Cock Rock Searcher
Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 2844 | TRs
|Last Sat. I took my group to Grapevine Mtn. in Anza-Borrego for a mix of on- & off-trail hiking in desert country. Everything I'd read about this pk. had warned of an abundance of cholla, so we came prepared. This pk. is included in @ least a couple of major hiking guides, but they all describe what seem to be a longer, more tedious route than necessary. Instead of coming up/going down washes on the mtn.'s east & north sides, I studied maps & decided that we could take the PCT on the mtn.'s west side until we reach a major drainage, then head up a pretty direct route all the way to the summit.
After a delayed start b/c Yours Truly forgot the hiking boots, , we arrived @ the unofficial trailhead @ Scissors Xing about 9:30. The hike started w/5 of us:
4 SSMFs are ready to go!
We had to go XC to reach the PCT, which was only a matter of minutes. It was a warm day already, & I was quickly shedding the layers.
Granite Mtn. as seen from near the TH
This part is easy
The PCT had a generous amount of switchbacks & in some places seemed to be a bit of an overkill. But, it was still a quick walk & the trail was well maintained. Before too long, the mother-son team in our group had to turn back due to post-root canal pain. So, it was once again back to the usual 3 SSMFs.
MM & I frequently compared my map w/his GPS in order to pick the correct wash to leave the trail. It was fairly easy to spot as it was the 1st big bend the trail makes to the east as it crosses this larger drainage.
Leaving the PCT & heading up a wash toward the pk.
There were a couple of dry waterfalls to climb up, but they were a cinch. We kept our eyes peeled for rattlesnakes since past experience reminded me that this was the right place & temperature to find them.
Daniel climbs a dry waterfall
The 1st part of the wash was pretty easy, then got a little steeper but still was no big deal. Here & there we might have seen what were supposed to be ducks, but nothing for sure.
Looking up the steeper part of the wash
We climbed up out of the steep part, & onto mellower terrain. It was apparent that fires had ripped through this area as we saw lots of burnt vegetation. Here is where we got our 1st view of the summit.
The summit of Grapevine comes into view
We crossed a saddle where we could see down the mtn.'s NW side, & the top wasn't far now.
A few more minutes & we were on top! There were panoramic views as expected.
Granite Mtn. to the south
Daniel & MM resting on the summit of Grapevine Mtn.
View north from the summit
San Ysidro Mtns. to the north
Sunset Mtn. w/Pt. 2,860' in front
View north along the ridge from the summit
Daniel, BC, & MM atop Grapevine Mtn.
We relaxed on the summit for well over an hr., then figured we'd better head down in order to beat the darkness.
Small barrel cactus w/long spines
Heading back down the ridge
Heading back down the wash
Back on the PCT
Back in Ramona we stopped @ a Mexican restaurant we'd been to a few Xs before that was good except for the fact that they don't have margaritas. They usually weren't very busy, either. However, this time it was totally packed & service was slow, likely due to a huge group in cowboy hats next to us that lingered on & on, & just when we thought they'd paid their bills, someone would order another beer or dessert, etc.
MM & Daniel @ El Michoacan
At least we'd had Grapevine to ourselves.
Home is where the hiking is.
"Peaks that have come and gone four times should halt a man in his steps." -- William O. Douglas
A balanced diet is a margarita in each hand.