I currently have two part-time jobs and dog-sitting duties for these next few summer months. Most likely my weekends will be Monday and Tuesday, which is nice because I’ll be able to run errands and play outside when most people are at work. Then again, school is out for the summer so I’ll probably be out with families as well. National Trails Day is this Saturday the 7th, but I’ll be working. Thus, I decided to celebrate on my day off. I really had no idea where I was going to go hiking. I thought about Santa Ysabel out near Julian, but when I saw the Iron Mountain trailhead parking lot practically empty I decided to that instead. That lot is always full and has been a topic of debate in the local hiking community. Do we build another lot? Shuttles? Anyway, I took advantage of the opportunity. I quickly got my gear ready and headed out for the Ellie Lane Trail. It was a beautiful day, not too hot like the weather we had last month. Most people take the direct trail to the summit of Iron Mountain, but since I wanted to get extra miles in, I took the Ellie Lane Trail, which I really enjoy. The views are amazing and the boulders and rock formations are spectacular. Once I got to the summit, I took a break, snapped some photos and then headed back down to the trailhead. My Saturday was turning out to be a good day.
View from the Ellie Lane Trail
End of hike
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Last Saturday my friends and I decided to explore Black Mountain, which would be something new for the three of us. In San Diego County there are two Black Mountains, a small one in Rancho Penasquitos and then a bigger one near the town of Ramona. We read up about it in Jerry Schad’s book and there’s also an article in the San Diego Reader. At first, I was a little unenthusiastic about this hike since there aren’t that many great trails in Ramona, but I was wrong. Driving through Pamo Valley on the way to the trailhead was beautiful and with the recent rains, the meadows were beginning to turn green. If we get more rain, then we should have a really spectacular spring. It was cold by San Diego standards on Saturday, with a low of 23 and a high of 54 degrees, but at least the sun was out. The trail is basically a dirt fire road up to the summit. My GPS calculated 14.44 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 3,100 ft. The views of Lake Sutherland, Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve, Toro Peak, the snow-dusted San Jacinto Mountains, and the Pacific Ocean really stood out on that clear winter day. I was glad to have hiked on a new trail for the second time in a row this year and I hope to do more of that. If you are looking for something in the Ramona area, then I recommend tackling this mountain.
View east towards Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve
View of Lake Sutherland
Another view of Lake Sutherland from the summit
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