If you are lucky enough to live in the Southern California area, you have an over abundance of mountains and hiking trails to fill your days every weekend all year long. If you are on travel or a visitor, then you are in for an adventurous treat. What a privilege it is to have access to 4 great local hiking trails in San Diego!
There are several activities to do in California as the climate and culture is conducive to so much activity even in your own back yard at times. Fortunately, in California, there are not really any bad days of weather, so you can basically go on an adventure anytime, any day of the year. I like to go on my hiking adventures on sunny warm days so that I can capture some of the best views and the brightest skies with my cameras.
Great Local Hiking Trails
Here are some great hiking trails that are full of beauty and challenge, yet low to moderate level hiking for those who might be novice.
1. Iron Mountian
Iron Mountain: 6 Miles Elevation 2601 feet
You’ll find this trail head to this beautiful mountain at the intersection of CA- 67 and Poway Road. On the day we hiked it, we had a cool and slightly windy, yet sunny day with a little bit of moisture haze. The entrance to the trail contains an iron awning that you walk through on a dirt path, then it takes you through a tree tunnel to get your mind set for adventure.
You will continue upward and encounter several rocky switchbacks that lead you to a majestic 360 panoramic views. You can even see parts of downtown San Diego. Some of the hike can be challenging and you may find yourself huffing and puffing on parts of it, but the challenge to reach the summit and the end result is well worth every step!
2. Mount Woodson
Mt. Woodson: Backside Trail: 4.1 Miles Elevation 1220 feet
Mt. Woodson is probably one of the most popular of the 4 great local hiking trails in San Diego. We decided to hike the backside trail to see what Mt. Woodson was all about. Especially since we wanted to enjoy a more moderate level trail and not over do it for the weekend. This is a beautiful trail and even more spectacular with a gorgeous sunny afternoon too. Parking for this trail is actually along CA-67; and it can be busy so be careful and be patient in looking for space to park.
The trail begins with easy groomed walkways lined with shrubs and tree shadows. Then you will soon encounter steep inclinations as it reminded me of being on my stair stepper at the gym. I definitely experienced a little heavy breathing, but that’s my kind of workout.
Once you reach near the summit, you will see radio antenna equipment and towers. Just slightly past that area is the infamous Potato Chip Rock, and if you hike during the weekend you may encounter a waiting line to step onto the thin appearing but steady rock piece that looks like a potato chip. This trail receives a lot of visitors; both local and foreign.
3. Bernardo Mountain Summit
Bernardo Mountain Summit Hike: 7.1 Miles Elevation 872 feet
This is an interesting trail that includes a biking option and a walking/biking bridge that stretches across conservation areas. It has plenty of trees and creeks, as well as a picnic area with the sound of birds and water flow of a stream.
Some areas of the trail flow at the lower crest of homes and properties. Some of the trail includes easy and smooth to lose rocks and gravel reaching to small tree and shrub tunnel paths. When you reach the summit, you will enjoy the beautiful views of Lake Hodges and tons of rolling hills and other mountains. You may also hear the sounds of speed boats in the distance.
4. Black Mountain Nighthawk Trail
Nighthawk Trail: 5.3 miles Elevation 1210 feet
This trail is located near and around the Black Mountain hiking trails and free parking is available at the Hilltop Community Park, as well as restrooms. This hike is scenic and somewhat noisier. Once you have hiked about a mile into the trail, the sounds from the freeways and park are far in the distance. I consider it a moderate hike with gradual switchbacks leading to the summit, however, much of the trail is comprised of lose rocks and can be a little tricky.
Take extra caution with every step to not twist an ankle or slip. You will also see areas of housing construction in the process in some of your views. But for the most part, the rolling hillsides and landscape are quite breathtaking.
The summit views are quite beautiful, be aware as you reach the top, however, there are large tower antennas and structures to pass. This hike is great for weekend wandering and exploration.
If you are always searching for adventure and activities to fill your weekend or if you have visitors in town; these hikes are fantastic to explore! They have an easy to moderate level rating, and the trails offer spectacular views and interesting landscapes! Go out and enjoy these 4 great local hiking trails in San Diego today!
