|Peak Summited||2021 Santiago Peak|
|Type of Hike||Day hike|
|Trailhead||Indian Truck Trail|
|Road Conditions||Road suitable for all vehicles|
|Bug Status||No bugs|
|Snow Conditions||Snow free|
|Trail Conditions||Trail in good condition|
Departure: 6:30 am
Weather: Sunny, Clear, High 40's to Mid 60s
Total Distance: 23.53 Miles
Time to Summit: 3 hours 23 minutes
Time to Descend: 2 hours 35 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 58 minutes 30 seconds
Well, simply put this was painful but worth it. I arrived at the beginning of the Indian Truck Trail at 5:45am and found a place to park on the adjacent street. After completing my typical warm-up routine I set out to conquer what was advertised online as a 20.5 mile trip with steady mild elevation gain. Within the first 5 minutes I had to drastically increase my pace from a light jog to a full-blown run as it was 48 degrees outside, and I had forgotten my long-sleeved undershirt which I normally wear in those conditions. After a mile of serious hustling I was nice and sweaty but not all that warm because a cloud layer was chasing me up the mountain. It was cold; I was cold; I pressed on trying to stay ahead of the clouds. Once I hit about 3,000 feet above sea level the clouds stopped their pursuit and I basked in the sunlight on the wide open trail.
Luckily, the gates used to open/close the trail to off-road enthusiasts were closed! This meant I wasn't chocked with dust from them passing by. My entire ascent I didn't see another soul and it was spectacular. I did see lots of coyote droppings, some mountain lion tracks, a few snake tracks and some live quail. The climb was mellow as it was spread over what ended up being 11.72 miles to the summit. After having a peanut butter sandwich, a couple Cliff Bars, and wandering the summit complex for a few minutes, I started my run down.
By mile 15 I could feel my calves burning from being ‘up on my toes' so much. By mile 18 my hips were crying. By mile 20 I was having interesting conversations with myself. By mile 23 I had run out of water; took a 2 liter Camel Back and 1.5 liter Smart Water with a bit of Gatorade mixed in. At mile 23.5 I reached my car and collapsed in relief.
It was a very long and fast trip to the top and back, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Anybody into Ultras or wanting to see what they're capable of should have a blast on this trail. Be warned, you'll need lots of sun protection as the vast majority of the trail is completely exposed with zero shade due to last year's wild fire stripping the trees bare. Go prepared and be prepared to enjoy yourself!