Monday, April 30, 2018

Secret Canyon Trail, Pine Creek Wilderness

As avid hikers who lived in San Diego for decades you'd think we would have hiked every single trail within a hundred miles of the city. But there actually are a few trails left for us to explore, and Secret Canyon was a lovely new find. I think we'd missed this beauty because its total length is about 16 miles. Fortunately our buddies Martin and Estella had hiked a portion of it and were happy to introduce us to this wonderful place.

Set in the 13,000 acre Pine Creek Wilderness, the northern trail head is accessed off Old Highway 80 near Pine Valley, CA. We hiked almost three miles one way, alongside pretty Pine Creek, under the impressive Nello Irwin Greer Memorial Bridge, to a rock flume built in 1895 but never completed.

Spring is the prettiest time to hike in San Diego, and even though we've had a very dry winter Pine Creek was flowing gently, grasses were abundant, the trees were all leafed out, and the yucca blooms were exploding all over the hillsides.

Pine Creek is small but beautiful!

Chaparral covered hillsides, oak lined creek bottoms, and the fresh leaves of spring right in the creek bed.

A truly lovely day on the trail!

About 1.5 miles in we see the Pine Creek/ Nello Irwin Greer Memorial Bridge.
Named after the man who designed Interstate 8, at 450 ft tall it is among the tallest bridges in the US.

Built in 1974 it was the first segmental balanced cantilever bridge in the US.

Estella and Chelsea enjoy the beauty of Pine Creek.

The yuccas were taller than us!

The unused flume built in 1895 made a great trail barrier.

Chelsea hitches a ride on Estella.

A perfect spot for lunch.

Last look down Pine Creek as we return to our car.

We were vigilant on the trail looking for rattlesnakes and ticks. We did see one tick during our lunch stop, so all of us were careful to do a tick check post hike. Despite that, Hans felt a pain in his belly the next morning and I discovered a tick in his belly button!

It was a challenging, but successful, removal. Fortunately the tick was only attached for a short time so he is probably safe from tick borne illnesses...We saved the carcass in case he starts showing any symptoms that we need to worry about. Next time we hike we'll use an insect repellent to make sure we avoid the creepy crawly things!

Regardless, springtime hiking in San Diego is awesome and we highly recommend Secret Canyon trail!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Week In Prescott, Then Summer in San Diego

We'd planned to spend at least a month in the high desert of Arizona but when the opportunity to house sit for my dad came up we cut our stay in Prescott down to a week.

We really like Prescott, it's high on our list of places to live. We love the dozens of miles of trails right around town and the relatively mild four season climate. But so do many, many other people. Real estate, both old and new, is in high demand. Those looking for work in construction and healthcare should be able to find jobs here for a very long time...if they can find housing.

In the meantime, we don't know if Prescott area will be our landing site, but for now we really enjoyed our week long stay.

Granite Mountain anchors the western edge of Prescott., as seen from the Williamson Valley trail head.

We spied a few locals hanging out along Butte Creek.

Beautiful Watson Lake sits right behind our RV park with miles of trails through the Granite Dells.

We love that Prescott is really focused on expanding their already robust trail system.
This is a scene along the new Easter Island trail.

Watson Lake with Granite Mountain in the distance.

Approaching an old cottonwood grove on Wilson Lake.

Some of the oldest trees in this grove are home to cormorant and great blue heron rookeries.

Cormorant nests overhead.

To stay on the trails through the Granite Dells we follow the white dots...

The claret cup hedgehogs were just beginning to bloom during our stay.

Miles and miles of fantastic boulders!

Scrambling through a canyon.

An amphitheater-like viewpoint.

We like staying at Point of Rocks RV Park, many of the perimeter sites back up to a boulder field.
That's our rig in site 56F.

We delayed our departure by a couple of days because we didn't want to drive hundreds of miles in wind like this!

We left Prescott one week ago and are now settled into my dad's house in San Diego for the rest of the summer. Our RV is parked in the driveway; stowed away and out of service for the first time since we bought it in 2012.

Rosie is running around the whole house like a'd think she was a kitten, not a 10 year old! It's weird to be in a house, we have to walk so far to do anything...makes us appreciate how functional an RV is! But having a big kitchen and washer and dryer is pretty darn nice.

While my dad makes his fifth RV trip to Alaska, I've got a garden to work in all summer long, Hans has pickleball nearby, and the neighborhood walking can't be beat because the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay are each less than a mile away as the crow flies. San Diego is not a bad place to spend the summer!