October 2008 Trip Report

Cuyamaca Peak (6,512 feet) and Otay Mountain (3,566 feet)

Date: October 4, 2008

My peakbagging friend Scott Surgent came to San Diego County for this pair of summits on the California 2,000+ foot prominence list. Although I had long ago been to their summits, it was a foregone conclusion that I'd join Scott for re-ascents.

I arise at 4:50 a.m. and drive east from the gas station by 5:30. It takes one hour to reach Cuyamaca State Park; and I meet Scott in the day-use parking area.

Daypacks shouldered, it takes 80 minutes on a paved fire road to summit Cuyamaca. The conversation ranges from highpointing to mathematics (Scott is an instructor at Arizona State University) to assorted other topics.

The summit is above the cloud ceiling; and even though the concern on planning the trip was of excess heat, it is a bit nippy and windy on top. We descend in under one hour and take a half-hour break before driving.

Strangely, gasoline is unavailable as we drive south on Highway 79, even at the junction with Interstate 8. Then, no gasoline even in Dulzura a few miles before Otay Mountain. Scott's tank is one-quarter full as I hop into his cab for the drive up its northern slopes.

We park near Doghouse junction about 3/4 mile walking, and 200 feet of elevation from the summit to our south.

The day has cleared; and we can even see the Pacific Ocean. A pair of pastrami sandwiches on rye bread are enjoyed - with tomato slices, fancy olives, and some Jarlsberg cheese on the side.

Eventually we come to my condominium in Del Mar - a full 45 miles from the base of Otay Mountain. It is about 3 or 4 in the afternoon.

The remainder of our day is spent in lay conversation. Dinner is at Spices, a Thai restaurant not far off.

The next morning Scott heads home early - my watch reads 6:36 a.m. as I arise but briefly to lock the door behind him.

Scott Surgent's Cuyamaca Peak report with photographs Scott Surgent's Otay Mountain report with photographs