Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lake Cuyamaca, Julian, San Diego County

Lake Cuyamaca, Julian, San Diego County
One of the popular mountain retreats in San Diego is the historic gold mining town in Julian. Less than 40 miles from San Diego Bay, is the Cuyamaca Mountains which has the second highest peak in San Diego County, next to Warner Springs. The town of Julian, which is an official California Historical Landmark, is set in the Cuyamaca Mountains. Julian experienced a gold rush in the 1860s
Stonewall Mine- California's most productive Gold mine
( in 1893, $2,000,000 of gold mined in this site only with a 30 ft shaft - and that $2M was 117 years ago)
and while people were trying to wrestle gold deep beneath the Earth, another man in the name of James Madison brought a wagon loaded with young apple trees, and they flourished in the mountains. Today, the gold mines have been closed and is now part of protected archaelogical sites of CA State Parks, but the apple industry flourished.
Fallen Apples on the trail @ Lake Cuyamaca
Julian is now more famous for its apple cider and apple pie industry. Though the gold industry is now but a part of California's history, but every autumn, the oak leaves turn a crisp gold surrounding the closed gold mines.
The Gold are now in the Leaves
Historic Stonewall Mine Trail
I have never witnessed the Cuyamaca Mountains at its best, when its slopes were richly adorned with lush oak and pine forests. In October of 2003, someone got lost in the trails of Cuyamaca Mountains, he started a fire for rescuers to see him. Driven by Santa Ana winds, that fire burned out of control, burning more than 280,000 acres of land and claiming several lives. All of Cuyamaca, but the area around the lake got burned from the cedar fire. Sadly, the thick forest disappeared, except for those which surrounds Lake Cuyamaca and the forest closer to Julian.
Thankfully, the forest around the lake and Julian were spared from the 2003 cedar wildfire
Though I have failed to see the lushness of the forest in the Cuyamaca Mountains prior to the 2003 wildfire, but the serenity of this place continues to inspire me to go here maybe twice or thrice a year. Lots of wildlife can be seen early in the morning and late in the afternoon. It is fun to see wild turkeys strutting their stuff.
Wild Turkeys
Lake Cuyamaca is also popular for bird watchers. Ospreys, hawks, turkey vulture, and other migratory birds are often seen hovering above the oak and pine forests or silently looking for trouts on the lake. Deers are often marching in the meadows early in the morning or late afternoon as they move from the desert to the mountains. Lake Cuyamaca is popular for fishing, especially in autumn as the water starts to cool down. There is also 3.5 miles trail around the lake, and more than hundreds of miles of trails at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.
Fall Curtain @ Lake Cuyamaca
What actually inspires me most each time I go to Lake Cuyamaca is being able to witness the sprouting of a new life after a scorching fire.

Leaves Growing Back on almost Charred, Burned Trees
Though it feels sad to look at the charred trees, yet it is also uplifting to see how life goes back in them. It is inspiring to see how nature takes care of our beautiful yet very delicate Earth.
Orchard Farm Near Lake Cuyamaca
A visit to Cuyamaca, reminds me of how we, just like nature, can pick up the pieces and move on with life.
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  1. You're giving me such a beautiful tour, with gorgeous autumn colors..Fabulous photos!

  2. Another amazing place to visit in San Diego. So sad about the forest fire, but at least it's starting to grow back. The golden oak leaves are just beautiful!

  3. these are my favorite lines of yours here wonderwoman-
    "...being able to witness the sprouting of a new life after a scorching fire,"

    "...we, just like nature, can pick up the pieces and move on with life."

    I love the photo of the fallen apples! and the Orchard Farm!...all of 'em actually...

    plus the header! and the background...everything...thank you for sharing your joy betchai! mwah!..i wish that i could someday visit...

  4. Wow...2million in such a small space? A very productive indeed and I guess most of them have gone right? :p

  5. Nice colors here Miss Beth...
    I like the egret... I was never able to take close-ups of these birds in the wild even though they are also abundant here...

    My favorite though is the pic with the fallen apples... :)

    Indeed nature's ways are amazing, it can regenrate life even to scarred tissues...

  6. I am not sure if I've been here yet or not, it looks familiar. And boy is it beautiful.

  7. Oh dear! So many apples on the ground! Your photos are eye-opener, betchai. Must be very fragrance there!

  8. i like that.. the words ..pick up the pieces n move on

  9. Gorgeous views, and beautiful photos! I love all the colors in this post..

  10. Julian is always a tourist haven to enjoy fall foliage and the apple industry.

    I have never visited Julian, but a peek of your photos show the how you can enjoy the beauty of nature.

  11. Julian is beautiful. I never heard of its history. Thanks for the lesson.

  12. "A visit to Cuyamaca, reminds me of how we, just like nature, can pick up the pieces and move on with life." - very well said Beth.

    If given a chance, would love to go there with Mond and watch the birds. Mond loves birdwatching and photography. :)

  13. Betchai, it is truly beautiful there. I know it is devastating to see the aftermath of these fires - you've had so many in southern CA and in the San Diego area. I remember once, going down to Carmel and Monterey and doing the 17 mile drive after they'd had a forest fire. It is gut wrenching to see the destruction these fires cause.

  14. Lovely pictures, Betchai. I especially love the last one with the blazing red leaves. It would be neat to find some gold while you were hiking.

  15. I like apples better than gold anyway! Lovely pictures, as always.

  16. I love the color of the foliage. We don't have it here in Pinas, as well as the apple trees and falling apples.

    The lake looks so serene.

  17. From gold to apple cider, what an incredible journey through this historical place! Gorgeous photos!

  18. Fall in San Diego is awesome too. Love the splash of color.

  19. Beautiful trail, Beth! I love the composition of Khai's shoes amongst the fallen apples! Lovely composition! Your photos are full of fall's warm colors! I love fall. Thank you for taking us on a tour, Beth! *hugs*

  20. I enjoyed looking at all the lively colors everywhere.