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!


No comments:

Post a Comment