind me was stunning. With one final push, the summit was reached. The vistas were as incredible as I remembered. Matt Hanan, another fellow peak bagger, mentioned the need for a new register, so I dropped a new one-off into the ammo box.
Familiar peaks surround me, as I took a break from the ascent. But I knew the day would keep getting warmer and the shade that I had would be fading away.
The descent went quickly back to the service road. Once back at the car I began wondering about this attempt’s pace vs. the first one. Both times I did this peak I was solo. To my surprise, I covered the 4.1 miles 30 minutes faster. I don’t think I was going that fast, I guess the first time I was just cruising.
This was peak #52 of my #100PeakChallenge.
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.