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post #16 of (permalink) Old 01-05-2022, 08:27 AM
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These are entirely new landscapes for me. Sunset over the Pacific I have never seen.
I was wondering about the absence of other humans, then went back and re-read the part about taking an alternative, little used trail.
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post #17 of (permalink) Old 01-05-2022, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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I was wondering about the absence of other humans

Standard trail is quite busy. It's gotten much worse over the years. First time I hiked Iron Mtn in '99 after moving to San Diego, there was not even a parking lot; you had to leave car at shoulder of Ramona road, there was room for max. 10 cars & I never had problems finding space. Now city of Poway has built large parking lot, think 70-80 cars can fit in maybe more and it was almost full. Doesn't matter if it's Lake Louise, Zion or San Diego it's the same everywhere.
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post #18 of (permalink) Old 01-07-2022, 02:09 AM
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AHh ... so wish we were there. That new 'peak dial' on iron Mountain, I wonder when it was put there?

We were supposed to be south for a bit early december. Had a trip planned to San Diego + Palm Springs but life+covid got in the way. Did you drive down for a trip to escape the ferocious weather at home?

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post #19 of (permalink) Old 01-07-2022, 02:45 AM Thread Starter
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Did you drive down for a trip to escape the ferocious weather at home?

Yes. Already in Victoria to spend winter but US opened borders for fully vaccinated so changed plans on the fly & drove down. Luckily had passport with me; just took Coho Ferry from Vic to Port Angeles. Was driving down I-5 in Washington when worse of these floods hit in November & it was worst drive of my life


btw if you, or anyone else reading this, can recommend Covid testing facility in northern Montana please let me know. Our government requires 72hrs old PCR test even for land crossings & fully vaccinated. Speaking of which, on US border crossing in November nobody even asked if I was vaccinated, never mind showing the proof or tests.
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post #20 of (permalink) Old 01-07-2022, 04:11 AM Thread Starter
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Trail #11: Kwaay Paay Peak

This was hike in Mission Trails Regional Park. Interesting enough, while living 5+ yrs in San Diego I never hiked Mission for which I don't have appropriate explanation. It took tourist visits to finally get here! 4 yrs ago I went up Mt. Cowles (Trail #7 posted earlier), and today it was exotic sounding "Kwaay Paay" peak (name coming from local Kumeyaay Native language, meaning 'leader'). Peak is definitely overstretch; it is just one of the hills in the park, 4th highest. Main attraction is that it is nowhere as busy as Cowles - I actually had "summit" to myself. It is quite short - just over 2km (1-way) to the top, with ~270m elevation gain. There are several trailheads scattered around Old Mission Dam (worth a visit!). I took east trail at Park Entrance but they all join up in middle plateau before final, somewhat steep final climb to the top. I explored a bit further in the bush to the south, before settling on some rocks watching the sunset. Quite a bit of smog over metro San Diego. Picture story:


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[Mission Dam Historic Site & quite popular with people ignoring warnings about not wading or clambering on the wall]


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[Small Falls behind Mission Dam]


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[This is bleached shot of typical section of the trail, looking back]


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[Final part is staircase, to prevent erosion, and somewhat steep]


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[Summit Structure looking north across San Diego County]


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[Same as above, but wider. Some rocks to sit can be found to the left side, out of picture]


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[Summit pano south looking across to Mt. Cowles area]


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[Wide sunset shot, with fair amount of haze. Had it entirely to myself which is impossible on Cowles]



Map and Elevation Profile:
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Full trip report with high-res photos on personal site here. Alternate information in San Diego Reader

Last edited by zeljkok; 01-08-2022 at 03:45 AM.
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post #21 of (permalink) Old 01-07-2022, 12:49 PM
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.... Was driving down I-5 in Washington when worse of these floods hit in November & it was worst drive of my life


Covid testing facility in northern Montana please let me know.
Ugh, a terrible time to be driving the I5. good to hear that you made it ok. Weather up here on the south coast has been very rough since early Oct. Nice cold snap in december but then turned to that mucky, heavy slushy snow. Haven't done many outings of note.

It looks like you're digging up some seriously nice trails. I love those low lying mountains around SD

I've heard from friends in the USA that CVS pharmacy does the test, fast cheap

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post #22 of (permalink) Old 01-09-2022, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
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btw if you, or anyone else reading this, can recommend Covid testing facility in northern Montana
I might be able to uncover one, think it is on NE side of Glacier NP. Online hiking acquaintance, lives in AB, got tested in US before return border crossing.

Edit to add: the two I am thinking of, in Cut Bank and Browning, both seem to be limited to vets and allies.

You know about ArriveCAN, for uploading test results and other info prior to border crossing?
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-heal...arrivecan.html

Another edit: zeljkok, I sent you two PMs. There is one (non-VA) in Cut Bank, plus other choices.

If anyone else needs info, I'm happy to try to help.

Last edited by ColdBrook; 01-09-2022 at 06:25 PM.
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post #23 of (permalink) Old 01-09-2022, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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I've heard from friends in the USA that CVS pharmacy does the test, fast cheap

CVS(hoppers Drug Mart) is ok for quick tests, but for molecular they send it to medical provider & this is even slower.


