©Bert Gildart: Coyote Mountain in Anza Borrego Desert State Park rises abruptly from a flat desert plain of about 700 feet and terminates in a gently rounded peak at 3,192 feet above sea level. While the base seems dominated by borrow brush, mesquite, creosote and the occasional stand of palms, the crown is dominated by agave and various types of cholla.
In between are about 2,500 vertical feet of elevation, but the relief along the route we chose is deceiving as it drops five to seven hundred feet on several different occasions adding to the challenge but also to the interest.
Last week a group of us attempted a climb but had to turn around because of injury to a member of our party. We had started from the trail head for Alcoholic Pass, but this time we started from our campsite at Pegleg. I’m pleased to report that this time we made it, signed the log contained in a bottle and then spent some time gazing around enjoying the scenery.
L to R: Bob, Don, Nancy, Christie ascending base of Coyote; summit of Coyote, Don about to ascend last 100 yards of climb to Coyote
All members of the group were good friends, and included Don, a retired forest service economist; Nancy, who worked in the sales of outdoor products; Bob, retired from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and his friend Christie, a retired school teacher.
From the top of Coyote we could see Toro Peak to the north while to the east the Salton Sea was a huge splash of muted white, barely visible because of all the haze. To the south we could see Whale Peak.
No question, we had a commanding view, which made the climb worth the effort.
Because we almost completed the climb last week I can also say that the route from Alcoholic Pass is probably the easier of the two. Still, yesterday, our climb to the top required but three and one half hours.
We spent an hour on top and then began our descent, which required about the same as our ascent. For me, going up was easier, essentially because it is easier on the knees. But trekking poles took off some of the pressure.
Either route provides for an outing that offers insights into desert vegetation and chances to take in some stunning vistas. All five us recommend the climb.
AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THREE YEARS AGO: