Rosa Point, Mile High Peak
By: Phil Rogul
Saturday evening, Shelly, Paul, John, and myself camped out near the trail-head on the south-east side of the Santa Rosa Mountain range. Temps dropped to 32 degrees, but the futon in the back of the Subaru wagon made for a good night's sleep.
Early Sunday, about 6:40, shortly after the arrival of Jerry & Virginia (they left their house at 4am!) we set off by heading up the Palo Verde Canyon. Several miles + up the trail I split off with Jerry and Virginia to "tag" Rosa bench-mark, reaching it about 11am. It turned out to be well worth the extra mileage - and altitude gain - as the views from that end of the mountain range are quite impressive, reaching east across the Coachella Valley, south-east across Salton Sea, and south well into the Mexican desert - maybe 80-90 miles of visibility!
Temps along the ridge walk towards Rosa were cool to cold, probably dropping into the low 40's and even high 30's once the wind-chill was factored in. This helped maintain our steady pace. Our visit to Rosa was shortened by at least a few mm's as no one seemed eager to put on extra clothing which would be needed if we stopped moving for too long.
We then headed north towards Mile High, arriving about 90 mm's later, and had lunch with the others and a brief "rest stop", again admiring similar views from this peak at 5500 feet. Jerry, Virginia and I spent another 15-20 minutes here after the others left since they had arrived earlier... In order to pick up the ridge line south of us we then had to "drop down" about 500-600 feet, a very steep descent thru rough, rocky, loose terrain. Then it was up 1000 feet thru somewhat "easier" terrain, though still steep, but at least not as loose.
Once we gained this ridge line it was a matter of following a nice use trail along the western edge of the ridge, ultimately taking us all the way back to the desert floor. We arrived at the cars by 5, beating the dark by 30-45 minutes!
A great day of hiking and climbing in the highest mountain range in the local (San Diego) desert! About 6500 feet of gain - and or course 6500 ft of loss. Phil
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