Camping at Crystal Cove

Well, it finally happened, I went backpacking! I had finally reached a point where some of the peaks I want to summit are more than a long day hike. Susie Kara suggested testing out my set up at Crystal Cove State Park. I booked a spot at the Upper Moro campsite. Throughout the week, I kept a close eye on the air quality. The plan was to start after work, hike back to the site, spend the night then head back down. I got to the state park around 5, spoke to the ranger, and asked about the conditions. She said it wasn’t too bad, and agreed if we opted to leave the trail is easy to follow in the dark.

Ted Markus graciously decided to join me. We hit the trail right at 5:30, packs strapped to our backs. Our route wandered up through Moro Canyon. After about a mile we reached the East Cut Across trail to begin climbing up toward the ridge. 

Here is where we would earn the beer we packed! Over the next mile the trail would gain about 700 feet. Once on the ridge, we passed through Lower Moro Campground. We snapped a few photos of the view and continued on, as our campsite was about another .85 miles further.

We arrived at sunset, and quickly set about setting up camp. We had the entire campsite to ourselves, so we did not need to camp next to each other. Once the tents were up, we enjoyed our sandwiches and beer. We chatted for a while then turned in for the night. In many ways this was going to be the real test for me.

My sleeping pad and tent worked well. While not the best sleep, I woke just after 6. I had a granola bar and some oranges while I broke down my gear. We loaded our packs and headed back down. A few early morning mountain bikers were testing their calves climbing the ridge and some others were enjoying the trails.

We soon found ourselves back at our cars, knowing that we were ready to attempt a real backing trip once it was safe to do so. I quickly changed shirts and headed off as I had a 9:30 meeting.

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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