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A Request…

31 03 2010

For the past almost seven months (yikes!), I’ve tried to pass along advice, information, funny stories, and helpful hints that could inspire you to try solo hiking and camping.  Now, it’s time for me to ask for something in return.

You see, I’ve never been to California.  (I’ll wait while you gasp in disbelief.)  I know, I know, it’s a tragedy.  Even on my cross country trip I just didn’t make it that far west.  I promised myself that, one day, I would fly out to San Diego, rent a car, and drive to Seattle, hiking, camping and sightseeing along the way.  I just haven’t managed to make that happen — but things are about to change.

I’ll be spending some time in San Diego this spring and summer for work, and will probably be able to squeeze in some leisure time to explore by extending my trips for weekends here and there.  I know I must see Joshua Tree, of course, and if I can manage to get north of LA, I know Yosemite calls, as does Death Valley. 

But I need specifics!  What trails/campgrounds/nature sights do you recommend?  What’s a not-to-be-missed?  What is your sense of how these trails and campgrounds would suit a solo female (population, skill level, security, etc.)?  What can be accomplished in one- or two-day trips from San Diego?  Heck, I’ll take restaurant recommendations too…

Thanks!  And as I explore this area that is new to me, I’ll keep you posted!

© Her Side of the Mountain, 2010.

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5 responses

31 03 2010
Melissa

I lived in the San Diego area from 98-01 and I regretfully say that we never went camping OR hiking!!! Not exploring the area more has to be one of my biggest regrets. That said…I have no advice other than to look on http://www.trails.com. Sorry, and I look forward to reading about your adventure!

31 03 2010
Jennifer

I’ve been a lurker for some time, but now I have to out myself! I’ve spent a few days, solo, in Joshua Tree and Death Valley, and with a friend in Yosemite. I saw more solo female hikers in Joshua Tree than solo males or couples, especially on the Ryan Mt. Hike. Obviously, I felt quite comfortable hiking solo there and felt the same about Death Valley, and this was my first solo hiking adventure outside of my home area. My time in Yosemite was spent with a friend, but, among the insane June crowds, were numerous solo female hikers, and everyone at the park – visitors, volunteers, employees – were so darn friendly, happy, and helpful it was like the Disney World of national parks. For the sake of not leaving a novel in the comments, I’d be happy to email you with more suggestions if you like.

1 04 2010
joanarc4

Welcome, Jennifer, and thanks for the tips!

2 04 2010
Miriam Goldstein

Hello,

Our friend Ny sent me here. I live in San Diego & do a lot of hiking & backpacking. Here’s the thing: except for a small coastal strip, San Diego is the desert and it is HOT in the late spring & summer. Like 90-120 degree hot for much of the day. Not sure if you’ve been desert hiking before but it is very different, and quite an adjustment if you’re used to AT-style temperate mountains. In the summer, I forget about desert hiking/backpacking altogether and head up to the southern Sierras for happy mountain fun, but I really hate hot weather.

That said, there is great day hiking around San Diego if you either go really really early or don’t mind extreme heat. The Cuyamaca Mountains are about a 45 minute drive east & have easy, pleasant little hikes, and you can finish with apple pie in Julian. Anza-Borrego is a spectacular, huge desert park with hidden palm oases back in the canyons, about a 2 hour drive from San Diego. Joshua Tree is about a 3.5 hour drive, good for a long weekend trip from SD. Though Baja California & Sonora, Mexico have amazing hiking, they are also having a drug war, and it is very unsafe at the moment.

Hope this helps! Feel free to email me if you have questions or want more suggestions.

2 04 2010
joanarc4

Thanks, Miriam! Great advice!

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