HIking Kitchen Creek

Boulder Oaks Travel Blog

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This is a picture of the terrain around the creek.

Today the boys are with their mother so I decided to try something different than a peak hike. I decided I wanted to hike to a water fall. I picked one of two hikes to do. The hike I decided on was to Kitchen Creek Falls in the Cleveland National Forest. The trailhead is at a place called Boulder Oaks off of I-8. To reach the trailhead, you take I-8 from San Diego until you get to the Buckman Springs off ramp. Make a left off the freeway to Old Highway 80 and turn left. There used to be a market at the trailhead, but according to my hiking companion for today, it has not been there for years.  There is a large place to pull off the road at the trailhead. I noticed there is a bus stop there as well, but I dont know what route it is.

The trailhead is on the northside of the road.

Before I go any further I wish to describe my hiking companion for today. This is the woman that started my whole obsession with hiking. She has become a good friend and I really enjoy spending time with her. I had at one time hoped that there could be more than just a friendship there, but I now realize that the friendship means more to me than anything else. Yes I might lay it on a bit thick about her being a beautiful woman every now and then...but damn it she is. Both on the outside...but even more importantly...on the inside. I think one of the most enjoyable parts of this hike, was when we just sat, enjoyed the sun, and the day and chatted once we eventually found the falls area of the hike.

Could I look any goofier?
   Now, onto the hike.

After an approx 45 min drive to the trailhead. We crossed Old Highway 80 and started our hike. My companion had us stretch a bit before we left, and reminded me that the important stretch would be when we got back. The hike leaves the road way on a hard packed dirt track that leads back into the canyon. At times the track is very narrow, and changes from a sandy bottom, to loose packed gravel, to hard packed dirt. The trail itself has a moderate incline as it tracks back into the canyon. In fact the incline was so subtle at times that we did not realize it was actually going up...until we were on the return leg and could tell it was deff going down. I like that kind of trail. This hike has a great visual appeal. You meander through oak groves, open plains, and canyon walls.

There is an abundance of plant life. I dont know much about vegitation other than it is green! :)  One thing that I did notice was a great variety of cactus. There were all sorts of little prickley things. Ones with short little spines, ones with great big spines, one on large flat oval plants, and some on tall skinny plants. It was all very pretty...as long as you keep your distance.

Now this hike is suppose to be approx 5 miles round trip. Well it is 5 miles if you notice the trail marker that indicates where you should turn off to go down towards the river and the falls. We did not!  We both missed the marker....and our hike continued. (We estimate we hiked about 8 miles total?)  But you know what, that was fine, a beautiful day, a beautiful guide (she was ahead of me.

This is the first creek from the trail above.
..better view that way <grin> bad David!) and a beautiful trail to hike. We kept going, sometimes wondering if we were hiking the right trail. I had no idea how far we had gone, but I was fine with what we were doing and where we were going. We eventually started to see the creek down in the canyon. We continued down the trail hoping it would soon lead us to a point where could get down into the canyon, and near the water. Eventually we found an area that allowed us to get down into the canyon. The first few photos from this blog is from the first river side area we accessed. It was a peaceful area to have a granola bar and just enjoy the scenery. We spent a short time enjoy the creek, took the obligtory pictures, and then left.

We climbed back up to the trail, and then decided to keep going along the trail we were on to see where it went.

We hiked a short distance, and then decided to turn back. We were not sure where the trail was leading, and knew it was not back to the truck. We turned around and started back the way we came. As we made our way back, my intrepid guide noticed the trail we should have used to hike down into the canyon in the area we originally intended to hike to. It was very steep, and was a bit overgrown in places. It made hiking down to the creek more of a challenge. But I enjoyed that challenge. Well I thought I would be enjoying the challenge on the way down. I would reserve judgement for the hike up until later. We finally reached the area we originally set out for. The creek fell over several rock outcroppings, making a great place to sit and relax. There was a great pool at the bottom of the small falls (I understand there were greater falls further down the canyon area.
...but we did not hike down to them). As I stated earlier, this was my favorite part of the hike. Just sitting, enjoying the sun, the soft gurgling of the water, and occasional gust of wind. As we sat on the rocks, we noticed other hikers for the first time. Until this point we had not seen or heard anybody else on the trail. It was like having this small slice of solitude to ourselves. I know I prob do this hike with my kids, but today, I had the perfect companion to enjoy this trip with. 

To soon it was time to start back. Ugg, the uphill climb to get back to the main trail. I thought I would really hate this part...but a secret...I did not. I know I was still huffing and puffing a bit, but I made it back. It was on this up hill trek that we finally passed our fellow hikers.

One thing that I have noticed during my outings is that most of the others I have come across on the various trails have been very polite and friendly. A short chat, a friendly good morning, and we continued on. We finally made it back to the truck to complete our hike. Following my companions good example, I stretched out a bit before we got back in the truck to leave. On our way back, my companion treated me to brunch. What a great way to end our morning together.

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This is a picture of the terrain a…
This is a picture of the terrain …
Could I look any goofier?
Could I look any goofier?
This is the first creek from the t…
This is the first creek from the …
This is looking upstream at the fi…
This is looking upstream at the f…
This is my hiking companion. I pro…
This is my hiking companion. I pr…
This taken at the 2nd creek we wer…
This taken at the 2nd creek we we…
I thought this tree growing from t…
I thought this tree growing from …
This is the pool.  If the water wa…
This is the pool. If the water w…
Some of my friendly cacti.
Some of my friendly cacti.
This is the valley that the trailh…
This is the valley that the trail…
We finally found a way down to the…
We finally found a way down to th…
Boulder Oaks
photo by: sdbleve