THE STATE OF HAWAII
Guest Blog By MFD, Hawaii resident. Hawaii is the fiftieth state of the United States. It is also our youngest state, having joined the Union in 1959. The state of Hawaii is annexed by the United States in 1898 as their territory. This is the Islands of Hawaii Uncovered.
Hawaii is very unique because it is made up of eight islands that lie in the Pacific Ocean 2390 miles west of the California coast. The group of islands is also the farthest away from any other body of land in the world.
The islands that make up Hawaii include the following; beginning north and moving south:
- Kahoolawe, and
- Hawaii, most often called Big Island so it is not confused with the state of Hawaii.
Eruptions of under sea volcanoes thousands of years ago, results in the islands of Hawaii uncovered. It is noted that the first Polynesians to reach Hawaii sailed from the Marquesas Islands around 750 AD. Heavy migrations from Tahiti came during the 12th and 13th centuries. Without compasses, the voyagers travel in huge 60-80 feet long canoes and could hold up to fifty people. They use the sun, birds, fish, stars and moon as their map.
The Long Journey
The voyagers’ journey takes them over 2000 miles and many end up lost at sea or die from starvation. They take along with them pigs, chickens, dogs, and plants. The early Hawaiians introduce many plants to the islands including taro, bananas, breadfruit, coconuts, sugar cane, yams, sweet potatoes, and mountain apples. At that time, Taro is their principal food crop similar to our potato.
An English explorer, Captain James Cooke, discovers the Hawaiian Islands in 1778. On Capt. Cooke’s third expedition to the islands, the natives slay him during a fight. When he first arrives on the islands, chiefs rule the territory and in 1782 King Kamehameha is the lone ruler, and remains ruler for seventy-seven years.
Three more rulers will follow his reign until the monarchy is overthrown on January 17, 1893. The rulers’ abode is Iolani Palace on the Island of Oahu. This palace is the only royal palace in the United States. Read more about Capt. Cooke and his death here:
Missionaries from New England arrive on the islands in 1819, led by Rev Hiram Bingham. It took them five months of sailing to reach the islands. They came upon the Big Island first.
During the the 19th century, Whaling is a big industry but when that waned, the natives turn to agriculture. Read more about Hawaii’s whaling history here. Sugar led the way. Rice is another crop in Hawaii and is necessary to feed the Asian population who arrive to work the sugar cane fields. You will sometimes find former sugar cane factory buildings and land today leased to local businesses such as soap factories and retail stores.
Hawaii is the only state that grows coffee of which is grown on several of the islands. More than one-third of the worlds’ commercial supply of pineapples is grown on the islands. In 1901 James Dole “the Pineapple King” founded the Dole Cannery and it remained active until 1991 when it was closed. These yellow buildings on Oahu are now converted into a retail center and the Regal theaters state-of-the-art 18 plex. Macadamia nuts, bananas, and papayas are also grown on the islands and exported.
However, Hawaii’s economy is driven by tourism, the military and education. 7.6 million tourists come annually to Hawaii. Eleven military installations are on the islands, most being on Oahu.
There are no racial or ethnic majorities in Hawaii. Everyone is a minority. Caucasians (Haoles) constitute about 34%; Japanese-American about 32%; Filipino-Americans about 16%; and Chinese-American about 5%. It is very difficult to determine racial identification as most of the population has some mixture of ethnicity.
Brief Hawaii History
In the beginning years of Hawaii’s birth, ethnic groups, besides the Polynesians, came from China, Japan, Portugal, Korea, Philippine Islands, Puerto Rica, New England, and Samoa. You might be asking yourself how did all these groups communicate. By speaking “pidgin English” which combines lots of different sounds and even today you can find people living in Hawaii who speak pidgin. The Hawaiian alphabet is made up of only twelve letters. The vowels a-e-i-o-u are the same as ours; consonants are h-k-l-m-n-p-w. Some words that you might be interested in learning are KA-NES (man), WA-HIN-ES (woman), KEI-KI (child), ALOHA (love, hello and good-bye), MA-HA-LO (thank you) and HA-LE (house).
