There are so many beautiful hiking trails and nature walks throughout San Diego County, but one of San Diego’s most popular and well known hiking spots is Mt. Woodson. This hike will offer you plenty of nature viewing pleasure and scenic landscapes.
But the point of interest that captures many hikers is Potato Chip Rock. This narrow, thin looking piece of rock might appear somewhat risky and scary. This is the most popular selfie and photo taking spots on the trail. Here are my captions from this gorgeous San Diego hiking trail.
Mt. Woodson: Backside Trail: 4.1 Miles Elevation 1220 feet
The backside trail is one of two different trails to hike to get to the Potato Chip Rock area. We decided to take 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 was a beautiful trail and we were complimented 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 a space to park.
The trail starts off nice and easy with neat walkways and shrubs and treeline paths. Then there are some steep incline areas as it reminded me of being on my stair stepper at the gym. I definitely encountered some heavy breathing, but that’s my kind of workout. Once you reach near the summit, you will see some 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.
San Diego has such a vast array of things to do, including the beaches, nightlife, amusement parks, and more. But if you just want to take a few hours and explore the outdoors and keep it simple, go check out Mt. Woodson near Poway, California. Directions
Beginning of trail from the backside path, (parking off of Highway 67).
Making memories can be one of the most extraordinary things a person can do. It usually does not involve material items; no hand held gifts, or any fancy cars or clothing. It can however, bring unbelievable happiness and be extremely humbling. Actually, this might be exactly how I would describe my first time weekend road trip to Mammoth Lakes, California. Amazing and more!
But Mammoth, with its neighbor being Yosemite National Park, is not only a place for such incredible outdoor activity and stunning natural beauty, it’s also a place where one might enjoy grazing across the lake in a fishing boat with your father and brother. Or indulging yourself in the fresh air as you and your sister reach the summit of a mountain trail. And even taking in those remarkable landscape and mountain views with your sweetheart.
The amazing beauty in Mammoth is what I remember only hearing about it from friends. They told me how much fun there was to be had at Mammoth and where it is located. I’ve only heard about the incredible amount of activity that one can do there; such as hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, boating, and surrounding yourself with total nature! And of course, people were always bragging to me about how beautiful, quiet, and serene it is in those mountains.
Hence, the mountains were calling..(-John Muir) and then we go. A friend of ours had already planned her weekend road trip to Mammoth and she asked if we wanted to join her; and we said of course, we are all in! So we packed our bags and prepped the car and planned to maximize our weekend filled with incredible hikes, mountain vistas, and relaxing kayaking. Check out these great ways to make your own memories of which you may want to add to your own Mammoth Mountain itinerary.
Seven Lakes Point Loop: Hiking Trail and Views
A. Elevation: 2372 Feet gain, starting at Twin Lakes Campground, it will take you by the bottomless pit and Lava Tube. (This hike is considered risky and dangerous due to the soft and loose gravel).
B. Spectacular views of at least 5 or so lakes.
2. Lava Tube: Hiking and History
Lava Tube is a conduit where lava once flowed, cooled and created a cave-like hole in the rock above Lower Twin Lake. This geologic formation is commonly referred to as “Hole in the Wall.”
Down In The Lower Valley Areas: Reds Meadow Valley
You will need to have access to the lower areas into the valley of Mammoth Mountain via shuttle down to these following areas.
The shuttle route begins at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area’s Adventure Center and makes several stops throughout the valley and begins operating when the Reds Meadow Road opens in the summer, and continues through Labor Day weekend. The price per person is $8 / ticket per day. The Reds Meadow/Devils Postpile Shuttle has provided transit service into the Reds Meadow Valley and to the Devils Postpile National Monument for over 30 years! The parking area fills up quick.
3. Devils Postpile (Rainbow Falls hiking Trail) National Monument:
Devils Postpile National Monument is a National Monument located near Mammoth Mountain. The monument protects Devils Postpile, an unusual rock formation of columnar basalt. You will pass by Devils Postpile on your hiking path down to another spectacular main attraction: Rainbow Falls.
4. Rainbow Falls: Hiking and Views with Waterfalls
Rainbow Falls is a waterfall in the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River.
