Travelers Peak

Hiked: January 25, 2020
Summit: 2,697 feet
Distance: 4.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,036 feet
Round Trip Time: 3 hrs 48 mins

With Susie off visiting a good friend out of state, I decided to knock out a peak that she had already done on the San Diego 100. She suggested Travelers Peak might be a good one to summit, so out to the far side of Anza-Borrego I went. The route up Travelers Peak initially follows the jeep trail to the Calcite Mine, then a well-defined user trail to the summit. 

I had initially had done the Calcite Mine portion when I did the Anza-Borrego 5 for 50 hikes back in 2017. That time we parked just off the highway and hike the road up to the mine. As pulled off the Borrego-Salton Sea Expressway, I decided to try driving the road up toward the Calcite Mine instead. The road was in really good shape, & I suspect it had been graded recently. At the turn off into the nearby slot canyon was a nice spot to park. I debated if I should keep driving up the road or just settle for this. I opted to park.

Grabbing my gear, I set off up the road. The road conditions continued to be good. I stopped after about a quarter-mile, and for a moment thought about heading back to the car and trying driving it all the way to the mine. I did recall the road being a bit rougher further ahead, but in the end, I opted for the exercise. After a mile, I reached the mine area. Overall, the road would have been drivable in my Subaru with a few spots that would take some care. 

Now it was time to leave the Jeep trail and head onto the use trail. I knew from other tracks that I had a steep ascent ahead of me. I also knew that there were going to be some challenging sections as well. The use trail basically follows a ridgeline, meaning some sections tended to be a touch narrow. Nothing problematic, but still you needed to be mindful. Between the steep grade and the temperature, I was certainly working up a sweat.

So, I came to the first of the challenging sections. I focused on my footing and carefully worked my way through it. One thing about solo desert hiking is you need to slow it down and be certain about your routes, foot, and handholds when you are navigating more complex sections. The route would switch between easier sections and these complex ones. 

Soon, the summit was truly in sight. I was never sure if I was seeing it earlier. As I reached the top, a simple rock pile held the register next to the benchmark, which for some reason is labeled as Palm.

I found the two reference marks as well. I had hoped to locate the azimuthal marker, which was back down the trail and off to the west, but I passed it during my descent and opted not to go back and find it.

The register was a time capsule of fellow peak-baggers. I enjoyed skimming its pages.

But there is not any great place to sit up here except for one small rock, so I decided to head back down. The route was easy to follow, just to be taken with care. I again took my time descending the complex sections, at times simply scooting on my backside.

I could see the road off in the distance for much of the hike, and as I neared the mine, two jeeps pulled in. I debated if I should bum a ride back down… I also spotted another group of hikers making their way to the mine, and briefly chatted with them. As I began my hike down the road, I met up with Joel & the group from the SD Adventure Club, on one of their outings. They had hiked in from the road, so they were looking forward to their rest at the mine area. I let them continue, and I kept motoring down. I thought about returning through the slot canyon, but I was craving a burrito back in town.

As I neared my car, three motorcycles passed on their way up, a gentle reminder of why I dislike active road hikes. With that, #77 of the #SD100 was complete! 4.62 miles in 3 hours and 48 minutes of active hiking, with a mere 2,036 feet of gain.

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