Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Day in the Anza Borrego Desert in the Pinyon Mountain Vicinity

This wide open, desolate area of Anza Borrego was an interesting change from my usual canyon or desert wash treks.  Do not expect to see any fellow hikers in this quiet, unassuming part of Anza Borrego off of Imperial Highway (S-2) just southeast of Scissors Crossing.  Much of the trek was cross-country but my trusted 4 legged companion and I also hiked a portion of the deep sandy (decomposed granite) Pinyon Mountain Road.  At a rocky outcrop I located some grinding holes (morteros).

Looking towards the Laguna Mountains

 A little desert shade
 Mount Laguna in the background

 Native American morteros

Desert Coyote Melon

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Pine Mountain Indian Springs Creek trail Mount Laguna San Diego

Pine Mountain Indian Springs Creek Trail is a fairly remote area of Mount Laguna.  Don't expect to see a lot of people on this trail.  There are actually several different intersection trails including the Pine Valley Creek Trail, Noble Canyon Trail, Trail between Rancho Cuyamaca and Mount Laguna, Indian Creek Trail and the Pine Mountain Trail.  You can hike 8 miles or longer if you like.  I attempted to make a loop at the southern end of the Indian Creek Trail but failed to locate the return track.  When studying the official Mount Laguna map after returning home, I discovered that the circular trail shown on my GPS topo map does not in fact exist.  Maybe it was an old, abandoned trail in the distant past.  This hike is begun at the Pioneer Mail parking area at the very north end of Sunrise Highway in Mount Laguna Federal Forest Recreation Area.  This turn off is about 5 miles beyond the Forest Service visitor Center and Mount Laguna store,.  It is equal distance to San Diego from either the Sunrise Highway or SR 79 through Rancho Cuyamaca State Park.  You can park in the designated lot on the north side of Sunrise Highway or on the dirt road on the south side of the highway.

The trail actually begins adjacent to Sunrise Highway, on the south side.  You begin a rocky ascent up the side of Pine Mountain with distant views of the surrounding mountainside.  The incline is quite gradually as the switchbacks are very long and straight for the most part.  The entire trail is fairly wide open with not much shade.  The devastating fires in years past have left only high chaparral along the trail.  There is a nice view of some pines high up on the top of Pine Mountain, however the trails stays below the trees.  When you get to Champagne Pass, you should take the short dead end spur to the lookout on top.  There is some climbing on this hike as you climb up the side of the mountain, then descend to Indian Creek below (still some water this time of year) and then proceed to climb back up another mountain.  You pass a few jeep roads and actually follow one back to your car to complete your loop hike.  All and all, this hike is fairly quiet and peaceful if you can get by the fact that there are very few trees.

And back home again...

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

San Diego Zoo

Sometimes it is nice to take a break from hiking and enjoy the sights and sounds of San Diego.