Thursday, September 13, 2012

Old Hobbies Made New Again

Hiking at Mission Trails Regional Park, San Diego
If you live in San Diego county and you have never gone hiking here, you're just a big dull dud. Within the county, you can go hiking in the city, along the beaches, in the mountains, in the valleys, or out in the desert. We have it all except for the tundra. There's trails for all skill and age levels too. We have day hiking, overnight hikes, mountain biking, trail running, trails for kids, dogs, and horses. Seriously, there's at least one trail in this county that will appeal to everyone.

The first time we lived here, we did quite a bit of hiking. All of it was day hiking trails though or, trails that only take a couple hours at the most and didn't require much more than water and sunscreen. Since we've moved back, we've gone out a couple times here and there. We're taking it to another level now though.

Ever heard of Geocaching? Basically, it's using GPS (or one of the many phone apps out there) to locate a hidden cache. Caches can contain anything from a simple log to sign into, to items that can be tracked, to items that have actual value. The Mister works with a woman who found a $50 iTunes gift card in a cache. We went geocaching for the first time on Monday and out of the six caches we searched for, we found four of them. It was such a total blast! One cache had a trackable item in it. This is an item that has a code on it that allows you to see where it has been. We found one called a travel bug and it started out in Minnesota and traveled to Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, and finally here. We didn't even go out of our way to find caches because our favorite hiking spot is the Mission Trails Regional Park and it is full of caches. One cache was a few hundred feet from the Youngest child's school and we found that one while waiting for her to get out of school for the day.

View from QuarryHill at MTRP, San Diego
Another twist we're adding to our hiking is birding and identifying plants. We haven't done much of that besides buy some books and pocket guides, but I'm looking forward to giving it a go which we'll be doing on Saturday during our next hike. The weather forecast is predicting a high of 93 so we're getting up around 6:30'ish to try and beat the heat. We tried that last Saturday, getting up at 7:30 and the trail was already hot by the time we got there which was about 7:45. Which reminds me...

Check out this picture:

Do you see the lines painted on the road? This is the staging area to the park entrance that we use. This was taken on Monday so there were only a few cars, but on the weekends, the parking area is packed. Do you know what? Those lines are not parking spots. They are to show that cars aren't supposed to drive on that part of the road. See that lady on the left? She was giving parking tickets to all the people parked at an angle. She was in the middle of writing us one when the Mister asked if she was, indeed, writing us a ticket. She explained why and because we were standing there, let us move our car and park it parallel to the curb (that's our car at the end parked parallel). In all the times we've gone hiking here, we have never once seen cars parked parallel. They are always parked at an angle in what looks like parking spaces. I felt like I was in the middle of an episode of Parking Wars. 99% of the time, I'm on the side of the parking authority on that show. This, however, made me sympathetic to the drivers. There are no signs to indicate that parking within the painted lines is illegal (the sign in the picture that you can't read says "No Dumping). I'm willing to bet that nobody besides us and the people who got tickets that day are aware that you're supposed to park parallel to the curb. It's just not right, imo. Grr. What else are you supposed to think when you see lines painted a car width apart like that???

Anyway, we bought a Camelbak daypack (mine is purple) today at REI. A Camelbak is pack that has a bladder inside of it that holds water. It has a long tube that comes out of it with a bite valve to make it easy to drink while walking, hiking, or running. Our daypack has the water bladder in it plus two other zippered compartments with enough space to hold a first aid kit, snacks, pocket guides plus quite a bit more. It's not big enough for overnight hikes, but it's plenty big to go on 2+ hour hikes. It matches my new shoes, heheheh. I can't wait to take it out on Saturday.

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