Friday, February 12, 2016

Volcan Mountain and Pie in Julian, CA


With highs again in the mid-eighties in Borrego Springs, on Tuesday we gained a little more elevation to escape the heat by heading to Julian and the Volcan Mountain Preserve.


There is quite an elaborate gateway to the trail with very detailed carvings.


Anza Borrego, 20161

The trail up Volcan Mountain is really an old fire road, but we veered off after about a half mile and took the Five Oaks trail. Does anyone know if these are manzanitas or madrone trees?


It was a great place to escape the desert heat, but it was even more windy than the day before in Warner Springs.


The Pacific Ocean is out there on the horizon but it was just too hazy (probably foggy) to be able to see it.


Volcan Mountain was on the list for the Hale Telescope, but it ended up being placed on nearby Palomar Mountain.



The scenery got pretty bleak as we neared the summit, and the wind was even stronger.



But we had great views of the mountians and the Salton Sea, which barely showed up in the photos.



And there were a couple of interesting things at the top, This is an old airway beacon light tower built by the US Post Office in the 20s and 30s for the air mail pilots.




And Chris and Bobbie went down a side trail where they found this great looking cedar bench.





After our 6 mile hike with over 1,200’ of climbing everyone was ready to visit the cute town of Julian for a piece of pie.



This building is a block off Main St. and being offered for $400,000. Welcome to California.


Originally Julian was a gold mining town, but now its claim to fame is pie. (There are lots of apple orchards in the surrounding hills) We had been here before and tried the Julian Pie Company but were not real impressed so Jim checked the Yelp reviews and found that Apple Alley Bakery sounded the best. Bobbie was reading the menu out loud but Mark, Jim, Chris and Suzanne were long gone inside waiting in line to order.



The general consensus was that it was very good pie, but Bobbie said her crust is better.

On Wednesday morning Suzanne, Bobbie and I took one last hike in Anza Borrego from our campsite. We climbed the hills and decided to make our way off trail and come back down through a wash. It was rocky and involved some bushwacking but we found a mini slot canyon and lots of unusual rocks.






The heat was starting to get to us and since we had to dump and get water we decided to make the 50 mile drive to Aguanga to Jojoba Hills Escapees park. All the hookup sites are full so we’re in the boondocking area. It’s still in the mid eighties here but there is shade, and of course the pool and jacuzzis, which we’ve already used, along with the laundry and showers. Can’t beat it for $5/night. Mark and Bobbie and Suzanne arrived yesterday. Today we’re heading up into the mountains for a hike.


  1. Manzanita for sure, nice ones too.

  2. I agree that's Manzanita - at least that's what I've always called it :) Another great hike, but the post mentions pie ??? Apple Mountain Berry? Next to the Julian Hotel Carmen's has a more than decent Prime Rip on Friday, at a Mexican restaurant? You bet! I'm enjoying your adventures.

    1. I had cherry apple pie with crumb crust and Jim had caramel apple pecan at Apple Alley Bakery. They were excellent.
      Didn't try their pie but we bought some excellent bread at Candied Apple Pastry Co. They also have a booth at the Borrego Springs Friday farmer's market.

  3. A friend emailed us and thinks those trees are madrones.

    "What you picture is most definitely a grove of Madrone trees. The Manzanita is a shrub and although similar to the Madrone they are typically much smaller and usually cover an area which might be called a thicket. Some folks refer to Manzanita as "Buck Brush" but that is false."

  4. Hard to believe it's 80 there but then we hiked in high 60s today at Coral Pink Sand Dunes. I'm pushing for Snow Canyon next week.

    All you folks going for pie is making me drool.

  5. The temps are definitely not for those of us that hike. We broke the third record for high temps this week in Tucson. We hit 88 today!!! CRAZY and no breeze! Yesterday we rode bikes and 85 was actually very nice without humidity and the breeze one creates riding the bike path.

    I am ready for a cool turn, but not like the east coast:)

    Pie sounds like the perfect way to end the day:)

  6. Escaping the heat in February. I am clearly in the wrong place. I am afraid we would have a hard time there on pie town not trying every possibility. Say hi to Judy for us.

  7. Those are definitely Manzanita...there are some very large ones in this part of California. Madrones are MUCH larger and have different leaves. I do not believe Madrone grows in So Cal, I have seen them in No Cal and OR.

    1. I didn't think they were madrones but they were much bigger than the manzanita shrubs we're used to seeing. I think I figured out what they are.

  8. Good info on the madrone vs manzanita thing, they were certainly big. In the interest of accuracy it was actually Suzanne who discovered that beautiful bench.

  9. Hiking to a place with line of sight to both the Salton Sea and the ocean - wow! Didn't know about Madrone trees, but we have always called those Manzanita - both shrubs and the taller ones in certain elevations, beautiful whichever they may be. Wonderful carvings on the gate and the bench. I love seeing art in the wilds. Enjoy the Temecula Valley, the Santa Rosa Plateau has nice trails when it's not too hot.