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Posts Tagged ‘San Diego’

Urban Hiker!

Sometimes I feel guilty for driving long distances to the country/mountains for a 10-mile hike.  Sure it’s nice to get away from the city and enjoy the peace and solitude of the mountains, but I need to be a conscientious oil-consumer as well.  So last week I managed not to drive my car for three days, which means I did a lot of urban walking.  On Saturday morning I woke up saying to myself, I’m going to do a 10-mile hike in the city today.  So I packed my day pack with the usual 10 essentials and hit the streets of San Diego using the smartphone app MapMyWalk to chart my course.  I live in North Park, which is about four miles away from downtown.  I walked to Whole Foods in Hillcrest to check out their 25% vitamin supplement sale.  Unfortunately, they were out of cod liver oil.  From there I walked down to Little Italy for the farmer’s market.  I’m currently on a budget so I managed not to buy fresh goat cheese for $15.  At that point I needed a cup of Joe and a bathroom break.  I stopped into a Marriott Hotel, used the restroom, and then sat outside with a coffee and oatmeal cookie I had brought from home.  So far so good.  After my short break I walked to the Convention Center and to get some elevation I walked up and down the stairs that they have outside.  I passed by Petco Park and then hooked onto Park Blvd., passing by Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo.  I then reached my quaint neighborhood of North Park and finally found myself back in my humble studio.  I did 11 miles that morning.  After much pondering, I decided that I would try not to drive my car 2 or 3 days out of the week.  If anything, I’ll be saving money for bigger backpacking trips in the summer.  🙂

Urban hike in San Diego

Urban hike in San Diego

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I met a local professional landscape photographer on flickr several months ago.  He noticed that I was into hiking so we decided to meet up for a hike.  His friend Hans suggested we go to Corte Madera, past Pine Valley.  I had never been there before so I was interested in being on a new trail.  Throughout the week I had checked the weather reports and I saw a 50% chance of rain/snow for the area.  On Saturday evening we confirmed that we would go anyway.  I met Alex, his wife, their dog, and Hans at a shopping center in North County on Sunday morning at 10 and from there we drove to the trailhead, which took us about 90 minutes.  I normally don’t leave home that late in the morning, but they told me that since it was a short hike, 6-7 miles, we didn’t need to start so early.  Plus, we would begin hiking in warmer conditions.  There were heavy clouds in the sky, but it hadn’t started raining yet.  We got to the trailhead a little before noon after trying to find Corral Canyon Road referenced in Jerry Schad’s book.  I recommend driving a car in which you feel comfortable taking it on a dirt road for about 2 miles.  Alex was not happy with that bit.  After loading up camera gear and getting Toni, the dog, ready we started on the Espinosa Trail.  It’s a rather secluded trail in an area which I’m not too fond of, but since Hans had been here before I didn’t feel so uncomfortable.  We started under oak woodlands passing sycamores with beautiful golden leaves.  The ground was still damp from the light rain we had overnight.  As we ascended up the trail we arrived to the saddle where you can turn around and see the Lake Morena area below.

View of the valley from the saddle

We veered right at the saddle and continued into an area beautifully dotted with boulders, chaparral, Manzanita, and Coulter pines.  I’m glad Hans was with us as I probably wouldn’t have managed to reach Corte Madera Mountain on my own.

Face of Corte Madera Mountain

Alex and his wife were behind Hans and me.  At one point Hans wanted to make sure that they took the right path so he turned back to see where they were.  When he got back to me he told me that Alex’s wife decided not to continue because of pain in her foot.  So Hans and I continued to the summit plateau of Corte Madera Mountain as quickly as possible to beat the ominous rain clouds.  It was windy and misty when we finally reached the summit.  I warmed up with hot chocolate while Hans took pictures of the dramatic scenery.

Hans on the summit plateau

Eventually Alex and Toni caught up with us.  Alex got what he wanted that day; wet clouds and fog, or what I thought to be Scottish weather.  (No, I’ve never been to Scotland).  Despite the clouds, the views were spectacular.  One can see Los Pinos Mountain, Espinosa Canyon, and I’ve heard that on clear days one can see into Baja California and the Santa Catalina islands.  We quickly ate our lunch and then headed back down careful not to slip on the damp rocks.  Every now and then I would turn around to find Alex changing the lenses on his camera.  I enjoyed the hike very much for the varied terrain; the pine trees, the sycamores, the granite rocks, and the dramatic views.  I’ll have to come next time on a clear day.  We made it back to the car a little after 4pm.  My GPS calculated 7.28 miles with an elevation gain of 1,829 ft.  It was a great hike and I see myself going back there again.

Sycamore Tree

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