Pyle’s Peak Trail

MISSION TRAILS REGIONAL PARK

Activity: Hiking, Peak Bagging

5.5 Miles, 1778’ elevation change, >3 hours duration, rated: Moderate

Date: April 2, 2021

It seemed everyone in San Diego is getting their workouts Friday morning by climbing Cowles Mountain.   The trail is certainly buzzing.  Maybe it is because it is Good Friday of Easter Weekend.  The trail is deliciously rocky and rugged with good incline, but way too many people for my taste.   The second portion of the hike continuing beyond Cowles Mountain to Pyle’s Peak was much more enjoyable with only a few hikers.  I guess that Cowles Mountain being the San Diego High Point is the draw.  

The park calls the hike Difficult rather than Moderate, and I will also add that my personal tracker seems to have added almost another mile and a half in contrast to the information that I had from my app.  I must admit, I took a side excursion to Cowles/Plye’s View Point and with all the cars at the trailhead it was a bit of a hike to the trailhead, which addresses some of the extra mileage.  

Purple wild flowers adorn the mountainside, add a sprinkle of yellow and red here and there and you get the feeling that Spring has definitely sprung.

Besides being such a popular hike the other issue I had is the sights are very urbanish looking down from Cowles Mountain unlike the Fortuna Mountain Trail, that I had taken a few weeks earlier in this same park.  That trail had a more natural and thus Zen like feel, but still Pyle’s Peak Trail is an excellent hike.

Going up Cowles Mountain is a very popular hike. Be forewarned that parts of the trail are quite rugged.
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Fun hike in San Diego, however if you can go mid week do it. It was pretty busy going up Cowles Mt, but it thinned out dramatically from there which is not unusual for hikes. The farther you find yourself ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ the more trail that you will have to yourself. I do want people to be able to experience the things that I experience, to have time to themselves to ponder, to unload some of that stress, and stretch the legs, clear the mind, take a deep breath and smell the sweet wildflowers… just not necessarily at the same time and place that I am, lol. It’s all good and to find more of that good then here is what you need to do: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. Go to the menu above and find a location that you want to find that good at, to get inspired, and live life. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. While you are soaking up all that good you will need a hat and a shirt with the mantra that will set you free: ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. You can find first rate, high quality adventure wear at SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Fortuna Mountain Trail

MISSION TRAILS REGIONAL PARK

Activity: Day Hike, Peak Bagging

6.3 Miles, elevation change 1,364’, duration 3.5 hours, rated Moderate

I was invited by my new trail friend Ahmed to join him and some of his buddies for a reunion hike in Mission Trails Regional Park. Ahmed and I hiked together recently with 3 other backpackers to Bear Camp in the Angeles National Forest. It turns out the buddies were all friends from the Big Apple, NYC, and were now spread out all over the country.

I immediately wanted to head up to the two peaks being North and South Fortuna Mountain. Ahmed wasn’t sure his friends were up for that, but Karl, James and Matt “Ox”, surprised him and said they wanted to see the views from the top. The views from the top were sensational yielding not only a bird’s eye view of the park’s surrounding landscape but Mexico to the South, Downtown San Diego, Point Loma, as well as peaks and mountains all around. The park wasn’t too far from Mira Mar and we saw a couple ‘Top Gun’ Pilots strutting their stuff.

While the hike did indeed feel pretty Moderate in most cases there were a few places, one that had a little bit of scrambling, and another nick named “Stair Way to Heaven” that were probably pushing that envelope. I will note that park signs along the way called the hike “Difficult”. So it may just depend on what sort of shape you are in and like beauty it is in the eye of the beholder. Also my personal tracker said that the trail, Fortuna Mountain Trail was closer to 8 miles.

This was my first time to Mission Trails Regional Park and I have to say that I was impressed. This is a great area to get out into and experience some of the wonders of nature. From easy broad dirt paths to steep rocky trails, from peaks with fantastic views, to a little oak tree grove in the bottom of the canyon- there is some nice variety to enjoy. It appears that you can really mix and match the trails to fit your needs as far as how difficult, and how long you want to hike.

