Operation: Help Susie to 100×2! continued today with a return to Ranchita to hike out to White and Bonny Benchmarks. These peaks sit on the very western end of Anza-Borrego State Park. In fact, our initial route from the car parallels the border fence. I had done these peaks several times, so like yesterday I took the lead. Our path weaved around the various bushes and cacti following the animal trails that criss-crossed the desert floor. The plan was to hike out and up to White Benchmark, then work our way back down to pick up Clyde and Bonny Benchmarks.
We would gain almost 1,000 feet by the time we stood atop the summit block of White. The last push to the summit took a bit of effort, as it did become a bit steep and sandy. The skies were still hazy like the day before. It appears the register has been lost, so if anyone reads this and is planning to climb White Benchmark, bring a new one. We both again stared at The Thimble to our north and wondered how people climb it from the south or east side. Susie was so thankful that my route yesterday was 100x easier than her first time up it.
As we made our way back down, we set off toward Clyde Benchmark. We made it part way up, but did not feel the need to reach the top. Again, no register was found where we thought one should be. Bonny was a short distance away. I lead us around the south side to the ledge on the west to the summit. Susie recalled working her way up a crack when she did it in 2017. We sat here for a bit taking in the views. Bonny still had her register, so we dutifully signed it. I opted not to crawl over the reference mark this time.
We scrambled down and continued making our way back to the car. There is yet another benchmark nearby, Hut. But, neither felt the urge to go get, as I recalled the descent was a bit brushy. We stayed heading east to avoid some of the heavier brush that tends to grow in the drainages that seemed to always pull you in. So, we were back in the car and headed home. Normally, we would have grabbed a cold drink at the Montezuma Valley Market, but sadly it burned earlier this year. They are hoping to rebuild. Instead, we made a quick stop at Don’s Market for some cold drinks, and Dudley’s for some sandwiches. The entire hike was 4.5 miles in 3:24 (including stops) with 1,150 feet of gain.
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.