Roost Benchmark

It is hard to comprehend that this summit would mark my completion of the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak List. For this milestone hike, I invited several of my hiking companions to accompany me. We met at the Pacific Crest Trail – Sunrise Trailhead at 8 am to condense down to fewer cars, as the actual parking area at the Lucky S Ranch is limited. After driving a couple of miles down the road, a group of mountain bikers had taken most of the available spots, but we were able to squeeze our cars into the area and still allow access to the ranch. We gathered in front of the gate to the old road that we would follow for a while. We discussed if we were going to add Oriflamme Mountain to the hike, and the consensus was to skip it. With that, Ted Markus, Greg Gerlach, Gina Norte, Matt Hanan, Larry Edmonds, Leslie Williams, Susie Kara, and Susie’s friend Jackie set off down the road.

This was an inverted (aka canyon) hike, so we dropped down from our start just off Sunrise Highway. Some lovely wildflowers dotted the sides of the trail as we cruised along. We chatted about recent hikes, and I reflected on what was next on my hiking agenda. Soon we found ourselves at the end of the road and began the cross-country portion of the hike. 

Roost Benchmark was the further of the two bumps. Since some of our group had hiked them before we followed their lead to loop around the first bump and then approach the summit from the north/northwest. We could see Larry and Leslie at the summit already. They had taken a different route that we had avoided in part to reports of it being overgrown and tick infested. As we crossed over the saddle, the winds picked up. Just as I was thinking I needed to tighten the strap on my hat, Greg’s hat went sailing. Thankfully it did not go far and he was able to retrieve it.

Soon we found ourselves atop the summit. I had done it! I plan to write a proper reflection on this journey, but a tremendous sense of accomplishment filled my heart. We sat around the summit enjoying some snacks, soaking in the views, and proudly signing the register. After a nice break, we began our descent. Along the way, we spotted a nice horn head lizard hanging out under some brush, and Ted got a great shot of it.

Since Larry said the overgrowth wasn’t too bad, we took the more direct route back up to the trailhead. Again, more wildflowers brightened our climb. While this road was a bit more overgrown, it was not too bad. We would stop to do a periodic tick check. Some of the group found some “hitchhikers” that were dealt with accordingly. As we waited next to where the PCT crosses the old jeep road, a thru-hiker passed by. Once we had regrouped, we climbed the last bit and back to the cars. Once back at the Sunrise Trailhead, my wife and daughter arrived with pies from Betty’s Pies in Encinitas to share. Susie had started this tradition with her completion of several summits, and I was happy to continue it. Since the summit did not lend itself to a group shot (plus the wind), we took a group shot there. After consuming our pies and enjoying a can of Peakbagger IPA from Kern River Brewery that I had been saving, we bid our farewells. Now on to the next adventure…

Some of the hikers who came with me
Gina, Ted, Me, Susie, Matt, Greg

The stats for the hike were 8.82 miles in 4:45 with a elevation gain of 1,764 feet.

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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