The scenery reminded us of Sicily or Andalusia–without the olive groves–pink granite hills covered with low scrub brush and colourful flowers.
At random intervals along the trail we would see discarded blue jeans, clothing or little booties knit from brightly coloured Mexican wool. Illegal immigrants tie these on over their shoes so they don’t leave tracks in the sand.
With the quantity of clothing lying along the trail, we kept expecting to see naked Mexican hiding in the bushes. But when we did actually meet some border-crossers they were fully clothed.
Soon the warm California sun had us shedding clothes, too. But the temperature remained pleasant–in the mid to upper sixties–with cool breezes. Perfect for hiking in shorts and a t-shirt.
We lunched on crab and avocado sushi (purchased the day before in San Diego) on a hillside overlooking a serene valley. The trail was generally very well maintained and marked, but several times it intersected dirt roads leaving us uncertain as to where to turn. At one point we had to scramble down a steep rocky canyon, packs and all, because that seemed easier than trying to find the trail–which we knew was some where below us . . .
At mile sixteen we arrived in a cool valley filled with ancient oaks where we were hoping to make camp, but the creek was completely dry so for want of water we were compelled to cross to the other side of the next mountain.
Five miles and steep climb later, our extended journey was rewarded by gorgeous views a valley with a lake in the middle surrounded by mountain ranges that receded into distant purplish-blue silhouettes of sunset. At dusk we finally arrived at Lake Morena campground where we were met by hoards of noisy RV and car campers, but also found luxuries such as hot showers and picnic tables.