Middle Peak, Cuyamaca Peak (LO)
By: Joe Young
Leaders: Joe Young, Nami Brown
After a hearty breakfast at the Sunrise Cafe in Mount Laguna near the entrance to Burnt Rancheria Forest Service Campground, Stag Brown, Nami Brown, Geri Marston and I drove over to a parking area 0.6 miles north of Paso Picacho Campground in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Meeting time was 8:00am. There we met two other hikers, bringing the total to six. We followed Nami over past the entrance to Boy Scout Camp Huai Cu Cuish and up the Middle Peak Fire Road, turning onto the Middle Peak Loop Road, to a point just north of the peak, from which point we proceeded south through forest and light open brush to the summit. We reached the summit at about 10:00.
After a short rest on the forested summit I led the group northwesterly through light brush, dropping down to the Middle Peak Loop Road. We proceeded to the saddle between Middle Cuyamaca and Cuyamaca, stopping to frolic in a beautiful meadow on the western flanks of Middle Cuyamaca. Just past the saddle we encountered Al and Lois (Fracisco) Banda who had bagged Cuyamaca and were on their way to Middle Cuyamaca. We then proceeded up the Conejos Trail to its intersection with the paved road to the summit of Cuyamaca, then took that road for about 1/4 mile to the summit, where we arrived at about 12:45pm.
We left the summit at about 1:30 and took a variety of roads and trails back to the cars. En route we passed a flowing creek, blooming azaleas, paint brush, blue dick, lupines and many other wildflowers. Some of us hiked backwards for considerable distances down the steeper sections of the road, using muscles not frequently used in hiking. We arrived at the cars just before 4:00. Our specs for the day were approximately 12-14 miles and 3,000 feet of gain. We had bagged two peaks via non-standard routes and enjoyed clear skies and moderately warm temperatures in so doing.
After the hike several of us stopped for refreshment at a store near Lake Cuyamaca and then left Nami to fish for a while. Others went their various ways (to Julian, back to the campground, home).
That evening Al, Lois, Jim Peterson, Stag, Nami, Geri, and I met with Mike Baldwin and Sandy Houston at the Sunrise Cafe for dinner. The entree was angel hair pasta with basil and tomatoes, garlic bread, and a parsley-cilantro cream soup for $7.95. Appetizers included Thai egg roll and fried zucchini. Many of us stayed that evening at Burnt Rancheria in anticipation of the next day's hike.
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