Friday, March 20, 2015

Morena Butte Trail and Moving On to the Big City

 

DSC00972

 With so many nearby trails to choose from, we decided to stick with the one that Hans and Lisa told us is their favorite in the San Diego area, Morena Butte. We started our hike at Lake Morena County Park, about 20 miles from our free campsite at Viejas Casino. In order to get to the Butte trail, it’s a three mile hike towards Mexico along the Pacific Crest Trail, which is worth it for the views even if you don’t tackle the steep climb up the butte.

DSC00966

The trail takes off with a good little climb, so it wasn’t too long before we had some nice views of what used to be the lake. Unfortunately San Diego needs the water so they are draining the reservoir down to just about nothing.

DSC00939 

The surrounding hillside is dotted with houses that used to have lovely views of the water. I’m guessing their property values have plummeted, since the boat launch is now closed. 

DSC01009

As we continued along we did finally see the dam and what little water there is.

DSC00942

A couple miles into the hike we saw two guys sitting beside the trail. Turns out they were on their second day of thru-hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail, having started at the Mexican border. They hiked 15.5 miles the previous day, with only 2,635 miles to go! A few minutes later another hiker stopped and we had a nice little chat. They said normally around 200 people make the entire hike but more are expected this year due to Cheryl Strayed’s book and movie, Wild.

Little Spoon, Knight Shade, and Perk. Hope they make it all the way!

DSC00954

Another mile on the PCT and we came to this sign for the turnoff to Morena Butte. Good thing it was there, as the trail wasn’t visible.

DSC00962

The steep climb started right off the bat, with rocks to scramble up and over. It finally leveled off a bit, but then would climb even steeper. There were a few cairns to mark the trail but it wasn’t always easy to follow. It was a mile up to the top of the butte, but with a quarter mile to go we lost the trail and would have to scramble the rest of the way up. It was just one of those days, and neither of us had the desire or energy to go all the way up, so we turned back and retraced our steps. It was still a great hike, with lots of interesting and colorful rock formations, wonderful views, and quite a few flowers.

DSC00949

DSC00952

See the duck?

DSC00960 

DSC00980 

 DSC00983

DSC00988

DSC00990

Alpine, CA Viejas Casino

We left Alpine yesterday for a short drive that turned into a long trip to San Diego. I’ll just warn you not to try to get gas in a motor home between Alpine and Mission Bay RV Park, where we are spending the next month. We had to disconnect the car at one point, but still couldn’t get in a gas station for various reasons. Between that and the traffic, Jim was ready to turn around and go anywhere else. Luckily Paul and Nina (Wheeling It) invited us to join them at a couple breweries yesterday afternoon, where we discovered some of the best and most unique beer we’ve ever had. Jim changed his mind about San Diego after Nina said she would tell us which breweries we could just ride our bikes to from the RV park!

Belching Beaver Brewery. With a name like that the beer just has to be good. Although I usually drink IPAs, I ended up having a pint of their wonderful Peanut Butter Milk Stout.

DSC01026 

Brenda (Island Girl Walkabout) joined us a little later with her sweet doggie Angel. Paul was patiently waiting for Nina to photograph the beer.

DSC01029 

Angel patiently waiting for Brenda to drink the beer.

DSC01032

We then moved on about a mile away to Thorn Street Brewery, where the beer was just as good or better than Belching Beaver. Russ and Todd joined us for dinner from the Thai food truck that pulled up in front of the brewery. It was our first food truck experience and it was excellent.

Todd, Paul, Nina Jim and Russ’s back.

 DSC01036

Frances, Russ and Todd’s cute little dog who would not hold still for a good photo. We just love that so many places here are dog friendly, and not just in the outdoor patio area. It should be good month…

DSC01038

18 comments:

  1. no hiking for me for a while. sprained ankle. Enjoyed your pictures thiugh,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear about your ankle. My knee is still bothering me from that hike. These old joints have more and more trouble with steep trails!
      Gayle

      Delete
  2. You are one efficient blogger! Here I am barely recovered from the evening and you've already got pics of our evening. I'm impressed! Glad we got to catch up here!
    Nina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because I am NOT efficient and don't take notes like you do, I have to blog about what we do fairly soon or I forget much of it!
      Gayle

      Delete
  3. The trail looks so nice. I love looking at those huge boulders.

    What fun to meet up with friends and enjoy some beverages. I am sure lots of memories were made that night.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect the beer may impact memory recall.

      Jim

      Delete
  4. Love the PCT. Since I lived in No. CA, I've hiked portions of it. Would love to hike the whole thing if I had someone to go with me. Steve would've loved the beer tasting.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Morena Butte is a wonderful hike but that mile climb to the top is a killer. Once up there, there are three different peaks to explore. We did the trail twice, once with Hans and Lisa and once with our daughter. We both read Wild and wanted to hike a piece of the PCT. But you are right about the scenery being great going up so you don't need to go all the way to the top.

    How nice that you got to San Diego before everyone left and had some fun on the brewery tour:) We loved Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout. I think it my favorite ever. We left the area with ten bottles but only have one left:(

    Enjoy your month there. We enjoyed our month and the fact that we could ride our bikes everywhere and didn't have to take the car.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I so try to Never have to fuel up in a city environment. Heck even the parking lots are too small for my pickup truck. Glad you survived and got to enjoy a few brews with friends.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love all the boulders, sad about the diminishing water. The flowers are beautiful. How great to meet up with those fun folks - and to share some tasty brews. We would be so happy if every place were as dog friendly as San Diego!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yeah, it's definitely a bit rough at the mid point on Morena Butte, but the boulder scrambling is the best part of the trail. I sure do understand that some days it's just not possible though!

    Though we love the Peanut Butter Milk Stout we never made it to Belching Beaver...but we've been to Thorn Street a few times as it is less than a mile from where we used to live. In early December there is a street festival held right outside Thorn Street that we usually go to.

    One reason we like having a 5th wheel, we rarely have to take the rig to a fuel station!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Belching Beaver? What's next, Farting Fox? I like when you end up at breweries, but I don't think I would like Peanut Butter in my beer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, I don't recall it tasting anything like PB but it was excellent. You have to learn to trust me. The Horchata Milk Stout was excellent and I may like it better. Will let you know after I open the bottle I brought home since I only had a taste at the brewery.

      Jim

      Delete
  10. I'm not much of a beer drinker but I would definitely give the peanut butter a go. Did it have a peanut butter taste? Interesting to me that Wild has gotten such a huge reception. There are dozens of similar books written on the AT experience but I guess none of those was made into a movie with Reese Witherspoon. LOL Beautiful pictures of the rocks and the views. But I don't see the duck. Something is the matter with my eyes darn it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't say that there was any taste of PB in the beer. Not sure why they have that in the name. I know that most milk and chocolate stouts, if not all, use milk sugars in the mix.

      Jim

      Delete
  11. Looks like fun, wish we were there!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'll make sure to make the gas station argument if Wayne tries to talk me into ditching the fifth wheel again. Every once in a while he petitions for a Class A but I think the fifth wheel makes traveling easier, the repairs seem to be fewer, not to mention the price tag is a whole lot less for the unit itself. Haven't seen "Wild" yet, but did read the book!

    ReplyDelete