I am so excited to share that I purchased a California Explorer Pass! Yay! This allows me to park for free at the participating California State Parks. For my first adventure using this pass I chose to go to back to the Palomar Mountain State Park.
The last time I went to Palomar Mountain I tried out the Doane Valley Nature Trail on a cold and foggy day. This made for some rather neat photographs but I really couldn’t get a good idea as to what my surroundings really looked like because the fog was so thick in places. Even with the fog blocking some of my view I was in awe of my surroundings. I knew I would have to go back to try out one of the other trails.
Today’s hike was a wonderful seventy degrees with clear skies so it was perfect!
Kirsten and I pulled into the parking lot to find a family of deer hanging around the Palomar outdoor school buildings. They were quite a ways away so the pictures I took didn’t come out very well but it was really cool to see them just hanging around and doing what seemed to be their morning routine. I also am excited to say that there was a peafowl hanging with them as well! I have a thing for peacocks…I didn’t see the peacock but seeing his lady friend was just as exciting for me!
The Thunder Spring Trail is a loop trail that covers a few of the other trails I wanted to explore in one fell swoop. The Thunder Spring Trail starts to the left of the Doane Pond and turns into Chimney Flats Trail which then turns into Scott’s Cabin Trail. Scott’s cabin trail will take you right back to the pond and parking lot. Tah Dah!
The Doane Pond is quite pretty and extremely peaceful in the morning. There were only a few cars in the parking lot when we arrived around 7:30 AM but we didn’t see or hear anyone for the majority of the day. Standing next to the pond you could hear birds splashing in the water, a very loud bullfrog croaking in the reeds, and what seemed like six different types of birds singing their morning song to welcome the day.
We walked around the left side of the pond around to the start of the Thunder Spring trail. We followed the trail to meet a rather large gray squirrel. He stopped by the stream for a drink and tolerated us making baby voices and weird sounds at him while we took pictures of him. I have never seen such a large squirrel before. It was very neat to watch him in his hometown. 😉
There are a few things to be cautious of while hiking this trail. There are a lot of bugs so spray yourself from head to toe with bug spray before starting your journey. It would be good to bring the bug spray with you in case you need to reapply it. I did not bring or wear bug stray. 😦 Bugs kept trying to fly into my ears or land on me. Flailing my arms about like a ninny was not the best way to spend my day so I will for sure be more prepared next time. We also spotted some poison oak along the sides of various parts of the trail. It was easily avoidable so we managed to steer clear.
In the following video you will see some of the beautiful scenery as well as me encountering an invisible spider web and tripping over a tree root! Enjoy! 🙂
I bought a GoPro recently. This was only my second time trying it out. The last time I had it mounted on a selfie stick; this time I chose to wear it on my head. As a result, the above is what I looked like for this hike! #nerdyforthewin
Squirrels, chimp monks, and blue jays were constant companions for pretty much the entire trail. The chimp monks and the blue jays seemed to be mocking me. I could never get close enough to get a picture of them. 😦 Even though I couldn’t capture the critters forever with my lens, just being there surrounded by such magical storybook surroundings was enough to make me happy.
I have found that part of the joy of hiking is not how fast you are able to complete the hike but how much time you spend enjoying your surroundings. There is something about going out into the wilderness and just unplugging that breathes life back into me. Usually after my hikes I am tired and recharged at the same time. It is a rather odd feeling to be both tired and energized but I can’t explain it any other way. Besides, that’s what power naps are for!
Scott’s Cabin Trail has apple trees planted here and there. Some of them were rather large with apples on them!
There were so many beautiful evergreen trees that I had to stop and take picture with a large one.
Kirsten was extremely excited to see a section of the trail surrounded by tree stars! 😉
We got back to the pond around 10:30. By that time there were several people around the lake picnicking or fishing with their families. It is always nice to see other people enjoying the outdoors.
This hike did not disappoint! Wonderful fresh air and 9,780 steps of fairy tale magic!
Until next time, happy trails!
Yes, that is a mosquito on top of the flower!