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  • Writer's pictureDale Hill

Hop, Skip, and a Peak

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

Date: February 2, 2021

Distance: 1.05 miles

Total Elapsed Time: 0h 29m

Total Moving Time: 0h 29m

Summit Elevation: 407 feet

Elevation Gain: 27 feet

Trailhead: Red Ridge Loop Trail

Previous Ascents: N/A

Notes: Peakbagger Summits - 1

Looking south from the summit of Torrey Pines State Reserve High Point

This trip may be a record for the shortest/fastest hike to bag a single peak "truck-to-truck" (so not including 'off-shoot' trips such as El Capitan where the peak was "along the way" to the primary peak I was after). Last year one of my main hiking goals was so focused on completing the San Diego100 Peak Challenge, that I ignored even the closest peaks if they weren't on my list. This year I'm taking a slightly different approach to peak bagging and will pay more attention to ALL nearby peaks when I'm out on a trip.

Additionally, I plan on doing more local hikes and will be selecting hikes that lead me to find new and different survey marks. This redefined focus is what brought me to this trail.

  1. Local trail ✅

  2. State Park High Point and four peaks already bagged in TPSNR ✅

  3. Potential Survey Mark Recovery ✅

A couple of my hiking friends posted pictures of a unique survey marker at the Torrey Pines State Reserve High Point, I was excited when I saw their pictures as it was issued by an agency that I hadn't recovered any marks from yet: The California Division of Beaches and Parks, a forerunner to the current California Department of Parks and Recreation.

I parked at the end of Mira Montana Drive (free designated parking at the end of the cul de sac) and within 15 minutes was at the end of the loop trail!

As I approached the summit area, I could see a customary concrete block of the variety used to mount a 3" brass survey disc. As I got closer, my heart sank as it was clearly broken and the disk was missing.

I REALLY hate to see vandalism on the trails, especially the removal of survey markers. As I snapped my pictures of the lost mark, I realized this wasn't the same mark that Chris and Susie had photographed on their respective trips, the hunt was still on!

The mark I was looking for wasn't a typical benchmark disk but a surveyed Property Corner - a boundary marker that was mounted in a concrete-filled pipe extending about 4 inches above the ground and was slightly askew.

I scouted around the open summit area and it was clear that the mark I was looking for was not there. Peakbagger notes the peaks by a colored dot on their map, a red dot for peaks that you haven't ascended, a green dot for those that you have. I pulled up the app and navigated to the exact location of the red dot (I hadn't logged the peak yet) in hopes of finding the marker luck.

Knowing that the mark was stamped as a property corner, it should have been easy to find. I called up my Public Land Survey System (PLSS) map overlay and looked at the grid of townships and sections for my location, I could see that I was in the exact middle of Section 24 of Township 014S 004W so this mark would be considered a quarter-section corner marker.

I headed thru the brush towards the supposed intersecting point in hopes of finding the mark. After about a hundred feet, I reached a sheer drop-off, I wasn't going any further in this direction. I had been stopped short of the anticipated corner location and came up empty. Looking over the edge of the cliff, there was no way I was going to try and go down to look for the mark there! luck.

From the photos my friends had posted, I expected to find this mark in a clear, sandy space and this area just didn't fit the bill, so I headed back to the trail to regroup. Back on the main trail and looking around, I noticed an unmarked Use Trail that headed off to the west, I set off down the path and in about 60 feet found the mark in the middle of the trail! Go figure. Without having a mark on the exact corner it's hard to say, but this marker was about 220 feet west, on a bearing of 170º, from where I thought it should be.

When you see the initials L.S. followed by a number stamped on a survey marker, it's the license number for the Land Surveyor who set the mark. The state of California has a resource online where you can look up current Surveyor's license information and there's a PDF that includes all Land Surveyor licenses issued between 1891 and May 20, 2000. Licenses issued after May 20, 2000, can be looked up using the DCA Online Search feature. This mark was set by Surveyor Dean J. Jennings whose license was issued during Fiscal Year 1951. This was a fast and fun hike. But since I'd been out all day already, and it was getting dark, I didn't hike the remaining trails in the Extension, perhaps on another day when I'm in Del Mar!

To see the rest of the survey marks I recovered today, check out my post Buried Treasure And More!

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