David Reneric, Jan Brahms, Geri Marston and Joe Young enjoyed Independence Day weekend this year in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Geri was still recovering from a broken leg (the small bone in the right leg, just below the knee) so David, Jan and Joe bagged the four HPS Listed peaks while Geri rested/read/shopped in Julian. The four stayed in Julian this weekend at the Oak Hill Inn. This establishment met all our expectations.
On July 5, the three Peakbaggers drove to Paso Picacho campground and hiked Stonewall in the morning. Winged red ants were swarming on the summit block, so we rested just below the summit. Returning to the cars we prepared for a loop trip of Cuyamaca and Middle Cuyamaca. We left the car at about 10:20 and hiked the fire road to Cuyamaca. At times the heat of the day was oppressive, but there was a welcome breeze on the summit. There were a number of people on the summit, and the crowd eventually became too much for a rattler who had been staying cool under a rock on the summit, and David spotted him slithering into the relative safety of nearby brush.
The group then headed for Middle Cuyamaca via the Conejos ridge trail, then via the Black Oak loop trail. The shade on the Black Oak trail provided relief from the heat. There is a duck marking the closest access to the wooded summit of Middle Cuyamaca, and at this point the group proceeded cross country for the summit. Yellow jackets pestered us on the summit. This was the only peak we bagged this weekend where we found a register. Departing the summit the group proceeded on the Black Oak loop trail to the Milk Ranch road, then briefly traveled cross country, encountering light brush, to the Azalea Glen Trail, which took us back to the car.
On Sunday the three peakbaggers drove to the trailhead for Oakzanita Peak and hiked the East Mesa Fire Road to the junction with the Upper Descanso Creek Trail. We traveled on that trail for about a minute and encountered a surprisingly unsigned junction (the trails in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park are very well marked with wooden posts with metallic signs), and the group stayed straight (right), only to discover in about 1/2 mile that we were south of Oakzanita Peak! We backtracked and turned onto the proper trail at the junction. In less than an hour we were on the refreshingly breezy summit of Oakzanita. Winged red ants abounded on this summit, too, but the breeze kept them away. The descent to the car took only 50 minutes. Here, at Joe's request, Jan poured a quart of ice cold water on Joe's back, which was greatly appreciated on this very warm day.
Restaurant report: Dinner Friday was at the Rong Branch, dinner Saturday was at the Julian Grill, and breakfasts were at the Julian Cafe. Each restaurant has its own charm, and we were satisfied with all three. The Julian Grill is the fanciest, and priciest, of the three: Complete dinner for two is about $50.