With Susie and Ted unavailable to tackle any of the San Diego Sierra Club 100 peaks, I decided to knock off some peaks on the Borrego Benchmark Club list. This is a collection of benchmarks scattered on various peaks across the Anza-Borrego desert. There was a cluster of three near Agua Caliente County Park that seemed likely candidates, and I thought this would be a nice way to end 2021. Just north of Agua Caliente was a small turnout where I parked to begin my adventures. These three peaks were going to be done in a spoke-like fashion, meaning I would summit one, return to the car, then set off for the next one. After summiting Guard Benchmark, I set off for my next peak, Agua Benchmark, which was clearly visible a short distance across the desert floor.
I weaved my way around the cactus toward the peak. As I drew nearer, I examined which route might be the easiest. The elevation gain to get to the summit was not the issue, but rather the cactus density was the real concern. I spotted a nice route and was atop the summit in no time. I spotted the benchmark and next to it, the register. I signed in and stared at Store Benchmark off to my west. That peak was going to be the hardest of the three.
As I cruised back to the car, I could see the clouds slipping over the Lagunas to the west. I had hoped I might have some snow-capped mountains to look at from the desert. I decided to move the car to another turnout about a 1/4 mile closer to the start of the route up to Store Benchmark.
Agua Benchmark: 1.08 miles in 31 minutes with 95 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.
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