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There is one (non-VA) in Cut Bank, plus other choices.

Thank you, Cut Bank is good option; I am looking for I-15 corridor as close to the border as possible. One I found is in Shelby (close to Cut Bank, but on I-15 directly) - Maria's Health Care - at one point they advertised directly on web site "covid PCR testing for travel to Canada with same day results", but it has been removed since. Something like this would suit me best as it limits time I have to spend in motel waiting for results which most places advertise as 1-3 days


btw Canada lets citizens and perm. residents in without test, but slaps you with 5.700 CAD fine (!) So it is still cheaper to pay for test and couple of days in motel if needs be. When US opened borders last yr & didn't mandate tests for land crossings I hoped Canada would follow, but now with Omicron no chance. We'll see, I still have time
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post #24 of (permalink) Old 01-10-2022, 04:09 AM Thread Starter
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Trail #12: South Lake Hodges

12.1 Piedras Pintadas

Lake Hodges is my happy place. I felt connection first time I saw it way back in '98 after successful job interview looking for place to live, when move down south became a reality. Daily after-work hikes became a norm & I spent many hours wondering beautiful shoreline, watching birds (and rattlesnakes), cycling or enjoying sunsets year-round But I never explored South shore to the end. Looking at the map yesterday I noticed "Fletcher Point" at tip of peninsula when Hodges curls 90 degrees towards the Dam at Del Dios Highway. Bit of online research identified hike-able trail, starting at Piedras Pintadas Ridge, my usual turning point. Piedras Pintadas means "Painted Rocks" and is wonderful little trail starting at Rancho Bernardo Community Park; it features everything, native Kumeyaay interpretive signs, beautiful oak and sycamore trees, scenic views across Lake Hodges to Bernardo Mountain (report earlier in this thread) and even a waterfall. It is an easy trail, less than an hour (1-way) and well worth your time if you are in the area. Pictorial:


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[Interpretive table at trailhead; there are many of these along the way, identifying plants, describing native way of life etc.]

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[Typical section of Piedras Pintadas starting along the South shore, after crossing over from Bernardo Bay trail]

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[Used to sit awhile and reflect at this fence often, but this was not here then. It is very peaceful place]

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[Waterfall! I'd usually cross over, then clamber rocks on the other side. It is now closed and there is sign warning about camera and heavy fines. Problems are not 'regular' hikers, but local kids that would come here, drink booze and smoke weed, then throw it all over the place. I obeyed, feeling sorry a bit I could not go over to say hi again]

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[Sign at point where alternate access from Poblado road comes in. Piedras Pintadas now climbs little ridge with wonderful viewpoint and loops back]

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[View east across the marsh from the Ridge. You can spot Bernardo Bay trail far left, and Piedras Pintadas curling grassy slope center/center right. Mountain in the distance is Mt. Woodson, and to its right Iron Mountain, both beautiful Poway hikes]

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[Pano from the ridge - Lake Hodges is left, above Bernardo Mountain. Bernardo Bay trail loops around that hill across. Woodson and Iron far right]


12.2 Fletcher Point

Now the adventure began. Where Piedras loops back after descending from the ridge, Fletcher Point trail starts. It is a wonderful trail! Not an easy walk anymore, initially flat but soon starts climbing up and down, and towards the end it gets quite rough - I had to use my hands several times. Views are spectacular! I really can't explain why I never went here while living in RB and it took tourist visit to finally do it. Never too late I guess. Fletcher Point, with identifiable American Flag on top in on little peninsula at south end. Trail comes to the junction and great little ridgewalk across chaparral and low vegetation leads to the 'summit' - that even had a swing! It is wonderful viewpoint too, but you need to be here mid to late morning, not late afternoon for best photos. I might come back while I'm here this time, probably along the trail that comes in from Hodges Dam area. Couple of shots:


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[Pano across Hodges from one of several viewpoints; Fletcher Point is little knob still with sunlight, extreme left]

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[View back to length of South Hodges trail from final Fletcher Point ascent slopes]

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[In Canada we build summit cairns; in US they place American Flags on top ]

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[South End and Lake Hodges Dam far in the distance from Fletcher Point]

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[Hiking back with near sunset light on Fletcher Point]


Took about 4 hrs return, but was going quite fast. Total length out-and-back for both trails is about 14km, +245m -250m. In summer it will be more challenging because of heat and rattlesnakes. Map and Elevation Profile:
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San Dieguito River Park is such a wonderful natural resource, with much wildlife (lots of birds spend winter here) and great viewpoints. There is excitement felt only when exploring new and wonderful places. Highly recommended if you are looking for bit more challenging hike in Hodges area.
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Last edited by zeljkok; 01-10-2022 at 04:16 AM.
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post #25 of (permalink) Old 01-11-2022, 12:18 AM
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I did not realize the trail system around lake hodges was so extensive. Years ago I did one hike there, up to the summit of Bernardo mountain. I so enjoyed it as it was a good hike with great views. It was also a nice break from the work i was doing there. I don't know why I've never gone back to explore the area more

Must do that sometime

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post #26 of (permalink) Old 01-11-2022, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
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I did not realize the trail system around lake hodges was so extensive.

