Dictionary Hill

With the storm that blew through the day before leaving a light dusting of snow on the mountains and the flowers blooming out in Anza-Borrego, neither of those destinations sounds appealing for a hike, so I decided to finally hike Dictionary Hill. This peak is tucked away in Spring Valley, so the drive to the trailhead was very similar to the one I made the day before when I hiked Steele Canyon. I parked the car at the end of the road, gathered my gear, and set off. I stopped at the trailhead signboard to check if there was anything I needed to know about. There were several posts about dealing with coyotes, so I guess that was a local issue. The trail passed under some eucalyptus trees and a small stream flowed past. I flowed the trail westward, first up a small hill, then along the stream bed. Signs pointed you toward the summit, so finding my way was not very difficult.

The trail now turned south and began its climb in earnest. After a bit, the grade eased and I could enjoy more of the views rather than my footing. Some plant restoration was occurring along this section. Up the hill to my right was a water tank, which I knew sat a bit below the summit. The trail reached a crest and the Sweetwater Reservoir was now visible to the south. I spotted another trail sign further up the mountain, ignoring the service to the water tank. As I was making my final push to the summit, a large coyote did in fact cross the road. It was about as big as my Australian Cattle Dog. Thankfully, no road runners or ACME products were spotted.

Soon I found myself at the summit. The actual top of the mountain is a small butterfly preserve, so entry onto it is not permitted. The summit did give me some sweeping views of southern San Diego. I took one of the other trails down from the summit as part of my research, but after rejoining the trail I used during my ascent, decided that doing this peak as a simple out-and-back was the best choice. I passed a few more people making the climb to the summit. This was a nice neighborhood hike.

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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