Rass Benchmark

We made the short drive down from the Pena Springs Trailhead to the Hellhole Canyon/Maidenhair Falls Trailhead. I slipped the $10 into the fee slot, while Ted used the facilities that those fees help fund. Four cars were in the parking area already. I wondered if they were hikers out to view the falls early, or were they out hiking some grander adventure? This is the same trailhead that we use when climbing up to Webo Benchmark. After grabbing our gear and snacks, we set off. Soon we reached the junction with the California Riding and Hiking Trail and began our climb up toward Rass Benchmark.

The trail was in better condition than the section we were just on, as being lower, there was less water damage. We could see various plants and cacti starting to begin their spring blooms, but it was still just a bit too early for anything of note. After about 1.3 miles, I began scanning ahead, trying to spot the benchmark. The CRHT basically passes right over it, so I knew I would have to look too hard for it. There, just to the north of the trail, stood a small cluster of rocks. Checking our map, that appeared to be it, so I walked over and spied a reference mark. Welcome to the summit of Rass Benchmark.

Scrambling up, I found the actual benchmark and a register tucked down in the rocks. As I ate my snack, I thumbed through the register, reading many familiar names, and then on a blank page added our own. We snapped our photos and began our descent. The neck was doing ok, but we were starting to think about a real lunch. I had planned to hike over to Hans Benchmark which was nearby, but neither of us felt like doing it. Instead, I pitched driving over and doing Woods Benchmark. It is located near the Borrego Air Ranch, southeast of town. We made the short drive over, sticking to the dirt road that goes around the Air Ranch, and parked at the base of the bump. It really is just a bump on the desert floor. Although we could have driven up, we chose to walk the ¼ mile to the top. There was a concrete block with a mark embedded, so we felt somewhat rewarded.

We snapped a couple of quick photos, then back to the car and into town. We opted to try Carlee’s for lunch. With our hunger resolved, we bid farewell and made the uneventful drive home.

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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