Friday, April 21, 2017

Hike #12 Upper San Diego River

3 miles | +1080'

Chasing waterfalls along the upper San Diego River. It was slow going with bushwhacking, water crossings, boulder scrambling, and poison oak in abundance. The reward was relaxing in a pool at the base of a 50 foot waterfall.

The San Diego River has always held a special place in my heart. Many think of it as a stagnant and polluted watercourse running through town, but it's upper reaches offer a truly remote wilderness adventure.

"Turn down-canyon, and at 0.5 mile arrive at the first falls, a set of two, each about 50 feet high. To get by, you'll probably need to traverse through brush and over tilted rock slabs on the right (west) side. If you don't like this dicey maneuver, go no further and turn back. You will encounter nothing but long stretches of boulder hopping, and occasional rock climbing ahead." -Jerry Schad

Hike #11 Sweetwater River Trail

9.5 miles | +780'

Across the road from a sprawling strip mall in Rancho San Diego lies a hidden gem of San Diego Hiking. The San Diego National Wildlife Refuge encompasses the majority of San Miguel Mountain (aka Mount Miguel, Mount San Miguel, etc) and surrounding areas. The Sweetwater River runs along the northwestern edge of the Refuge which provides riparian as well as coastal scrub habitat for a number of threatened and endangered species. This is a hike that provides a surprising amount of quiet solitude considering how close it is to civilization.