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!


  1. You guys find the best hikes! It's always great to meet up with friends...what an awesome 2 weeks. My how time flies...

  2. Santee Lakes was one of the very first places we stayed when we went fulltime (just over two years ago). Looking at your pictures makes me wish we had taken advantage of the hiking in the area. Beautiful photos and great to see so many meetups.

  3. Busy social time for the two of you:) It is so nice to be back in the same area again and have the opportunity to do some hiking together. Your photos from Morena Butte came out wonderful. I love the group shot with the lake in the background. Good job setting that shot up. That was a perfect hike:) Love those boulders and granite slabs!!

    Looking forward to a few sunset Happy Hours hear by the water:)

  4. Wonderful times with fellow bloggers and hikers! It seems CA is the place to be this winter for all these meet up.
    I am amazed at how dry it is really there. And you are right, months of constant rain is what CA needs these days.

  5. Looks like I'm first. Nice looking hike location. Almost looks like some of the stuff over in Utah...almost. I'm sure it was made more fun hiking woith friends and fellow travelers. And the weather even cooperated.

    1. Well, I thought I was first. It said "no comments". But by the time I was "approved", some other rascals snuck in. Oh well, 5th is good. :)

    2. :-) Yeah, we left the RV for several hours right after I published the a bunch of comments got published at once after we got home!

    3. Life is good for you on the road. Have a happy holiday season!

  6. we are in Mission Bay and may have to check out the Morena Buttes hike...

  7. How fun to meet up with so many fellow travelers/bloggers, and to get back on the trail with Pam and John. I love the pics of the four of you together - and the one of the guys on the granite slabs is awesome! December is when my old employer held our annual staff meeting in San Diego, so I have to remember there is also fun to be had there this time of year :-)) Looks like you've found a lot of it in the past two weeks. And oh yes - yay rain!!

  8. You do find the best hikes. When we go somewhere new, I always check to see if you have been there. It's much more efficient than searching hiking sites.

  9. Those hikes you've found near San Diego are gorgeous! I'm making note of Iron Mountain and Morena Butte for late February when we'll be in the area. How fun to be hiking with Pam & John -- your photos are so much fun. You guys are enjoying quite the social scene between hiking and happy hours. :-) Sounds like you have a good holiday plan coming up, too.

  10. I had no idea there were so many hikes to be found in this area. Morena Butte looks like a wonderful hike. Wonderful that you were able to connect with Pam and John. Have a wonderful Christmas. :)