Grass Mountain

After a good night’s sleep in Lompoc, I was ready to climb my final peak of the inaugural Central Coast Six Pack of Peaks challenge—Grass Mountain. It was a bit odd staying in Lompoc and not going to see a rocket launch, but the two models in the lobby helped.

I had planned to have breakfast at my usual cafe, but they didn’t open until 7, so McDonald’s again. It was about a 40-minute drive to the trailhead, so I had time to enjoy my coffee. One car was at the trailhead when I pulled in. It was a bit nippy and I debated if I was going to start out in my light fleece. I filled out my day permit and finished getting ready. There is an old hiking rule—it is better to start off too cold than too warm. I left the fleece behind, in part because I also knew most of the hike was fully exposed. The trail follows Birabent Creek for just under a mile, crossing it three times before leaving it behind.

Now the “fun” would begin, as the trail would range between 20-50% grade! This was going to be a slow and steady type of climb. The mountain, which is accurately named, loomed before me. I focused on the trail ahead of me, looking for good footing, as this trail was steep!

I would take a short break from time to time, have some fluids, then continue on. The views behind me were stunning, so I knew the summit view should be worth it.

I carefully made my way up, trying not to think about descending this later. Soon, I knew the summit was almost there, as the grasses ended and the gravel took over. A large peace symbol, made of rocks served as the summit marker, as I did not locate a summit sign. I enjoyed a snack and soaked in the views. Off in the distance, I could spy the Neverland Ranch. Yesterday’s two summits were visible off in the distance. I still needed to descend and then make the long drive home. I took each step with care, hoping not to slip. Thankfully, I made it down with my pride intact. Once back near the creek, I started to pass other hikers out for probably an easier hike along some of the other trails nearby. Once back at the car, I cleaned up before heading to Los Olivos Grocery to reward my effort with a nice tri-tip sandwich and a large Coke. With that, my challenge was complete! This final hike was a mere 4.6 miles but with a whopping 2,330 feet of gain, and I did manage to do it in 4:06 (with my breaks and time at the summit)! Now to finish up my San Diego Challenge.

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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