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Old 02-26-2013, 06:50 AM   #4
KO Gilligan

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Re: Must go places in or around CA?

If you are an outdoors type, take a moment to learn about the parks and conservancy of San Diego wilderness. There is a visitor center that cost 5 million dollars to build which the locals are still probably scratching their head about. It just seems an unlikely investment, but I'm not complaining, I'm a huge supporter of the Mission Trails, and I grew up hiking around these areas.

Cowles Mountain is part of the park, but the visitor center is located on the far North Side from the mountain and across some main roads. So you'll use a different route getting there. Upstream from the visitor center is a very old dam, and a popular rock for rock climbers to train on called "Pink Rock". Although the dam is well marked with it's own parking lot, Pink rock is about halfway back to the visitor centor downstream/down the road. You look for the group of turnouts that are on both sides of the road, and down in the riverbed, you can see a pink boulder the size of a house. There are a few dozen different technical climbs on it and it is coated in climbers chalk.
Local climbers are not only some of the most athletic people you'll ever meet, but they also burn some really killer bud. I'm just saying - just like the surfers, it's a tradition that's generations old, so don't let it shock you.

Hiking the area trails and visiting the dam would probably be more interesting than looking for some climbing rock if you don't rock climb. If you do climb, this area is paradise.... watch out for rattlesnakes, especially in the summer because as they shed their old skin you can't hear the rattle. I've put in many thousands of hours on the trails and seen alot of rattlesnakes, but I've never actually even known somebody to be bit - and even then it won't kill you - but it's gonna hurt like hell, and swell up, and you'll need to get to a doctor. The rattlers don't want to bite anyone, and they try like hell to get away rather than bite, so don't worry. That being said, watch where you step, I've seen rattlers about seven feet long and nearly as big around as my leg.

From PB it's less than 70 miles into the mountains to check out the Palomar Observatory and one of the biggest telescopes on earth. CalTech operates the facility now and it's like 7 telescopes in total - It's an ideal location in So Cal because it's still close enough to the cities, and far away from the city lights, with a clear view of the universe.

They have a small visitor center where you can see lots of pics and check out a wooden replication of the telescope mirror on the floor so you can relate to the scope of the original project - the mirror was hand-buffed to spec, and the story is pretty amazing.
Check the weather, and the open status of the visitor center - they close it for inclement weather.

- Get gas before you go - it is a significant grade, and then some twisty mountainside roads, and the trip totals nearly 2 hours each way. There is snow up there for a good part of the year. Enjoy.

On the way out there you'll be passing through El Cajon. It's within 20 minutes to a half hour of your home in PB. This was an agricultural area for most of San Diego's history, and it's a massive box canyon as viewed from afar. You can see massive groves along your route on the sides of the canyon - this acreage of trees is mostly avacados, although many of the groves are relatively dormant and those particular trees nearly devoid of avacados. This has happened because the maintenace of the trees, and the segmenting of the properties has changed over the years. Without lots of water and fertilizer, they don't produce. As a local to that area, you would likely have or know somebody with the trees on the property, and lots and lots of free avocados.... yum!

In Downtown El Cajon is the Church Worship center/teaching center of a wealthy and enigmatic cult - the public is welcome. It's mostly a rather unremarkable bunch of bookshelves with some UFO displays. The business location itself is a paradox. Perhaps they survive through book sales at this central location. The place was always empty whenever I visited them.
The Unarius Academy of Science is a UFO cult that has been there since before many people even lived in El Cajon. They believe their origins are with past life experiences as actual aliens, scientists, and even religious leaders - They are really far out, and totally open about it (unlike Scientology), but if you rediscover yourself, please don't drink the Kool-Aid. Southern California has also had a very sad history of entire cult groups eliminating themselves.
Check out the website and all the links. What a head-trip.

Some Unarius Choir members performing on a stage along the Mother Goose Parade route in El Cajon, Ca
Last edited by KO Gilligan; 02-26-2013 at 03:28 PM.
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