Additionally, as you continue your hike you may notice the Pacific Crest Trail merging into the trail while passing through this monument. And you will also notice the National Monument lies within the borders of the Ansel Adams Wilderness.
There is also the ‘Lower Falls’ that many folks do not venture further down below. This is a beautiful area where waterfalls are splashing into the stream of which some people enjoy a cool dip in the water or some are a little more adventurous and they jump off some of the lower rock formations. This area is a nice place to relax, enjoy a snack before the hike back up the trail to the top to catch the shuttle to return from out of the valley.
5. Minaret Falls Trail: Hiking Trail to Waterfalls. Minaret Vista
This is a moderate trail located near Lake Mary, California with scenic views. This hike is enjoyable and great for walking and nature trips and bird watching.
The falls are very nice and can be a challenge climbing upward to be close to them. Minaret Falls
East of Mammoth Lakes area.
6. Convict Lake: Kayaking
Kayaking on Convict lake is incredible as you can enjoy the calm and peaceful aspects of quiet and serene lake surroundings, as well as the outstanding views of Laurel Mountain that hugs the lake. This place has an interesting history attached to it as well. Back in the late 1800’s several prisoners escaped from a Nevada prison and fled towards an area now known as Convict creek. Read more about it here:
7. Hot Creek Geological Site:
Pretty but dangerous, this Hot Creek Geological site is an active hot bed of nature in action. Boiling water is bubbling up from the creek bed. Amazing to look at & ponder, but I keep a distance. Located at the bottom of a large volcanic basin, this is an interesting place to see and visit, but you must keep at a distance because the hot creek is dangerously hot and can contain arsenic and other natural substances that can be toxic.
8. The Village at Mammoth:
Enjoy a day of fun, shopping, music, and other events at The Village at Mammoth. Here you will find many events and fun! The weekend over the Labor Day, we attended the Rock N Rye event; of which we enjoyed a few live bands, vendors, morning yoga, and many other activities throughout the weekend! This area is the quaint downtown part of Mammoth and is the home of many highly visited restaurants. We had dinner at two restaurants located in this area (the tourist area), but we later learned that the really tasty dishes were found in food eateries located on the other side of town away from the tourist area.
In summary, if you think a collection of ‘things’ will give you the same reward of experiences of quality time with family or friends in a special place, think again. Memories can not be fabricated, bought, fall apart, or manufactured. I know I will always cherish this weekend with my wonderful husband, and our special friend; Sam who was so gracious in asking us to piggyback on her weekend trip that she planned out and arranged the kayaking reservation and other fun activities!
Do you have any special memory making trips that turned out to be more than you expected? Please share in the comments your memorable trips and if you have experience in Mammoth, California! Thank you again for reading and for all your support! Here are some of my other memory making trips!
Dust infused red-orange sunsets, smoldering red rock canyons, and blue skies with puffy white clouds describe my recent road trip to Sedona, Arizona.
After my previous heart pumping, huffing and puffing, 109 degree hot day hike up Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona, I found myself a little hesitant to trek out there in the desert for another scorching hike. The hike we discovered and wanted to explore this weekend, is Devil’s Bridge.
The name sounds more frightening that it really is. Devil’s Bridge is the hike that offers a shorter or longer hiking route to get to Devil’s Bridge, whichever you choose to enhance your own experience. We added this hike to our list only a week prior and knew we just had to go see it. This particular adventure was a last minute unplanned road trip to Arizona for a weekend wandering excursion. We learned from our research that this hike is rated as not very difficult, and on the easy to moderate scale. But learning about the views from the bridge and the background landscape were something we just couldn’t pass by.
So we proceeded to prepare the car, gathered our food and backpacks, and hit the road on a late Friday afternoon. Of course, we prepared the car and we changed the oil, filled the gas tank, put a gallon of water in the car, and checked air pressure in the tires for safety and we were ready to go. See more info on How To Prepare For a Weekend Road Trip Here:
It was a picture perfect desert evening as we rolled into town just in time to relish the golden sunset that said “welcome to Arizona.”
We got settled in our room at a Choice Hotel, and then awoke early the next morning so we could continue onward towards Sedona. We packed our water, power bars, and lunch, as we were ready to tackle that Devil’s Bridge.
