Monday, February 28, 2011

Lake Jennings (#50)

Feb. 27, 2011 - It must have been a dream. I am almost positive that I had written today's hike off since  there was a crazy hail storm going down last night (hail stacked up on my car like snow) shortly before I retired for the evening. Yep - it must have been a dream. After all, we don't get weather like that in San Diego, and just look at the weather now.

So here we are, Wilson and I, at Lake Jennings. Someone must have known we were coming and arranged for this magnificent greeting party of one. An Osprey awaited us, and a regal one at that!

I have to apologize for unintentionally breaking the rules by driving in on the campground side of the reservoir. Since no one was present at the entry gate we drove on through and parked at Sentry Point. It was Wilson's idea - honest.

From the trail head out of the campground we spied El Capitan, which brings up a bit of a side story. You see, it was four days ago, last Wednesday, that we went to El Capitan Reservoir to do the 7 mile out and back hike to Cornejos Creek. It was then that we learned the whole reservoir was gated and locked up Mon-Wed (another one of those Fort Knox experiences that we've had in the past). We created a back-up plan on the fly and drove here to Lake Jennings only to discover that it is only open to hikers Fri - Sun. As my Uncle Ed would say, rest his soul, "Fiddly Fart Francis!"

Hey, I have a great idea, let's stigmatize the bees! Maybe that's why they have been increasingly absent in San Diego.

Back to the trail at hand. Absolutely beautiful lake on this fine day. There were certainly more than a handful of boat fisherman on the water.

About a mile or more into our walk, looking back across from the other side of a large cove, I spied something beautiful. A sleek silver 2005 Malibu.  That would be my car. My wife doesn't like it; says there's not enough room in the back seat (even though she never rides in the back seat; fortunately for me she doesn't read my blog either). I think she's jealous because it gets a million more miles to the gallon than her Suburban. Adriana, my niece, says it's cute. Whatever!

Now there is a BIG difference amongst anglers. Some are fishermen, and a rare few are "catcher-"men.  We stumbled upon a catcherman along the trail. They are easy to tell. Standing up straight, puffed up chest, a big grin on the face and fish in the bucket. This particular fellow was pleased to have caught his limit of trout for the day and was heading home.

I surfed the net a little to see what more I might learn about Lake Jennings and discovered that its dam was constructed in 1964 to create a water reservoir for the residents of Lakeside. (

And get this... largest fish ever caught here?    October 2004... Blue Catfish...

...are you ready?

SIXTY- EIGHT Pounds!!!

It would seem that the frequent torrential rains we have been getting this season are putting a big dent in the drought factor here in the southwest portion of our country. It's really nice to see the water actually come up to the shoreline (and beyond).

We ran into this big lot along the way. This is probably where we were supposed  to have parked.  Next time!

Wilson thought this would be a great place for a picnic. Sorry pal, we still have a ways to go.

Okay, okay... we can stop for lunch now (geez, never would have guessed a Bolivian walking stick could be so high-maintenance).

After lunch (an apple and some almonds in case you were interested) we poked around a little bit...

...and then continued on until we came to a point where we could only travel by pavement.

Eventually we turned around and...

... wait, what's that?

Close-up please!

OMG! Maybe it wasn't a dream after all! That's snow in them there hills!

Another Great Hike!


Is that an eagle?

Nope... It's an Osprey.

El Capitan off in the distance.


See the Mailibu?

A "Catcher"-man caught his limit.

Love that high water line!

I think this is where we should have parked

Great spot for a picnic

Lunchtime with Wilson my Bolivian friend.

Snow in San Diego.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Miramar Reservoir (#49)

Feb. 7, 2011 - I didn't have high expectations for this outing. But when we first approached Lake Miramar from where we parked at the west end of the reservoir, even my low expectations were shattered.

Something about chain link and barbed wire; you know what I mean? This brought on a flashback of the bust I experienced at Sweetwater Reservoir (#4).

I felt really sorry for Sandy, my trail hound, because she, and Wilson, for that matter, were looking forward to a hike and, honestly, I was about ready to turn around and go home.

Next thing I know we were walking between TWO chain link fences, one on each side of us! I felt like I was in a prison camp or a science fiction novel... "Don't touch the nature!"

I'm saying "We're outta here!" while Wilson says calmly... "Chill out Boss, let's just do what we always do and see what's up ahead." I figured I owed it to him, being as Wilson is pretty much the best walking stick in the world, so we walked a little further and...

...fortunately, to the sound of our collective sighs/pants of relief, we not only shed the alien fences, but discovered a dirt trail apart from the dreaded paved path (nice for bikes and roller blades but paws and walking sticks - not so much.)

Seriously, the trail turned out to be much more pleasant than anticipated.  It didn't hurt that it happened to be one of those typically magnificent San Diego sunny, blue sky days with the glassy surface of the lake continually winking sparkles at us.

Though the trail did meander slightly away from the shore once or twice, the lake was almost always within eye shot.

It seemed to me, by looking at the body of water and mentally calculating the circumference, that the hike would come up far short of the 5 miles that it's billed for. I soon realized that the fingers, formed by the many coves around the lake, would account for much of the mileage.

About half way around we found a nice rest area with about half a dozen picnic tables.

This is a test:

Native   or    Non-native?

We made it to the east end of the trail...

...and then curved around to the south side of the lake.

Though I call her my trail dog, fact is she doesn't really get out often enough.

Sandy was pooped!

Almost back to where we started we found this boat dock with an adjacent ramp. I think our next visit here will probably be with Kayaks.

Another Nice Hike!


View from East End of Lake

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

San Clemente Canyon (#48)

 January 29, 2011 - My college kid and his right fine college girlfriend (clarification: his only girlfriend!) took me and Wilson to this cool trail they discovered near their crazy college party house (exaggeration - but it sounds good).

The main trail at San Clemente Canyon runs east/west for six miles  between Highways 5 and 805 and is just south of Highway 52. In fact it is close enough to the road that traffic noise is a factor - but that is the only downside to this hike.

The path parallels a small creek and its accompanying riparian growth.

As it turned out we didn't actually hike the entire length of the trail, but what we did do was trek through a side trail, the Biltmore Trail, which we all agreed was the highlight of today's walk.

Beautiful trees...

and a nice shaded path.

Eventually the trail climbs up into a nearby neighborhood. Along the way we stumbled upon a few specimens of extreme-sports youth types getting ready to drop in on their mountain bikes.

We returned to the main trail...

...and soon found ourselves beneath civilization. So what did we do?

We turned around, of course.

Another Great Hike!