|July 3, 2010- The trailhead parking lot to Batiquitos Lagoon Trail has the finely groomed appearance worthy of a posh "Carlsbad" community don't you think? |
The entire one and a half mile trail (3 mi. round trip) was equally impressive.
Glossy trail maps greet you by the stairway down into the trail. The path itself is remarkably well-maintained. There are viewing benches, boundary ropes, a nature interpretive center and absolutely no signs of graffiti!
The real show, of course, is the nature's beauty that was already there to begin with.
Shamefully, having driven by it more than a hundred times, I only initially became aware of this lagoon while researching hikes on Trails.com.
It was after being told by my awesome Kansas City sister-in-law about how this nice trail runs right by their time-share at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort (formerly Four Seasons) that I added it to my list of places to hike.
It only made sense when getting together with very dear friends of ours (the only friends we have who actually live in Carlsbad) that we chose this particular locale for a day hike.
The existence of this wetland area as we see it today is, like the Tijuana Estuary, a real success story.
In the late 70's in Imperial Beach the evil forces of greed wanted to put in a breakwater to destroy the waves thus enabling the conversion of the rivermouth and wetlands into a marina. The greedy failed and that estuary is now a protected wildlife preserve.
Likewise, the forces of "progress" and financial gain pushed for a theme park and high density home developments in the lagoon area. Instead, Batiquitos was selected for wetlands restoration and is now protected.
Too bad this kind of thing wasn't happening until after ninety percent of the coastal wetlands had already vanished.
As I was saying, its a very nice trail. We came in on the eastern most end of the trail and walked west toward Highway 5.
At one point we reached the Hyatt Golf Course entrance and walked in long enough to talk with friendly Hyatt employee. VERY beautiful grounds I must say.
Continuing on, at about the point where the Highway 5 bridge came into view, we stumbled upon what resembled a shack, or a cabin which was actually the Nature Center.
We went in and spoke with the ranger, yet another friendly fellow, who seemed to know a lot about the wetlands there.
In the course of our conversation he turned me onto another hiking spot that I am looking forward to exploring: the Daly Ranch near Dixon Lake in Escondido. I'll report back on that one when I manage to get there.
In the last leg of the westerly walk the Highway 101 bridge can be seen looking through and beyond the 5 Freeway bridge that spans the lagoon.
It is there that we found the west side trail access marked by the cool heron sign.
When you walk a little farther the trail seemingly ends at the freeway.
For the brave and the adventurous, though, you can walk carefully under the freeway, where you will find the only signs of graffiti. Funny thing was the only way you could see the tagging was to be under the bridge out of sight.
When you pop out on the other side you get another nice view. But the trail stops there and the option becomes 1) swimming, or 2) turning around.
We didn't swim.
When we turned around though, we got a pleasant view of the lagoon.
So, now we are marching our way back, passing some trees and low growth to our right.
The girls were chatting at the typical female cadence, as my buddy and I were doing the typical grunt here and there, more common with the male species. SubtleForeshadowing: We were soon to find ourselves with something significant to talk about though.
Now, I have heard my wife make a variety of sounds in my wonderful years with her, none of which prepared me for the screechy/ screamy sound that was about to echo throughout the river valley without a moments notice.
It appears that while she was wrapped up in her conversation she failed to spy the six foot snake beneath the foot she was just about to step with.
When I figured out that it was her making the noise I looked down just in time to see these two nice-looking walking sticks on the side of the path.
Wilson, who as my hiking assistant has the responsibility of dealing with wayward reptiles, squared me away on the reality of the situation:
"That AIN'T no walking stick boss!"
As you might have correctly guessed, the remainder of the hike progressed at a much faster pace with an increased focus on the path ahead.
On east end of the lagoon the trail continues on about a hundred yards past the trail entrance we came in on, and ends near a lonely palm tree.
We made sure we went the whole way (the girls required a little coaxing though).
We rewarded our successful day of hiking with a scrumptious lunch at Swami's Cafe and a quick stroll at a nearby Encinitas beach.
Another great hike!