Tackling the hike to Devil’s Bridge first required finding it somewhere in Sedona. So here is a rendition of our highly technical research together with my husbands hand drawn map that worked great to guide us to the trailhead and parking areas.
We made our way north on Interstate 17 and near the Sedona area and finally found the trailhead and parking areas for Devil’s Bridge hike. We were a little shocked to see how heavy traffic was on that Saturday morning in the middle of Summer in the desert. Of course, we do not have an all terrain vehicle to park in the closer trailhead to the Bridge hike, as the road that lead to the parking area was very rugged, steep, and contains many holes and is very sandy. So we parked at the Mescal parking area.
We wanted to take the longer hike to make our hiking experience a little more fulfilling and see more. The hike starting at the Mescal parking area is a little more than 4 miles give or take round trip, so not too bad. It is considered to be an easy to moderate hike.
This is the route that is a little more scenic as well and is great for spectacular panoramic landscape photos.
Prior to reaching the trailhead parking areas, we needed to take bathroom breaks and make sure our water supply was full. So we stopped at the Sedona Library just outside of trailhead parking areas on the two-lane road heading towards Devil’s Bridge hike. It was a very quaint library and a model train expo was going on this day. We peeked in the door and saw very long model train tracks and a moving model train tooting along the tracks set up on several tables!
I did not notice any restrooms or portable potties at or nearby this trail, so make sure you are prepared for these couple of hours out here on this trail.
The trail was mostly simple, smooth, clear paths, and very scenic. Together with quiet, peaceful, and not too extreme heat, it was a perfect setting for hiking to Devil’s Bridge. We captured some spectacular shots of the landscape on the trails.
As you get close to the bridge area, there are a couple steep incline switchback areas that you will need to climb. The boulders and rocks may be hot, so be cautious as you find your grip to help keep your balance and to climb up.
Then at the top you can wander, relax, eat lunch and carefully walk towards the bridge and take the money shot of the bridge or of you on the bridge.
Some people take turns on the bridge, so everyone can have their own photo opportunity of standing on Devil’s Bridge. The day we hiked this trail, there were a handful of people, and the wait out on the bridge was very short. Everyone was courteous and took their turn on the bridge.
Adventure is a trait that many of us have, and when we are curious about something new, we long the desire to go out and experience it. Devil’s Bridge was an awesome experience that satisfied both curiosity and our adventure desire on this unplanned weekend getaway. Life is too short to miss out on an experience because you may be a little hesitant or because of things in the past. Don’t be afraid to try new things and see something new! We are so glad we did! We danced our way onto Devil’s Bridge!
Thank you for reading! Please contact me if you have anything to add or share, I always enjoy hearing from you! Please follow my blog and social pages to read about more adventure and exploration!
The excitement for an upcoming trip can be exhilarating. But it can also be very stressful as you have a million things to remember to do days or weeks leading up to your trip. I, however, have a few extra things I need to do to prepare for road trips due to my auto-immune disorder. I have to plan for meals and food as I manage my disorder through diet that involves more natural ingredients and nutrient dense foods; hence, I have a restricted diet.
Anyway, when we have a road trip coming up, there are several things I do to plan and prepare for an enjoyable worry free travel experience. When I say ‘Weekend Road Trip’ I am generally referring to a trip consisting of approximately 250-300 miles. We usually travel on road trips to Arizona, Palm Springs, or Nevada from the Southern California area. My road trips usually involve a hiking adventure, so this information is geared towards hiking or exploration. One of the most critical things to do to prepare for your road trip is to make sure your vehicle is safe and in good operating condition. Here is a list of things I do for the preparation of our weekend road trip; I start with a vehicle inspection.
Open the hood and glance over the engine and check fluids.
Make sure oil is at good levels
Make sure water is enough for windshield wipers
Bring jumper cables in the trunk
Bring a gallon of water
In case your car overheats while driving. You don’t want to be on the road someplace in the middle of nowhere and your car breaks down and overheats, and you do not have water.
Make sure the oil and oil filter has been changed
Bring a blanket
Bring a roll of toilet paper
Bring a handful of tools
Bring the air compressor. Make sure all tires have the appropriate air in them
Make sure the spare tire has appropriate air in it as well.
