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Not all ritzy plans come to fruition. Such is the case for the crumpled idea to build a high-end glamping experience in the quiet suburbs of San Marcos. The idea almost became a reality, with multiple structures put in place, yet the slowly decaying remains prove the project ultimately became a dream too big to complete. The abandoned glamping resort now remains gated off to the public, almost entirely forgotten.

Plans For the Abandoned Glamping Resort

In 2014 Lakehouse Resort, a hotel on the water in San Marcos, was prepared to build a luxury camping experience for San Diego residents. The glamping experience would allow those not too keen on tent camping to instead enjoy the wilderness from the comfort of a bed.

The individual glamp sites would have featured electricity, a ceiling fan, and breathtaking views of a private lake. Visitors would only be able to access the clamping sites by boat. While each glamp site wouldn’t have a private restroom, a shower and restroom facilities would be conveniently located nearby.

Perhaps the best part of this would-have-been glamping resort, was the fact that it would have been easy enough to access, but still would’ve given visitors a taste for the outdoors. The sites are located on the 80-acre private lake in close proximity to a suburban neighborhood. Additionally, a small dam about half a mile further past the glamp site, one that I’m surprised I’d never heard of before visiting.

Today, not much remains here, other than a few structural elements. You’ll see the foundations for the sites, as well as electrical where the ceiling fans should have gone. At one point in time, they had already purchased beds for each of the sites, however those have since been removed. It is obvious visitors are not wanted here as most of the area is gated off, likely to detour trouble for the surrounding neighborhood.

While this area was intended to be accessed by boat only, you can now reach this destination by a dirt access road. There is a gate before the road, indicating this area is private property. Although it is private property, it is clear that many residents take advantage of the benches and docks in the area. We saw quite a few people enjoying the lake views and eating picnic lunches while we explored.

Why it Failed

It’s said the reason behind the failure for this plan to launch is due to concerns of the nearly nearby 2,300 residents. The though of having an influx of different strangers on their private property regularly seemed to make their collective vote to be a resounding “no”. Thus became another failure for the 50-year-old Lakehouse Resort, which had been struggling with bankruptcy for recent years.

Out of respect for the nearby residents and their obvious wishes for privacy, I won’t be posting a detailed write up on directions to the forgotten glamping resort and nearby dam. If you do happen to find and visit this area, please be respectful of the residents. Do not leave trash behind or disturb the lake. The area is peaceful, and meant to be a serene place for residents to boat and enjoy the mountain views. Let’s work together to keep it as such.

The post Abandoned Glamping Resort of San Marcos | San Diego, CA appeared first on Sun Kissed Hiker.

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As some of you may know, my roots are in Northern California, so any time I have the opportunity to visit home, I try my best to hike the trails in the east bay area. I was introduced to Las Trampas Regional Wilderness years before, but have never taken the time to truly get to explore it more until this fall. Las Trampas Regional Wildernes is remote enough to offer 5,432-acres of panoramic, majestic views just about every step you take, yet it’s close enough for east bay area residents to easily get to after work or on a weekend.

Las Trampas Regional Wilderness features an extensive network of trail systems, especially at the Bollinger Canyon Road staging area. I knew I would be hiking with my parents, who are not particularly avid hikers, so I was in search of a trail that the whole family could enjoy. I came across the Bollinger Creek Loop Trail, which turned out to be a great option for beginner hikers with its short distance and gradual gain in elevation.

The trail for the Bollinger Creek Loop Trail begins past the gate found at the end of Bollinger Canyon Road. A sign on the gate will read “Bollinger Creek Loop Trail” to reaffirm you’re at the right starting location. Follow the straightforward trail for 0.7 miles, as it runs alongside a seasonal creek. In the fall the creek had dried out, however after heavy rainfall I imagine it would be even more beautiful to walk alongside the running creek. At 0.7 miles, the trail will intersect with a narrow trail you’ll take on your return back to your car. For now, continue straight on the trail.

The trail will start to gain elevation at this point, getting you prepared for the great ascent which is to come just a little bit later. In 0.2 miles, you’ll reach a Y junction. Follow the signs for the Bollinger Creek Loop Trail and stay left. In another 0.2 miles, you’ll reach yet another Y junction. Stay left to continue on the Bollinger Creek Loop Trail. Continue to work your way uphill to the Las Trampas Ridge, passing through a cattle gate on your way up.

