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January 28, 2017

San Elijo Lagoon–Annie’s Trail and Canyon

Last February I blogged of hiking to the Solana Beach Sand Canyons.   For a very long time this area was known as the ‘Mushroom Caves’ and/or the ‘Sand Canyons’.  The area was dangerous and closed to the public, even when I ventured in last year, with Dave, my local guide.  That only kept out the less adventurous, certainly not the local artists, nor Dave and I.

Thanks to generous donations trail restoration and graffiti removal was completed in June 2016.  The trail is named Annie’s Canyon Trail to honor of ‘Annie’, a long time supporter of the conservancy, but the carvings into the fragile sandstone could not be completely removed.  Today seemed like a good day to revisit.

After checking the San Diego County Parks website to ensure there were no trail closures, there were none listed. I planned to enter from the Solana Hills trailhead, hiking thru Annie’s Canyon and beyond.  Alas Solana Hills trailhead is closed!  The North Rios trailhead is open, so we’ll start from there.
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The trail is wide and well maintained.  There is a lot of native vegetation being planted along the trail and at the entrance to the canyon.
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The one-way loop thru the canyon is not near as strenuous!  HA! The graffiti has been removed, but hand holds, steps and even a ladder have been added.  Still there are indeed some very narrow passages and difficult sections.  This hike remains best done with a partner.

The canyon narrows quickly from the opening.  The slot canyons to the sides remain closed with friendly ‘I live here’ signs.
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Altho the spray paint artwork has been removed the carvings into the soft sandstone can still be seen.  And where Dave and I had to wedge ourselves into the slot there is now a ladder!  Well that first rung is over 3’ from the closest decent foothold.
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The views from the top today were awesome!  No wind and clear sky made for deep colors in the lagoon.
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To the east the trail continues under I-5 the La Orilla (the shore) trailhead.  That would make this a 6 mile loop, but the rest would be level.
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But La Orilla trail is closed as is Santa Carina that we would need!  ARG – this should have been on the website!
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As we return to the Rios trailhead we take our time to follow the shore of the lagoon.  There’s more bird watching to be done and new benches to enjoy the birds and the views.
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Unable to hike to the north side of the lagoon, I decide to drive us there … it’s not really cheating when the trails are closed Smile

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Next up replace the blown duct!

I remain committed to having a sticks'n'stucco  house in San Diego, but finding out this is why there’s no heat makes me wonder!  A blown 9” duct that feeds the downstairs bedrooms and bath.  I simply taped it off while waiting for some 9” flex duct from Home Depot.  At least the rest of the house can now have some heat.
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I'll close with a request for support for Lynne B. who publishes WinieViews, an awesome blog of her travels as a naturalist, photographer, adventurer, volunteer in the US and Mexico.  Her post 'Life turns to a new direction' carries disappointing news from a fellow blogger.  Prayers for a speedy recovery Lynne!




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