Oakzanita Peak, Middle Peak, Stonewall Peak, Monument Peak #1, Garnet Peak, Garnet Mountain
21 May 1988
By: Lou Brecheen
Leaders: Lou Brecheen, Ron Jones
Twenty-five persons signed-up; nineteen showed up for a letter-perfect weekend of leisurely hiking in San Diego County. We met at the entrance to Paso Picacho CG (where several spent the night) at 7:00AM and caravanned 5.5 miles south to the Oakzanita roadhead.
It was a cool, delightful stroll up the road with abundant wildflowers on every side. It appears that someone has clipped a trail from the dirt road, directly up the west side of Oakzanita, but it is my opinion that it would be used only by the most hardened, single-minded peakbagger.
To miss the show that nature exhibits along the broad, open mesa on the normal route would be a shame. There is an open stand of conifers; the carpet of varied flowers and the hawks and other wild creatures to be viewed.
Upon our return we caravanned north to the Middle Peak roadhead, arriving about 11:00AM where we were greeted by Frank Atkin and Carol Smetana for that nice hike. We hiked up the Milk Ranch Road a mile or so, to the point where five roads (trails) come together, then walked back a hundred feet and took the Middle Peak fireroad to the point about 100 yards past the unsigned junction were we turned left and went up through the pines to the summit. The bark on the trees is the only view to be had from the summit.
Upon our return, we caravanned to the paved parking area .5 miles north of the Paso Picacho and walked along a good trail to intersect the broad main trail up little Stonewall Peak. Some of our party elected to stay with the cars, since they already had bagged this monolith. Excellent views were enjoyed by us.
Then we returned along Hwy 79 to the Sunrise Hwy (S1) (John Sarna surprised us all with a large bottle of champagne, celebrating his 100th on Stonewall) and drove about 15 miles to the Sierra Club's Guymon Lodge for the night.
We had anticipated using the stoves and other facilities in the two lodge buildings there, but they had a Sierra Singles work party going and the kitchens were at minimal work capacity - so we used our own camping stoves to prepare a fine, Mexican fiesta meal of varied composition.
Of course, Don Weiss prepared his world-class guacamole, Gerry Fittig fixed quesadillas for everyone, plus serving most of us a "fuzzy navel." Joe and Betty McKosher provided salads for all. Ron Jones and Leora Stoler furnished a pot grande of albondigas. Everyone brought something and there was a festive air throughout the evening. Still, most were in their sleeping bags (outdoors!) before 10:00PM.
The three Sunday peaks were all short. Therefore, to allow the group to get some exercise, the leader took them about a mile out of the way to bag Monument #1. On this day we were joined by a couple of San Diego Chapter climbers: Paul Freiman, an HPS list finisher, and Wes Shelberg, a veteran desert peaker who signs DPS registers "The Desert - a land above all others".
The caravan then led to Garnet Peak Road and a one mile, 500 feet, gain hike up road and good trail to the peak overlooking all the desert badlands to the east (Anza-Borrego State Park and the Highway S2 country). Here, Frank Dobos placed a new, red can and register. He hid it in the rocks fifteen feet below the north tip of the summit, on the north side.
The next short caravan took us to the Kwaymii Point paved road, where we parked and hiked all the way to the summit block - about one third of a mile. It was interesting. There were 10 to 15 hang-gliders launching from the point and several of our group stayed after the end of the hike to watch.
Besides those already mentioned, others who enjoyed the sterling weekend were: June Burdett, Jon and Betsy Lutz, Bill Lien, Frank James, Karen Leonard, Larry Monzon, Giselle Plantier, Ruth Brown, Patrick Butler and Judy Ware. Thanks to all of them for making it fun and memorable. Thanks to Ron Jones for a superlative assist.
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