Reyes Peak, Haddock Mountain, Lockwood Peak
18 September 2001
By: Karen Isaacson Leverich
Sandy Burnside is allegedly interested in kinder gentler trails while her ankle is on the mend. I remembered Haddock as being a gently undulating trail hike through a pleasant forest, eventually taking one to a peak reminiscent of the Grand Canyon. (If the notion of a canyon-like peak causes cognitive dissonance, all I can suggest is that you go there, and then you'll understand.) So I proposed we hike Haddock. But Reyes is right there, so how could we skip Reyes? Eventually, there was a plan: Reyes Peak, Haddock Mountain, and Lockwood Peak. And a cast of hikers: Sandy Burnside, Karen Leverich, George Wysup, and Ron Zappen. Definitely the recipe for a fun day in the mountains.
When Brian and I did these peaks earlier this year, we did Reyes one day and Haddock the next. I know, I know, they're usually combined into a single hike, it just worked out that way. (Oddly enough, we met the same group of hikers returning from Haddock on the 2nd day that we'd met returning from Reyes the previous day, so we weren't the only hikers to do the two peaks in that oddball manner.) The point, such as it is, is that I had no clue what the Reyes to Haddock shortcut was like, and whether it would agree with Sandy's ankle. Silly me! Read on! This is definitely not a tale of a mollycoddled ankle.
At the trailhead, cosily camped under a "no camping" sign, was a young man. "How long will you be gone? I can watch your car!" Er, right, thanks anyhow? But given how we were equipped, it seemed pointless to pretend we'd be gone only a few minutes, so we confessed to a planned absence of a few hours, and headed off for Reyes Peak.
What a difference a few months of hiking can make! Although still on the steep side, the trail seemed shorter and no longer required periodic rest breaks. We were atop the rocky summit in no time, savoring the views, waiting patiently while Sandy negotiated the last rocky bits.
On to Haddock. I'm not sure if the shortcut is wildly serpentine, or if we indulged in a bit of unorthodox pathfinding. After some seemingly unfocused cross country wanderings, we eventually ended up on a ridgeline complete with use trail, which led us easily eastward to the trail.
The climbing guide indicates Haddock to be a modest 600' gain. Dunno how they came up with that, maybe by subtracting the elevation of the trail head from the elevation of the peak? The reality is that the trail goes up and down and up and down and up and .... well, you get the notion. I think when all was said and done, the gain was more like 1500'? With spectacular views along the way of Potrero John Canyon.
We took a long break on the summit, enjoying our lunch, and bartering "helicopters" (pine seeds) for some of Sandy's brownies. The helicopters will be shared with Oceanside children, who think all trees look like palm trees, or something.
On the way out, we ran into the young camper, pushing a bicycle along the trail. "Is this a Wilderness Area?" he asked disingenuously. "Are bicycles OK?" We had no clue, not having seen a Wilderness Area sign, so shrugged and went on our way. Seemingly around the next bend, we came across the back of the "Entering the Wilderness" sign that our bicycling friend had surely just seen. Oh well! At least he'd not looted the car in our absence, and a single bicycle in the wilderness probably didn't damage the trail that much. One hopes?
I had worried about the cross country and Sandy's ankle, so had been a bit taken aback to learn that, Reyes and Haddock being too short to adequately fill a hiking day, Ron had proposed we add in Lockwood Peak, which he needed for his next list finish. "What about that rocky gully?" "Oh, it's not so bad, and there's a good use trail."
So there is, assuming you choose the right gully. With landmarks like "after the nth meadow" (was that one meadow or two we just passed?) and "just past mile paddle 2" (but is it still there? sure seems like we've gone two miles, and that gully there looks familiar...), is it any wonder we were (briefly) fooled and lured into the wrong gully?
Recovered from our useless detour, we headed further east along the unpleasantly named Yellow Jacket Trail, eventually passing mile paddle 2 (still there after all), finding a promising duck, and (hurrah!) a gully with a well-defined use trail.
The statistics for Lockwood Peak don't sound so bad: 5 1/2 miles, 1500' elevation gain. What they don't tell you is that most of those miles are more or less level, with the gain all packed into the last fraction of a mile, a steep ascent up a rocky gully. Surely not what Sandy's doctor had in mind, but she took it very carefully, and eventually we were atop the ridge, working through the maze in the brush to the less than descript summit. Not the most popular peak on the list -- other than the scheduled HPS hike the previous weekend, the only visitors so far in 2001 had been Brian and myself last June. Not the most pleasant peak on the list, either, but one of the few in my backyard, so I suppose I should be somehow chauvinistic and extol its charms. Let me think...
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