Pike Benchmark and Cody Benchmark 01/08/2022

Previous day

I woke up from my campsite located at a saddle just east of Pike Benchmark. The previous day I had started on Coyote Canyon Road, hiked up Indian Canyon, climbed Palm Mesa High Point, and then set up camp here. My plan for the day was to climb Pike Benchmark (5571 feet), Pike Benchmark Summit (5640 feet), Army Benchmark (5491 feet), Dry Benchmark (5360 feet), Phil Benchmark (5440 feet), Norte Benchmark (5470 feet), Cody Benchmark (5586 feet), and Peak 4824 in a counterclockwise loop. I woke up at 5:15am, packed up my camp, stashed my gear off to the side, and began hiking at 5:51am from 4601 feet above sea level.

The eastern sky was lighting up behind me.

I went up and over a small hill and then reached a saddle at 0.3 mile at 4557 feet. From there it was a steep 1000 foot ascent in 0.5 mile.

The sunrise was very pretty.

I reached Pike Benchmark at 6:39am at 0.8 mile. I signed the register which had been placed in 1999. The previous entry was from May 23, 2021. I did not locate any markers, but I did find an old survey pole.

Pike Benchmark isn’t located on the highpoint of the peak it is on. The peak is about 0.1 mile east and 70 feet higher.

I climbed the rest of the way to the peak (called Pike Benchmark Summit on Peakbagger) and reached the top at 0.9 mile. There was a register here as well, this one dating all the way back to 1992. The views on this peak were probably the best I had all day. I could see San Ysidro to the south:

I could see Hot Springs Mountain to the west. Hot Springs Mountain is the highest point in San Diego County and is located on the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation. There was some snow visible on the mountain.

Snow-capped San Jacinto was visible above the clouds to the south.

Toro Peak also to the north:

And the Borrego Valley to the east:

I descended to the southwest from Pike Benchmark Summit. At some point I crossed the boundary from Anza Borrego Desert State Park into the Indian Reservation.

At 1.4 miles I reached Army Benchmark, which was located on a rock outcropping. I did not locate a register or any markers.

From there I hiked directly west towards Dry Benchmark.

I followed a broad ridgeline towards Dry. There was some brush, but it never felt like a bushwack.

I reached Dry Benchmark at 2 miles. Again, I did not find any actual markers. I signed the register which dated to 1999. The previous entry was all the way back in 2017. There were very few entries between those dates. San Jacinto looked magnificent as always:

I then retraced my steps back to the east along the ridge. After a short way I turned south towards the next 2 benchmarks, Phil and Norte. They are the 2 pointy peaks very close together pictured below.

I reached a saddle and then made the brushy 200 foot climb to Phil.

The summit block for Phil was the toughest of the day. There was a small survey pole at the base of the boulders.

The boulder looked intimidating to climb initially but I found a class 2 route on the south side.

I reached the top at 2.9 miles. The register dated to 2011 and was most recently signed on November 13, 2021. Again, I did not find the actual benchmark. From there, I continued to Norte, which was 0.1 mile to the south.

I reached Norte Benchmark at 3 miles. I was surprised to actually find the benchmark, but it was square which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. I did not locate a register.

I then turned east towards Cody Benchmark.

I reached a saddle at 3.2 miles. From there, the ascent was very brushy.

At 3.4 miles I crossed the state park boundary again. There was a pole marking the spot.

The brush was a bit annoying, but it was never awful. The ascent wasn’t steep but there were some rocky sections to navigate around.

I reached the summit at 9:21am at 3.7 miles. It was my 100/100 peaks on the San Diego 100 Peaks List. I was finally done!

No benchmark, but I located the register which was placed all the way back in 1981. The previous entry was from November 13, 2021. To the north I could see Pike Benchmark, with San Jacinto and Toro in the background.

A fighter jet flew by nearly at eye level with me.

I was very excited to finish the San Diego 100 Peaks List. I climbed my first peak back in 2015 or 2016 when I was new to San Diego and did Cowles Mountain and some of the other Mission Trails peaks. I started seriously working on the list nearly 4 years ago and had been steadily climbing peaks since. I felt that it was sort of an odd accomplishment in the sense that it took a tremendous amount of effort but very few people would understand what it was if I told them. I spent some extra time on the summit soaking it in and reflecting on the whole thing. I then began descending to the east.

The descent down the eastern side of Cody was steep and very brushy. At 4.3 miles I reached the North Fork of Borrego Palm Canyon.

I climbed out of the wash almost immediately and went around the south side of a small hill. I then climbed Peak 4824 from the northwest.

I reached Peak 4824 at 10:40am at 4.9 miles. This was the final peak of the day. This is looking back to the west at Cody (left) and Pike (right).

I then descended to the north. At 5.4 miles I reached the canyon once more.

I climbed from the canyon back up to the saddle where I had spent the night. This was the same section I had hiked at the very end of my hike on the first day.

I reached my camp at 5.7 miles as 2 more fighter jets flew over. They were flying so low that they were weaving in and out of the valleys. Looked pretty scary! I packed up all my gear and began the long descent into Indian Canyon.

More fighter jets flew over as I descended. One of them was so close to me that I actually gave the pilot a big wave. I have no clue if he saw me or not.

The rest of the descent was long, but fairly uneventful. At 8.4 miles a gigantic bird flew away as I hiked by. I thought it was an eagle since it was the size of a turkey but definitely not a turkey. I reached the road again at 9.8 miles. There was quite a bit of traffic on the road which was annoying but not surprising. I even saw a Subaru which meant I probably could have driven all the way to the trailhead. If I had done that, I could have potentially done the whole hike in a day, but it would have been 20 miles with a ton of elevation gain. I reached the car once more at 2:58pm. Stats for day 2 were 14.17 miles, 2717 feet elevation gain, and 9:07:52 total time.

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