There is habitation on seven of the eight islands. We will begin with NIIHAU, the northern most island. This is a privately owned island by the Robinson family and residents are mostly pure Hawaiians who live simply. The population of the island is 230 and the size is 69 square miles. Their principal industry is raising livestock. Tourists are not allowed on Niihau. Legend says this island was the original home of the goddess PELE. Early Hawaiians have many superstitions and worship idols. Learn more about the culture and people of the island of Niihau.
KAUAI is the second island of the chain and is the fourth largest. It is referred to as “The Garden Isle” due to all the plush vegetation and beautiful flowers. Kauai receives 488 inches of rain annually and this water falls off Waialeale Mountain, forming the Waialua River. This river is one of five that you can navigate and this area is considered the wettest spot on earth. Tourists can take a three-mile cruise down this river and end up at the Fern Grotto. Another large river, Waimea River is slicing a miniature Grand Canyon through the colorful lava slopes and canyons. Reds, browns, and greens subtly color the 2,857-foot-deep gorge . Another attraction is Spouting Horn where the sea pushes up through a shoreline lava tube.
According to local legend, the sorrowful moaning sound is made each time a geyser shoots skyward is the crying of an unhappy lizard trapped in the tube long ago. During this time, the people of Kauai make their living by growing sugar cane and raising cattle on ranches. The first sugar mill for processing the cane into sugar is built on Kauai. They also harvest “sea salt,” scooped from shallow ponds after the seawater had evaporated.
OAHU, 3rd largest island, lies south of Kauai and is known as “The Gathering Place.” The island draws more visitors to Hawaii than any of the other islands. Honolulu is the major city, the capital of Hawaii and has a population of 905,034. It is the nation’s 11th largest metropolitan area. Honolulu also has a harbor. It is also the sight of Iolani Palace where the kings and queens lived.
Honolulu spreads over 25 miles of the leeward shore and inland onto the ridges and valleys of the Koolau Range. There are two mountain ranges – Koolau to the windward or eastern side and Waianae Range to the west. This island is where the well-known naval base Pearl Harbor suffered the surprise Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. The Arizona Memorial rests in the harbor to remember all those who gave their lives that day.
Other points of interest that visitors enjoy are Diamond Head, a mountain formed from a volcanic eruption and Waikiki Beach, the most visited beach by tourists, which lies within the city of Honolulu.
Get to know Hawaii in and out and visit 100 Best Things To Do In Hawaii
Surrounding the island of Oahu are world-renowned beaches including Waikiki and North Shore.
MOLOKAI, is known as the most Hawaiian Isle as well as “ Friendly Isle”. The island is formed as a result of two major volcanic domes. The tableland called Mauna Loa at the western end, which rises to only 1,381 ft, is the first to build up. The jagged mountains in the northeast, topped by 4,940-foot Kamakou, are formed later by the East Molokai volcano.
A much younger volcano, Kauhako, created a flat tongue of land that juts out from the north coast, isolated from the rest of the island by fortress-like cliffs. The east end is a tropical rain forest and part of the island receives 240 inches of rainfall annually.
Rural with low tourism
Most of Molokai is still a rural landscape. Not many tourists travel there. Molokai Ranch Wildlife Park is home to rare African and Indian animals. At one time, Kalaupapa was home to a leper colony where Father Damien devotes his life to the victims. The 4 ½- square-mile peninsula is isolated by pounding surf, a rocky coast, and steep lava cliffs. A unique way to visit isolated Kalaupapa is to ride a mule down the steep, switchback trail that is the only land route to the settlement.
MAUI, known as the “Valley Isle”, was formed by two erupting volcanoes at different times in history.
Maui is the second largest island at 727.2 square miles. Haleakala Crater is on Maui and is the world’s largest dormant volcano. Haleakala,” House of the Sun”, has the highest elevation of 10,023 ft on Maui. The crater is 7 miles across and 2600 ft deep. It is said that temperatures on the bottom of the crater rise well above 100 degrees.
The state bird, the Nene goose; almost extinct one time, lives here. You will be most fortunate if you get to see one when you drive to the crater top. Also protected here is the silversword plant.
