Sunday, October 13, 2013

Middle Peak Bushwack - Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

After several failed attempts at climbing Middle Peak in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Josh and I decided Sunday was the day it was to be done. Finally. 
We had not intended to do this hike and were caught without a map. We snapped a picture of Jerry Schad's write up about it in 'Afoot and Afield in San Diego' which is a must have book for San Diego hikers. 

Heading up Milk Ranch Road we veered right, toward the Black Oak Trail and Sugar Pine Trails

Climbing the road was a bit lackluster but the views of the Lake and Valley were stunning. While the Black Oaks have yet to turn this far south, you could still feel fall in the air and the changing light cast long shadows on the ground.

We abandoned Jerry Schad's itinerary and found remnants of a use trail through a burn area. Being careful to avoid stepping on the newly planted pine saplings we pushed our way up toward the peak. The chaparral was anything but forgiving and route finding was a challenge.

The peak was marked with half of a wooden shovel or broom handle stuck in a pile of rocks. Josh spotted the register box and we sat down, putting on our jackets to break the cold wind. We read through the past entries which talked mostly about the crazy bushwack to the top.

 The views at the top were beautiful.

We planned to do this as a loop and with no map, Josh climbed up to gain a better perspective on how to reach the trail or fire road without backtracking.

Now that the climb was out of the way we started to take in the flora and fauna in the area. Josh called this guy a 'fuzzy butt bug' and that is exactly what he was. A large beetle type bug with an orange fuzzy butt.

We heard the calls of a pair of unidentifiable birds in a distant tree. We willed them to fly so we could get a better look but they did not oblige.

Finally we met with the Black Oak Trail and headed around the base of Middle Peak toward the road. The clouds were casting shadows over Cuyamaca Peak and we wondered how many animals were in those woods.

After quite a descent we returned to Milk Ranch Road and started spotting Mule Deer almost immediately.

This Deer had a fawn with her and they continued to graze unphased by our presence. After our fill of Deer watching we headed back to the truck and took a slow drive home, looking for wild Turkeys and Hawks.

 It was another beautiful day in the mountains.
All together we figure the hike was about 7 miles round trip, including the bushwack to the top. 
Having cooler weather made this hike a lot more fun in comparison to our earlier summer attempts. 
Middle Peak is definitely worth doing.

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