Feeling a little antsy on a Saturday (when I should have been skiing, clearly), I took a quick hike up to El Cajon Mountain. I’d never done the hike before, so it was a great chance to see a new part of San Diego.
It was 12:20pm when I started the hike and about 80 degrees, so a late start on a hot day. The guide books suggest around 6 hours for the 11 mile roundtrip from the staging lot on Wildcat Canyon Road to the peak, and generally refer to it is a “strenuous” hike. All I knew was that it was hot (ish), so I took lots of water.
As a quick summary of the hike, I’d call it hot — you could really feel the 80 degrees, and there was little shade — and surprisingly strenuous — with much harder climbs than I would have expected. I did the round trip in 4:15, including two stops for food and a 0.4m R/T side trail up to an old radio tower, but the biggest slowdown was the heat. I don’t think I drank enough and spent the last hour feeling a bit wonky. Yes, that’s the technical term. I definitely recommend taking more water than you think you’ll need, and drinking all of it. I finished with water left over, and that was just silly.
- Great climbs (good exercise and training) totalling about 4,000′
- Nice views in all directions
- Not that crowded
- Hot and shadeless
- Surprisingly bad signage