At 1.5 miles, the Bollinger Creek Trail will merge with the Las Trampas Ridge Trail, which is where you’ll want to retrace your steps back downhill, through the cattle gate until you reach the Creek.

At the creek, take the spur trail to the right that you saw earlier to head beneath the shade of trees looming overhead and to walk even closer alongside the creek. This was my favorite part of the entire trail; the scenery was serene and the surrounding trees made it feel like we were in a completely different region than when we first started our hike.

The Bollinger Canyon Loop Trail will commence near the restroom facilities and through a small cattle gate, near where you first started your hike.

Bollinger Creek Loop Trail Tips
  • Pack a picnic lunch for before or after your hike. Picnic tables, a chemical toilet, and drinking fountain can be found at the Bollinger staging area.
  • Wear hiking boots. Some parts of the trail require walking uphill on areas with loose gravel.
  • Share the trail. On a busy weekend, it’s likely you will run into equestrians on this trail.
  • Watch your step. Due to this trail being equestrian-friendly, you will encounter horse poo as well as cow poo from the cattle in the area.

Driving Directions

From Pleasanton, take I-680 N toward Sacramento. Take exit 36 for Crow Canyon Rd. Use the left 2 lanes to turn left onto Crow Canyon Rd. In 1.3 miles, turn right onto Bollinger Canyon Rd. Continue on Bollinger Canyon Road until the road comes to an end in a little over 4 miles. Park in the paved parking lot downhill to the left at the end of the road.

Elevation Gain: 674 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Total Distance: 3 miles

Dog-friendly: Yes

Trailhead Address: Bollinger Canyon Rd, San Ramon, CA 94583

The post Bollinger Creek Loop Trail, Las Trampas Regional Wilderness | San Ramon, CA appeared first on Sun Kissed Hiker.

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Known as the “Half Dome of San Diego”, Corte Madera Mountain is a bucket list hike for any San Diegan. Not only will you likely have the trail mostly to yourself the majority of your hike, it also features some of the most spectacular views you’ll find on a hiking trail in San Diego County. From the coulter pines standing tall on the rocky hillsides to the large outcropping of boulders to the breathtaking views of the surrounding Cleveland National Forest, this truly is a hike that shouldn’t be missed.

While Corte Madera Mountain is a must in my book, it is also a fairly strenuous hike. There are two uphill stretches in particular that will make even the most seasoned hiker out breath. That being said, it is no more difficult than hiking to Potato Chip Rock at Mount Woodson. If you can handle that trail, you’ll fare just fine on your hike up to Corte Madera Mountain.

The Corte Madera trailhead can be found about 5 miles down on Corral Canyon Road, a bumpy dirt road that is better suited for 4WD vehicles. The trailhead is marked by a large green metal gate, where you’ll find a few parking spots on the left side of the road directly across from the gate. Due to the remoteness and difficulty of this hike, it’s likely you’ll be able to find a parking spot pretty easily, even on weekends.

Walk past the green gate and begin your hike on a dirt fire road. You’ll immediately be greeted by tall live oaks looming overhead, one of the only portions of the trail that provides shade coverage. This is also the portion of the trail where we heard the most wildlife: squirrels scurrying around in the brush and birds chirping from the tree branches above.

At 0.5 miles, you’ll reach your first “Y” junction. To your right is private property. Continue straight onto the trail marked as the Espinosa Trail to continue your hike. The Espinosa Trail begins to take you out of the oak grove, slowly gaining an ample amount of elevation over the next 1.5 miles. At a little under 2 miles into your hike, you’ll see a metal fence ahead.

Pass the metal fence where you’ll reach your next trail junction. To the left, you’ll find the Los Pinos Trail. Straight, one could continue along the Espinosa Trail for many miles. You’ll want to follow the trail to the right to reach Corte Madera Mountain. As you begin to climb uphill, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of Corte Madera’s rock face in the distance, and soon begin to understand why it is compared to Yosemite’s iconic Half Dome.

You’ll come to another trail junction, the trail to the right continuing the fire road. Instead of following the fire road, follow the single-track trail to stay on course. At 2.5 miles, you’ll reach the most difficult portion of the trail. Here, you’ll gain an ample amount of elevation with a technical climb, often having to climb up a series of rocks.

