Saturday, November 30, 2013

Daring Mt. Woodson - Part II

As promised before I went again to Poway Lake and dared Mt. Woodson for the second time, and this time I made it all the way to the summit. The hike took about one and half hour, but at the summit one is rewarded with amazing views from the top and ... the potato chips rock, which you see on the picture to the right. By far this was the longest, highest, most difficult, and most fascinating of all hikes I have done in my life so far. I wanted to stand on the ledge and have a picture taken there, but I found a very long line of people waiting to do the same, so after waiting for thirty minutes, I decided to move on again. With the way back the whole hike took me four hours, from 11:25 am to 3:25 pm.
Needless to say that by the end of the hike my whole body was sore and tired. I had water with me which proved to be a life saver, but I did not carry any food, and believe me, after reaching the top I was so hungry and tired in spite of my heavy breakfast which consisted of three eggs, half a French baguette, honey and coconut oil, and a few almonds. O and a coffee with whole milk. Remind me next time to carry food as well as water if the hike will take more than one a half hours. Like I said the scenes along the hike were just out of this world. I can't describe them well enough, so the best thing is to show pictures, although I believe that even the pictures don't do them justice. Look for example at this scene from about half way to the summit looking down. You see the lake below and an infinite series of other mountains all around, with blue sky and scattered white clouds. And the rocks that are strewn all around, different shapes and sizes. The whole trail is just littered with all sorts of rocks, some small and some as big as ten story buildings.
The weather was almost perfect but got a little chilly on the way back probably because of my sweat evaporating with the slight wind. The temperature was between 68 to 72 F during the hike, and it was mostly sunny. The mountains were green because only the day before we had good rain throughout the day, so it couldn't be better conditions for a wonderful hike. The last picture to the left shows the rocks I was talking about, and the far away mountains that appeared as far as your eyesight could reach.
There were many people on the trail, and even though the park closes at 5 pm, I found people were still climbing up as I was coming down near 3 pm. Some asked me how far to the summit, and when I said one a half hour they would say: "You're kidding!" I answer: "No", then they ask: "Do you recommend we continue up knowing that the park closes at 5 pm?" and I answer simply: "No!", followed by laughs and thanks, but they continue on anyway. I remember also on my way down, about half an hour from the summit, I met a Mexican woman and her mother, and she asked me: "How far to the summit?" I said: "half an hour", and she said with great disappointment: "really?". The poor woman thought that after an hour of climbing she was almost at the top already. Her mother asked her in Spanish how far, and she answered her: "treinta!" and I could see the disappointment on the old woman's face. I had to encourage them by saying: "You're almost there!" Well I am glad I made it to the summit and back safely. This was a great hike and it might not be the last time to this summit. It is just too wonderful to try only once.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ocean view from Double Peak

I discovered that while climbing up from Lake Discovery if I go to the right I get to a side that has a fantastic overview of the ocean as seen in the picture. I could keep going around the loop to eventually reach the same point after about 10 kilometers. So far this hiking trail has been my favorite because of its scenery and also because of its steep climb that makes for a good exercise. The lake you see in the picture is San Marcos lake. The side of the ocean you see is that of Carlsbad Blvd. It is my favorite beach so far because of its proximity to where we live and because it is quiet and not that crowded.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A day in Balboa Park

I always wondered about that bridge that I pass by when driving on I-5 in downtown San Diego. It is so high and looks old which indicates there is history behind it. I found out yesterday that it was leading to Balboa Park, the famous landmark of San Diego. You can park your car near the entrance and take a free red trolley that takes you to the center of the park where you will find various museums and a Japanese garden among other things. The highlight of the park is the cultural exhibit which represent a different country each week. This weekend it was about India. If you continue walking you will reach a bridge that leads to the zoo in about ten minute walk. At the end of the park you reach the museum of man, where they have a collection of instruments of torture that were used in the middle ages. At that edge of the park you find the bridge that you pass under when driving on I-5 I was talking about.
The picture you see above is near the bridge of a park area where a couple of weddings were taking place. See how huge the tree is. Overall it is a nice park but needs much more than the couple of hours we spent there. The park hours go well into the evening up to 8 pm, and some places continue to 10 pm. But soon in the winter the hours will be shortened to only 5:30 pm. There are some restaurants and cafes there but nothing special. The picture you see on the left is at the visitors center. Overall the park is a nice place to spend a day in the weekend, and it is worth it to stay from morning until evening. The museums are not free but the admission to the park itself is free. Tickets to the museum of man cost $12.50 for those who are interested. There is a 3-D movie theatre in the natural history museum, and an IMAX theatre in the science museum. I saw also a space museum, but I suspect that any of those would come near the museums of the Smithsonian in DC.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

