I finally hiked Hellhole Canyon County Preserve with two friends yesterday – after years of eying it, but never going. It’s just a 45 minute drive from our home, but in the past, dogs were not allowed there, and a hike is less fun without the four legged friend. That has changed, and leashed dogs are allowed now. Temperatures looked good, so off we went!
Anticipating rain on Saturday evening, I was expecting more clouds for the hike as it is REALLY quite exposed (the ascend towards the ridge above the San Luis Rey river’s canyon is facing south) and we were partially lucky – for the descend back towards Hell Creek the sun came out and it warmed up a lot. Turns out that NWS updated their forecast and the rain got delayed until Saturday night/Sunday morning…
When we were finally back up at the staging area in the early afternoon, we felt pretty well done. :-P So while dogs are allowed there, I’d be REALLY careful when you bring the pooch for a hike there, and bring plenty of water – I actually poured some of it over Toni and massaged it into her fur, to keep her a bit cooler.
Also, my friends and I were all really glad that we brought our trekking poles for additional support. Going counterclockwise, the downhill section can be pretty tough on the knees.
The area itself is really beautiful right now, Ceanothus is still in bloom (though past peak) and flowers abound on Mountain Mahogany, Sugarbush and other plants in the chaparral as well. Sadly though, Hell Creek was almost all dry – it would sure have been nice to see a little bit of water running there. Maybe next week will be good if we get more rain?
I’d probably go there again for a hike along the creek down in the canyon (which would probably be more like a walk), maybe even earlier in the year. While the views from the ridge are nice, it’s pretty much a workout that I don’t feel like repeating. :-)