Once you reach pine and oaks, the trail will level out giving your legs some reprieve. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts once again with views of a large ranch and a lake below in Corte Madera Valley. Soon you’ll approach the next difficult part of the trail, as you make your way slowly down a rocky slope. Once you complete this short downhill portion of the trail you may rejoice because all the difficult work is over with.

Continue to follow the trail until you reach the final trail junction, at a little under 3.3 miles. Turn left to finish the last portion of the trail across the saddle. You’ll walk through a thick stretch of brush, which nearly reached my shoulders. The trail descends quickly before ascending for one last final uphill stretch, which at this point will seem like little effort after all you’ve tackled.

At the top, you’ll find several large boulders which mark the top of Corte Madera Mountain. On a clear day, you can see almost every major peak in San Diego county. To the west, you’ll find Viejas Peak, Mount Woodson, El Cajon Mountain, and Black Mountain. To the north you’ll see the Laguna Mountains, Palomar Mountain, Cuyamaca Peak, and Guatay Mountain.

When you’ve had your fill of the impressive panoramic views surrounding you, retrace your footsteps back to the Espinosa Trail and eventually to your car on Corral Canyon Road.

Corte Madera Trail Tips
  • Be wary of nesting grounds. Many bird species including golden eagles, hawks, and owls nest on the cliff face of Corte Madera.
  • Seasonal closures may occur due to raptor nesting. Contact the Cleveland National Forest for information 858-673-6180 or visit their website.
  • Keep dogs leashed and share the trail. It’s likely to encounter off-road vehicles on this trail.
  • Bring a 4WD vehicle. The drive on Corral Canyon Road can be detrimental for a 2WD vehicle.
  • Carry plenty of water. This is a long, grueling hike and you’ll want to stay hydrated.

Driving Directions

From downtown San Diego, take CA-163 N. In 3.1 miles, use the right 2 lanes to take exit 3A to merge onto I-8 E toward El Centro. In 46.1 miles, take exit 51 for Buckman Springs Rd. Turn right onto Buckman Springs Rd. Turn right onto Morena Strokes Valley Road. Please note, it’s best to drive on this road with a 4 wheel drive vehicle due to the changes in grade. You’ll likely see cars parked near the trailhead, marked by a large gate.

Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous

Elevation Gain: 1700 feet

Total Distance: 7 miles

Dog-friendly: Yes

Trailhead Coordinates: 32.7355850, -116.5573830

The post Corte Madera Mountain Trail | San Diego, CA appeared first on Sun Kissed Hiker.

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The snow has begun to blanket the ground in white, the temperature has dropped 10 degrees overnight, and day light is shorter; it’s officially winter. For some, this may mean retiring your hiking boots until the snow begins to thaw. For others, this is when the opportunity for some of the best hiking begins.

If you’re a bit skeptical about the brisk weather and inherent extra precautions that come with taking a winter hike you’re not alone. Most people think prime hiking season begins in spring and ends with fall. Yet those who haven’t hiked in winter are missing out. Here are ten reasons we believe you should lace up your boots and take a hike this winter.

Fewer Crowds

Just like bears, many of us go into hibernation mode as soon as the first snow storm hits. This is why most hiking trails are nearly desolate by the time it’s officially winter. Few people on the trails means fewer crowds and a great opportunity to enjoy the sights that surround you in piece. No more sharing the trail with every person in the neighborhood, there’s a good chance it will just be you and the sound of your feet on the trail.

Unique Perspectives

You’ve seen your favorite hikes plenty of hikes in the heat but what about after heavy rainfall or snow? Taking a winter hike gives you the opportunity to have a different perspective on a trail that you may have explored already or perhaps one that you’ve never explored before. Plus you can share this new perspective with your friends on social media to encourage them to get out and explore more during winter months.

No Heat

Sometimes summer hiking can be brutal. The blazing sun relentlessly shining down on your body can be enough to make even the most dedicated hiker agitated. Luckily, with winter hiking, you have the ability to determine how hot or cold you’d like to be by layering your clothes. The cool air is also a nice factor to have as your body warms up the longer you’re on the trail.

Peace and Quiet

Fewer crowds means less noise on the trail. Forget having to try to tune out the hiker’s stereo system behind your, or the chatter of a group hiking together. In the winter, the setting is much more serene, with even the animals taking a break for winter. You’ll likely be able to only hear the wind breezing through the trees looming above you, your shallow breathing, and the crunch beneath your feet.

