This year’s Coast to Crest Challenge is a collection of their 5 favorite hikes from previous challenges; Volcan Benchmark, Santa Ysabel East, Blue Sky Preserve, Raptor Ridge and Bernardo Mountain. I figured I should start with the “Crest” of the trail, and that was Volcan Benchmark. This was going to be a solo hike as Ted was working and Susie had family obligations.
There were a few cars at the trailhead, less than I expected for the holiday weekend. I cruised up the main trail until it reached the Five Oaks Trail. This year’s challenge does not have fixed Selfie spots, so I found a nice view and took one.
The rest of the hike to the summit was mostly uneventful until just near the summit. I was “chasing” down a pair of hikers ahead of me. When they stopped for a bit, and I caught up to them, they pointed to the small rattlesnake on the side of the trail. Since we were back on the main trail, there was plenty of room to walk past it.
At the summit, I snapped a few photos before heading back down. As I looped around the east side of the summit, I spotted a bench I did not recall being there the last time. I took a quick look but wanted to keep on moving.
The descent went quickly, and I let hikers heading up know I had seen a snake today. Soon I found myself on the gravel road heading to the trailhead. My final stats were 5.2 miles in 2 hours flat, just one minute off from last time. I had thought about getting another one of the Coast To Crest Hikes done, but it was warming up, and I did not want to push it.
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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