Elevation: 3,420′Miles: 3.0 Trailhead
This was likely to be the last blazing hot hike of the year. This was a test run to see how far Sophie could travel with me. I have come to the conclusion that the Azna-Borrego Desert State Park is too far for Sophie at 18 months of age. Even though the hike was relatively short (3 Miles), it was simply too hot for her, as well. I will stick to short drives and shady hikes when I am taking her along.
After a winding drive through Ramona and down the Banner Grade, we drove for about three miles on a dirt road to the trail head, where there is a sign pointing to the trail and a marker describing the history of the Marshall South Cabin. Sophie was ready to get out of her car seat by then. We slathered on some sun screen and had a snack and headed up the mountain.
The first mile to the cabin was very steep as the temperature rose into the 90s. We encountered a mom with her three daughters in tow. They really weren't interested in the cabin and simply wanted to get to a swimming pool. I talked with them a bit while Sophie played with some rocks and sand (her favorite) and then I walked around trying to find a trail to the actual summit. Sophie pointed to Granite Mountain and said, "Big mountain!" It is pretty big, I'd say.
Not finding anything to lead me up to the top, we set off, alternating between rock-hopping, which is hard to do with a 20lbs girl on your back, and bushwhacking, which is hard to do when the bushes are cacti and aloe.
After several false summits and two shins full of bloody scratches, we made it to the summit. By that time, Sophie was over Ghost Mountain and wanted nothing more to do with it. Given the heat, the perils of bushwhacking, and the seemingly growing weight on my back, I was ready to get back to the car, as well. It was a great view, though.