|| Encinitas –> Mt Laguna –> Julian –> Encinitas ||
A couple of days after Christmas, we decided on a day trip to Mt Laguna to find some winter weather. Southern California is mild and temperate, especially along the coast. If you want to experience something approximating traditional seasonal weather, you have to drive a little bit. We plotted a path with hopes of seeing some snow. There and back again, the maps gave us a 3-1/2 hour driving time. Heading east on I-8, which we don’t do often, flooded my mind with memories of my high school years. I used to drive a carpool from Tierrasanta to El Cajon to attend my high school. It was a lot of driving for a new, teen driver. Once we passed my old school’s exit, my mind was freed to take in the new experience we were having.
We made it to the base of Mt. Laguna and there was a *chains required* warning. The roads were dry and there wasn’t a hint of wintery road conditions with the exception of the chill in the air. My first instinct thought was to turn around. Paul, a more ready and eager adventurer than I am (a recent and disappointing realization about myself), said “let’s just head up and see what there is to see”. And so we did.
The Healing Nature Does
Our first stop was a clearing where we could see people out and about… some sledding down the hill… and brave parents pulling wee ones on sleds across the terrain. We were expecting the cold, but were completely unprepared for the icy wind! (I need to learn how to embed videos, but until then, you can click here to see my Tiktok video when we stepped out into it. Then, I can’t think of a better word, the exaltation I felt was overwhelming. I couldn’t stop shivering or laughing. It was an energy bath I didn’t know I needed!
Being underdressed as we were, we couldn’t stay out in it long. We drove up a bit farther until we saw the temperatures dropping and knew that it would soon be, for real, chains weather. Turning around, we made our way towards Julian by way of Lake Cuyamaca.
For as many years as I’ve lived in San Diego County, this was my first time to Mt. Laguna and Lake Cuyamaca. I realized that in my early years when I still lived with my parents, we didn’t explore much because of the demands that work and life had at that time. And more recently, our years were spent freelancing. Work was demanding and finances lean. We just automatically ruled out taking mini-adventures like this one. Paul is no longer freelancing which means we have time to invest in days like this one!
We ended up skipping Julian. Between stinging icy winds, a packed with tourists Main Street, and Omicron… we decided to save Julian for another time. We mosied our way to Ramona and picked up Rubio’s fish tacos for Acorn and me (yum!) and a Popeye’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich for Paul (which he rated it a ‘meh’). After, next to Rubio’s was a store called Tropical Pineapples. Funny choices on such a cold day, I suppose, (especially when they offered hot drinks) but Acorn got shaved ice and I got a chocolate peppermint smoothie for the road trip home. Both were delicious.
My Lessons Learned:
As much as is absolutely possible… say yes to the day trip to Mt Laguna (all adventures really!), be present to this moment, and dress for the weather! 😘