On to Mission Trails

Mission Trails Regional Park is in San Diego, CA. You start from the visitor's center in One Fr. Junipero Serra Trail rd. Then you can choose any one of the trails to climb the nearby mountains. The first time we went there we just hiked along the paved road, and then visited the old dam. That dam was built by the early Spanish mission to the area who could not rely on the San Diego river for their crops, so they thought of the dam idea and that helped them flourish. The dam was built from Granite and mortar stones and we saw remnants of it still there. The next day we climbed up, and the picture shows the scene from the top of the mountain. It is a steep climb, and they say you could see rattle snakes around but we did not see any. The snakes don't like humans in general and would run away from their noise, but even had we met any they would not harm us, unless of course we attacked them first, which we would not have any thought of doing so. For our luck we had Santa Ana weather, which is very dry and hot weather. Other than that it was a nice hike, and I recommend it to everybody who loves nature.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

On Lake Discovery

So we took a trail that starts from Discovery Lake in San Marcos and ends at Double Peak. We had to go through some houses on the way, and then we climbed the mountain until we reached the paved way that led to Double Peak Park. Last time we climbed up to Double Peak from the other side through Double Peak Drive, and that was a short climb, unlike this side. The total hike time was about one hour and fifteen minutes both ways. I liked it except for the part about having to cross through private homes along the way. There were bikers along the trail, and also some runners. Mere walking was more than enough for us thank you very much. The scenery was nice as usual. All the trails we tried so far have magnificent scenes along the way whether on the beach or by the mountains and lakes. Much nicer than the trails in Phoenix where all you see is desert-mountains, or Iowa, where all you see is fields of corn. I am sure there are many more to explore, so I will be posting more as we try them one by one.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Daring Mt. Woodson - Part 1

Mount Woodson is at Lake Poway, in Poway, CA. The hike to its summit takes about 2 hours each way. We didn't know it took that long when we started the hike last Sunday at around 10:30 am. We reached a point where we had about 2 more miles to go but we had already walked one hour and we had to go back because we had another chore to take care of. That is why this post is part 1, because I am determined to reach the summit another time, and that is going to be part 2. So for part 1 suffice it to show a picture of Lake Poway from along the trail on the way to the summit of Mt. Woodson. The scenes are spectacular as you can see, but of course there will be an even more rewarding scene at the top which will be deferred to part 2. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hike at Double Peak

Double Peak park is in San Elijo at San Marcos, CA. Today was a hot day with temperature near 90F. This was the first time we go to this trail at Double Peak. We started our hike upward on a very steep path and it took us about 20 minutes to reach the top. From up there, a nice view of the city of Marcos was in view. We started descending from the other side of the mountain, which took us to a nice view of a lake, I think it was San Marcos lake. Then we found ourselves at a blocked path with at least three different paths going different directions. The first one took us to a main road (San Elijo drive), and since we did not park the car there, we returned and took another path, which took us around the mountain, and I knew we were going the right direction as my GPS indicated, but since it was too hot and we ran out of water, we decided to return to the main road and find our way from there, which happened to be about 9 minutes walking on San Elijo drive to Double Peak drive where we parked our car. It took us about another fifteen minutes to reach the car finally. It was a good reminder that we should be grateful to have a home and a roof above our heads to protect us from the burning sun. After all we returned alive and that made us quite thankful in the end.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

La Jolla glider field

We went to La Jolla by scenic drive and discovered this glider field where you could fly either alone or with a trainer. The valley underneath is by the beach and the wind really blows lifting the gliders to fantastic heights. We saw them gliding across for miles and miles. Such a wonderful experience I guess, and I would like to try it some day. I will look more into it because one is supposed to get some sort of license to do that and some membership. We also wanted to explore the beach below, so we went down all the way which took us at least 10 minutes, and to our surprise we found people totally nude down there. There was no sign indicating that was a nude beach, but I bet you authorities don't bother going down there to check. Of course after the first shock we scrambled back to the path up which took us another fifteen minutes to get out of that nude niche of an isolated "private" beach. So if you want to try gliding beware of the downhill beach below.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunset Cliffs by Point Loma

