Cucamonga May 2012

Three cold nights at Kelly Camp, Memorial Day Weekend 2012

Good thing we just bought that new +15 degree F goose down sleeping bag! We would have been frozen solid without it. Brrr!

Now, the entire week prior to this trip, the second of our planned hikes this summer season, I had been checking the weather forecasts. I’m a weather geek; it’s what I do. Ten days earlier, the long range models showed something odd happening, but I ignored these premonitions of doom since ten days was at the limit of their range. But as time passed, it became more and more obvious that an anomalous closed low, a late-season cold-cored closed low, was going to form way up north in icy Canada and drop down into southern California. How cold, how far, and how fast it would drop was relatively unknown; closed lows aren’t handled very well by the weather models, as they are no longer attached to the main flow of the jet stream. Just the same, a week later, on Wednesday, the weather service was predicting a half inch of SNOW on Friday night! Snow! True, I thought that snow might be kind of fun, in a photographically lovely sparkly icey sort of way, since we wouldn’t be hiking until Saturday morning. Not that I was particularly thrilled at the idea of snow on Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional start of summer. At any rate, the forecast said that it would continue to be cold on Saturday, when a second trough riding on the back of the closed low would spin through the area, but afterward we would see gradual warming through Monday, while Tuesday would be back to more normal temperatures.

And if I didn’t like the thought of camping in cold weather, my only other option was to give up and stay home. Not much of an option. Especially with our new sleeping bag! But did I pack lots of extra-warm clothing? Of course I didn’t! I packed an extra (very thin) shirt and an additional (very thin) wool cap, so as not to substantially increase the weight of my backpack. My reasoning was that I’d simply hide inside my beautiful new sleeping bag if I got cold. In other words, I was a complete idiot. How long can you hide in a sleeping bag before it drives you insane?

Vicki and I on the Cucamonga Peak Summit - elevation 8856 feet

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Cuyamaca Peak May 2012

This is yet another simple dayhike, a part of our plan to get out hiking nearly every weekend that we can this summer. We’d prefer to backpack and stay overnight (thus getting TWO days in the mountains) but life doesn’t always allow us such luxury. A dayhike would have to do.

Cuyamaca Peak, at 6512 feet elevation, is the second highest mountain in San Diego County. Its summit overlooks all of San Diego, and on a clear winter day one can see the ocean to the west, the higher peaks of Los Angeles to the north, the desert to the east, and off into Mexico to the south.

Climbing Lookout Road on the way to the Cuyamaca Peak Summit

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Mount Woodson May 2012

Tales of Derring-Do on Woodson Mountain, May 5, 2012

This is a satirical trip report, loosely modeled after the awesome exploits of Burchey, that amazing mountaineer, a true master of trip reportage, and one of my personal heroes. The more adventures he undertakes, and the more trip reports he publishes, the happier I am. Really! (OK, Burchey, you can stop blushing now!)  In this report I do the opposite of Burchey, who makes extreme mountaineering adventures seem like merely a tough day’s work; herein I take an easy hike and make it, well, let’s just call it semi-fictional…

Challenging the Heavens on Potato Chip Rock near the Mount Woodson Summit

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