Friday, March 4, 2016

Combs Peak Hike, Anza Borrego


We decided to join the Jojoba Hills Tuesday morning group hike this week to Combs Peak, the highest point in Anza Borrego Desert State Park. We met at Friendship Hall (the clubhouse) at 8 AM, another early morning for Jim, and carpooled to the trailhead. We had the pleasure of Terry and LuAnn’s company in our Subaru for the 24 mile drive to the trailhead.

Gathering at the trailhead parking area. The 4.8 miles of dirt road to get there was a bit rough, and I would not recommend it for a low clearance vehicle, but our Subaru had no trouble.


I think there were around 17 people in the group, and the leader asked that we all stay together for just under two miles of the Pacific Crest Trail until the turnoff for the peak. He said it was easy to miss the turn and wanted to be sure we all went the correct way. 

The group took off at a surprisingly fast pace for seniors ranging in age from 58 to 83.



Although cool at the start, it wasn’t long before some of us stopped to remove a layer.


Nice rocks and scenery along the way.




We climbed just 600’ in the first 1.7 miles, a nice gradual ascent. But that was about to change abruptly when we made the turn to go up to the peak. Oh, and our leader missed the cairn to the trail up but someone farther back in the group realized it before they got too far ahead.

Heading to the peak.  It was another 600’ up, but this time over a distance of only a half mile. Some of us (me especially) were concerned about how we were going to get back down, but we would worry about that later. The gentleman in the red hat is 83 and appeared to have no trouble with the climb.



We finally got to the 6,193’ peak, where we hung out to refuel and enjoy the views.




The Salton Sea was out there somewhere but it was too hazy to really see it.



Jim and I, along with Terry and LuAnn and a couple others, decided to start making our way down ahead of the rest of the group. We knew it would be challenging and didn’t want the pressure of having a bunch of other people behind us.


Terry and Lu, deep in conversation after making it down the really steep part. I had to sit and scoot on one section to prevent myself from falling, and being too concerned for myself, I didn’t even see how the others got down there. Everyone did make it back down safely.


It was a fun but tough hike, and we couldn’t even manage to play pickleball the next day because our legs were so sore. Oh, the joys of getting old! But it always does my heart good to see people older than us still out there and active.


  1. Glad to see you had a good time and made it down safely:) You lost me at the 17 people. I'm most definitely not a group hiker. John laughed and says we struggle with a group of four...haha! Not really:) I hope I am still out there at 83:)

  2. Looks like a beautiful hike. So inspiring to see so many out hiking and 83 gives me hope too. Jojoba sounds like the place to be. Hi to Terry and LuAnn.

  3. we've thought about using hiking "sticks" but would like to hear your thoughts on why you find them helpful.

    1. Hiking poles are great for steep trails as they help propel you up and give your arms a workout, and give you greater stability going down, especially on loose rock. My knees bother me on steep descents, and using poles definitely reduces the impact on my knees. They are also very helpful for stream crossings, or just to determine how deep the water is before crossing. You can get inexpensive but decent ones at Walmart so you won't be out much if you try them and don't like them.

    2. Wonderful response...thank you ! We'll try them on our trip out west this April-September.

      our blog....

  4. WOW...that is a huge group. The scenery is beautiful.
    How nice to meet Terry and LuAnn. I bet they are lovely people.

  5. Wow, if YOU were concerned about getting down the trail it must have been difficult! I hope Eric and I will still be out there hiking challenging trails at 83. Had to laugh when I read that the trail leader missed the cairn for the turnoff. :-)

  6. Group hikes can be a challenge in themselves! Looks like a great day on the trail, glad you made it down safely!

  7. You made me tired just reading about it.

  8. Definitely don't do steep anymore which means I miss all those wonderful views - thanks for sharing another great hike.

  9. Wasn't it nice to soak in the hot tub after a hike like that?

  10. Are you 32 K shorter nowadays? :)
    Wandering Mark and Bobbie

  11. Great views but not sure I'd like to hike with such a large group. Wouldn't want them to see how slow I go.

  12. That last half-mile sure got the blood pumping! It really is a great hike, except for that small stretch that is very steep with lots of loose rocks.