Lack of Bugs

Here in San Diego, we have no shortage of bugs on our trails, especially trails near the San Diego river. States with humidity suffer bugs landing on their skin even more. One surefire way to ensure you avoid all bugs is to take a winter hike.

More Time to Hike

Long gone are the days of summer vacation. As working adults, we all know very well that the winter is when we truly get a chance to unwind and take a break. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, there isn’t any other time of year that most work places give their employees holiday time off. Work off those meals and take advantage of this rare time off by taking a hike with your loved ones.

Get a Better Workout In

Looking for a stellar overall leg work out? Try adding some resistance to your trails. By hiking in the winter, your legs must work extra hard to put one foot in front of the other while resisting the snow. The cold air will also ensure you burn more calories during your hike as your body works harder to stay warm.

No Need to Worry About Your Pets Overheating

Hiking in the heat with our dogs puts them at a huge risk. In California, we are no stranger to hearing horror stories of dogs overheating on our trails on a hot day. Luckily, winter temperatures are much more enjoyable and suitable for our furry companions. Keep in mind smaller dogs and dogs with thin coats may get colder more quickly, so plan the right winter hike for your pooch.

It’s an Excuse to Get Out

It’s easy to get sucked into the trap of staying indoors all weekend when there’s snowfall. Sitting warm by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa while watching your favorite Christmas movie sounds like an ideal day in. However, if you get stuck in this habit of evading fitness, you’ll slowly begin to feel a tinge of discontent. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and get outside for some fresh air. A hike is the perfect excuse to do it!

Wear Your Winter Wardrobe

Winter is the perfect opportunity to bust out your winter hiking garb and crampons you’ve stowed away in the back of your closet. You hardly ever get to wear your winter hiking essentials, why not make the most of it and take a winter hike?

Photo Credit: Nick Amoscato, davebloggs007, Wilson Hui3rd Eye Photographer, Claire Winter

The post 10 Reasons to Take a Winter Hike appeared first on Sun Kissed Hiker.

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As much as I hike in San Diego county, I’m often surprised by trails that should receive more notoriety. One of these trail systems that is often overlooked are the trails found near San Pasqual Valley, which was once the stomping grounds for the bloodiest battle in California during the Mexican-America war. A few of the better-known hikes in the area are the Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail as well as the Mule Hill Trail. I stumbled upon another San Pasqual Valley trail one weekend in the fall, and was shocked that I’d never heard of the Highland Valley Trail prior to my research.

The Highland Valley Trail is a lightly trafficked, out-and-back located south of the San Dieguito River. The 4-mile trail follows the Highland Valley Road and at times feels somewhat like an urban hike due to your close proximity to both the road and nearby houses. Despite being somewhat near Escondido’s suburbs, it’s still a highly enjoyable hike for its flat terrain and rewarding views.

The trail picks up at the eastern edge of the parking area, past a few picnic benches and next to an informational kiosk. Even on a beautiful fall day in the middle of the day, there were few cars, so we knew we’d have the trail mostly to ourselves. The trail begins away from the road, allowing you to fully bask in nature before having to hear the additional car whiz by in the near future.

You’ll immediately see several numbered markers as you walk along the trail. The trail has a corresponding interpretive guide, which can be picked up at the kiosk at the start of the trail. The walk is referred to as the Ruth Merrill Children’s Interpretive Walk, dedicated to Ruth Merrill who aided tremendously in the preservation of open space and also had shared a passion for working for the betterment of children around the world.

At a little less than half a mile, you’ll come across a grove of oak trees and a wooden footbridge. The footbridge spans a narrow creek, however with our recent lack of rainfall, the creek bed was completely dry. There is a park bench near the creek to sit and admire the views, which would probably be pretty spectacular after heavy rainfall.

The trail will begin to work it’s weave its way uphill with a slight ascent, shooting you out of the oak grove and out towards an outcropping of boulders. Despite the road directly beneath us, the views here were incredible and we had to stop and take a few pictures.

At a little under a mile and a half you’ll reach a paved service road. Cross the road, and continue on the narrow dirt path to continue the Highland Valley Trail. Soon, the Highland Valley Trail will bend away from Highland Valley Road. The trail will now begin to follow Sycamore Creek Road, as the left side of the road begins to become dotted with sycamore and willow trees. To your right you’ll see a number of enviable homes standing tall in the hills.

