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Hiking Stats as of 11/14/2018
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 325
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet
I've been pursuing many peak lists over the past couple of years, and although I've spent more time chasing the OGULs and the CC peaks than any others, I've also been working on the County High Point list, but because of the distance involved in completing this list have been mostly working them into my schedule as opportunities come up. Opportunity arose when Jobe Wymore, whom I had previously hiked with on two separate trips covering several county high points, was back in California for an extended romp through the State. He was teaming up with Dick Ellsworth, a longtime peakbagger with more peaks to his name than I could ever hope to collect, in this pursuit and their schedule called for a trip to San Benito Mountain, the highpoint of San Benito County on Wednesday, April 1. I had asked that we add 3 other CC Peaks in the area since I could not access them on my own due to the need for a 4WD vehicle. All of the peaks were to be short hikes, making for a long day of driving broken up by short bursts of hiking.

So I took a vacation day from work, and met up with Jobe and Dick at the parking lot at the Pinnacles National Park. I had an overly ambitious plan to hike Mt. Defiance after we were done with our hikes, a plan which proved to be impossible given the driving distances we would have on the day. After meeting up we followed David Sangers directions from Peakbagger, finding his descriptions to be excellent. Using his beta Jobe had secured a permit and was given the combination to the lock at the gate on the way in. This was a bit tricky, as there were several locks and the BLM rotates each lock on a monthly basis. Being that it was April 1, we wound up using the March lock to get in but had to use the April lock to get out. Anyway, we were able to continue our drive until we reached a small turnoff near Santa Rita Peak.

Santa Rita Peak

As we parked we were impressed with the look of the peak. It looked like we might get a little class 2 or even 3 out of this affair, nice since the hike was so short. It took all of 6 minutes to reach the rocky summit, the best summit blocks of the day. There were some nice views from the top, although looking down to the car our effort did seem a little weak. I took a shot of Jobe and Dick, good sports in hiking up this CC peak with me to further my CC goals since they don't really care about the CC peaks. Showing no shame, I posed on the summit before we hopped in the car and continued on to the next peak.

Wright Peak

We had intended to to next visit San Benito, but missed the turnoff and instead found ourselves heading towards Wright Peak. Since we were going to go to Wright later on anyway, we continued on and figured we would just get San Benito later on. When we got there Jobe and Dick decided the brush wasn't worth fighting through for another lowly CC Peak, so I was on my own. There was some mild bushwhacking on the way up, nothing too difficult, and I even found a use trail heading up to the summit. This one took all of 5 minutes to summit, and the views weren't all that great. Again, I could see down to the truck below, never the sign of an impressive hike when you can see your vehicle clearly from the summit. Another 5 minutes later and I was back down, 2 CC peaks completed, thanks to about 25 minutes of hiking effort. By this point it was past noon.

San Benito Mountain

We reversed course and drove back up towards San Benito. We were able to make it all the way to the top of the peak. Well almost to the top. We were at the summit towers, but there were some rocks about 20 feet higher that we had to climb up. I'm not sure if I should measure the hike time in minutes or seconds, since 1 minute sounds less impressive than 60 seconds. In any event, we had the county high point. There was a register, and the views were actually okay so long as we weren't looking towards the vehicle which was ridiculously close. We ate our lunch before heading off towards San Carlos Peak, the last one of the day.

San Carlos Peak

This was by far the best of the 4 hikes, and by all rights was the only one worth of actually being called a hike. We drove to a small turnout, unable to drive up to the summit area as we had nearly done on all of the previous peaks. We headed up a gully, with a mine visible in the hillside ahead. I opted to aim for the mine, while Jobe and Dick continued on the trail. Coming to the mine I went in perhaps 2 feet before thoughts of mountain lions who had made this their home crept into my head. Best not to break into their den. So I went cross country up the hillside, looking for a use trail or somethign to lead me towards the peak. Along the way I found a very deep mine, probably the same one that Bob Burd found on his trip. He mentioned tossing rocks in and hearing the banging sounds continue and repeat for several seconds, and I had similar fun for several minutes as I considered my next move up the mountain. Dick caught up to me at this point, and I set off again, up a fairly steep and loose hillside until I reached the flatter summit ridge. I could see a building off in the distance and assumed it was a summit building so I went straight for it. Arriving at the building it was clearly not the high point, and the inside of the building offered little reward for making the visit. I fought through some brusht to reach the highest point, a hike of 31 minutes to the summit. It could probably be done a lot faster, but we weren't in any real hurry.

I took some nice summit shots and waited for a few minutes for Jobe and/or Dick to join me, but when nobody showed up I figured I had been last to summit and started down. About 5 minutes off the peak I ran into Dick on the way up, so I turned around and went back up to the top with him. We waited for a few minutes, but with no sign of Jobe we started down. We took a more direct path down, avoiding the mines I had seen on the way up and aiming for the road that Jobe and Dick had followed on the lower portion of the hike. Once we got back to where we could see the truck I spotted Jobe waiving to us, probably wondering what took us so long. I led the way down, and it turned out that Jobe had summitted first and had been waiting at the car for quite a while. Our objectives completed, we set off back down to the BLM gate, finding that the code from the morning no longer worked, but realizing that we needed to try the next lock which opened and allowed us to leave. By the time I got back to my car it was too late to try Mt. Defiance at the Pinnacles, so that will have to wait for another day. 4 CC's and 1 County High point would have to do on this day.

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