Moan Benchmark, Groan Benchmark, Gasp Benchmark, Puff Benchmark, Grunt Benchmark


By: Wes Shelberg


(Anza-Borrego Desert State Park)

Have you ever moaned, groaned, gasped, puffed and grunted while climbing a desert peak at some time or other? We have, and so the urge was compelling to visit a group of USGS benchmarks with the names of Moan, Groan, Gasp, Puff and Grunt. The benchmark elevations are 2939, 2732, 3223, 2716 and 2144-ft., respectively. They are located in the vicinity Of Carrizo Gorge in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The Sweeney Pass Quadrangle (CA, 7.5-mm.) shows Moan and Grunt; the Jacumba Quadrangle (CA, 7.5-mm.) shows Groan, Gasp and Puff.

The benchmarks provide good views of the Gorge and surrounding country:

* The Moan trailhead location was 786251 on the Sweeney Pass Quadrangle. Also, Peak 3053 (Jacumba Quadrangle) about 0.2 mile SE of Moan is a better peak in an area of nice granite boulders.

* The Groan, Puff and Grunt trailhead was the end of the very, very sandy jeep road in Carrizo Canyon (about six miles from Highway S-2). 4WD is required. Puff was also accessed from the above Moan trailhead.

* The Gasp trailhead was in McCain Valley at location 695207 on the Live Oak Springs Quadrangle (CA, 7.5-mi). The AAA San Diego County Map shows the McCain Valley road.

* There was a large bighorn sheep near the benchmark on Grunt on 6 November 1982.

* The large railroad trestle across Goat Canyon is right below and visible from the Puff benchmark.

* WARNING. Do not hike along the San Diego & Eastern Railway tracks at any place. The tracks and trestles are now patrolled regularly and trespassing citations are issued. A small patrol car appears unexpectedly from around bends and tunnels. You can cross the tracks, but quickly.

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