At just under 2 miles, the trail will cross Sycamore Creek Road. Continue to follow the trail until you reach a picnic area. You’ll find a sign that reads “End of Trail”. Take a break beneath the shade and enjoy a picnic lunch before retracing your steps back to the starting point.

Highland Valley Trail
  • Beginners are welcome. This is a good, flat trail with little elevation gain, suitable for beginner hikers and families alike.
  • Bring a picnic lunch. The point of turning back has a nice picnic area, shaded by trees.
  • Visit during cooler months. There is minimal shade coverage on this trail and will have a lot of sun exposure during warmer months.
  • Keep to the right of the trail. While hikers have the right away, we did come across many mountain bikers on our hike.
  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times. You’ll be sharing the trail with both mountain bikers and equestrians.

Driving Directions

From downtown San Diego, take CA-163 N. In 11.2 miles, merge onto I-15 N. Take I-15 N for 13.7 miles, taking exit 26 for W Bernardo Dr/Pomerado Rd. At the stoplight, turn right onto Pomerado Rd. In 0.2 miles, turn left onto Highland Valley Rd. The staging area will be on your right in 85 ft, marked by a gate and dirt road. You’ll find the trailhead past the picnic benches by a wooden informational kiosk.

Difficulty: Easy

Total Distance: 4 miles

Dog-friendly: Yes

Trailhead Address: 12373 Highland Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92025

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It happens to the best of us. The holidays come around, we devour every sweet treat in sight, and our jeans end up uncomfortably cinching our waist when we sit down. Next thing you know, being swimsuit ready seems unattainable. It takes awhile for us to get back on track, trying every fad diet our friends recommend. Yet none of those diets or workout plans benefit because we don’t actually enjoy stretching on a Pilates reformer or fasting intermittently.

If you’re like me, you’re likely very well aware that summer is just around the corner. Before we know it, we’ll be basking in the sun and lounging by the beach on our weekends. Some of us may even have a big vacation planned, a time to finally relax from what’s shaping up to be a hectic year. With sun comes less clothing, and a desire to get our pre-winter bodies back to where they were before.

Getting swimsuit ready doesn’t have to be a struggle. In fact, taking a hike coupled with a healthy diet, is one of the best ways to get you ready to hit the beach in no time. We’ve listed 10 proven ways hiking is effective in slimming and toning, just in time for summer.

It Tones Your Legs

Hiking requires the work of muscles you may not often use. This is why the day after a strenuous hike you often find your body sore in places you didn’t realize you even used. Hiking helps you grow stronger particularly in your legs, requiring the use of your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, hips, and muscles in your lower legs. Whether you’re looking to tone up or gain some muscle, taking a hike is a good way to do it.

It Improves Core Strength

Crunches may be one of the most mundane ways to shape your abs. It’s one of the most tried and trued exercises, but one that most people have to force themselves to do. Taking a hike allows you to improve your core without the monotony of doing dozens of sit ups. Most hiking trails aren’t completely flat, forcing your body to stay balanced and your core to become engaged as you traverse over rocks, sticks, and other road blocks. For a flat summer tummy skip the tedious ab routine, and hit the trails.

It Burns Tons of Calories

Skip the spin class and head outdoors to get your next dose of cardio. The average person burns around 400 to 440 calories per hour of hiking. This varies based on how much the individual weighs, their gender, and the intensity of the trail, which may result in even more calories burned in an hour. Additionally, you won’t have to spend your workout staring at other gym patrons or a TV. You’ll hardly remember you’re burning off last night’s dinner with nature’s view ahead of you.

It Strengthens Your Arms

If you’re looking to take your hike and workout to the next level, a pair of poles will help you engage your upper body just as much as your lower. The act of digging poles into the dirt and using your arms to help you get uphill forces your upper body muscles to work for you. This aids in getting a full body workout and burning more calories.

It Can Decrease Stress

Our bodies are built to be outdoors. Our earliest ancestors spent their entire lives outdoors, battling the elements and gathering food. It’s ingrained in our DNA to be outdoors, which is just one of many reasons why researchers have found hiking to be a tool for stress relief. When we feel less stressed, we are more focused and better able to work toward accomplishing our goals, such as losing weight or becoming swimsuit ready.

