San Juan Loop – Cleveland National Forrest

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Earlier this week my son Connor told me he had joined a hiking club at his high school. You might imagine my shock as he has not been on a hike with me in some time. I will admit I was a little hurt until he told me he thinks hiking is more fun with friends. I simply can’t argue with that.DSC_0264He asked if I could give him and a few of his friends a ride to the trail head. I said yes but then proceeded to beg him to let me tag along. Finally, after two days of begging, he caved and said yes! I even promised not to wear a GoPro on my head! He said that I could but I decided to leave it at home anyway. We brought Brandon along as well.

We were supposed to meet everyone at the trail head which starts in the parking lot across from the Candy Store on the Ortega High Way. We were the second group to arrive. Not long after there were two amazing teachers and several students ready to hike. There were about fifteen of us all together.

DSC_0269DSC_0272We started our hike at 7:30 when the air was quite cold. I was thankful to have brought my sweatshirt. If you plan on staring your hike early in the morning bring a jacket or sweatshirt even if it is supposed to warm up later. It can be quite chilly on the mountain and you will be glad you brought it. I know I was. 🙂DSC_0274

DSC_0276DSC_0281DSC_0282DSC_0283DSC_0284There was quite a bit of poison oak on this trail but it is avoidable if you are cautious.

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Poison oak
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Following the leader
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Dry river bed
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A sign of life through the trees

DSC_0307DSC_0309DSC_0312There is a much longer trail that branches off of this one it is called Chiquito Trail. Watch for future blog posts on this one.DSC_0314DSC_0335DSC_0337DSC_0343DSC_0345DSC_0347DSC_0350DSC_0351DSC_0355DSC_0357DSC_0380DSC_0385DSC_0393

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Time to climb

DSC_0396The water fall off of this loop was currently dry but it was not hard to imagine what it would be like full of water. I can’t wait to come back during the wet season. I think the trail will look very different.

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Dry waterfall
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Top of the waterfall
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I can picture the water

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Our group making our way to the ridge

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