Monday, October 17, 2011

Cuyamaca Peak

My first hike in the Cuyamaca Mountains. This area was burned in one of the biggest fires in California history, The Cedar Fire of 2003. As you see, it has been 8 years since the fire and the recovery seems slow going by the looks of it. I think I have stayed away from hiking in this area because it is so badly burned but it was actually really cool to see the forest in this state. My hiking partner Rob wasn't feeling well so I drove up by myself. I met some other hikers and hiked with them most of the way. I felt safer hiking with a group up there as the mountain lions in the area have a history of being unusually agressive. Actually the 6500 foot summit that I hiked to is the site of a mountain lion attack and the woman was killed. Anyway, the views were spectacular and you can really see a big chunk of So Cal from up there. I could see the Anza Borrego Desert Mountains and the salton Sea to the east. San Gorgonio and San jacinto Mountains to the north, various mountain ranges down in Mexico, and the Pacific Ocean and the Islands of Catalina, San Clemente and Coronado to the west.

Hellhole Canyon - Valley Center

After attending an annual festival called "The Pig Out" in Valley Center in the foothills of north San Diego County, Linda and I decided to go explore Hellhole Canyon Open Space Preserve. I've been noticing this area on my map for some time and since we were so close by and had a few hours of light left, we went for it. The hike starts out by descending a very steep trail down into the canyon probably a good 500 or 600 feet I'm guessing. Then we leveled out along Hell creek following an old flume or manmade canal which used to bring water many miles from San Luis Rey River through the mountains to valley Center to Lake Wolford. Now they just siphon and Pipe the water over, leaving the flume dry. Nice way to work off a full belly of beef and chicken and enjoy the complete silence after just watching two rock bands at "Pig Out".

Monday, October 3, 2011

Iron Mountain

I've had my sights set on Iron Mountain in Poway for quite a while. Finally, Rob, Linda and I came out and hiked to the top of the mountain. It was very hot in September but got a break from the heat for a couple of days toward the end of the month. We reached the peak and kicked back and ate a good lunch as the vultures flew overhead. The day was pretty hazy but still really cool so see the views from the top. The views were better with the eyes. The camera makes them come out even hazier than it really is. In the picture above you can see Iron Mountain in the background.

Black Canyon

My buddy Dave and I got to take our daughters for an excursion up Black Canyon Creek. The creek was almost ready to dry up but the trickling water that was flowing was really enjoyable. The weather was perfect and we all had a good time. The girls seemed to really enjoy it. Dave and I did some swimming and jumping off the boulders in the main pool. I couldn't talk the girls into swimming this time. It was a great day for wildlife viewing. We seen two water snakes and caught one of them. We seen a crazy squirrel way out on the very ends of some oak tree branches eating acorns, and what was really cool was that we encountered a huge Toe Biter water beetle eating a frog. I can't wait to come back here after a couple of heavy storms hit.

Tijeras Creek

I went and hiked a couple miles along Tijeras Creek after work. Although close to the city, it seems like you are far into the wilderness once you drop down into this canyon. The creek has beautifully carved it's way through the sandstone and yet the river rocks are an assortment of multicolored granite and other types of rocks washed down over the years from the mountains east of here. Some of the largest Sycamore trees that I have ever seen grow here. Deer tracks are everywhere and it is not uncommon to see deer in these canyons as I have seen several in other nearby similar canyons. Anyway, this was a really nice afterwork getaway......