Trailhead Map (33.08537, -116.92236)
Things have been a little busy since my last hike. If I do one peak a month, it’s going to take me years to finish this. Once again, I had to dust off the cobwebs as I parked at the trailhead and made my way up the trail.
San Pasqual Valley has a special place for me. I’ve been visiting the Wild Animal Park (now Safari Park) for years, love to spend some time at Orfila Winery, pass ostriches on the way in, and have considered moving to the area. Sometimes I take this highway into Ramona and the scent of orange blossoms blankets the valley.
This time, I needed to get a hike in. Any hike with a peak. I chose something near the house so I could get a relatively late start. I was tired from a long week of working and wanted to sleep in a bit.
The day was overcast, but I knew the sun would threaten to join me. The trailhead was a little noisy, as it is adjacent to the 79 freeway as it ascends into northwestern Ramona. There was also a helicopter that was crop-dusting the citrus groves below.
Happy to be hiking again, the noise of the highway soon faded below me. Ahead of me, the ridgeline stretched off to my left, the high point being somewhere in the center. It seemed a lot longer than the 2.2 miles (one way) it was destined to be. Sometimes not seeing your whole task laid out in front of you can make it less daunting. It is nice to be able to say, “In an hour or so, I will be way up there.”
As the traffic noise died down, the humming of the bees that were feeding on the blooming flowers became much more noticeable. Almost every several feet, a lizard scurried from the center of the trail into the bushes. I wasn’t the only one waiting for the sun to appear.
The trail dropped down into a ravine and then crossed a small wooden bridge that spanned a pretty little stream. The sound of flowing water and shade from the trees was a nice surprise. As I ascended out of the stream area, all around me the hillsides were aglow with blooming yellow, purple and blue flowers. I made it to a small saddle and could see the high point, what I will call Peak 1755, on my right hand side. I tried bushwhacking a couple of times before I was able to see a small use trail a couple of hundred feet along the trail from the saddle. It was very overgrown, but it was easy to zig zag to the top. The view to the south was of some avocado groves and a pond, but the view to the northeast showed me Orosco Ridge and Big Black Mountain beyond. This is an area I haven’t been yet and I long to explore it. It looked like I could have the place all to myself.
I could have stopped there, but I wanted to see the view from the end of the trail. I bushwhacked back down to the trail and continued to the east. The trail got progressively overrun and the lizards got bigger. I could still hear the helicopter below, but the buzzing of the bees was relaxing.
While doing some research the night before, I also had heard of some chairs placed along the trail that provided an optimal viewing experience. I wasn’t disappointed. It was a little unnerving, since the wrought-iron chairs reclined and wobbled significantly. I continued to the end of the trail and again was treated with waist-high grass and a tremendous view of Orosco Ridge and Boden Canyon.
On the way back, I could really see how the south ridge along Clevenger Canyon was yellowed by the blooming flowers. The helicopter had finally stopped strafing the orange trees below and a large horned lizard scampered down the path in front of me, refusing to hide in the bushes.
I made it down the ridge, over the stream and back to my car in no time. I helped a motorcyclist find their way to Palomar Mountain via Santa Ysabel and then drove home.
It was nice to be back on the trail.