Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mount Laguna in San Diego County

Welcome to Cleveland National Forest
 The views were pretty specatular
 Where the mountains meet the desert
Such a small speck in such a big place
Over 100 campsites!!! So many options!
Campsite #83
Home sweet home, yes I brought bedding 
Dusk is my fave
Dinner prep!
Wrap it up and toss it over the flame.... what they call a hobo dinner
Cooking dinner
Hiking on the PCT
Almost to the top!
 Not the most flattering, but I made it to the top!
Endless views

Mt Laguna camped: Friday August 14, 2015 for a night
Campground: Laguna Campground
Hiked: Garnet Peak 4.4 miles round trip

I've been meaning to write a blog about my last camping trip but I haven't had time! So here it is. Tim and I decided last minute a few weeks ago to go camping for a night in Mt Laguna, which is in San Diego County. Not too far away, but such a different world down there, it didn't feel like we were in San Diego anymore. It's about an hour and a half drive from Carlsbad. We took the scenic route through Julian to get there, Mount Laguna which is in Pine Valley is located in the Cleveland National Forest overlooking the Anza-Borrego Desert.

As we drove out there Friday afternoon, we stopped in Julian for some groceries and made it to the Laguna Campground around 6-6:30 pm. This campsite has over 100 spots (even one that is wheelchair accessible!) so it wasn't too hard to find a spot to set up camp. Laguna Campground has first come sites, and so does Burnt Rancheria, which was our back up. Both campgrounds are $22/night. We were also able to buy wood from the camp host for $6/bundle to build ourselves a campfire! A few perks with Laguna Campground are flush toilets that were not overly stinky, showers, and hiking trails close by!

We decided to make chicken and yellow bell peppers over the fire for dinner that night and it turned out amazing! I had my doubts since all we did was chop up raw chicken and bell peppers, seasoned it, wrapped it in foil, and put it directly over the fire pit, I didn't think it would cook all the way through... But we left them over the fire for a good 30-45 minutes and they turned out perfectly cooked:) We also threw some corn on the cob over the fire and those turned out just right as well. Shortly after dinner, we roasted marshmallows, stared at the massive amounts of stars for a bit and retired to bed for the night.

The following morning, we decided to hike up to Garnet Peak, which was less than 2 miles from the campgrounds. We ate breakfast and packed up camp by 8:30 am. First we went the wrong way on Sunrise Hwy when we left the campground, but after talking to a ranger at the visitor center that wasn't too far from where we started, we found our way to the trail head at Penny Pines. It's between mile marker 27 and 27.5. This trail was a hot one! No shade whatsoever. The hike wasn't too long either, 4.4 miles out and back, but it felt longer in 95 degree weather. Even though it was dying hot out by 10:00 am, we still enjoyed the hike. There were endless views of the Anza-Borrego desert to the right of us and the sparse forest of the Cleveland Forest to the left. It was so strange to be hiking in the mountains, and then it just drops to rolling desert floors. Roughly 2 miles of the trail is the PCT, too bad it's not starting season, we'll have to come out here during spring to cheer on the thru hikers next year.

A very short camping trip, that was less than 2 hours away from home, and a short hike to go with it, makes me a happy lil camper:)

Until next time Pine Valley!

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