Ahmed, Karl, James, Matt “Ox”, and Roger enjoy Mission Trails Regional Park.
“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.” – Isaak Walton

Thanks for joining Ahmed, Karl, James, Matt and I as we found ourselves ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ on the top of North and South Fortuna Mountain in Mission Trails Regional Park. What a great outdoor gym, place of worship, hospital, and sanctuary all wrapped up in one. In other words a place to find balance from the crazy world below and outside those gates filled with schedules, deadlines, meetings, alarms going off, traffic and just responsibilities. When you are ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ it is like a hall pass to fresh air, sights, smells, and a chance to breath… breath in nature… breath out stress. There is always more to come so be sure to COMMENT, LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW. Go to the menu for lots of places across the West to breath in nature… breath out stress… Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. You will want to look good and feel good when you are renewing and resetting so checkout the SHOP APPAREL online store for all your adventure wear needs proudly displaying the mantra and logo: ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’! Shout it from the mountain tops!

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Batiquitos Lagoon Trail

CARLSBAD

3.5 miles. 29’ elevation change, 90 minute duration, rated EASY

Activity: Nature Walk

What a lovely little Nature Walk. It is great for the whole family. San Diego always seems so lush with vegetation both wild and the wonderful gardens such as you would see at Balboa Park or the San Diego Zoo, for that matter San Diego residents always seem to have the best plants, flowers and trees in their yards as well.

Batiquitos Lagoon is not as wild as I prefer as it begins a stone’s throw from one of the busiest freeways in the world the I-5. It butts up to the famous resort, La Costa’s Golf Course and the surrounding bluffs are dotted with very nice homes.

That being said, the trail is nicely done with a wonderful path and benches every so often for folks to take a moment and just enjoy. Besides the tidal salt marsh, mud flats, and coastal scrub brush it has many beautiful trees and plants.

There are informative postings along the way one of which informed me that 200 years ago Spanish Explorer Gasper de Portola named this place Batiquitos meaning watering hole. He was hardly the first one here as Native American’s had been collecting shellfish at the lagoon for 8,000 years.

There is also a Nature Center with very pleasant and informative folks that were able to identify for me the bird of prey I spied, Red Tail Hawk, that was being chased through the canopy by several angry black crows.

It absolutely is quite a wonderful little spot and is a real asset for those that live in the area, and I imagine for travelers staying at the nearby resort.

“We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in Stillwater that we can see.” -Zen

Thank you very much for following me on this fine day when I found myself ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ at this wonderful little nature walk in Carlsbad. A nice place on a week day to reflect. I hear on the weekends it can be a little busy, but that is to be expect because it is a nice place to be. There is always more to see and do so follow me, and I do mean FOLLOW, LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE. San Diego as fascinating as it is, is but one of the locations that PBTA ventures to. If you go to the menu above you will find many more spots to inspire. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Then once you are inspired stop by SHOP APPAREL and don your duds and you are ready to ramble.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Trestles Wetland Nature Preserve Loop

San Onofre

Activity: Hiking, surfing, biking, bird watching

4 miles, 263’ elevation change, 90 minute duration, rated Easy

Trestles is the famed surf spot that the Beach Boy’s sang about in ‘Surfin’ USA’. Trestles is named after the railroad trestle over a portion of the Trestles Wetland. Trestles consists of three distinct areas each with a little different wave: Uppers, Middles, and Lowers. Trestles is the site of the World Surf League Finals in Sept of 2021.

Trestles Beach is located at the Northern Tip of San Onofre State Beach in North San Diego County. The access is through San Clemente which is the boundary between the OC and San Diego County.

Park on Cristiantios Road not to far from where it crosses the 5 San Diego Freeway, close to Carl’s Jr. There is a dirt path trailhead that heads through a brushy area under the freeway and under the train trestle and then on to the beach. It is about a 15 minute walk.

It’s a cool beach in that it has a natural feel as you come up over a little sand dune area to it. Also because there is not parking lining the beach, such as Huntington Beach-Surf City USA or some of the popular San Diego Beaches. Trestles is like a step back in time as you head down that dirt path to the beach. The Trestles Wetland Nature Preserve gives Trestles some of that natural scenery as it basically is untouched.

The beach itself is broad with a few too cool for school surf cabanas. Since it is a haul to get yourself down to the water, along the sandy path, up and down the beach, to the favored surf spot, with your wet suit and your board you’ll notice that most of the surfers have e-bikes with fat tires and a mount for their board.

My son Alec and I checked out the break, the surfers, and walked along the sandy stretch of golden sand as far north as we could go before we ran out of beach with the tide reaching the rocks. We followed a couple of surfers tip toeing along the railroad ties for a portion and then back on the beach heading south towards the now decommissioned San Onofree Nuclear Power Plant.

On our return we rejoined the Trestles Wetland Nature Preserve Loop, which took us up a bluff through a brushy area. I have to say that the nature preserve isn’t really something that you would come to see, at least I wouldn’t. It is a just a thicket that is completely natural and looks like you would have to have a machete to penetrate. I have heard that it is a bird watchers spot. Once you make it up on the bluff the path joins a roadway that is used by runners, walkers, and bikers and continues towards San Onofre State Park. We followed it North back to the dirt path we had come in on.

“Dude, there’s like some gnarly waves out there to day, ya’ know. It’s like a totally awesome lineup with killer overhead barrel rolling in. Picture this- down the face, bottom turn, off the lip, the tube cover up! Dude!!! You are so happen’n!” – Roger Jenkins

Thanks for joining son Alec and I for a day at the beach. I love the beach so much, and it is so fun to checkout the stupendous beaches California has to offer. Stay with us for more hikes, and beach adventures by doing these very simple things: FOLLOW, LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE. If you go up to the menu you will discover the many places that ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ romps. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. I am sure that will give you ideas about leaving the couch and your computer behind, setting out on your own adventure in nature, and in doing so release some of the stress and toxins brought on by a hectic world. Adventure such as this is the first step in seeking a more harmonious balance. If you need a hat to keep the bright California sun out of your eyes or from burning your nose go to SHOP APPAREL. The cool PBTA logo adventure wear even has some shirts with UPF 50+ Protection!

Life’s a Beach-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Carlsbad Beach Hike

CARLSBAD STATE BEACH

Activity: Beach Stroll, Walk, Hike or just enjoying the beach

Southern California has so many great beaches, and in particular San Diego’s Beaches are wonderful to be sure. Carlsbad is certainly in that category. Carlsbad is a combination of tourist and local beach. In some ways it is a big tourist destination, but it still has a quaint neighborhood beach feel about it.

If you want to get some exercise, enjoy the beach, and the salt air, or if you are preparing for a big hike somewhere off the beaten path then Carlsbad has a path for you, in fact several. What I mean by that is there are options for your beach hike. Up close and personal with the sand between your toes and your feet in the water is always a favorite for me, but there is a section up a little and out of the sand called the Carlsbad Seawall Trail. Then on the top of the bluff there is a section which you can walk along with the view from above. This portion is dog friendly.

If you like the beach, and who doesn’t then this is a good one with it’s flowering bluffs overlooking the blue Pacific and the many beach activities below, surfing, boogie boarding, skim boarding, volley ball, sunning, beach combing, swimming, and the like.

Thanks for accompanying me on this glorious day at the beach, getting some exercise while taking my Vitamin-Sea. Please LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW, and SHARE. If you enjoyed the beach then you might want to go to the menu above and checkout OC Beaches. I have a whole website devoted to the beaches of Orange County. While you are at the menu you might find inspiration for your next hike as PBTA ventures to many hikes and backpacking spots all over the West. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you want to keep the sun out of your eyes then checkout the fabulous PBTA caps and Adventure wear at SHOP APPAREL. You won’t get burned with PBTA long sleeve high performance shirts with UPF50+ protection.

Checkout the Free Drawing for Free PBTA Merch which runs through 11-15-20.  

Life’s a beach!

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Lake Calavera Loop Trail

CARLSBAD HIGHLANDS ECOLOGICAL PRESERVE

Activity: Day Hike

Distance 4.8 miles, 650’ elevation change, duration 2+ hours, rated Moderate

Feb. 26, 2020

Not every hike can be an epic hike, nor should it be. There needs to be local hikes close to your home, and hikes where you are training and building up towards that epic hike, or just maybe you are only interested in nice little local hike, and have no desire to traverse a treacherous trail barely etched into the side of a mountain, nor plant a flag thus conquering a massive peak.

Lake Calavera Loop Trail is a nice hike for Carlsbad locals. When you stand on top of the Cerro de la Calavera you see that you are surrounded by houses in every direction. The saving grace is down below this area you are left with another impression. You still realize you are in an urban setting, but from the get go you drop down into a bit of a canyon, and because there is a good amount of vegetation you lose that urban feel and it’s more like you are going for a walk in the country.

The Preserve has trails going all over the place, so you can really mix and match your hike to what you would like to do, and how long you want to hike. If you want to hike to the top of Cerro de la Calavera- so be it, or you may want to go over to the little pond like Lake Calavera. You can hike more in the open or more in the bush. So lots of flavors to choose from.

I wouldn’t travel to hike this spot, but if you are in the area it could make for a pleasant afternoon, and it sure beats walking around the neighborhood.

