A hike at Cuyamaca State Park

I haven't been to Cuyamaca since I went with my elementary school class for a week of camping.  I happened to notice a guided hike offered on Saturday and we hopped in the car.  There are plenty of places to stop along Highway 79, which connects Descanso with Julian.  These pull-offs are entrances to hiking trails.  Our hike started at the Trout Pond parking area.  These small parking areas are very well marked.

The hike was in conjunction with "Leave No Trace", a group devoted to educating the public about how to enjoy the outdoors with minimal impact on the environment.  One of the things I learned from the short talk that began our hike was that it is important to try to avoid widening trails.  This means staying on the trail, even if it means going through a mud puddle!  Also, avoid marking the trail, unless you plan to collect the markers when you are done.  There were about twenty-five people, of all ages, on the outing.  There were also two park rangers.

The trail was very narrow.  This meant that as you looked over a meadow, you often saw no evidence of a trail, at all.  We had to walk single-file.  The walk was beautiful - through broad, tan meadows and under huge pine trees.  The oaks were beginning to turn yellow-brown, so there was some fall color.  (SoCal is not a great place to see seasonal color.)  It was dusty, however.

We saw deer, turkeys, ravens and waterfowl in the lake.  We saw horses and riders, because we walked near the equestrian park.  I've never shared a trail with horses.  Hikers yield to horses.

We walked about three hours, with stops to talk about the Park and review the principles of "Leave No Trace".  We got a restroom break at Stonewall Mine.  There aren't places to get drinkable water.  We brought three water bottles, but just drank part of one. 

We had great views of the lake, which had lots of coots.  Boating is permitted on the lake, but not swimming.  There is also a restaurant on the lake.

It was a perfect day - we were warm in the meadows, but it was very cool when we were shaded by the trees.  There are so many trails to explore.  It will be fun to return.

A view of the lake near the Trout Pond area

Two deer


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