Fact: the best hike in San Diego County is one that most people aren’t going to want to do, and probably shouldn’t do, unless they are physically and mentally prepared. And, even better, here’s a supplemental fact about this hike: I had so much to say about this hike that I had to break up my comments into two posts. This hike involves traveling over rough terrain. It involves using a map and compass, or GPS unit. It involves scrambling and some bouldering. It involves not following a trail. It involves off-roading to a remote trailhead; and it involves committing a whole day to hiking in and hiking out. It involves exploring, and possibly breaking the law. It involves avoiding glowing orbs, and avoiding the Borrego Sandman (or men), if they exist. In short, the best hike in San Diego County is nothing short of an epic one-day adventure. This is precisely why this hike is the best hike in San Diego County: it is an adventure. What hike are we talking about? What I am talking about is the Goat Canyon Trestle Hike to the Carrizo Gorge, or if we are being formal, the Mortero Palms to Goat Canyon Traverse.
In 1995, a Democrat was President; cell phones were chunky bricks that seemed better suited to calling in air strikes; you connected to the Internet via this thing called a modem that was connected to this other thing called a land line; and cassette tapes/VHS tapes were battling it out in a format war with these things called CD’s and DVD’s. Even crazier, Val Kilmer was Batman. That’s right. Val Kilmer. Batman. If that doesn’t prove that the 1990s was a strange time, I don’t know what does. Back then, I was just starting out as an outdoor adventurer. There was no handheld GPS; we had handheld maps, and handheld compasses – and woe betide you if you placed your compass on a car hood to take bearings! We also didn’t have hiking forums, blogs, or websites – we had these things called books. At that time, the best book for San Diego County was Afoot and Afield in San Diego County by Jerry Schad, who was the preeminent wilderness expert for the region.