Camping at Lake Cuyamaca

In Rancho Cucamonga, where I grew up, you can drive 45 miles south, east or west and barely feel like you left the place. Driving north is the rare exception as it takes you up over the Cajon Pass, into a portal to that very different, high desert world.

Here in San Diego we are surrounded by these “portals.” The cliffs of Torrey Pines and a walk along Black’s Beach are certainly transportive, the coastal drive up the 5 freeway is other-worldly as you reach the barely touched expanse of Camp Pendleton, or of course down south into Mexico, but none so striking a change happens until you drive east. My wife, Puja, and I got our first taste of this about a month ago when drove out to hike Mt. Woodson. The urban effects of the city rapidly drop off as you pass El Cajon, into Lakeside and find yourself in the rising elevations of the Cleveland National Forest.

 

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Torrey Pines Hike

This weekend definitely did not go as planned, but Puja and I got a lot done around the house that was long overdue! Unfortunately, there was not hike this week, mainly because she had a really bad cold.

So I’ve got this set of pictures I took over a year ago (August 6, 2011 – thank you EXIF data). It was a beautiful hike through Torrey Pines State Park. Torrey Pines is basically bluffs over the ocean where lots of people go to hike. The original freeway to San Diego goes through it, only it is no longer accessible to cars. That freeway has been rerouted to the often congested 5 freeway. Apparently the original interstate here was built so steep at a time when cars didn’t have fuel pumps and relied on gravity to get the fuel to the engine. So if somebody’s tank wasn’t filled high enough their car would stall and leave them stranded.

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Shepherd Canyon Hike

Puja was sick all week with stomach pains. She had a weird sort of ailment that made her stomach burn if she ate anything besides cheese pizza or ice cream. But she still wanted to do our week’s hike, so we picked out an easy one that was close to home.

My favorite thing about this place is the sign that says not to touch the missiles, which I think is excellent advice even in places outside of Greenbelt Park (where this hike was).

Don't touch the missiles

My other favorite thing about this hike was the pond in the middle, called “Dishwasher Pond.” What a great name for a little urban pond. When we hit upon it, I felt like we had been transported to someone’s fishing hole somewhere in the south. This park seems like a natural preserve, but if you look closely at the picture you can see water bubbling in the center of the pond. The pond is aerated.

Altogether the hike was about 3 miles. Both Puja and Xaria made it through with no problems this time. Puja and I shared a cheese pizza afterward.

Mount Woodson Hike, Eastern Approach

We chose this hike because of the season. I really want to go out to the dessert but I think it’s best to wait until the weather is milder. Since the vegetation anywhere is pretty much dry and brown, I thought we’d go on a hike that was more about rocks than foliage. There are also some really cool looking places up the San Diego river, but the river is probably too dry for the waterfalls to be worth it right now.

So many antennas

To start off, we had never been on the 67 freeway before. It takes you through Lakeside which immediatly makes you feel like you’ve gone out into the country. There aren’t a lot of places like that left in the area. To get to the hiking trail you have to park along the highway. There are a lot of signs about towing if you park in the wrong place, so you have to be really careful. It’s pretty clear the people who live there do not want to be bothered by the hikers.Read More