Initially, I had planned to hike Guatay Mountain as part of helping Ted Markus complete the Sierra Club, but with all the National Forests closed due to fire danger, we had to pivot. Between the closures and hikes that are located in Anza-Borrego, we were left with just a couple of options. Since his knee was feeling a bit sore, we decided that Boucher Hill would be a good call. In fact, we both brought our wives to tag along.
We drove up the mountain and paid the $10 day-use fee at the ranger station, then parked at the Silvercrest picnic area. I brought some spare hiking poles for the ladies, just so they would not feel left out. While you can drive to the actual summit and fire lookout tower, we planned to hike from the picnic area, up to the lookout, then loop back passing the Scott Cabin site.
We made our way up to the lookout tower without issue. There were a few folks hanging out. Due to Covid-19, access to the tower was restricted, so we did not go up this time. From there, we set off on the loop, enjoying the nice trail. Once we reached the Ceder Grove campground, we began the climb back up. The heat, elevation, and altitude slowed the ladies down some, but they took breaks in the shade and continued on. Soon, I spied one of the power poles and knew we were almost down. One final short but steep section and we were done. All told, we hiked 3.6 miles in 2:25, with a respectful 1,100 feet of elevation gain. Since they had earned their hiking chops, lunch at Burger Bench seem like the right call.