Hiking into the mountains is definitely one of the most refreshing things I’ve ever done. Getting up at sunrise and taking a short three-hour trek to the top of a giant hill is something I wish I could do more often. Much better than waking up to flat ground and the sounds of cars and loud music.
When we were on our epic road trip last summer, we visited Mount Woodson, which is located in San Diego County just west of the town of Ramona.
More added bonus: early summer means that temperatures aren’t too high, as well as more flowers like this wild poppy.
You also get to see lots of lizards sunning themselves in the early morning, including these fence lizards (which we now know are also Cowles prairie lizards).
Or you could see tree lizards (which I didn’t see once in a tree during the entire trip).
Added bonus of hiking up certain mountains: paved paths. I love trails, but when you’re just doing a quick morning jaunt it’s nice to have a firm footing. We also found some families that were hiking. One father hiked all the way to the top racing his daughter and wife; on the way down, he asked us to tell his family that he said Hi from the top.
You may also get lucky and see one of these in the morning (if you’re so inclined to enjoy them from afar):
A red diamond rattlesnake. We actually heard him well before we saw him. We were about half a mile down the trail when we heard him start buzzing. We looked up and saw two guys trying to get a picture of him by poking him with a stick from a foot away. Hint: you should not do this. Mind you, this snake was a good three feet long at least.
We did ask them what they were doing, and they were embarrassed enough that they left it alone. By the time we got up there, the snake had settled down enough that we could take a picture of him ourselves (from across the trail, of course; no need to make him any angrier since he was just trying to mind his own business).
We also got to see several species of hummingbirds and hawks, but my camera is not equipped to handle flying things. It likes things that hold still (like snakes and lizards).
Try to identify at your own risk, though if you can ID a hawk from flight, you are very talented and deserve a cookie.
Once you reach the top, you can see down to Poway, which is a very pretty view. We definitely plan on returning here next time we’re in California.