|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...
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.
WALK VERY FAST!
(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!
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).
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!