Hiking again!

After 7 weeks of no hiking, I joined Jorge, Diana, and Mary for a 14 mile hike to the Palomar Mountain High Point.  We started the hike from the Oak Grove Fire Station on Hwy 79 at around 8:15AM.  After the initial confusion of finding it, we hiked up the very steep trail for 2 miles to the dirt road that would lead us to the summit.  Once I got to the road, my legs felt like mush, and I was burning up.  I told Jorge I was thinking about turning back, but he told me the road was much less steep, and we would take several breaks along the way. 

After a short break, I decided to continue, and I started feeling better.  Once on the road, we hiked above the clouds and through beautiful patches of old growth trees.  Higher up, we encountered swarms of gnats which made Diana and Mary cover up with mosquito nets.  About a mile below the peak, we heard the familiar sound of a rattler.  This one was in the shade and quite big.  After a few pictures we left it alone and quickly reached to summit with its fire tower. 

We took a long break at the summit, enjoying the great views of the Palomar Observatory and surrounding area.  The fire tower here is one of the tallest in Southern California.  Unfortunately we were not able to climb it.  The volunteer ranger who was there, told us that the Forest Service did not permit for outsiders to go up it.

While looking for the summit marker, we noticed a baby rattle snake snoozing on a rock.  Fortunately we did not encounter his/her mama!

The hike back down went smooth.  Total time on the trail was about 7:30 hours with 3,900 feet of gain.  Not bad for a first hike after 7 weeks !