Fred and I set out for an afternoon hike at Laguna Mountains – the Santa Ana winds were supposed to die down by 10am on Friday and the forecast predicted sunny and a temperature ~60F up there. Sounds like pretty awesome conditions for hiking, right?
The idea was to do a “three peak” hike, beginning with a warm-up to Garnet Mountain (off of Kwaaymii Point – just follow the old jeep trail instead of the PCT), then to Garnet Peak (which has quite a spectacular drop down to the desert on its eastern side IMHO) and then get a “webcam selfie” at Monument Peak to finish the day.
As we got out of the car at Kwaaymii Point a cold and breezy wind greeted us. The temperature was just as forecast, but the wind made it feel like ~15F colder for sure. What’s worse, when I grabbed my backpack I noticed that I had forgotten my fleece jacket at home! Wearing two polo-shirts wasn’t really good enough against the cold wind and after we hiked a little bit on the PCT we decided that we needed a plan B.
After a quick inquiry to “the good book” (Jerry Schad’s “Afoot & Afield in San Diego County”, of course) we drove back down Sunrise Highway towards I-8 and then hiked down to Cottonwood Creek and its “falls” (which is really just a series of cascades where the creek flows down over some boulders). The tracklog is at GaiaGPS if you want to do the hike.
This is mostly a chaparral hike, in some parts the trail is narrow and you’ll get some scratches if you’re not careful. Be careful at the creek when you’re at the little cascades, some of the rocks get extremely slippery, it’s enough when your shoes are a little wet! Also, the area at the upper end of Un Gallo Flat (where you hike down to from Sunrise Highway) had burned not too long ago so it wasn’t that pretty, but at least we got to see a (sparsely) running creek and I can cross the Cottonwood Creeks hike off of my list of hikes that I haven’t done. 🙂
Some impressions, mostly Insta-flavored as usual for my hiking posts: