My Gourmet Hiking Club buddies made a last minute change in plans to check out the newly opened El Monte Trail - just three weeks ago - and what a wonderful trail on a beautiful San Diego day. Two miles to the top of El Monte. Boulder free for a change, a bit of a luxury in hiking out here.
Not only that, but I checked off one of the Ranchos of San Diego County from my visit and hike all the San Diego ranchos and missions list. Back in the days of the missions, El Cajon in East County was pastures for the padres cattle and sheep, and pigs were raised in the the low hills to the east, now the town of Lakeside, in La Canada de los Coches, or “glen of the pigs”. In the years of the ranchos (about 1831-1848), La Canada de los Coches was granted so pigs could still be raised for the Mission. At only 28 acres, it was the smallest of the San Diego ranchos and entirely surrounded by the huge El Cajon rancho.
Our hike was in the Lakeside mountains but close enough I will count it as a rancho hike. Just a short distance up the trail we could see the valley laid out below, now mostly agricultural but the controversial Sunrise power line is going in through the valley.
Actually, we had two mountains to go up. The switchbacks on the far mountain will lead us up through the col between El Monte Valley and Blossom Valley.
See, no boulders or rocks on the trail. Yay!
We had a great view of El Capitan which Kathleen and I have said all winter that we were going to hike.
And finally, the goal of all this effort, a gourmet picnic in a gorgeous setting, accessible only on foot.
After all, we are the Gourmet Hiking Club.