Wanting to complete my hike to Pine Mountain while the way was still fresh in my head, I got up this morning at 4:30 AM. I wanted to be on the trail early before the day warmed up. Even though the forecast read it was to be 45 F with 2mph winds, it was 65 F and windy when the sky turned pink over Anza-Borrego.
It was a great sunrise, flashing at me from in-between the mountains to the east as I drove along the aptly named Sunrise Highway.
I quickly geared up and bounded up the trail, acutely aware of the mountain lion tracks that I saw last time I was out on the trail and also keeping an eye out for overzealous hunters.
I made great time, following the path up the mountain and was welcomed by a splash of orange, completely illuminating the top of Pine Mountain, the only mountain in the immediate area to have pine trees on it. It is easy to see why it was named. The whole valley woke up to the light, the birds flitting from branch to branch, as if they were waiting all night for this moment.
I saw deer, coyote, snake and mountain lion tracks along the trail I was hiking. They were all new, since it had rained since I had last been here. I saw a quail scurry out of the bushes, watching me sideways as it crossed the trail and hid in the bushes on the other side.
I stayed on the trail this time, until the last moment. I saw a truck parked up ahead and hoped that any hunter could see me with my white hat and orange Camelbak. I walked through the tall grass and was on the top in no time. I looked around for a summit register, but did not find one. There wasn’t much of a view, as I had expected, but the early light was nice.
I enjoyed the sounds of the wakening birds and little else as I stood among the trees. Not many people make it up here.
There will be many more early starts in my future. There nothing like feeling the wilderness slowly wake up from a slumber.
I made it back home my 9:15AM. More driving than actually hiking this morning, but totally worth it.