There is so much diversity of beauty on Maui and it is the second most-traveled-to island. Besides the Haleakala Crater, other famous attractions are the old whaling town of Lahaina, Kaanapali Beach and Golfing resorts, and the road to Hana. You have not experienced it all until you have driven that 55 mile winding, narrow, road to the quaint little town of Hana. In early Hawaii times, sugar cane is the leading livelihood for centuries. However, in 2010, the last of all the sugar mills in Hawaii closed on Maui.
LANAI, the small island, just a half-hour flight from Honolulu, was once the “pineapple island”. It is also considered Hawaii’s most secluded island. The island is the remains of an old volcanic peak that rises to more than 3000 ft. It is an island to explore with scenery that ranges from forested ravines to an arid plateau and cliffs that drop steeply to the sea. Norfolk pines are densely planted in areas.
Lanai is no longer the pineapple island. Recently, the CEO of Oracle, bought 98% of Lanai. He left the 2% for the locals to live on. However, he does have good plans to develop the island into a vegetable and fruit producing state. Another interesting fact about Lanai was when the CEO of Microsoft rented the entire island and even the air space above to have his wedding there. Hulope Bay is a marine preserve and considered one of the best diving spots in the world.
HAWAII, “The Big Island” is the largest island at 4,039 square miles. It is the youngest of the island chain formed 800,000 years ago. However, it was the first island discovered by voyaging Polynesians and also the first reached by the missionaries. Among the five volcanoes that form Hawaii, two are still active. Mauna Loa, largest active volcano in the world, ended a 25-year quiet period with a summit eruption in 1975.
Lively Kilauea, down on Mauna Loa’s southeast flank, puts on fiery shows, sending lava spilling all the way to the sea and adding more land area to an island already almost twice as large as all the other islands combined. It is the world’s most active volcano. The added land has formed the Black Sand Beach. With a recent massive eruption in early 2018, many residents are evacuated and property is destroyed. Here is a current update on Kilauea.
Two of the tallest mountains in the Pacific – Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa – dominate the center of the island. Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world (measured from its base at the ocean floor). It rises 13,796 feet above sea level and extends 19,680 feet below for a total of 33,476 feet. On a sparkling day, Mauna Kea is clearly visible from the city of Hilo on the Big Island. On the snow-blanketed Mauna Loa, the world’s biggest telescope is housed, along with more scientific observatories in one place than anywhere else in the world.
Nuts and Orchids
The Big Island has the largest contiguous ranch in the US with around 480,000 acres of land. The Island of Hawaii is the worldwide leader in harvesting macadamia nuts and orchids. The southern most point in the US is Ka Lae on the Big Island. There is a constant 27 knots per hour wind blowing east to west, 24 hours per day and 365 days per year.
The weather on the islands is tropical but the climate can be different depending on altitude and weather. The islands are cooled by northeasterly trade winds.. Rainfall comes with those winds also. October – April are the wettest months with May – September being drier and warmer. A distinctive feature of Hawaiian climate is the small variation in temperature range – winter months average 77 degrees – summer is 83 degrees. Hottest recorded temperature was 100 degrees in 1931; the lowest was 12 degrees on Mauna Kea’s peak.
Hawaii is the only state that has never recorded a below-zero temperature. With the drier and warmer temperatures comes more risk for a tropical cyclone. The latest recorded big Hurricane Iniki is in 1992. She caused more damage than any other hurricane. Iniki hit Kauai on September 11, as a category 4.
Why We Love Hawaii
What would you guess are favorite pastimes and sports in Hawaii? Hawaiians love the water and beaches and on weekends you will find beaches filled with tents where people spend the weekend just to be near the ocean to swim, boogie board, surf or water ski or build sand castles. And don’t forget about the endless number of amazing hiking trails.
Some of the largest waves have been recorded at North Shore beaches. The surfers take full advantage of these waves on Oahu at Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach awaiting for The Eddie each year. Another outdoor favorite activity is hiking and exploring all the gorgeous landscapes of the islands. Enjoy this video of the many cool things to see or visit in Hawaii.
Hopefully, you will have the chance to experience Hawaii for yourself too! I highly recommend a visit to one of the islands at least once.
