Peak Name: Mount Israel
Distance: 3.6 miles
Date: September 18, 2019
Summit: 1,346 feet
With the days getting shorter, I knew I needed to do this peak soon since the reserve closes around sunset. Unlike the last time I did this peak, the day was nice and clear. I crossed over Escondido Creek and began my climb up the Way Up Trail. There is no warm-up for this trail, so be warned. This nice thing about doing this hike in the late afternoon is you get some shade as you make your way up the switchbacks.
Once at the crest, you will reach a junction with some of the various trails in the reserve, as well as your first view of the Olivenhain Reservoir. Heading to the west is the Equine Incline Loop Trail which will take you up toward the actual summit.
The summit is located at the Elfin Forest Overlook. Here you will find two shaded stone benches to take a break on. There is also a memorial post to our canine companions. The actual summit is marked not by a benchmark but by a viewing platform. A similar one is also atop Iron Mountain.
After a quick break, I headed back down the trails and to my car. This was my 65th peak of the 100 Peak Challenge.
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.