Sunset Cliffs national park is at Point Loma, San Diego. What is the significance of Point Loma? It is landing place of the first European expedition in California and therefore it is considered the starting point of where California began. The cliffs are breathtaking as you can see from the picture. A nice trail goes along the cliffs but you have to be careful as many parts of them are unstable and dangerous. At one of the cliffs I saw teenagers jumping from a height of several tens of feet down to the sea, which is quite daring. I almost wanted to do the same but then I remembered I am no longer in my teens. Anyway, it is a nice hike and I would do it again if it wasn't that far and the traffic can get really bad in that area.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite

Fourth of July was a Thursday, and we went to Mammoth Lakes town near Yosemite national park. The town itself is a lovely ski resort and had wonderful scenery all around it. The next morning we drove to Yosemite through the Tioga road, which is a two and a half hours by itself. The road is quite scenic all the way, and then we saw the first falls after the intersection with Hwy 140. But the Bridal Veil Falls was the magnificent scene, and although you don't see the falls themselves, you see me coming back from there in the picture. The temperature was in the nineties, during the day, but in the evening is cool in the sixties. Some of the things you see there are: High Sierra, Granite Cliffs, Sequoia Groves, Half Dome and the Valley. Nice lakes and rivers, and scenic hiking trails everywhere. It is a beautiful place to visit, but as usual one day there is hardly enough. Camping there would be nice. Maybe next time.

Sunday, June 09, 2013


The IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Symposium (MTT-S) this year of 2013 was held in Seattle, Washington. One salient feature of Seattle is the Space Needle shown here. Another landmark is the Rainier mountain (can you identify it in the picture?). This picture was taken by a professional at the Space Needle with a blue backdrop, and then behold, they attach the backdrop you see in the picture. It beats any iPhone pictures I took. The weather in Seattle was OK, but nothing compared to San Diego area. We were lucky that it was sunny, which is quite unusual in Seattle. We were quite grateful we were not rained on during that week. They say that Seattle residents consume more sunshades than any other place in the USA per capita. That is because they can never remember where they kept them the last time it was sunny. So this is the great northwest they talk about. I don't care much for it. I think I got spoiled living in San Diego. To me I think there is no better place on earth than San Diego area.

Monday, May 13, 2013

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego zoo is one of the nice ones I have seen, and actually has a Panda in it. It has all the other usual animals like giraffes, hippos, elephants, lions, tigers, camels, zebras, monkeys, various aviaries, reptile house, insects, petting area, and so on. Last time we enjoyed watching the hippo walking under the water. It is quite an interesting animal, and one of the most aggressive ones. The hippo is a herbivore and there is a symbiotic relation between it and certain kinds of fishes who cleans its teeth and also eat its feces. The hippo has to surface above the water every five minutes to breathe, and this happens automatically, even if it is sleeping. The Panda eats only one food, bamboo shoots. What an interesting food to eat. It must have very strong jaws to eat such a woody meal every day.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Hiking in Carlsbad

In my quest to find new trails for hiking I went to Carlsbad which has some of the most beautiful scenes in Southern California. I thought there were bound to be some nice trails there, and I was right. If one merely walks up the streets there it is so beautiful with up and down hills that are as good as any trail one would wish for. Look at the scene in this picture, it was taken near the intersection of Palomar Airport Drive and El Fuerte Rd. The hike took about one hour, which is a very nice walk and exercise. As for the weather, it is the most beautiful weather in the world, similar to the Mediterranean weather, but even better. If you want to enjoy beautiful scenery and weather, go to Carlsbad and walk.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Elfin Park Hike

Today we went hiking in Elfin Forest park. I was with a group of youth and a few adults (parents) like myself. The trail started at the bottom of the mountain, and it went up gradually all the way to the top. It was not easy but not too hard either. It took 35 minutes to climb up to the top where there was a beautiful scene of a lake and surrounding mountains. We could see the city of Escondido from far away. Beautiful scenery. There was a light drizzle as we were hiking, and it did not stop till we were done, but still it was fun and we all enjoyed it quite a lot. The altitude at the bottom is about 530 ft. At the top it is about 1200 ft. So we climbed about 750 ft. in 35 minutes. Not bad. Of course coming down was not that easy either. Actually it is more difficult that climbing up. We could see bikers going up and down with mountain bikes as well. Man, that is painful, especially coming down, hoooo weeee! The address of this place is 8833 Harmony Grove Rd., Escondido, CA. Check out on Google. It is cool.