Wednesday, December 17, 2014

RV Blogger Meetups On and Off the Trail in San Diego

We've had a fun and busy two weeks since I last posted, and some much needed rainy days here in San Diego. The good kind of rain: slow and steady and spaced days apart...this just needs to continue for months and months in order for California to get back to "normal"!

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.

Happy Hikers!

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!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

We Begin the Annual San Diego Layover

This is the third consecutive year we've returned to San Diego, our former home town, for an extended stay. Once again we begin our stay with a month at our favorite San Diego RV park: Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve. You can read my previous two reviews of this park here and here.

In our opinion the only drawback to this park is the poor Verizon signal, and that has not changed in the past year. Today is the first day we are completely off of Millenicom and are using our Verizon cell phones as our hot spot. So far, putting the cell phone in the Wilson Sleek 4G booster is working for us...a booster is essential at Santee Lakes.

Coots are the most prolific birds at Santee Lakes and those near the office get fed a lot...
this flock is hoping for a handout!
We watched these two battling each other for several minutes; notice the clown feet pushing the opponent!

Our time in San Diego is busy with visits with family and friends and we always end up making new friends in the RV park as well. We've met a couple of other RV bloggers that are in the park already (Dancing 'Cross the Country and The Scenic Route) and a couple more are arriving soon. I hope to get us all together in the next week or so...

As always, no matter where we go, getting out in nature is a high priority. We hiked the Airplane Monument/Arroyo Seco Loop in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park with San Diego friends Martin and Estella and their sweet pooch, Chelsea. This is an excellent 7.2 mile loop with some elevation gain and great views. Wildlife sightings are always possible here and on this day we saw a small flock of turkeys, a bobcat and a couple of coyotes. The bobcat was a big surprise and happened way too quick for a photo! We learned after the hike that dogs are not allowed on the State Park trails...oops!

Site of a 1922 plane crash, the Airplane Monument is a great place to stop for lunch.

You can't miss pointy Stonewall Peak from the Airplane Monument.

Expansive views to the West from Airplane Ridge.

Gobble, gobble...

Chelsea had done great for the first six miles but after she spotted the turkeys
it was time to hitch a ride on mama Estella!

Posting will be light around here for a while, as always happens in San Diego...hopefully we'll have more blog worthy escapades during our stay. If any readers will be joining us at Santee Lakes please contact us via one of the options on the right panel...we'd love to meet up!