By the way, the motel is decorated with antiques and is very nicely situated in the heart of town. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who wanted to visit Julian. Here’s our room.
The first 1/2 mile was a road access to the towers on the mountain next to this one. Steep - road builders don’t know about switchbacks. But then they’re designing for cars with engines and not hikers with legs. Then we turned off onto the Oak Tree Trail which was built but the CCC - the California Conservation Corps in 1932. Very nice treed trail.
As we hike, a bit of history about Julian. It was founded in 1850 or 1851 and named after Mike Julian, a cousin of one of the early founders. In 1869, after the Civil War, A.E. ‘Fred’ Coleman was traveling through and noticed a golden glint in the nearby stream. He retrieved his fry pan and began to swirl the sands of the creek. Several mines were founded and swarms of men and families descended on the area. Meanwhile another entrepreneur, James Madison, began planting apple trees that he had brought in.
When the gold petered out, the town turned to apple orchards to make its living and thus the pies that make them famous. You can still tour an old mine here in Julian but we have toured mines and wanted to hike. Most tourists to Julian come for the journey up the mountain, the mine tour, the shoppes and - the pie. In fact, some drive up the mountain just for the pie and then head home. Gary and I - we come for the hiking - and the pie. Obviously the odd ducks here.
As we wend higher and higher up the trail, we see the crest of the mountain right in front of us. Oh, yeah, I wish. Our GPS says we’ve only gone 1.5 miles - this is a 2.7 mile hike. This is one of those teasing pseudo crests. We know - there’s always a higher crest beyond.
But here’s the real crest - where the trees are on the right. We found out as we climbed that the grassy tree-less section is a wind tunnel from the valley below with no trees to block the wind.
The trail ended back at the road and we hiked the last mile of the hike on the road. As we hike higher and higher, the views are of further and further mountains until we finally get towards the top and can see into Mexico on one side and to Long Beach on the other. Near the top, the road splits and we head up the road to Volcan. To the right we find a chimney of an old cabin that housed astronomers from 1928 - 1932 who were trying to find the perfect spot for the replacement of the Hale telescope.
Finally, Mount Palomar, 25 miles north of here, was chosen.
At the bottom I thought this bench was too tempting to pass up.
NOW, it’s time for the PIE. Yep, we figured we’ve earned another piece of apple crumb pie ala mode. Same restaurant, same waitress, same pie. Gotta go with what’s worked in the past. Was it good? Are my taste buds singing happy songs?
We took a drive back to San Diego that we had planned yesterday when a guy we met told us how beautiful it was. That story is in the next blog.
‘Never be too quick to criticize yourself. It’s not fair to all the friends and relatives who are waiting to do it for you.’