Full tank of gas
Hot climate travel – turn off air condition as you incline mountains etc.
Maps if needed (we do not use GPS); good ole fashion paper maps.
Ice chest – ice – zip lock bags of ice to fit in cooler
I found a styrofoam cooler at Walmart for $2.67 and worked great.
Bring lunch meat turkey breast
Enough almond milk for the weekend
Bottles of water
Healthy snacks; nuts, cut veggies, tortilla chips
Energy bars- protein bars
breakfast cereal- cheerios, oatmeal
Hiking Checklist – local hikes or short hiking
Bring enough water bottles to fill take for the hike
Energy bars and nuts
Appropriate clothing for hiking – hot or cold climates
Small compass, small mirror
A hiking partner
Let someone know where you are hiking, if hiking solo
Small tool-Swiss army knife
Research local hiking trails, gather info, trail length, difficulty, etc.
Proper shoes and clothing
Clothing and Personal Checklist
Check the weather to determine to bring lighter or warmer clothes
Jacket or not
Umbrella in the car
Essentials- Lotion (for dry climates), chapstick,
Hats or visors
In summary, road trips can be a little stressful because of the preparations involved and other unplanned items that may come up, but they can also be exciting! Road trips allow you to be more flexible on your trip, for example, you can take a different route returning home than the route you took going to your destination. You can take detours and stumble upon some amazing gems! Here is one of our hidden gems we stumbled upon on our detour return from Oregon going South. We came across a detour from I-5 to bypass the large fires happening in Northern California areas. Check out beautiful Diamond Peaks mountain range.
Weekend road trips are like a mini vacation that allows you to getaway for a short while to rejuvenate, refresh, and renew! So maximize your life and fill your weekend road trip with excitement, fun, and exploration! Open your mind and go out and wander!
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Summer is one of my favorite times of year, so I wanted to compile a recap of some of the most spectacular #sunsets in places I have had the privilege of visiting. In the last 10 months, I have had the opportunity to go exploring and travel a little more than previous years. We seen places that we’ve only talked about and had a desire to visit, and now finally we have made our dream come true. Although there are many places we have yet to see, these sunsets have made for lasting memories and remarkable experiences we won’t soon forget!
Take a look at these stunning places and sunsets!
Some of the most memorable moments are captured during sunsets, make sure you don’t miss out on your next moment! Hope these inspire you to go out and explore and venture for that perfect view and/or #sunset!
Weekends are very special to people, it is considered very valuable time for some. It means taking advantage of time off from work, or it might mean spending quality time with family and friends. The weekend is also perfect for running errands and doing tasks that you weren’t able to do during the week. But the weekend is not only for playing catch up on household work, it’s also great for going outdoors and exploring the local area hiking trails. And hiking on the San Diego area trails are perfect to fill your weekend with fun outdoor adventure!
If you have the desire to make the most of your weekends, here are a couple hiking trails I thought were very easy and interesting. The Santa Fe Valley Hike and the Del Dios Gorge trail heads are located directly next to each other. There is a rock gravel parking area that you can park at no charge, then go and explore one trail and continue on and hike the other; exploring both trails all in one visit. Directions: I-15 to exit Via Rancho Parkway, Go West 3.5 miles, go left on Del Dios Road 5.4 miles, and turn left when you see a organic fruit stand building and veer to the right and continue driving down the road that will lead to the gravel parking area for the trails. DIRECTIONS
The Santa Fe Valley trail is not only great for hikers but you can also bring your bikes out on the trail. There is even a bicycle repair station to use if you need a few tools to do a small repair or simply need to add some air in your tires on your bike. Also, one of the pleasant viewpoints of this hike are the beautiful views of the Crosby Golf Course.
My visit to these trails did not only present striking natural landscapes for viewing pleasure, but I learned they also have archaeological significance. The flood of 1927 apparently exposed countless artifacts of the areas early inhabitants.
Three pre-historic cultural periods describe this region and it portrays a peak at how Native Americans explored through this valley. The Harris Site is noted as one of the most significant archaeological sites on the National Register of Historic Places.
