Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Daley Ranch - Tour of the Ponds (#30)

August 17, 2010 -
A little more than a month ago, on a walk at the Batiquitos Lagoon, I met a cool park ranger who told me about the Daley Ranch. He basically said that it was a "must go to" place for hikers. So, taking his words to heart, I found my way here to Escondido doing the Tour of the Ponds hike.

My brief internet research  revealed that a 25 year old emigrant from England, Robert Daley, first purchased 1600 acres in Escondido in 1869 which he turned into a thriving horse and cattle ranch. After Mr. Daley died his family converted the ranch into a dairy. Somewhere around 1927 the family built a ranch house which they used for a summer retreat. Fast forward to 1997 and the city of Escondido purchased the 3085-acre ranch to maintain as a permanent open space. Result: more than 25 mile network of ranch roads and new trails available for trail lovers and outdoor enthusiasts!

There were many possible hikes for me to choose from and I will no doubt be back several times to do most of them.

The route I took is referred to as the Tour of the Ponds which basically connects a variety of trails that pass by, guess what...  PONDS!

I started off on the Ranch House Trail and a half mile up the way I turned right on Middle Pond Trail.

A quarter mile later, after having passed  Middle Pond, I turned left onto East Ridge Trail.

More than a half-mile up the trail I found this dilapidated cabin and soon thereafter...

the Daley Ranch House...

...under construction.

There was a cool little barn right nearby...

...and a few little tin shacks

The first of these small structures was cordoned off with yellow caution tape warning that the area was infested with bees.

As I turned right onto the nearby "Sage" trail I was thinking about how I didn't really see any bees and wondering where they were.

My question was immediately answered by the thick buzzing sound coming from the trees overhead.

Two words:
(I know, I know!)

The Sage Trail was very beautiful. I can't help but mention that at this point it was already starting to get very hot.

After about a half-mile I ran into the Mallard Pond.

I kept heading east..

...for the next quarter mile...

...and turned off on the narrow, Diamond Back Trail that turned due south. Wished I left much earlier in the day cause it sure was getting very warm.

There's Mallard Pond again.

This trail was VERY lonely.

At least no snake sightings!

Nice boulder.

 Did I say I was getting hot? Not complaining, just reporting.

I found Coyote Run after a little less than a half mile and turned right (southwest).

Another hot nice trail.

I marched along on Coyote Run for another .3 miles before finding East Ridge Trail going south.

Okay, just to be straight, I WAS NOT (technically) asking for directions. I just asked for a bit of "advice" on the best way for two-legged creatures to find their way back to the trail head. Having run into me a few times on the trail these friendly equestrians were more than willing to direct me. (I think they could tell that I was nearing a state of heat stroke and wondered what the heck I was doing hiking that trail on this toasty mid-summer day).

Taking my new found friends "advice," (not directions mind you; my wonderful wife would not let me live this one down) I turned west on Creek Crossing Trail.

Traveling the last two-thirds of a mile back toward where I started my trek - hot, sweaty, and with little water left (hot water), I spied Dixon Lake off in the distance. I look forward to hiking there sometime in the near cool-weather-future.

After a couple hours of quality time I made it back to the trail head - alive, fortunately, and no worse for the wear.

Okay, so I got a little over-dramatic about the heat, but it REALLY was Hot!

Another great hike!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lake Poway (#29)

August 9, 2010- Lake Poway is the trail of the day. Poway, the self titled "Center of the Country," is not a place that I frequent often. In fact, I'm honestly not aware of a time in my 34 years here in San Diego that I've had a reason to come here to Poway.

It's not that I'm the kind who doesn't get out much, mind you. I just don't "go" to Poway.

But now I do!

The first thing I can say about my Poway experience is that my first encounter with a local was awesome!

When I arrived at the Poway Lake parking lot with a kid (of the college variety) and newly appointed "trail dog" (formerly "house" pet), Sandy, I was bummed to discover that I had come unprepared. No leash darnit!

Hoping to borrow a piece of rope I went into the ranger station and explained to the Park Ranger, Annie was her name, my plight. She did much better than rope. She marched me out to her vehicle and pulled from her trunk a state of the art dog leash (the thing seemed to have shock absorbers) and said, "Here, you can borrow this!" How cool was that!? Thank you Ranger Annie!

So hitting the trail, accompanied by the kid, the more than adequately tethered trail dog and Wilson the walkin' stick, the lake quickly came into sight.

While it's not real big, it is very pretty.

In fact, all of the views along the entire trail were great.

A couple spots on the trail had enough incline/decline to get the heart and lungs pumping.

Here the kid and the trail dog tromp along with the backside of the dam behind them.

We turned off the trail loop heading north toward these trees to see what we'd find.

It turned out to be a cool little "wilderness campground," no longer open for camping because of the recent history of wildfires.

Wilson was enjoying the shade here cause it was a fairly warm day.

Back to the trail! I'll let the pictures do the talking for a bit.

The view from the south end of the lake.

The lake has a good little boat dock complete with ducks and young people to feed them.

When, at the end of our 3+ mile meander around the lake, I went to return the dog leash to Ranger Annie, she was very interested to share all kinds of information and maps of the many trails in Poway and surrounding areas. She was most certainly the right person for that job!

Definitely, another GREAT hike!