This past Saturday, I joined my Meetup group on a local photo hike. I enjoy going out on my own photo walks, but it is also fun to join an organized group like Southern California Photography and Hiking. It's a great opportunity to meet new friends with common interests, get out and explore a bit of the back country, and throw in exercise along the way.
Many of this group's photo hikes are in San Diego County, and I tend to favor those for an occasional weekend day trip. It had been several months since my last photo hike, and I was excited about another Julian hike. It was perfect topless weather...for my car. Once off Interstate 8, the scenery shifts to oak and pines, rolling meadows, and bursts of wildflowers.
I pulled off at Lake Cuyamaca for a quick stop before cruising into the quaint town center just in time to meet the group at Julian Pie Company.
Resisting the urge to buy a bag of apple cider doughnut holes, we then headed a short distance from town to the Volcun Mountain Wilderness Preserve. Julian is home to many apple orchards to support its famous pies, wineries and B & Bs.
We paused for a quick group shot while still relatively cool and relaxed. Julian artist James Hubbell designed the gateway to the preserve.
We elected to take the Five Oaks Trail up the mountain, the scenic alternate route, to take advantage of more shady spots to rest. I didn't know this was considered a moderately strenuous hike, but hung in there when a few decided to bail and go back into town. Stopping to take frequent photos gave me a chance to catch my breath!
We spent a moderately strenuous but leisurely few hours making our way to the top, and then took the Summit Trail down the mountain in less than an hour.
The rewards back in town included a burger and beer on the shady patio at The Julian Grille and a boysenberry apple crumble pie to take home.
I'm disappointed I will miss the next hike on Santa Cruz Island, but just can't see driving to Los Angeles at 5 a.m. on July 5, the morning after Coronado's awesome July 4th celebrations!