It Keeps You Away from Bad Influences

Sunday morning strolls around. Multiple things pop into your mind: where can I grab a mimosa? Who has the best brunch? If you have a hike planned, those thoughts likely won’t come to fruition. Instead of finding yourself at the local watering hole slinging back champagne-filled flutes, you’ll easily avoid bad temptations by the remoteness of your hiking destination. You’ll also feel much better about yourself after.

It Gives You Plenty of Vitamin D

Swimsuit ready for some may mean more than just getting their body back in shape. It may also mean getting a bit of a bronze before heading to the beach. Hiking is an outdoor activity, which means you will be subjected to all the natural elements. In the spring and summer, this means plenty of vitamin D from the sun basking down on your body. Always apply sunscreen before your hikes, and if you find yourself outdoors enough, you’ll slowly build your base tan before even stepping foot on the sand.

It Increases Your Energy Levels

Just as with all other forms of exercise, hiking also helps improve energy levels. The fact that it is a such a good form of cardiovascular activity, makes it even more effective in giving your mind and body that extra boost of energy it craves. This additional fuel gives your body the boost it needs to increase endurance over time, mental sharpness, and your energy level for the day. All of which is needed to shed weight.

Getting swimsuit ready may not be a total walk in the park, but it doesn’t have to be an arduous task you dread. Grab a friend or loved one and make it a goal to try to hit the trails once a week. Not only can you hold each other accountable, but it will also be a good way to spend quality time together. Stay dedicated, maintain a healthy diet, and you’ll be beach bound in no time.

Has hiking helped you lose weight? I’d love to hear your inspirational stories in the comments below!

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As a well-hiked resident of San Diego, I’m always looking for new destinations to explore that aren’t in my go-to areas (i.e. east county, Julian, etc.). My friend recently underwent a bilateral knee surgery which resulted in her needing to take it easy on the trails for a few months. She also wanted to find a place where we could bring her dog. After a little searching I came across the Batiquitos Lagoon Trail, a destination I’m surprised I hadn’t stumbled across sooner.

Batiquitos Lagoon itself is pretty expansive, found in between Encinitas and Carlsbad. The lagoon is protected and managed as a wildlife preserve by the California Department of Fish and Game. As I soon came to find out, it’s also a very popular bird watching area, with several protected nesting areas. Due to the immense amount of wildlife here, water sports are not allowed to keep the water and surrounding wetlands protected and safe.

There are multiple ways to access the Batiquitos Lagoon Trail, however the trailhead I’d suggest can be found at the end of Gabbiano Lane in Carlsbad. The Trailhead will be marked by a wooden kiosk as well as a sign for the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation.

Near the beginning of the trail you’ll see a small building for the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation, a volunteer organization dedicated to “the preservation, enhancement, and protection of Batiquitos Lagoon, one of the few remaining tidal wetlands on the southern California coast”. This is where you’ll meet if you’re taking a guided walk, or if you’re simply interested in a free nature guide or trail map.

Past the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation, the trail is fairly straightforward, wrapping around the northern rim of the lagoon. On a weekend, you’ll likely share the trail with a bevvy of other hikers, including families and pets for its ease and minimal change in elevation. You’ll also encounter plenty of bird watchers, with a number of benches placed strategically along the trail prime for viewing.

The Batiquitos Lagoon Trail itself is 3.25 miles, out-and-back. It is easy to stay completely off course, ignoring the few spur trails you’ll find on the way. These spur trails serve as alternate access points to the trail. At the very end of the trail, you’ll encounter the only small hill you’ll find on the whole path. The hill only gains about 250 feet of elevation, and won’t leave you breathless. At 1.75 miles in, the trail will end and you’ll turn around to retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

Batiquitos Lagoon Trail
  • Park at the end of Gabbiano Lane for the best access point for the Batiquitos Lagoon Trail.
  • Don’t forget your binoculars if you’re a bird watcher. Many diverse species call Batiquitos Lagoon home.
  • Hiking boots are not necessary. This trail is mostly flat and therefor suitable for running shoes.
  • For a more strenuous hike in the Carlsbad area, check out Lake Calavera, a dormant volcano.

Driving Directions

From downtown San Diego, take CA-163N. Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 7A to merge onto I-805 N toward Los Angeles. In 8.8 miles, merge onto I-5 N. In 14.2 miles, use the right lane to take exit 45 for Poinsettia Ln toward Aviara Pkwy.

