Monday, January 13, 2014

Fun Friday: Q is for Quest

A Hiker in Quest for Adventure
It was Fun Friday yesterday once again in our group Blogging For Fun. We are doing an A-Z meme, and this week, we are working on the letter Q! As you can tell I am late ( it is a Saturday now), all because we were on a Quest for Adventure yesterday. :) Friday was the start of my 4 day President's Day weekend, and we love always to spend our time out of the doors, spending some time with nature. Exploring our outside world is our form of bonding. Together, we share the fun of exploring our natural world every weekend or whenever we are on vacation :) Let me share with you our Quest for Adventure yesterday :)
Since San Diego County is riddled with numerous ecotones- which are areas between two adjacent but different geographic regions or ecological habitats, such as forest and desert, our quest for adventure yesterday involved exploring two different words in but one place.
We started our day driving to Mt. Laguna, which is in Eastern part of San Diego County. This was the scenery from the trail head.
 Snow Covered Slopes, Mt. Laguna, San Diego County
Our hike started meandering through pine forest, then, slowly, the pine and oak forest changed to low lying chaparrals, and finally to a more exposed slopes of manzanita and mahogany brush. After that, we did not proceed any further, since it would be a very tough and challenging vertical drop to the desert floor.
end of our hike @ Monument Peak with the Anza Borrego Desert State Park in front of us
At the top, we just enjoyed the expanse view of earth and sky. 
Hiker Taking in the Desert Scenery to His Front
The desert view above is totally different from this mountain view below, both taken at my vantage point yesterday.
Looking Back to Our Trail Head at Mt Laguna
This drastic change in environment creates a very sharp boundary between the geography of forest and desert. This type of scenery however, is not unique to San Diego only. There are a lot of this type of ecotones in the Eastern part of California. 
Anza Borrego Desert State Park
 After this mountain hike, we moved down and took another trail at one of the wild hidden canyons of San Diego County, the San Diego River Canyon.
San Diego River Canyon
The hike started with the view of a waterfall to the North.
Mildred Falls
There were a lot of trails to choose from at the trail head, and we chose the one that will lead us to Cedar Creek Falls. I was excited to see hints of a good wildflower season in this trail, there were already some early bloomers, such us poppies, phacelias and indian paint brush. 
Early Bloomers in the Trail
Strange it may be for some to see snow, waterfalls, wildflowers and the ocean in a short distance, but these are some of the special sights  we treat ourselves for living in California. After a long descent along this trail, we took the left trail that descended abruptly and in some parts through slippery rocks towards the top of the waterfall.  
Cedar Creek Falls from the top
I was too scared to scramble further down the rocks to get a good view of this 90 ft tall, 50 ft wide waterfall from the bottom. Some people brave enough and probably with more experience rock scrambling and bouldering would go down from the top through these slippery rocks and boulders. However, that type of adventure was not for us, since we don't feel like we are really skilled to doing that. We could opt to continue from where it branched earlier, that is go down all the way to the bottom of mountain and turn left to follow the creek, but it was already 3:30 pm, less than 2 hours before sunset. Considering we would have a long way to climb back up, we decided to just go back up to the trail head before the sun sets. As we were heading up back to the trailhead, I entertained myself with the amazing contrast of the blue sky and rock strewn mountain in front of me.
Before reaching the trail head, I saw some reflection on this small puddle of water.  
Mildred Falls (looking very small from afar) and Reflection
It was a great decision to go back instead of continuing down, since when we got back to the car, I could feel my legs were aching and really tired, must be from the snowy slopes in the first hike, and the slippery rocks trying to find our way down of Cedar Creek Falls but did not succeed. Had we gone down, I do not think I would have the energy to go back up.
On our drive home ( going West ), nature continued to treat us with the sun setting in front of us and the colors of the sky were changing. The pictures below were taken from a moving car, thus may not be that very high quality, but just would like to share how nature continued to treat us with wonderful sights after leaving the desert and mountains to go back to the coast.
Peaceful Countryside of San Diego County
Today, as you can tell, I am just resting my legs :) but the day is still long, and we may end up still doing something outdoors before the sun sets.
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  1. You live in an amazing part of the country. San Diego County has it all...beautiful scenery, snow, forest, desert, waterfalls, sunsets plus beaches, wow!

  2. this is a wonderful way of starting my new year..thank you so much for sharing

  3. This is weird, first we have snow....then we have waterfalls. :p

  4. I would love to live in California for its diversity. You get to see so many beautiful places.

    Gorgeous pictures, betchai..and Happy Valentine's day.

  5. I missed the Fun Friday this week. I was also outdoors last Friday.

    As always, your photos are all amazing Betchai... Happy Valentine's Day to you!

  6. The desert & the snow. So much to see with relatively little drive. Have a restful long weekend and Happy Valentine's Day!

  7. Truly beautiful! Breathtaking scenes, amazing pictures. Happy Valentine, betchai!

  8. Quest, good one Betchai. Your state is beautiful, and leaves you with endless opportunities for fun.

  9. The early bloomers caught my attention. It's a sign of life and here in Maine... that's all I want to see... a sign that spring is here. Happy VD.

  10. What an amazing journey! You have some great trails over there!

  11. I pass on the Q post.

    I know the feeling of tired feet! But the reward is so priceless! Isn't it a great feeling to see the sudden change of scenery from powder white to golden brown and lush green? That was our experience.

    Our next quest would be to go up to Devil's Punchbowl for celestial watch.

    Enjoy your long weekend and happy valentine's day.

  12. Glad to know you were able to maximize your 4-day break, and have done what you guys love to do: hike, take photos and enjoy the outdoors! As always, your photos are beautiful, Beth! You are fortunate to live in a place surrounded by beauty!

    Happy Valentine's day to you and Khai! *hugs*

  13. I would love to go on a hike with such varying scenery. There's not a whole lot that's better than a good hike.

  14. Thank you for sharing these breathtaking photos!! I love them all and cannot decide which is my favorite.

  15. Happy Valentine's Day! I love these shots. All are places I tagged in my hiking san diego book that I want to go to as soon as I am better! And snow too! What a great trip. Enjoy your extra days off!

  16. Betchai, Cedar Creek is spectacular. Your photos and stories just make me want to grab my backpack and hit the road - seriously.

  17. There is just so much variety all in one location. The brown mountains look very bleak, though.

  18. Thanks for sharing these pictures. When ever I want to go on an adventure, I just go to your blog. :-)

  19. Your photos are extraordinary, and stunningly beautiful!

  20. breathtaking photos Bethchai, you and Khai are lucky San Diego is beautiful,

    i am glad you and Khai had a wonderful short holidays, i know this is late, but still i want to greet you and Khai a Happy Valentines Day!

    Love yah Kimchai! :)

  21. Take me there! Ohmygosh! So gorgeous and crisp! What a lovely take of the area!

  22. such beautiful sights but judging from the tiring to hike up and down there