In between those rainy days we've managed several meetups with fellow RVing bloggers that are staying at Santee Lakes. In fact the day we arrived Rick and Lenore of Dancing 'Cross the Country also arrived and after a brief meeting with the two of them, one day Lenore joined Hans and I on a hike up the back side of Cowles Mountain.
Unlike the very busy main Cowles Mountain Trail (accessed from Golfcrest Drive), the Big Rock Park trailhead offers fewer fellow hikers and some very steep sections that will give you a serious workout. At 1,593 feet Cowles Mountain is the highest point in the city of San Diego.
|Lenore and Lisa atop Cowles Mountain.|
Though we didn't manage to hit the trail with Kate and Iain of The Scenic Route before they jetted off to Hawaii, we did get together for a couple of happy hours. Coincidentally, while enjoying their hospitality one evening, Mike and Kelly of Follow the Tumbleweed rolled in to the RV park and joined us after quickly setting up camp.
|Hans, Lisa, Kate, Iain, Mike and Kelly in Kate and Iain's beautiful Airstream.|
Photo courtesy of Kelly!
We've also reunited with our good buddies John and Pam of Oh, the Places They Go!. We've hiked with these two several times before, but hadn't seen each other since Durango, CO in June 2013.
Our first hike together was a 6 mile loop at Iron Mountain: the Ellie Lane Loop. Much less crowded than the main Iron Mountain Trail, the Ellie Lane trail took us up through giant granite boulders to a saddle offering views to the ocean in the West and Mount Cuyamaca to the East
|Walking among the boulders!|
|Happy hikers on the saddle/high point of the Ellie Lane Trail.|
Our next hike with John and Pam is one of my favorite hikes in San Diego County: Morena Butte. This lollipop loop hike goes through a gently rolling section of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) with great views of the chaparral covered hills, then steeply up the hillside on a sometimes difficult to follow trail on to the top of the butte covered in giant orange tinted granite boulders. The views in every direction are fabulous and the boulder scrambling is terrific fun!
Once we had our fill of boulder exploration, we made our way back to the PCT for a short distance then onto a small trail that took us through a pretty oak and pine studded meadow before dropping us onto a dirt road back to the Lake Morena campground and our trail head.
|Boulder covered Morena Butte looms over Pam as she channels her inner Cheryl Strayed on the PCT.|
|Hans and John pause to admire the amazing granite landscape surrounding them.|
|Hauser Canyon cuts North from the Butte below us.|
|Pam poses in front of Lake Morena, which is currently at 3% of its capacity...|
the barren area beyond the water used to be filled with water too!
|Hans happened upon a Geoache atop a boulder...we were actually looking for a plaque somewhere atop the butte.|
|Hans and John walking through the meadow with Morena Butte towering above.|
We've only a few more days at Santee Lakes before we do some driveway docking in Poway over Christmas and New Years, where we'll do some dog and cat sitting for family. Stay tuned!