Turn right onto Poinsettia Ln. In 0.3 miles, turn right onto Batiquitos Dr. Turn right onto Gabbiano Ln. Drive until you reach the end of Gabbiano Ln to reach the Batiquitos Lagoon trailhead.

Difficulty: Easy

Dog-Friendly: Yes

Total Distance: 3.25 miles

Trailhead Address: 7380 Gabbiano Ln, Carlsbad, CA 92011

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I have to admit, my heart nearly skipped a beat when I first heard I may need to pay $70 on my next visit to the Grand Canyon. The National Park Service has proposed more than doubling the entrance fees at 17 national parks to aid with infrastructure improvements. While I am all for seeing our protected land improved, these new fees will be a steep price to pay to visit some of our most beloved national parks. The new fee would go into effect as soon as the 2018 peak season, when the national parks receive their most traffic.

Whether this proposed change gets the green light, remains to be seen. If it does go into effect, it doesn’t mean you need to forgo your future national parks trip all together. In fact, there are plenty of ways to make visiting a national park more affordable. We’ve rounded up our top tips to allow your family to not only take that much needed vacation, but also save while doing so.

Visit on a Free Day

There are select dates of the year where entrance fees are waived to all U.S. National Parks. Visit during the following 10 days of the year for free admission for everyone:·

  • January 15: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • February 19: President’s Day
  • April 14-15 and 21-22: Weekends of National Park Week
  • August 25: National Park Service Birthday
  • September 30: National Public Lands Day
  • November 10-11: Veterans Day Weekend
Purchase an America the Beautiful Pass

Planning on visiting more than one national park in a year? If the price increase does go into effect, it is more than worthwhile to get the America the Beautiful Pass, an $80 fee that gives you access to 2,000 federal recreation sites across the country. This includes free admission for the entire year to National Parks, forests, monuments, and more. With a proposed increase of $70 to popular parks such as Yosemite, an America the Beautiful Pass will cost you just $10 more and allow you to adventure more while saving a considerable amount of money. Please note if the proposed National Park fee increases go into effect, the America the Beautiful Pass will remain the same price of $80.

The post How to Make Visiting a National Park More Affordable appeared first on Sun Kissed Hiker.

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There are plenty of waterfalls in Iceland, however the Godafoss waterfall is one that can’t be missed. Goðafoss, also known as waterfall of the Gods, is rich in both beauty and history. The waterfall cascades from 12 meters high and is 30 meters wide, flowing from the river Skjálfandafljót.

Contrary to what may be popular belief, the name of the waterfall isn’t due to its godly appearance. In the year 1000 the Lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði deemed Christianity as the official religion of Iceland. As an ode to this conversion, legend has it Ljósvetningagoði threw his statutes of the Norse gods into Goðafoss and thus the name of the waterfall was born. Whether this is true or not remains unclear, however there is a window dedicated to the myth in Akureyrarkirkja, the Cathedral of Akureyri.

How to Get to the Godafoss Waterfall

Goðafoss is conveniently located off the main ring road that circles Iceland. From the town of Húsavík, drive south until you reach ring road. The waterfall is a 5-minute drive from the junction, about 300 meters past the bridge. From the side of the road it’s very easy to spot. You’ll also encounter several signs that will direct you to Goðafoss.

Once you park your car in the parking lot, you’ll see a large wooden sign for Goðafoss. Here is where you’ll find history of the waterfall’s name, as mentioned above, as well as information on the lava in the area.

The Skjálfandafljót river runs across a 7,000-year-old lava field. As time progresses, the river has dug about 3 km up through the lava field a canyon which can be see just below the falls. At the time I saw the waterfall, a rocky promontory separated the falls into two main falls and a few smaller falls.

Continue walking past the sign for a few hundred feet and you’ll find yourself at the waterfall. Like most of Iceland’s waterfalls, Goðafoss is an impressive sight to take in and is one of the larger falls you’ll spot. It also is in a region of Iceland most visitors don’t venture out to, located in Northeast Iceland. Most cut their trip around ring road once they reach Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and head back to Reykjavik, which means you’ll likely encounter fewer visitors at these falls.

The post Visit Godafoss Waterfall in Iceland appeared first on Sun Kissed Hiker.

