Friday, July 16, 2010

Otay Lakes - Upper Lake (#23)

July 15, 2010 - Another very hot day brings us back to Otay Lakes, but this time we're taking it to the the Upper Lake.

As you can see, the trailhead to Upper Otay, just across the street from the north end of Lower Otay (#12), is not very inviting.The views of the lake, as you walk
"around" it, are.

I stress "around" it because there are only a few opportunities to get close to it.

That would strike you as odd being that it
is a fishing lake, after all. However, this stocked lake is custom designed for float tube fishing, not shore fishing. Most of the shoreline is reeds.

I came to learn, interestingly enough, that Upper Otay was the original site in the western United States to receive Florida Large Mouth Bass and reportedly now the source of "virtually all such fish found west of the Mississippi."

On another quite different topic, about six or seven years ago my family and I enjoyed the "Tour de Elegance" in Chula Vista where we were able to walk through about eight brand-spanking-not-yet-lived-in-new multi-million dollar homes.

They were truly amazing homes and as a family we selected two or three that we agreed we could live in.

It appears that Upper Otay Lake must have been one of the beautiful views we were appreciating during the tour because if you look up on the hill you will actually see a few of those elegant abodes. I wonder if any of those home owners come fishing here.

As we continued to walk "around" the lake we were challenged to get to the trail that returned on the east side of it.

We tried to stay as close to the lake as possible and ended up running into dead ends either finding ourselves at water's edge with nowhere to go, or a trail too overgrown with plant life.

Rattlesnakes were definitely on our minds during some portions of the trail but we never did see or hear any.

What I did see, though, was a large, fast running lizard. At first, I honestly thought I was watching a roadrunner on the trail up ahead of us. I soon realized that it was the kind of lizard that runs with its limbs stretched out like high-rise shock absorbers. COOL!

We backtracked a few times and got to a high spot with good lake vistas as well as a view of the trail we needed to be on.

A lone palm tree turned out to be the key to getting on track with our loop "around" the lake.

Get to the tree, get to the trail.

We got to the tree.

We got to the trail!

Unlike the west side of the lake, the east side trail back was very direct.

Eventually we came within sight of the dam which must be responsible for keeping Upper Otay from becoming part of Lower Otay.

Indeed, in the first photo of the dam you can see the lower lake in the background.

Then, a surprise!

What should we see,
on the last leg of our hike, slowly, and even proudly, marching its way toward us?

I would say "Tutor," but you would have to be at least my age to make any sense of that.

There coming right up the middle of this dry pebbly trail was a turtle! ("Help Mister Wizard!")

We greeted him, exchanged pleasantries and marched ourselves down to our car only to find...

...a bright red fire truck waiting for us.

All kinds of surprises.

Another great hike!

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