Ascent of Monument Peak on 2018-06-25
|Date:||Monday, June 25, 2018|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Car|
| Elevation:||6271 ft / 1911 m|
Ascent Trip ReportThis is an extremely easy hike, easier than the paved road to Mount Woodson. It also involved two peaks, Stephenson and Monument Peak, which are close enough together and linked by a road.
On Sunrise Highway you will find the Laguna Mountain Store and Ranger Station. I previously stopped at the USFS Ranger Station to see if I needed any special permission to hike on Stephenson. Volunteer didn't seem to think any special permission was needed. The turnoff to Monument Peak Road is the second on the right. It's a fairly normal mountain road which leads to a parking area and a gate. There are plenty of scenic views from the parking area. It is fairly obvious that motor traffic is not allowed past the gate. There happened to be a USFS Ranger parked in the lot, so I made a point of asking him if I needed any special permits or dispensation to get past the gate. He said that everything was fenced off that needed to be fenced off. Both peaks are jointly operated by the Federal Aeronautics Agency (FAA) and the Department of Defense (DOD). All of the facilities were active. Technically, the land is marked off as belonging to an old Air Force Base. If the fences and gates were wide open, this would be a drive up.
So I walked around the gate. There was no fence preventing me from doing this. There were signs to prevent motor traffic. I was very near the top of Stephenson when I saw a little view point off to the left, which I chose to explore. There was a brilliant display of prickly pear type cactus in full bloom. There was also some kind of a marker, square in shape with broken glass. I redirected my attention to Stephenson, which is marked by a giant golf ball radar apparatus on top. A man in a government truck, wearing a red shirt seemed to be annoyed that I was on government property. He asked me who I was with and what I was doing. He told me vehicles weren't allowed. I told him I parked outside the gate. He told me to stay outside the fence. He asked me which ranger gave me permission to enter the gate. I told him no one gave me permission, but the ranger in the truck in the parking area said not to go inside the fenced area. Red Shirt said to stay on the road.
The road led me around the Golf Ball to a view point facing west. There was some exotic bird with a roadrunner-type beak. There were the usual thistles, dandelions, scarlet trumpeters, manzanita, typical of the Lagunas. I turned back to the road which led to Stephenson. This road looked like it had fallen out of use. It was a gravel road with some ruts. It led down the hill and to the paved road that led to Monument Peak. There were several other towers and view points along the way and a gentle, paved slope leading to Monument Peak.
The tower on Monument peak is operated by County of San Diego and had a sign discouraging entry. There was a mound next to the tower. I found two registers, one in interlocked red tin cans. There was also some kind of engineering marker, but not a benchmark. I found another register on another sub-peak, stored in an ammo case. There were a handful of contractors servicing the towers. I could see a helicopter pad below the County towers.
I followed the paved road back to the right-hand side of the Golf Ball, and found myself exiting the gate near the parking area. Mr. Red Shirt was there, talking to one of the contractors. I waited long enough in my car in case he needed to say anything.
Back at the car, I closed the track on my GAIA device and considered the mission completed. You can find my pictures and GPS track on Facebook. Any suggestions how to download GAIA to this site would be useful.
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