Julian’s Warlock Mine

Last weekend, in the rain (and sleet and hail but no snow), we had to adjust our hiking expectations…originally we were going to do a 10-mile hike in Santa Ysabel, but the trail was closed with the rain, so we headed towards Julian’s Warlock Mine. You should go check out the Hidden San Diego website, because they actually found the mine…we tried and found A mine, but not THE mine.

When we got to the trailhead, the wind was blowing about 40-50 mph, but it wasn’t raining, so that was a plus. We managed to get all our gear on (it was registering about 32 degrees out too, so that was a factor in my putting 5 layers on, which is why we all resemble colorful snowmen…seriously…3 shirts, two jackets). We stopped near this “sign” (which was mostly illegible) and sent the men on ahead so the women could have a bathroom break. I have to say, there was no way in hell I was peeing then…it was too damn cold.

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That was a good decision on my part, because here’s where the hail started…

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It’s the beginning of the hike, so we look all happy and excited and fresh. Honestly, this was not a difficult hike with the weather out of the equation…or even WITH the weather. It did rain though. And hail. Here’s a view of the valley below…that’s a road, not a river.

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You can see the water drops on the camera lens. I didn’t take a ton of pictures during the rainy bits because my camera is troubled enough as it is…water just gives it an excuse to behave badly.

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Here’s the processing part of the mine…

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Apparently there were many more structures before (you can see all the leftover metal bits), but the 2002 fire took out all the wooden bits.Apr 26 14 009 small

My attempt at a selfie. I suck at them. It took three tries to get the building in.

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Someone else took this one. Yes, it was cold and rainy.

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The hillside below the processing mill.

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And from up above. Apparently the hill above us is where the mine entrance was. We hiked around a little bit, but couldn’t find it.Apr 26 14 013 small

The weather started to clear a bit at that point. We saw blue sky, the clouds started to lift, the rain stopped.Apr 26 14 014 small

It could actually be a nice day. Unfortunately, Kathy, being the geek girl she is, had already consulted her weather app and knew the rain would start up again at 10:00.

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That was about 10 minutes away, so we hiked and took photos of the plant life.

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And the valleys and mountains around Julian, including the Elsinore Fault, part of the San Andreas Fault.

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The trail is actually really easy.

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I think this was raining again.

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More valley…you can just barely see the mill in the center of the photo.

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For some reason, it was really slow hiking this, mostly because there were lots of photo shoots. I think I had lost my patience at that point and actually wanted to HIKE instead of stroll.

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It’s a fault of mine. Even though I was way ahead, I did stop to take photos of flowers…

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Oh wait, she was ahead of me and stopped to eat her lunch. Notice the clouds coming back in on the left?

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Must be getting closer to 10 AM.

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The flowers enjoyed the rain…

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The cliff sides on this trail were geologically very interesting.

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I never know what the flowers are, but this is a test for Julie, to see if SHE can identify all of them.

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It’s a beautiful time of year on San Diego trails.

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Ah, the OTHER mine we missed on the way down…this is the Golden Gem Mine, totally unsafe and tiny as hell. I did NOT go in.

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I’m not really a fan of mines. I mean, they’re cool and all, but I don’t want to drag myself on my belly in one to see if it opens up.

Here’s another interesting rocky hillside.

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And more pretty views of clouds that are about to kick our asses again.

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At this point, the weather is starting to change again.

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No matter where you go in San Diego, there are yuccas and cactus. At this point, I was way ahead of everyone, and it was raining. A lot. I stopped here to wait, because the sound in the trees of the wind (and eventually the rain and hail) was really nice.

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I waited there a LONG time….long enough to look back and see two different faces in this rock (can you see both of them?).

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Long enough to stare at this tree with roots growing out into the air.

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I think I made some rock piles too, like you do. At some point, I gave up and walked back to another group that was standing and waiting (in the pouring rain) for the last group. Eventually we all caught up and I took off again.

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They’re all strung out behind me. I guess I needed a quiet contemplative space. God knows why…I have tons of that and seem to waste most of it making myself more depressed.

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Rain rain everywhere. Socks wet. Shoes wet. Pants wet.

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Gloves wet. Camera definitely wet.

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So what can I say about this hike? First of all, it’s not long, maybe 3 miles round trip. Somehow it took us three hours (are you kidding me?) to do the whole thing, which is probably part of why I was frustrated. This would be good to go on with kids, as long as you realize most of the mines are not safe to go in (and you have kids who will actually listen). Here’s another article from the Reader about the hike that gives better directions. The best part of this hike is that when you are done, you can go get pie in Julian. We actually went back to Dudley’s for lunch, but Julian IS right there. And if you’re smart, you won’t be 5 layers damp from a whopping rain/hailstorm that dropped wet on you for three hours. It’s probably pretty hot in summer. There are plenty of wildflowers in Spring and none of the hike is particularly hard. There are great rock formations and many interesting types of rocks around, plus you can see the Elsinore Fault across the valley. I’d do it again for fun, a light walk, with pie to follow…if I were hanging out in or near Julian, this would be a good pre-dinner or post-lunch jaunt.

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