Mar 24 - the trip
After an incredibly pleasant airport and flight experience (boggles the mind!!), we landed in Palm Springs, hopped into our rental car, and drove to the thriving metropolis of Poway, about 2 hours away.
The reason for this drive: we couldn't find a direct flight to San Diego, which is a whole lot closer to Poway. Then we figured that it would be about an hour from San Diego to Poway anyway, so by adding an hour of driving time, we eliminated a 3 hour (or more) wait at either Seattle, Los Angeles, or San Francisco.
This map shows the basic geography:
We drove northwest of Palm Springs, and then south to Poway.
Mar 25 - Black Mountain Open Space Park
Last night, Stephen discovered this place, which is not mentioned in my California Hiking book. It has a lot of trails. And it isn't too far from our hotel (the right-most red dot on the map below). (For the hike, We parked by the left-most red dot on the map.)
Zooming in just a bit further, here is the Google Earth shot of our hike:
I tried to tilt Google Earth a bit, to show the elevation change - there are some significant hills here:
But this elevation profile shows the real details - including how long our little hike was. Not too long - this is, of course, our first full day here!
When we were in Palm Springs a couple of months ago, our hikes were all on desert terrain - and the scenery was all brown and rocky.
Today, the scenery was all green and flowery! What a pleasant change.
The trail had some loose rocky sections, and some really nice smooth flat sections. Overall, it was a pretty nice hike.
Here are some pictures of the trail. First, a view of the trail from where we parked.
A couple of shots taken while we were on the hike.
And a couple of "we were here" shots.
And, of course, I was quite taken by the flowers. Lots of colors. I don't know most of the names, of course!
We came across this cobweb-type thing.
And a cactus, right in the middle of all that greenery.
And an artistic-looking dead tree, with Stephen standing by to demonstrate its size.
After the hike, we went to a nearby shopping center for lunch and some economic support of a local Best Buy store. Then back to the hotel, where we sat and relaxed by the hotel pool. Stephen went for a short dip - apparently, the water might appeal to those hardy Scandinavians, but your typical Calgarian expects more warmth!!
Tomorrow's activities have not yet been planned.