Rabbit Peak, Villager Peak
By: Maris Valkass
Anza Borrego is one of my favorite (of many) desert areas. So I was looking forward to the backpack trip to both peaks. Eight people came: Mario Gonzalez, Vi Grasso, Martha Florez, Devra Wasserman, Peter Doggett, Jim Farkas (assistant), Anna and me.
The packs were quite heavy. On the average we had 1.5 gal of water, tent, stove, and the usual assortment of stuff. We left the Thimble Trail parking area at 7:30 am and got to our camping spot, 1/2 mile from the summit of Villager by 1:00 pm. The group was very strong. The two newcomers, Devra and Peter, seemed to be stronger than we. This was Peter's first backpack, and Devra's second desert peak. She has however, climbed quite a lot with Hundred Peaks.
As strong as we were, when we got to the camping area we were tired. Although we were 1/2 mile short, no one was going to move any further. As it turned out, this was the best spot for us all.
After setting up the camp and eating lunch we walked up to the summit and signed in. The view while hiking to Villager is great, because you go along the ridge beside the mile high escarpment dropping into the desert below. The temperature was cool and it was pretty windy, with gusts up to 40 miles per hour. The sky was hazy so our view was not as great as it could have been, but I am not complaining.
We had our usual happy hour with Mario Gonzalez providing the liquid happiness. Others participated with assortment of other goodies. consequently, we did not eat dinner. Since our camp was in the State Park, we could not have a campfire on the ground. So we retired early. It was very enjoyable being in the tent and listening to the wind outside.
Next morning we got up at 6:00 and left for Rabbit at 6:30. As the crow flies it is only 2.5 mi, but as you walk, it is about 3.5. You also have to gain about 2000 ft. We returned to our camp at 12:30, ate, packed up, and started down. For me and most others, the hike down was the worst part, because our feet took a hell of a beating. We got to the cars at 5:30.
I forgot to mention that Paul Freiman from San Diego met us at the roadhead and later joined us at the camp. He was doing some benchmark bagging. Well, everyone has their oddities.
We concluded our trip at the famous four star restaurant and art gallery in Cabazon, The Wheel Inn, where we had some award winning gourmet dishes.
My thanks to Jim Farkas for assisting, and all the participants for their wonderful company.
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