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February 27, 2021

Nobel Canyon - How not to hike it

Noble Canyon is a popular trail in the Laguna Mountain about an hour east of San Diego.  The lower section of the trail is 1 mi west of Pine Valley and 1.5 mi north on Pine Creek Road.  The trail is 10 miles to its upper end at Penny Pines with ~1000 ft elevation gain.

Fran and I have been to the Penny Pines Trailhead in the past.  Never the lower trailhead.  One of Fran’s gal-pals mentioned this was one of her favorite hikes. Sooo...

From the trailhead it quickly ascends for about 1/4 mile over a very rocky section with uneven footing.  Another 1/4 mi of loose gravel, where I tweak my knee, the trail becomes dirt.

The trail passes through a large grove of manzanita, but offers very little shade.

At about 1 mi there is some shade under the oak trees, before again turning to shadeless chaparral.

Just before the descent down to Pine Creek is a makeshift bench.

A nice place to rest as we decide to continue or return.  We have just completed the hardest section of the trail, but it would be wise to return while I am able to continue.

Less than 1/2 mile from the trailhead the knee says no more, yes going downhill is much harder then going uphill.  Just a few more steps and I’m down again Fran helps me get up but I cannot hold my balance.

I made it to a nice shady spot on the trail as Fran went down to replenish our water.

The rocky section was more difficult going down than it was going up.  She was right to think I’d be hard pressed to make it, she dialed 911.

CalFire showed up with 2 trucks and their paramedic unit.  Mountain Rescue brought a gurney with a large center tire for trail use, Pine Valley sent an ambulance and the Forest Service provided a park ranger.  Massive response …

Fran led three paramedics back up the trail, to where I was napping quite comfortably in the shade.  I couldn’t get up, but was otherwise ok.

Initial examination showed no serious damage, then they concentrated on poking/prodding my knee.  They helped me to stand and as long as I kept my leg straight it would hold my weight.  With their assistance through the scree and rocks we all arrived back at the trailhead.

And I didn’t need a ride on their tire.   Kudos to CalFire and all First Responders!

Not sure where we will hike next week, but for sure it will be level!

The upper trailhead at Penny Pines is shaded by pine trees and surrounded by alpine meadows.   That’s the place to start exploring Noble Canyon.

February 08, 2021

Borrego Spring - ABDSP is now OPEN!!

The first week of February has Covid restrictions finally being eased in SoCal.  Outdoor dining is back, the San Diego Zoo and Sea World are again welcoming guests.  And the Anza Borrego Desert State Park has reopened!

We tend to stay close to home on weekends to avoid crowds, as such our week days are usually busy.  As usual this weekend is open and Doug Laning (Miss Adventure Travels), will be in the area until Saturday morning.

We packed up the RV Friday morning for a weekend trip.  As is our custom we take a break at Dudley’s Bakery.  The deli sandwiches are generous and make two meals.  The second half of my Baja Chicken will be dinner.

We arrived at Peg Leg Smith mid-afternoon, where we enjoyed some relaxing, before our 4:30 Happy Hour.

The gathering with Fran, myself, Yuma and Doug.  It was a lot of fun meeting Doug and Yuma.  Our Happy Hour stretched into a couple hours, as we sat around the wash-tub fire pit watching the stars come out and chatting.

Thanks for the photo Doug

Saturday morning we decided to hike up to the snake from this side.  We went up the steep, rocky path at the southeast corner of Peg Leg’s.  It’ll be more difficult coming back down!  We missed a connecting trail and hiked too high and too far west, but could easily see the snake across a ravine.

A view to the east of Inspiration Point.

A bit of backtracking and bushwhacking and TaDah the Great Snake of Clark Lake. 

The snake is big and can be seen on Google Maps.

Every time I’ve been up here there are a few new friends for the snake and his long time companions.

A bunny, or is it a Jack-a-lope?

an elephant

a lizard

We said ‘hasta luego’ to the snake and friends, walking due south to check out any other trail options from Peg Leg.

There’s the RV down there.  And there is a trail!, it’s a bit longer but it's an easier trail than either from Rock House Road or this morning’s rock scramble.

We decided to head up to Font’s Point after we got back.  But first we needed to gas up the Jeep and check on the grapefruit.

Yay, the stand is again open! At $4 a bag (up from $3.50 last year) Seley Reds are still a bargain.

Now we’re off to Font’s Point.  I always like to visit dad when we can.  OMG the crowd!  Never have we seen so many people up there. 

 ARG!  We are not the only ones who heard the park has reopened … A reminder not to go out on weekends!

We didn’t stay long, but took Short Wash over to Vista del Malpais.  A very similar view all to ourselves. 


It will not be a good year for wildflowers, but we did see a lot of the drought deciduous ocotillo making an appearance.


I prefer watching the hummingbirds in the desert.

Over another Covid inspired jigsaw puzzle.

But alas it is back to reality, and getting exercise walking around the puzzle table :)