“We live in a fast-paced society. Walking slows us down.” – Robert Sweetgall

This was a nice afternoon in the Carlsbad area ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’, stay tuned to San Diego Hiking or perhaps checkout the menu above. PBTA goes adventuring all over the West. Each location is a separate site and thus needs to be FOLLOWED separately. Speaking of which… please COMMENT, FOLLOW, SHARE and LIKE. Like my hat? You can buy it at SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Santa Margarita River Trail

Fallbrook California

Activity: Day Hike

Date: June 12, 2019

Distance: 5 miles, 500′ elevation change, 3 hour duration, rated Moderate

This was a delightful hike along the Santa Margarita River Trail. Much of the hike is shaded with wonderful trees along a scenic stream.

The trail will seem to end at a beautiful spot of water tumbling over boulders. The only way to continue on would be some serious bouldering both in and out of the water.

What you can do is backtrack until you see a trail heading up. This trail will seem to take you to a neighborhood on the top of the hill, however you will see a trail to your left that will take you back down toward the river below.

At the farthest portion of the trail you will be out in the open with views of the surrounding hillsides.

At the top I decided to make a loop of it to add some mileage and to see what I could see. The trails I was on at that point were access trails for the homes on the hilltop above to be able to reach the Santa Margarita River Trail. It added maybe a half mile or so to my journey before reconnecting with the Santa Margarita River Trail.

Fantastic hike and I would highly recommend it.

Trail Map of Santa Margarita River Trail

Much of the trail is shaded.

Map of the Fallbrook’s Santa Margarita Preserve

Wildflowers along the trail.

Path along the River.

Trail

Little marshy backwater

Just a delightful hike.

The shade is glorious on a warm summer day.

Wildlife along the way.

If you get hot there are plenty of places to relax and dip your feet in the cool water.

Love the rocks and the reeds.

Peekaboo view of the creek.

The video of the running water is even better.

The river provides the moisture for the flowers even as we move into the dry summer months.

I realize that I have an abundance of the shaded path shots but they it really was wonderful.

As I headed up away from the river I got above the tunnel of trees along the river and could see the surrounding hillsides.

This is near the top and the furthest portion of the marked trail as marked by the trail map

This is one of the few places with a sandy beach and I believe is sought after as I overheard some trail Moms.

On my way back there were some ladies fishing in the stream. I could see the tiny fish that they were attempting to attract. I pointed out to them this dark shape moving along the opposite bank. I said that’s the one you want. They got very excited and started trying to move up the bank.

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure is a worthy undertaking. I hope this experience inspires you to seek such solace. Please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE.

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open”

-Jawaharlal Nehru

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Santa Margarita Preserve Trail

Fallbrook, California

Activity: Day Hike

Date: June 12, 2019

Distance: 1.2 miles, 40 feet elevation change, less than one hour duration, rated Easy.

What stood out to me on this quick little jaunt was how lush this area was with foliage. I am sure the river keeps everything well irrigated.

This hike is green and lush, at least in early summer. The trail is good, a lot of it sand. It is short enough to be fun and interesting for kids. The end of the trail, at least as it is marked on this map, is the river and it is very nice. A great place to take off your shoes and enjoy the cool water.

It does appear that if you cross the stream there is a trail that continues on the other side beyond what is marked on the map. If you look ever so closely at the picture you will see a cowboy on horse back just entering the picture below. After speaking with him I turned back on his recommendation of an adventure more suited for what I was looking for. He let me know the trail we were on was better for horses and that more serious hikers choose the Santa Margarita River Trail, which is at another location nearby.

Santa Margarita Preserve Trail map

Welcome to the Preserve.

A very lush area along the Santa Margarita Preserve Trail. This looks like a portal into another dimension, and it is if you think about it as we get in touch with nature, and perhaps ourselves while we are at it.

Good information regarding what to do in case of a rattle snake encounter.

Blooms along the trail.

There is always a chance of a bad encounter with nature, but highly unlikely.

Cactus in the Santa Margarita Preserve

Santa Margarita River, I would call this a stream but no one asked me when they named it.

There were no logs, branches, or rocks to help me ford the stream, so off came the boots.

I had just cross the stream barefoot, as I didn’t want to get my hiking boots wet, when a cowboy on horseback moseyed across the stream. He was kind enough to inform me of a hike that I would enjoy even more, the Santa Margarita River Trail, and that it wasn’t far from this location.

Thanks for Pursuing Balance Through Adventure with me in San Diego County. Please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE.

– Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Pursuing Balance Thru Adventure

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