Momentous, Not Calamitous

Ah yes, that feeling of the first morning after the time change. The pro? This…

Good morning March 9. You look good. For now. I realize you will turn into clouds and rain later, but we need that, so I’ll accept it. It’s my 53rd birthday today…a suitably prime number. I’ll accept that too.

The sheep where we stayed this weekend.

The man picked a place within walking distance of a few wineries…one was closed until July, though, and the road for a few of the others was a little iffy, but we did it. The first one, Highland Valley, came with Nate…

Dogs are always a plus for us. They have a nice, small, personable setup with a great view…

And we carried a bottle away for later. We actually stayed in an Airbnb directly across from here (not that house…that house was crazy huge).

We found out later that I actually knew someone down the road from where we stayed, three houses down, and I’d been there years ago, but it was all avocados then…now it is more grapes. The fires came through here unfortunately. We saw some evidence of that.

Poor Nate. Works so hard.

A good winery has something that brings you back besides the wine, eh?

Not a lot of greenery yet…

There was an actual barn owl in that owl box, but the sun was right behind it, so I couldn’t get a picture of it.

I am regretting our delay in getting an owl box up, because the owl has left and I’ve heard the mockingbird a few times. No mockingbird. Want owl instead. Does not keep me awake with his/her gentle hoots.

We walked back to where we were staying to drop off the bottle and grab a backpack. The next winery was further out…this is where we met the property’s cat…

We persuaded her to stop before leaving with us…and walked the mile to Domaine Artefact.

It was much busier, more of a business and less personable. But they had food and we needed lunch.

There was another one in the area, but at that point, we decided to take a break. It’s supposed to be a 1-ounce pour for a tasting, so maybe the equivalent of two glasses of wine at that point, but I’m guessing they were more than that. Plus a 2-mile hike in there. So back to the residence for the man to nap and me to read my book.

This is the road we were walking on…recently resurfaced with no lines…so not the safest in the world…

It was fine in daylight. Probably they don’t expect people to be walking it. Certainly we were the only ones. I’m laughing about it, but it was fine.

At night we headed out to Cordiano Winery, which was huge and very busy. We found a table and had some wine and dinner…

And then headed outside for another glass and a chilly view. They have blankets and these guys…

So we were fine. Back to the home base for sleep…we had planned a trip to the Safari Park in the morning, but the man was feeling like he was coming down with something (no fever, so probably not COVID-19, but he still didn’t feel well), so we had breakfast and headed home to try to catch up on stuff (laundry, groceries, email)…the children missed us.

Maybe. We had dinner at my parents, where I received this mutant cheesecake slice…

Hopefully a portent (momentous, not calamitous) for the year. Hey, cheesecake is pretty good no matter what it looks like. I cannot complain. And then yes, I did grades. And answered school emails. Then I sorted all those pieces I finished cutting last week…finally!

Kitten was not assisting. I find cats very unhelpful in most stages of quiltmaking…all sorted.

I made it to bed a little early, although the time change confuzzled my brain and wouldn’t let me fall asleep. Gotta love a new day with not enough sleep! My faithful companion…

I did a little wool stitching that I can’t show you before I went to bed. I’m up now. School today. My birthday includes a 2-hour staff meeting, which seems remarkably unfair. Then exercise and someone else making dinner. I’ll refrain from grading today, out of respect for myself, and then will start ironing! Which is exciting, I must say. May the 53rd year have a lot of art and beautiful landscapes…

Mule Hill Trail to Raptor Ridge

I spent about 3 1/2 hours this morning hiking Mule Hill Historic Trail in the San Dieguito River Valley to the beginning of the San Pasqual Valley Trail, going through Raptor Ridge (over? through?) on the way. The trail map is here, if you’re interested. We started in Escondido off of Sunset (across from the mall), and there happened to be a very small farmers’ market taking place, so traffic was a mess. I’m fairly sure I did a hike out of here over 10 years ago, but going the other direction, under the freeway towards some hill on the other side.

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This is part of the Coast to Crest trail, which will eventually be 55 miles from the coast near Del Mar to Volcan Mountain near Julian.

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We didn’t do the whole thing…went 5.9 miles out and back. I guess the whole thing of that section is more like 24 miles…11.8 seemed plenty for one day.

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It was a little on the warm side, certainly in the high 70s/low 80s for part of it, although there was a decent breeze, and the clouds kept it a little cooler. You could totally feel the potential for nasty summer heat baking up off the dirt when the sun was shining down on the eastern side of the ridge, though. I mean, this is February.

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The skies were amazing today.

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The trail is mostly flat and fast through the valley, although there is a lot of competition with mountain bikers. In general, the bikers are good people, respectful of trail rules (everyone yields to horses, bikes yield to people). We didn’t see any horses today, although they are allowed on the path.

There is a section of the trail that travels next to farmland, mostly strawberries it looked like.

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You can see the plastic covering some sections. When you get further out into the valley, you can see the beginning on the left of the hills that lead into Raptor Ridge, which peaks out at 1000′ in elevation (not super high, eh?).

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There were very few trees on this trail…so very little shade. Summer would be difficult.

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Once you get out of the valley and start climbing into the ridge, there is some green and trees to shade you for the first part…

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This is also generally where the mountain bikes disappear. It’s a one-track trail at this point, and it climbs fairly steadily from the valley up to about 600′ elevation, maybe a little higher. You can see the San Pasqual Valley from this section.

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In the beginning of the hike, I was out in front with about three other hikers. It was a really big group, about 36 people, and it was just too many people and too loud for me. I guess when I’m out in nature, I want to actually BE out in nature. I don’t mind talking, but it was just too many live bodies in one space. At this point, though, when we started to climb, somehow I ended up being first, so once I got into my rhythm, I just kept going.

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They’re all strung out on the trail behind me…not too far behind…

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More of the San Pasqual Valley, sort of towards the Wild Animal Park.

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I wasn’t trying to be antisocial. I just find it hard to hike slowly. Or behind people who are slower than I am. Or in huge groups of people. Sigh.

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There are a few viewpoints on that side of the ridge…this is looking up to the peak, although apparently the trail doesn’t go up there…you have to bushwhack it.

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We kept going around the ridge to the San Pasqual Valley side looking for some mythical bench that never appeared. Once we realized we had hit 5.9 miles…this is where you remember that however far you hiked out, you still have to hike back…the organizer decided to have us go back to the viewpoint.

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So we did…took the obligatory group photo and snacked a bit. After about 10 minutes of drying the sweat off your back and eating something, a couple of people said they were taking off, so instead of being a social butterfly (I’m not), I took off after them.

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I was kinda tired of hearing boys tell girls to “work it.” Sigh. Sometimes. People.

There’s the rest of them at the viewpoint…they never did catch up with us…to our credit, we were moving pretty damn fast.

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It only took about an hour and a half to get back to the parking lot…about 5.5 miles

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I eventually caught up with the three ahead of me (garter snake on the path stopped them for a bit, just to move him out of the way) and hiked out with one of them, who is a high-school teacher…so we had lots in common. That was pretty much the only conversation I had.

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I do better in smaller groups. This is a pretty easy section of the trail, even with the climb up to the ridge. Certainly, you could wander the river valley for a while with kids or dogs and have a good time, turning back when you’re ready, although I suspect it gets quite warm sometime in June or July through late October. Someday I will do the next section, across the San Pasqual Valley…maybe with someone to pick me up on the other end. I can do 12 miles…not sure I can double that though. The hips and knees eventually complain.

It was a good workout, a good day for it. Not sure where my next hike is…I don’t have one planned for another 3 weeks…will have to see if I can do something before that.