This park is really in San Diego, but it is right on the San Diego/Santee border. So I am going to claim it for us Santee residents!!!! I will add more about the hike a bit later (I am still behind on my Ireland blogs and my kids are telling me I am spending to much time on the computer). I just wanted to up load the photos I took.
Ok, so here it is almost 3 weeks since I got back from Ireland and I have not been out hiking. But, hey, I was giving those ribs a chance to heal and I spent a weekend in Vegas loosing money!!! So....I look over at the number one billy goat and tell him it is time to get out on the trail. I told he we were going to go for a hike Saturday morning.
Looking towards the damn from the staging area.
We even agreed to just do a local hike, something close. We had agreed to hike in the Mission Trails Regional Park that is on the west side of Santee. Cowles Mountain is part of the hike, but with as crowded as it gets on weekends, neither of us felt like doing that. Although we have been talking about hiking it from the backside, as we hear it is less crowded from the Santee side. But we decided we would check out Mission Trails Park. There are suppose to be about 25 different trails available...of all different fitness levels.
So Saturday morning rolls around. I had told the brat that I would like to be out the door around 0700. That way if it was going to be hot (it has been in the high 90's to low 100's the past few days) we could get a jump on the heat and still enjoy our hike.
Out on the trail
Well I opened my eyes Saturday morning and look at my alarm clock. It was 09:30. I thought to myself, WTF. I had forgot to set the darn alarm the night before. I jumped out of bed and went into our living room to find my son sitting on the couch watching some Sci Fi program. I asked him how long he had been up. He had been up since 06:00. I asked him why he did not wake me so we could go for our hike. He just looked at me and said, because the house was so quiet (his brother was away at a Boy Scout camp out). Well, what do you do when your teenage son lets you sleep in on a Saturday morning...you cant really beat him, it sets a bad example and he might wake you up earlier every Saturday in the future....NOOOOOOO!!!!!
So I told him we would just go later in the day, and hope the heat had eased up a bit.
Looking into the hills from the old road from San Diego to Santee.
Well his brother came home around 5:30 pm. And I told Brian it was time to load up and go. (We would be leaving his brother as he had already been hiking all day). Well Mr Teenager decides he does not want to go now. Well thats all well and good for him, but I still wanted to go. So I did. Now those that are locals dont give me grief, but I drove the approx 1 mile from my house to the staging parking lot. I was not sure how much time I had, and wanted to make the most of it. I parked in the lot, noticing the signs that said the gates would be locked at 7pm. It was about 5:45 by that time. Well I through on my camel pack and set off. You would think that having lived here for 16+ yrs I would have been hiking in this park. But, I am still reasonably new to the whole hiking thing and this was my first time in this side of the park.
Old Mission Dam, San Diego
I have rode my bike on the old road that used to be the main road between San Diego and Santee back in the day, and had been around the Old Mission Dam on day trips with the kids, but I had never really been hiking in the park. So I grabbed a trail map and off I went. I had a genearal idea of where I wanted to go, so I just meandered along. The various trails are well marked, and I just headed towards the Old Mission Dam. The trail I was on popped up onto the old road I just mentioned, and I head towards the Damn. As I was walking I passed the San Diego river as it slowly ran towards the damn. The water seemed to be just barely moving along. Almost still in places...so what did my over active imagination do. It remembered the story I had just heard on the news about mosquitos and West Nile Virus in San Diego.
Some dude fishing at the Old Mission Dam, San Diego
Well those little wheels just started turning and turning, and sure enough my skin started to crawl. There was one part of the hike where I walked among some cottonwood trees (you all know me and trees) with their "cotton" dropping. It was very pretty, almost like a light snow storm...except everytime one landed on me...you guessed it, it felt like a mosquito. Ahhhh!!!! Just kidding.
After I made it to the damn, I puzted around for a little bit talking to a guy that was fishing in the spillway on the downstream side of the damn. Not sure if had caught anything, or if he was just relaxing. After a bit I remembered I was on a time schedule and needed to start back for my truck. I decided to take a different route back to my truck, one that was suppose to loop around the grassland part of the park.
Back country stairway
I head across a bridge across the river, and noticed the sign that warned of cougars being seen in the park. Now cougars like young men right, so I felt I was probably safe..... :) I continued on my exploration of the park, and head back into the canyon. It was a pretty walk. I had to hoof it up a bit of a back country stairway at one point, but other than that, the hike was pretty level most of the way. I came around the last bend back towards my truck and came across a small bunny sitting on the trail. This little guy had very little fear of me, and I was able to get quite close before he scurried off into the brush.
I made it back to my truck about 7:10 (thank god the gates were still open) and made my way back home. As I drove out of the staging area, I noticed a couple of cars parked on the approach road, on the outside of the gates.
This bunny let me get pretty close before he scurried into the brush.
Since I want to make some hikes after work in the very near future, I think this will be a good way to go. I can park and not worry about getting back before 7pm. Since it will not get dark until after 8pm in the next month or so, this should work out great. My next hike will be longer, and on one of the trails that gains some elevation.