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If you ever had to come up with a list of why you love being in the Great Outdoors, you’d probably run out of time listing the many physical and mental benefits Mother Nature bestows. Hiking is one of those activities that combines physical, mental, and spiritual benefits, for there is an inexorable link between witnessing nature’s majesty and feeling like part of something far greater than ourselves. It is important to take care of your skin when you’re on your next adventure, though, since the sun brings us magical rays full of Vitamin D, but it can also cause skin to age prematurely. Follow these tips for skin with a youthful glow, all year round.

The Magical Ways that Skin Works

The epidermis is the first part of your body to react to the elements and weather. Whether it is hot or cold, the outer layer sends signals to your skin’s deeper layers. The cells at the bottom layer, called keratinocytes, slowly make their way to the outer skin. They grow towards the surface and are replaced by new cells below. As noted by beauty expert, Leslie Kenton, any steps you take today, whether it be consuming healthy food, applying a cream or protecting your skin against the sun, will reveal its benefits progressively, and skin can take weeks to look and feel better.

How Does the Sun Affect Our Skin?

As the years pass by, our epidermis grows thinner, and skin becomes more susceptible to chemical and physical damage. Excessive exposure to sunlight and wind can dry our skin and cause wrinkles, flaccidity, and pigmentation. In essence, too much of a good thing (in this case, exposure to UV rays) causes ‘free radical damage’; it degrades the building blocks of skin (collagen and elastin) and can accelerate the production of AGEs (advanced glycosylation end-products). The latter cause fibers in our skin to cross-link and lose elasticity. AGEs are caused not only by excessive sun exposure, but also by consuming a diet that is high in refined sugars and processed ingredients.

What Type of Skin is More Susceptible to Sun-Caused Ageing?

There are many factors that increase your skin’s susceptibility to ageing. These include diet, age, and skin tone. If you tend to consume refined foods, sugar and processed meals, then your skin is unlikely to glow with health. On the contrary, those who consume a Mediterranean-style diet, rich in seasonal fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, and healthy fats, often have smoother, firmer skin.

The extent to which you care for skin is another issue. A regular skin routine (involving cleansing, toning and moisturizing) and occasional treats such as facials are important. Always pay attention to the ingredient list in your skincare, shunning parabens, preservatives and other chemicals, which can add to your skin’s toxic overload. Skincare made with natural, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant ingredients are the way to go.

Age is another relevant factor, since the older skin is, the more likely it has been exposed to cumulative damage caused by pollution and harmful skincare products.

Finally, the lighter your skin is, the more it can be prone to sun damage.

Which Type of Sunscreen is Best?

Sunscreen is generally divided into two types: physical, and chemical. As noted by skincancer.org, “Most UV filters are chemical: They form a thin, protective film on the surface of the skin and absorb the UV radiation before it penetrates the skin. The physical sunscreens are insoluble particles that reflect UV away from the skin.” The problem is that the active ingredients we absorb react with our skin and can create new compounds, whose effect on skin we know little about.

There are two important problems with chemical sunscreens:

  • They may stop skin from burning, but because they absorb the sun’s rays, they won’t necessarily stop wrinkles from appearing.

  • They tend to be absorbed quickly, so frequent re-application is often necessary.

Additional Protective Measures

It seems that a physical block could be your best bet in terms of reflecting UVA and UVB rays away from your skin, but what other measures can you take? First of all, make sure that your skin never burns, covering up with clothing when you are hiking. When you are out, use a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses as extra protection.

On very hot days, try to stay out of the sun during peak hours (between 10am and 4pm). Finally, examine your skin in detail every month, seeing your doctor or dermatologist if you note any changes in your skin (such as a mole changing shape, color or size), or if any new growths appear).

The sun is a vital source of Vitamin D and a great source of light energy. However, when our skin is exposed to its rays for too long, wrinkles, sagging, and dark spots can ensue. To keep skin in optimal condition, opt for a healthy diet, cover up when you are in the sun, and make sure to use a sunscreen that drives UVA and UVA rays away.

This is a guest post written by Jane Sandwood. Jane is a professional freelance writer and editor with over 10 years’ experience. Jane has a particular interest in issues relating to health, fitness and nutrition.

The post Tips for Beautiful Skin in the Great Outdoors appeared first on Sun Kissed Hiker.

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