With rain again in the forecast, I opted to take part of the day off and head out early to get in the last two desert hikes; Piedras Grandes and Indian Hill. Both are near Dos Cabezas just past the wind farm in Ocotillo. Since I was going solo this time, I needed to make sure I had my routes down. For Piedras Grandes, I saw some hikers had approached it from the south via a wash, then up to the summit. It was a bit longer in distance but it could be something new. In looking at the satellite imagery, there was also a road from the trailhead for this route. Researching it, I learned the now closed jeep road has signboards along the way exposing various points of interest and the history of the region. Sold!
I pulled into the trailhead just after 7:15 and gathered my gear. The sun had risen but it was still a tad cool, so I tossed on a slightly warmer layer for this hike, figuring I would change before the second one of the day.
Hiking on the Jeep trail made for a quick time. The signboards told bits and pieces of the significance of the area. I found the Yoni, or female fertility symbol, and the morteros. I missed the actual pictographs, but I did not look that hard. I plan to return and explore the area more when I am not chasing peaks.
At the road’s end I began the open desert crossing, I looped around a small peak and then down to the saddle at the base of Piedras Grandes. I picked a route and motored up, avoiding the cacti that covered the slopes.
In no time I reached the summit once again. This time this was almost natural for me. Another indication of my growth as a hiker. I signed the register and took my photos. For the descent I had two basic options; return the same way or follow the wash. Once I reached the saddle, I opted for the first wash. Except for one minor scramble around a dry waterfall, it was a pleasant route.
I even spotted boot prints on the ground. Soon I rejoined the jeep trail, and then back to the car. That was peak #96 of my #100PeakChallenge. Now to drive the 5 minutes to the trailhead for Indian Hill.
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.