Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cuyamaca Backpacking

I finished my Rayway tarp and set out to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park to test it out.  The trap saved me around 2 pounds over my tent.  I had a base weight of 10.4 pounds and a total pack weight of 21.1 pounds (with 3 liters of water and 1.6 pounds of food).
I parked at far southern end of the park at Merigan trailhead.  I had to get ranger permission to leave my car there overnight since it is a day use lot.  I headed north via the Dead Horse Trail, California Riding and Hiking Trail, Arroyo Seco Trail, West Mesa Fire Trail, and the Lookout Road to Paso Picacho camp.  Total mileage was 11.5 miles and took 4.5 hours.  Many parts of the trails where overgrown or encroached upon by weeds.  Long pants and shirts sleeves where a must.  There was a lot of up and down that left me beat at the end.  I had brought small hex stove and some small tablets to cook dinner and heat water.  The wind was blowing and I didn't have a windscreen so the stove couldn't really heat the water too well.  I still had some decent coffee and a home-grown meal of dehydrated ground beef and veggies.  The key to the main dish was some flavored oil from a leftover ramen-type meal.
Tarp time!  I set up the tarp broadside to the wind and with the windward side pitched lower.  It worked great.  The winds were 10mph with 30mph gusts.  The tarp allowed just the right amount of ventilation and I was comfy and cozy inside my warm weather bag.  The newly acquired polycryo ground sheet worked as well on the hard pack.
Woke up early and heated some water for some cocoa.  I needed the sugar fix for the trek up to Cuyamaca Peak.  I left the camp at 6:05a.  The next hour was 2.5 miles straight up 1600 feet.  By this time my feet were very blistered.  But it was worth it with the view of what I call the "second sea," the marine layer that envelopes much of San Diego almost every morning.  The tall peaks poke up over the clouds like islands in a vast sea.  Then spent the next 3.5 hours heading south back to the trailhead.  Thankfully this was almost all downhill but my feet and legs where not happy.  Total mileage was 13.5 miles at 4.5 hours.
Total trek mileage was 25 miles.  I love hiking CRSP and can't wait to get out there again.

View from California Riding and Hiking Trail.

From geocache along Arroyo Seco trail.

Rattler crossing the Fern Flat Fire Road.

Tarp with the windward side lower.  Had to search a few minutes to find suitable sticks.

Second sea viewed from Cuyamaca Peak.

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