San Dieguito River Park

San Dieguito River Park is comprised of multiple open space preserves and recreation areas that connect the 55-mile long San Dieguito River watershed. Eventually, they will link the river’s estuary (the San Dieguito Lagoon at Del Mar) with its headwaters near Volcan Mountain via the 70-mile long Coast-to-Crest trail. More information can be found on the websites of the San Dieguito River Park and the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy.

My first contact with the park was at nearby Lake Hodges, where I often take walks with Toni and the camera. Later on I found out that other favorite areas of mine, like the two Santa Ysabel preserves, are also part of the river park. This tag archive contains all blog posts with photos from the area.

Winecup Clarkia

Winecup Clarkia (Clarkia purpurea) is another one of those little wildflowers that have probably been around all the time here, but I never really noticed them or paid much attention to them until this Spring, when they seem to be out in much larger amounts than before, thanks to our wet winter. Patches left and right along some local trails seemed to contain nothing else but Winecup Clarkia for a period of time. Continue reading

Grebes at Lake Hodges (8 photos)

The grebes at Lake Hodges are my favorite birds. There are both Western Grebes (Aechmophorus occidentalis) and Clark’s Grebes (Aechmophorus clarkii) at the lake. These two are relatively easy to keep apart – the feathers around the eyes of Western Grebes are black, but white on Clark’s Grebes. In addition to that, the Clark’s Grebe’s bill is brighter and slightly upturned. Continue reading

Indian Milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa)

There’s a spot along the Piedras Pintadas trail at Lake Hodges where Indian Milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa) grows. It’s a really pretty plant (poisonous though!), plus the flowers smell absolutely wonderful – like fruit with vanilla, perhaps. Well, smells are hard to describe. The plant got its name from the white sap that is coming out when a part of the plant (leaf etc.) breaks off. It’s also known as Woolypod milkweed and Kotolo. Continue reading

Spring along the San Dieguito River (8 photos, 1 video)

Heavy rains hit San Diego County on Monday and precipitation varied between 1.5 inches of rain in the desert to 9 inches at Palomar Mountain – for a single storm, these numbers are quite dramatic. Today was the first day that all of the various trails of the San Dieguito River Park were open again, and I was curious to see whether I could see the river proper for the first time. Continue reading

Lost/Anonymous in Fog (4 photos)

In the valley along lower Highland Valley Road (at the eastern end of Lake Hodges, which is more often dry than lake), morning fog often lingers on longer, because that area is shaded by the hills just south and east of it. Other than the willows along the seasonal bed of the San Dieguito River*, there’s not much here except for some bushes – and the portion of the Coast-to-Crest Trail that links the Sikes Adobe with San Pasqual Valley. Continue reading

Frosty Morning (12 photos)

Morning frost in Southern California is quite obviously rather rare, especially at the elevations where most of its inhabitants live. :-) When the weather forecast promised a cold night with frost I was out early to enjoy the results. My friend Tracy joined me on one of my usual morning walks at Lake Hodges, together with little Toni, of course (who enjoys the cold weather tremendously as she’s getting older). Continue reading

Bernardo Mountain (5 photos)

Bernardo Mountain is one of these local hikes that I should have done ages ago I guess – but never did. With the close vicinity of I-15, the most serene spot is the canyon of Felicita Creek, but otherwise the freeway noise is a permanent companion on this hike. Close to the populated areas of Rancho Bernardo and Escondido, it is also a very popular hike for the locals – for someone like me who seeks quiet and solitude in nature when hiking, it’s just not that appealing. Continue reading