Indian Country

This morning I drove to the small town of Hemet, CA to meet Jorge and Diana and hike three peaks in the Santa Rosa mountains.  Since I got there early, I went to Carl's Junior for a quick breakfast.  The Country Burrito meal I ordered was extraordinary disgusting, and I had to give up on it after a only few bites.  At least the coffee was drinkable!

After this unpleasant experience I hooked up with Jorge and Diana in the parking lot of the shopping center, moved my hiking gear into their truck, and we were off for the trailhead of our first peak for the day.  At around 9:30AM we started the 1 mile hike on the dessert floor to the main gully that would lead to the summit of Asbestos Peak.  The route up the gully was clearly marked with many ducks, taking us around a large boulder to a rocky outcrop with the actual summit.  Climbing the large rocks was fun, and at the top we took a break and enjoyed the great views.  The hike back down was easy and soon we were back at the truck.

We drove back for a few miles on Hwy 74 to the turn-off for Santa Rosa Mountain.  The dirt road started out pretty rough, but became more smooth after the first mile.  The 9.8 mile drive to the turn-off for the peak took about 45 minutes.  From there, we hiked the.7 miles to the summit, which has  the remains of a log cabin of which only the large chimney is still standing. 

Back at the truck we had a quick snack and added some fluids to our packs for the one "real" hike to the summit of Toro Peak.  Following the road for about 2 miles, we reached a gate from where you can  hike up a gully to West Toro Peak at 8,316 feet, where the HPS register is placed.  We kept hiking up the main dirt road  for another mile or so, to a second gate which was closed.  The gate also had an ominous No Trespassing sign,  explaining that the summit is on an Indian Reservation.  Being that the summit was only about 1/2 mile from this gate, and it did not look like there was anyone around, we decided to go for it.  The road immediately became much steeper, especially after we passed by some buildings and around a 3rd gate.  Just below the summit the views opened up and we could see the Salton Sea in the far distance.  A few minutes later we reached the summit, with it antenna array.  The 360 degree views were quite amazing!  Unfortunately, Diana was not feeling well hiking up this final stretch, so she decided to wait for us near the buildings a little below the summit.  After Jorge and I enjoyed the scenery and took some pictures, we hiked back down to where Diana was waiting, and took a short break before heading down all the way to the truck.

The drive back down to Hwy 74  took another 45 minutes, and from there an hour to Hemet, where we said our goodbyes and I drove back home.