Shortly before our last update, we said goodbye to my family in Redlands and departed to visit some of Brooke’s relatives instead. We couldn’t get enough of the scenery and accidentally left late as a result but the two hour drive put us into La Jolla in the early evening. After introductions were made, Brooke and I settled down for a night of storytelling and general catching up with her grandparents and young uncle.
Following our late-night arrival and a very moderate seven hour session petting the two resident dogs, we made plans for an adventurous day around San Diego: an easy hike through Ho Chi Minh trail, then a tour of Balboa Park, and finally donuts before crash landing into bed.
The Ho Chi Minh trail was quite a trip. It was only 20 minutes away from us so we got started early enough to trick ourselves into thinking we’d have plenty of time for our other plans. What started off as a mild hike down to the ocean rapidly spun out of control. The locals in the area informed us that some recent weather had made the hike considerably more dangerous than usual so we figured the best idea would be to split it into multiple segments and take the most difficult routes to explore each location. Our first destination the tip of the trail as seen above. We were relieved to find that this section was “only mildly treacherous.”
The second route leading to the ocean was a well-worn sandstone canyon with two really amazing views. At one point, if you are able to climb down the dangerously smooth walls without slipping and breaking an ankle, you can see an interior wall near the deepest point where past visitors have carved art, names, Twitter handles, and much more directly into the stone. The other, farther down the trail, is basically a high-mileage staircase that was forced directly through the rocks in order to access the beach. It didn’t occur to me that something like this could ever form without machinery.
It was all very surreal. I wish I had a better angle but neither my widest-angle lens nor my cell phone camera could capture everything there was to see around us. We approached the end of the trail where you have to rappel down a short, steep, slippery hill. Brooke and her uncle had gone ahead of me but before I could follow them, some travelers behind us had a nasty accident. A girl slipped off the path and into the canyon, falling about 12 feet and hitting her head. A different woman came around the bend and called to me to yell for help since I was standing over the rest of the beach. I whistled until the lifeguards started to respond and then went back to see if I could help. The girl was disoriented and bleeding badly but still conscious. I stuck around until the emergency services asked us to leave, after which they closed that part of the trail and helicoptered the girl away.
Fortunately it seemed like she was going to be alright, albeit a little pissed about being flown out when she specifically said she didn’t want to be flown out. Unfortunately for us, it meant we had to walk a distance up the beach and take another route home, which consisted of ~20,000 stairs and a bonus mile or two on our hiking distance. We got back to the car exhausted and dirty and ready to take a nap.
Back to the house with us. We rinsed off, ate dinner, forfeited our nap, and tried to get to Balboa Park before nighttime but didn’t quite make it. The sun had gone down and all of the museums and displays had already closed. We saw very little and got photos of even less, but it was still nice to see the gardens from a distance.We wandered around until it was too dark to see anything at all and then called it quits on Balboa. The last item on our agenda saw us drive to Rose’s Donuts, a popular corner cafe for pastry fiends. We rewarded ourselves richly for all the calories we burned throughout the day and I can confidently say that they had the best maple bar I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. Spending the weekend driving all over Mt. Soledad was well worth the drive, but we’re getting eager to be on our way to Long Beach.
You’ll hear from us again soon. We’re tired to death tonight, but everything is fine.