I lived 4 yrs in RB, 15 min walk to the lake & yet find new trails now as tourist. Hiking is alive and well in Southern California. Spoke with REI employee the other day & she told me Covid made same impact in terms of outdoor recreation as it did in Canada.
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post #27 of (permalink) Old 01-12-2022, 03:36 AM Thread Starter
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Jan '22 - update on Mt. Woodson (trail #1 in this thread)

This is one of more challenging trails in Poway, but still moderate and not difficult as local websites tend to classify it. Lacking Rockies fitness while living here I'd hike Woodson to get in shape before flying north for summer sabbaticals. Today I wanted to try something new - watch sunset from the summit. Only problem - where to leave car? For inexplicable reasons, to me at least, they lock Lake Poway gate at 5pm as well as Blue Sky Preserve trailhead (4:45pm posted time). But I am still halfway local & this did not present serious problem, it only involved bit of extra walking on Espola Road to Blue Sky where I started. Very warm day, think it was 25 Celsius or even more & did not bring enough water. Poway is not Rockies where fresh water is always behind the corner & I basically ran out at the top. So on descent (with headlamp in entirety), instead of returning back to Blue Sky I hiked down to Lake Poway knowing there is tap water by boat launch ramp. Gate was locked naturally but just as I was about to start climbing over ranger car came in & opened it, saving bit of extra effort. Couple of photos:


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["Snake Table" in Blue Sky - who knew there are 7 different kinds over here, I've seen rattlers only]

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[Little gazebo at Lake Poway, in old days I'd sit here often and ponder various things. Original wooden bench burned couple of years back and is now replaced with new one]

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[Very nice view towards Iron Mountain from steep part of Woodson trail, just before Fry Koegel junction. You can spot Ramona road in mid-ground]

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[... and now: Potato Chip Rock. Woodson Trail is now actually called "Potato Chip Rock Trail". It is one of silliest Instagram spots ever. People have actually died clambering on top, believe or not. This person on top is young Chinese girl; she got up and called her boyfriend to come up & take photos. But he couldn't get down. They got stuck. So they called me to help. It was comical. I honestly considered just walking away, but ended up coaching the guy how to get down "put your left leg here; now right arm against this ledge. Now ... " and eventually making a step with my own palm when he couldn't reach all the way. I really don't get it, why people don't think how will the climb down if they climb up something. But who cares; Instagram will get more shots]

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[... and: What I came for. I traveled the world all over, but San Diego has nicest sunsets I've ever seen. Need to get down to the beach with tripod while I'm still here. This one is considerably underexposed, but still nice]

With extra walking stats came to ~16km return and ~800m vertical. Recommended, but be wary of parking regulations because City of Poway WILL lock the gates even on Blue Sky when posted


Full report now on personal site with high-res photos from both '18 and '22 trips here
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Last edited by zeljkok; 01-13-2022 at 01:23 AM.
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post #28 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2022, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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Trail #14: Mount Soledad



Mount Soledad is small hill in La Jolla Heights Open Space Natural park. It is hard to call it a hike, but viewpoint is really impressive. It is one of fairly unknown local secrets; I've never actually been here, but after running to this local site decided to check it out. I followed pretty much itinerary described there, going up the trail and descending via residential. Trail rises up the hill for 15-20 min to the viewpoint. It was cloudy but now that I've seen the potential I am sure to return with tripod for sunset one day. Couple of shots:


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[Village of La Jolla center left, green is golf course. La Jolla Shores with coastline stretching to Scripps Pier and Torrey Pines to the right]


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[La Jolla Shores telephoto; with distant coast all the way to Del Mar and Encinitas]


Couple of shots from Soledad Memorial I took the other day, it is the next hill across and you pretty much drive to the top:


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[National Veterans Memorial, been here since 1954]


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[La Jolla Shores / Torrey Pines coastline Pano]


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[Pano east from memorial; that is I-5 in mid-ground and Sorrento Valley high-tech offices behind]


If you are in La Jolla this is terrific short sunset walk; you don't need to drive and can just walk to the base, although there is enough residential parking around.
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post #29 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2022, 02:39 PM
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So many snakes and Potato Chip Rock. I had no idea of either. My wife did step on large gopher snake on iron mountain and I ran into a diamond back rattler there. Even with the snakes, it's such a great place.

25C? don't I wish!

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post #30 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2022, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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My wife did step on large gopher snake on iron mountain and I ran into a diamond back rattler there.

Here's the story for you; I didn't mention in original write-up because I have no photo to prove. 15min before the top I ran into giant orange hornet. First time I see one in nature. It was crawling right across the trail; it stopped, alerted by my presence. I got really spooked & this is why there is no photo. I know what to do if I run into bear, even a rattler, but what with this. Most I think I was afraid there might be the nest close. I backed down the trail, looking for alternate way up but there was none. So I watched from afar couple of minutes and it eventually moved freeing the trail so I could pass


Doesn't matter where you are, BC coast, Rockies, Sahara desert of Southern California. Players of the game change, but you have to be constantly aware of your surroundings if you venture into wilderness.
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