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June 05, 2017

Del Mar Mesa Preserve - San Diego Urban Hiking

After a week in Mexico and 3 weeks of house guests and with RoadTrip 2017 delayed a week, I thought I’d take advantage of the cool Monday morning and the June Gloom to take a little hike at Torrey Pines Preserve.  The needles of the Torrey Pines turn upwards to capture the dew and there is plenty of that this morning.  But I have the windshield wipers on as I’m about to get off I-5, this is way past dew!  Turning east on CA-56 I look to at least get out of the mist.

CA-56 follows the north rim of Los Peñasquitos Canyon.  I’ve hiked the west side before so I'll go over several miles to Black Mountain Rd and look for an alternative entrances.  Ta-Da - there are lots of places to drop in off Park Village Road, only Camino Sur has facilities (porta potties at the park).
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The trails are marked, but I do not have a map, I took the map above off the internet after I returned.  I have not hiked to Del Mar Mesa before so this is a great serendipitous find for this morning.  I find I am on Powerlines and just over a mile to the Los Penasquitos Canyon waterfall, which we hiked last.  The blog is HERE.  The trail is called Powerlines for a reason, but at least I’ll be able to find the way back.
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The trails within the canyon are wide and easy hiking.  The green grasses of spring are replaced with fields colored California Gold.
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There’s still color on the hills and I see the overlook at Del Mar Mesa while continuing the short distance to the waterfall.

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On the canyon floor the fields of grass are still rich green near Penasquitos Creek.  Along the creek there is poison oak, not at all uncommon in San Diego.  I’ve yet to see another person on the trails, but I do see a tiny jack-a-lope hiding in the grass.  The grass and dirt provide a near perfect camouflage, but the ears give him away.
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Not much of a waterfall despite our wet winter, but this is SoCal and flowing water is not a year round treat.
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The bench is in need of a fresh stain, but is a welcome break.  The sign here indicates that this trail system will become part of the Trans-County Trail.
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The side trails leading out of the canyon are not as wide and often used by mountain bikers.  Stay right and if you hear ‘On your left’ step on the trail to your right and let the bikers pass.  I had no more than started up this single track when I hear the call.  I’m not alone as there are a pair of bikers out this gloomy Monday morning.  In theory the bikers should yield, but I would never expect them to.
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This this section leads up to the Duck Pond, where I can hear but do not see the coots.  Do not see any poly wogs either, and have no plans to come back at dusk to see if there are mosquitoes.  Across the pond are the power lines, still heading in the right direction.
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And it is time to start UP to the Del Mar Mesa.  This loop might be better done counter-clockwise, coming down this steep section and returning on the wide open trails.  Who-knew?  There are some nice views from the top, and a viewpoint to check out.
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The view to the east and the west from the view point.
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Returning from the view point I can see where I parked the truck, but not how to get to it.  I am now past the power lines and the nice folks ahead prefer I’d rather not use their sidewalks.  At least they have a nice path around, and it’s probably a shorter route back into the canyon.
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I am finally at my destination, it seems odd this sign is just outside the locked gate and the map is a bit dated, as it does not show the locked gates.
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Also just outside the locked gates San Diego Mountain Biking Association (SDMBA) has installed a bike repair stand.
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I did see some more locals, including a very active beehive and another bunny.
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I was surprised at the number of plants still in bloom.  No wonder the bees were so active.
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I doubt if there was more than a couple hundred foot elevation change over the 4 miles but the diversity in both plant and terrain was amazing.
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