Sunset Hike to Cuyamaca Peak

Northwest Views above the clouds at sunset from Cuyamaca Peak near Julian, California. November 2014.

Cuyamaca Peak is the second highest peak of San Diego County, at 6512 feet (1985 meters). It is easily reached via an old (and mostly paved) fire road that leads all the way up to the peak. It’s not a strenuous hike in my opinion – the road is a little steep in some spots, but there are really no difficulties whatsoever if you just find your pace and take your time. It is also the only “serious” hike at Cuyamaca Rancho where you can bring a dog, since it is on a road. Dogs are not permitted on the hiking trails there.

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Tour Through Rain

"Fade to Rain" -- Hills disappear into the haze of rain near Descanso, California. January 2012.

“Winter storm” doesn’t have quite the same meaning here in San Diego that it would have in Germany. Temperatures are still relatively mild, precipitation is often more of a constant drizzle that gently soaks the landscape than what I would call rain. It’s interesting, but also quite unspectacular – unless you leave the more or less immediate coast and drive a little bit further east.

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Winter Drive along Sunrise Highway

A thin dusting of snow on the peninsular ranges at Laguna Mountains contrasts with the dry and arid desert of southern Anza Borrego below. Along Sunrise Highway, Laguna Mountains, California. February 2011.

The diversity of San Diego County is most apparent early in the year. The low-lying coastal and inland regions of the county are lush with fresh green already, and when Spring storms bring more precious precipitation it falls as snow at the highest elevations. In the Laguna Mountains, this brings astonishing contrasts between snow-covered chaparral slopes and the arid desert regions below. The drive along the east-facing portion of Sunrise Highway is highly enjoyable then.

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