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The many reasons to include Epsom Salt Baths to your fit lifestyle today. Here are a few.
The healthy benefits of taking Epsom salt baths are tremendous. I just can’t say enough positive things about Epsom salt. And actually, it is not really a salt as it is a naturally occurring mineral compound of magnesium and sulfer. Epsom salt is not only a great remedy for sore aching muscles and ailments, but is also used for many household and beauty uses.
You can also add a cup of Epsom salt in a quart of cold water to make a compress and apply with a washcloth to relieve mild sunburn, mosquito bites, and bee stings. I’ve also put a couple tablespoons of Epsom salt to my outdoor plants and flowers to add some healthy supplemental nutrients to them.
But plants and gardens aren’t the only beneficiaries of Epsom salt. It helps ease stress and also relaxes the body. As well, it relieves pain and muscle cramps, reduces stiffness and soreness in joints . As described in seasalt.com studies show that Epsom salt can help regulate electrolytes in your body, ensuring proper function of muscles, nerves, and enzymes. It also mentions that proper levels of magnesium and sulfate increase the effectiveness of insulin in the body and can help lower the risk or severity of diabetes.
Maintaining proper levels of magnesium in the body also can provide some great sleep! The amount of people with magnesium deficiencies is significant. According to pubmed.gov, nearly half (48%) of the US population consumed less than the required amount of magnesium from food in 2005-2006, and the figure was down from 56% in 2001-2002. Full article:
So, if you are one of those people who experience limited sleep, you may want to try the warm Epsom salt baths, as well as ingesting foods that contain higher levels of magnesium like greens, nuts, raisins, and flaxseeds. Read complete article here:
UPDATED: Since we are all rediscovering home at this time due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, I think you may find this article interesting and you may remind yourself that home may actually be where your heart is.
Do you find yourself unhappy and continually complaining about everything at this point in your life? Have you ever considered your surroundings or where you live might be affecting your attitude? Occasionally, I find myself complaining about the weather, nasty neighbors, noise pollution, this is what I went through growing up in one of the coldest states in America (North Dakota). There are studies showing that health and loving where you live are possibly connected.
Change of Seasons
Every year, I used to dread the winter season that seem to come too quick. I knew that by August 1ST, leaves on the trees began to turn yellow in color. In my mind, this means it is the end of my precious beloved Summer. And the beginning of life indoors; wearing several layers of clothing, and doing very little physical activity.
There are several people who love fall and wintertime. There is so much to do and it can be extraordinarily beautiful. For example, snow capped mountains, or a sunset on a flowing creek surrounded by snow. Winter season reminds me of my childhood mostly, which is wonderful.
What Makes You Happy
As an adult, I do prefer to live in areas with warmer climates. Life seems so much easier in warm comfortable climates. I find myself so much happier, more active, and enjoying my daily life more in the Spring and Summer seasons. But there are many people who love the change of seasons as well. There are plenty of folks who love the change of seasons. Although my entire family lives in colder weather states, I will always choose warm weather living.
I am discovering however, as I grow older, the more I appreciate the seasons. I actually love the Fall season. I enjoy seeing the colors of yellow, red, and orange on the trees. The crisp air also brings a sense of new beginnings and excitement for what the future holds.
Happiness = Healthy
This begs the question, do you love the place where you live? Does being happy contribute to improved or better health? There has been many studies done on these very questions. Is loving where you live connected to being physically healthier? According to Livescience.com, a gallup poll says that people satisfied with their community are physically healthier. And continues to say that a survey can’t draw a causal link between community and individual health, but research suggests the two are linked. Read complete article here:
You may also want to put high regards to ‘community’ when choosing where to live. During tough times or tragic events, the folks in your community can really be strong support. We recently moved to a new community in Florida, and the folks here have been so gracious, friendly, and very welcoming. It truly does give you a sense of safety, security, and a loving home.
The next time you find yourself feeling down or unhappy, you might consider your environment and surroundings. You might also take the time to appreciate where you are. Find the beauty of the place you are right now. Rediscover your home and community, especially during the tough times. But if you are planning a move, make sure to think about the things that make YOU happy. Including climate and weather as well as community!