Del Dios Gorge Hiking Trail
The Santa Fe Valley and Del Dios Gorge hiking trails are both segments of the Coast to Crest Trail, which expands 55 miles from the ocean to the Pacific Crest.
One final thought, the next time your weekend is full of an endless to do list, make sure you add hiking and going outdoors to that list. Something to remember; make the most out of your weekend as well each and every day you get. Maximize life by learning, exploring, making memories with your family, and treasure every moment of this life.
And then there were trees Our adventurous expedition continues, as our plan today was to spend time hiking and exploring these massive trees and nature trails. Redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens) are the tallest tree species on earth! And then there were trees, lots of trees. They were big, small, wide, corked, and even drive through with a car trees. Gigantic trees were everywhere you turn. We did get a little tease earlier in our drive as we started venturing through these magnificent specimens starting around a little town called Leggett, California. We browsed our way through Smithe Redwoods SNR, Humbolt Redwoods, and then onto the Avenue of the Giants.
Avenue of the Giants was a peaceful less traveled path to take to explore these natural wonders. This particular area is the greatest accumulation of biomass, which is comprised of both living and dead organic material, ever recorded in a coast redwood forest in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Did you know that coast redwoods are taller than any other living thing! Here are a few interesting stops we made on this tour:
Stop 2: Bolling Grove where many of the redwoods take interesting shapes and sizes.
Stop 3: Visitor Center
Stop 4: Weott
Stop 5: Mahan Plaque is where there have been reports of people seeing an elusive large creature across the road (Sasquatch, Big Foot).
Stop 6: Dyerville
Stop 7: Chandler Grove
Stop 8: Drury/Chaney Grove where a nice 2.4 nature loop trail takes you through these massive species of trees.
We continue our journey north passing through Eureka and arriving into our resting destination of Arcata, California. But before arriving in Arcata, we also stopped for a rest at this neat stop in Klamath, California where a giant Paul Bunyan and Babe statue stood. We went into the museum and shop to browse around a bit and glanced at all the historical photos of characters from the old Wild West including the Indians and other explorers.
We arrived early but yet late enough to check into our hotel and we dropped off our food and personal items, then headed back out to explore a new area. We returned to a scenic spot we passed by earlier to re-capture a few more photos of these extraordinary vistas and views.
After capturing a few eye catchy coastal view photos, we headed back to our hotel in Arcata, and while on the way we stumbled upon a quaint Mexican restaurant while driving through Eureka. We are usually very hesitant to try new places, but it was a sit down restaurant and we thought we’d give it a try. If you have food allergies or food sensitivities, they will do whatever you ask them to suit your needs. They mentioned to me that most of their sauces contain milk, except for one kind and that is what I chose for my Enchilada sauce. The food and sauces were made of quality ingredients. Hence, our meal did not disappoint, and was very delicious! If you are traveling through this area, you may want to check out this restaurant.
After inhaling the scrumptious dinner at Tres Pecosos, we thought we would try to seek out another photo op before the sun goes down. A scenic area for a sunset at the beach and coast area would be perfect. But there were still a couple of hours of sunlight and we were just too tired to mill around until sunset so we captured a few stunning shots and made our way back to the hotel and hit the sack.
Sunset at beach area, near Eureka
The excitement level at this time was through the roof
And we had not even made it to the Oregon border yet. We’ve heard the most wonderful things about Oregon and especially about the coastline and its remarkable beauty. We awoke to a morning full of sun and fresh breezes. It was an absolutely beautiful day in Northern California, and we were ready and set to charge our way into another Redwoods area *Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP area and on into Oregon with our excitement level maxed out at this point. We topped off the gas tank and hit the road running. We also noticed that the California Redwoods parks are considered both the National Park and State Park areas.
This particular area of Redwoods is named for an American explorer, Jedediah Strong Smith, who traveled across the lands of the Sierra Nevada to the Pacific coast in the early 1800s. There is also the Smith River that provides such elegant beauty and crystal clear waters.
