Sunday, November 6, 2016


This past Saturday, my friend, Chris, and I drove to Julian to hike Vulcan Mountain. Vulcan Mountain is a Wilderness Preserve governed by San Diego County Parks, and is located just outside the town Julian off the Wynola Road.

We had a beautiful morning and enjoyed a fairly cool hike as we climbed up to the peak. The entry to the trail is decorated with a beautiful gateway designed and built by James Hubbell, an artist who works in a variety of mediums – wood, metal, glass, and paintings. 

We opted to hike up the Five Oaks Trail to the summit, and were rewarded with the ability to see the difference in the now seven varieties of oaks that grow on the mountain. There is California Black Oak, Coast Life Oak, Canyon Live Oak, Engelmann Oak, Scrub Oak, Interior Coast Live Oak, and Interior Live Oak. I am not familiar enough with the various varieties to be able to distinguish them all. The leaf structure varies, as do the acorn sizes and shapes.




There was also a large number of manzanita trees along the trail. Here is one that really caught my eye with the sun highlighting it. 

Manzanita Elder

As we got near the summit we were able to also see the remains of a chimney which still stands from a small building that was built on the mountain to assess a possible site for the Hale Telescope. There is also the remains of an Airway Light Beacon System which was used to direct air mail pilots across country in the early 1940’s. There probably should be another beacon to warn private pilots today about the Mountain’s location as there have been several fatal air crashes on the mountain during my time in San Diego. These are generally due to inclement weather.

Mistletoe Laden Tree
The acorn woodpecker enjoys stashing his harvest as seen here --

Acorn Woodpecker and storage tree

We enjoyed several long views along the way including a view looking down the Banner Grade:


and East toward Anza-Borrego through the San Felipe Wash.

The hike back down the mountain was along the Fire Road which is quite steep which tested our legs and knees. One concentrates more on the slope and footage then the view.

On our way to lunch we stopped in Wynola at the Wynola Flats Produce Stand. I used to stop there for apples when it was Meyer’s Orchard. They  sell fresh produce, and specialty jams, jellies, vinegars, and candies. They still sell some of the older varieties of apples, including Northern Spies, which Mrs. Meyer introduced to me and are excellent for making pies. Then it was onto Dudley’s Bakery for a lunch sandwich and some of their potato bread to take home.

Our final stop of the day was to a fairly new venture in East County, a camel farm, Oasis Camel Dairy, which is located on the road to Ramona.

Here Is Looking At You

It was interesting, and a good place to bring small kids for a different experience. They also sell a variety of camel milk products. Took a few

pictures here and then we were off for home.

We had a great day outdoors doing what we like to do – hike and enjoy the beauty of the natural world.

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