Side Note: There are a couple things we noticed as we traveled further north along the coast into northern California, Oregon, and Washington. There are several homeless (or look like they were homeless) folks wandering around the streets, parking lots, roadways and highways. We also noticed several folks appear to live in their vehicles and made lengthy stays at every rest area we stopped at. A few rest areas had posted signs that stated parking in this lot for only a minimum number of hours are allowed or vehicle will be towed. We also noticed that free coffee was offered at the rest stops in Oregon and Washington. Another thing we made a note of and something to be aware of is know where your rest stops or bathroom breaks are. The number of rest stops in California seems to be limited and the ones they do have several of them were closed. This is something to keep in mind as you travel on a road trip through California.
We could hardly believe our eyes As we cruised through the massive Redwood National Park near the Klamath area, and again were in awe. From the enormous trees to the amazing shoreline beach vistas, it was a nature photographers dream.
We finally crossed the California border and into the beautiful state of Oregon. We drove down the roadway for a period of time this morning, and came upon a nice facility that was one of the Oregon Visitor Centers. We used the restrooms, browsed around the shelves full of pamphlets, brochures, and magazines about Oregon. We took a few info brochures, and then spoke with the woman working behind the counter and she provided us a few tips about the scenic stops and photo opportunities along the coast. These are some of those points of interest we made sure to stop and explore as they are described here:
Natural Bridge Cove: Trail
Port Orford Heads State Park
Heceta Head Lighthouse (Viewing area)
A quaint little farming town with an air museum with a large blimp hangar, cheese factories, and agriculture fields.
This little beach town was spectacular and was alive! It appeared quite busy for how small it is. Several folks crossing the roads, on sidewalks, restaurant parking lots were full, it seems this beach town jewel had it all going on! The beach is wide and offers quite a scenic treasure accompanied by the large rock formations and is home to the word’s third largest monolith Haystack Rock standing 235 feet high, home for birding and natural beauty wonder. This coastal area made for incredible filming scenes for several movies and films. Examples include The Goonies, Point Break, Free Willy, Overboard, Twilight movies and many more.
As we departed the Cannon Beach area we felt a little sad, as we really wanted to stay longer. But we knew we had to make our way on to Portland, which was our resting point for the night. We proceeded north on highway 101 and reached highway 26 which took us all the way into Portland and definitely did not disappoint, as it was quite a scenic roadway. We enjoyed glancing at the natural surroundings and tree lined road as well as the open fields as we watched the sun set.
We couldn’t have asked for a lovelier day the next day. We woke up to a beautiful Portland morning and hit the road towards Seattle. We arrived in Seattle a handful of hours from Portland and prepared to make our way downtown to find parking. We pre-purchased baseball tickets to see the Seattle Mariners play on July 4th and it was a blast! The stadium was full of cheer, music, excitement, and patriotism!
Safeco Stadium 4th of July Fly over from McChord Field: C-17 Flyover: WOW!
The Seattle morning offered to us was unbelievable! Full sunshine, blue sky, gorgeous temperatures, and not the Washington temps I remember. (in a good way). (I lived on Whidbey Island, WA 20 years ago).
We walked around the city for a while, then filled the car up with gas and started our return trip. San Francisco was our final stop, return the rental car, and catch a flight home. But of course, before that flight departure, we took in another baseball game and saw the San Francisco Giants play ball! That was certainly a thrill to see! I don’t know how people watch the game when they have such a gorgeous view looking right back at them in the stadium!
Our road trip back through Oregon was sort of a detour path as a result of the fires on I-5 near and around the borders of Oregon and California. Our detour included taking us onto Highway 99 South through several beautiful open landscapes, Mt. Shasta, Diamond Peak Mt., and other gorgeous vistas for our viewing pleasure and an overnight resting stop in Eugene. To cap off the evening, we enjoyed a stunning sunset!
This coastal road trip was truly a remarkable experience for us! I remember always hearing about Highway 1 and PCH (Pacific Coast Highway); the scenic views, landscapes, and beautiful beach towns along the path. And I have only seen photos of places like Pebble Beach (or watching golf tournaments on TV), but for many years it was just a dream or a thought. It is remarkable that I have lived in the West between California and Washington for more than 20 years and have never driven this route. Well, now it’s not just a dream anymore, it became a reality for this wandering adventurer!
Thank you for reading!
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