March 18, 2017
This story is out of sequence due to poor internet service. I am at the river enjoying high speed internet and decided to post our last RV experience with Fred at Mount Laguna La Prada Campground.
On Saturday late afternoon March 18th, we loaded up the RV and headed to the La Prada Laguna Campground off of the Sunrise Highway. We arrived after several mishaps to campsite # 91 and it was the last site available. Fred was following behind with what we thought would take an hour or so but we actually showed up around 20 minutes apart. Michael and I couldn’t find the right campground and by the time we figured it out, it was late in the day and the sun was just starting to set. When Michael talked to the host earlier in the day there were all kinds of campsites available. Apparently, everyone decided to come up to Mount Laguna later in the day. Our host and hostess, John and Mary allowed us to double park the RV’s for the night, with Fred pulling in shortly after we did. We are basically in the parking lot over looking a campground. There are not many RV’s here and most people are sleeping in tents.
For dinner I made a salad and we had roasted chicken that Michael and I had picked up at the Center Market in Borrego Springs. The market was well stocked and I was surprised because of all the people that had descended on our little community for the past couple weeks because of the wildflowers. I was able to whip up a decent dinner with oatmeal cookies for dessert and we called it an early night. None of us slept well because Fred claimed he thought about waterfalls and lakes all night, and I was awake a lot because of Callie. The first night in the RV is always the most difficult for getting a good night sleep and after that, camping and all the excitement and fresh air, make insomnia impossible.
Callie is feeling better today after 3 days of being on the antibiotic and she enjoyed a nice walk and breakfast this morning. Fred and Michael are working on Fred’s RV ceiling vent that is broken and we are waiting for people to leave so that we can get a better campsite for today and tomorrow. The woodpeckers are pecking, the jays, screeching, and squirrels doing their cute scolding bark.
We moved closer to Little Laguna Sunday morning and Michael and I are in slot #8 and have a lovely view of the water and rock formation. Fred is one slot above us in #6 and we are blocking his view. Next time it will be a priority that Fred get the better spot. It is breezier here and much quieter and feels like a campground and not a parking lot. We are surrounded by pine trees and a family of Downey Woodpeckers that are making quite a racket as they flit from tree to tree in search of insects.
Sunday afternoon we hiked to Big Laguna but weren’t able to cross over to the other side because it was too boggy. The sun was warm and bright and on our way past Little Laguna or the pond, the frogs were silent, and on the way back at dusk they had started to rev up for the night. Everyone is saying that there is more water in Water of the Woods and Big Laguna and actual water in Little Laguna then there has been in at least 7 years. Little Laguna is the surprise because it is filled with water and you almost have to wade out to the free standing rocks to look out over the meadow. Sunday evening Fred brought over a bottle of Columbia Crest Chardonnay which is my favorite, and Thrifty Pistachio Nut Ice Cream for dessert and I threw together leftover chicken, salad and macaroni and cheese. We all went to bed early and slept well. The wind picked up during the night but the storm still has not arrived.
Monday morning we hiked to Water of the Woods and this time we braved the boggy sections and ended up doing at least a 7 mile hike. The Big Laguna Trail actually intersects with The Pacific Rim Trail and Sunset Highway but we chose to head across the meadow to try to do a big loop back to La Prada Campgrounds. We risked not being able to cross again because of boggy, water drenched grasslands, but decided to take the risk. The meadows are cattle grazing pastures and the ponds are actually watering holes for the cattle and wildlife. It was beautiful out and the weather mild, but a storm is expected late Tuesday. When we finally got back to the RV it was time to eat. I made a lunch of tuna fish sandwiches with potato chips and we wolfed down our food with obvious relish because of all the hiking and fresh air. Hiking in the mountain air is an appetite stimulator for sure. It is another gorgeous day with the pine trees whispering in the breeze and the squeak and chirp of the woodpeckers echoing throughout the forest. They sound like squeaky toys for dogs to me. Love how they hang on the side of the tree while at least one family member keeps a good look out for predators. They seem very social and have strong family ties to one another.
Today we got up at dawn and packed up to hike Cottonwood Creek Falls off of the Sunrise Highway heading south toward the 8. We followed Fred in his Minnie and pulled off from the highway onto a dirt parking lot to take one of Fred’s hikes to a seasonal falls about 1 mile away. It was not a marked trail and it wasn’t well maintained but the hike was well worth it because of all the rainfall in Southern California. There were at least 3 well pronounced falls and we made it all the way to the second to last falls. Fred is a waterfall fanatic and was quite disappointed when we didn’t want to hike to the last one. They were beautiful and the surrounding foliage was mostly old California with sage and manzanita, yucca and some kind of wild garlic close to the water’s edge. We scrambled up slick granite and sandstone rocks to climb higher and higher and we saw traces of where the native Indians ground acorns and camped many years ago. It was so refreshing to hear and see so much water after many years of drought.
After we were finished hiking, we headed to Agua Caliente again so that I could swim and play in the heated pools. Crossing through Julian we spotted bush after bush of flowering lilac and in Anza Borrego, we drove past the desert in full bloom with ocotillo and brittle brush on grand display. The combination of orange/red and yellow and green foliage with the powder blue of the sky was so pretty.
We managed to settle into lot 70 and 71 and got an hour swim in before the pool closed at 5:00. Michael and Fred are taking a quick walk around the campground with the wind howling and sand spraying everywhere because of another storm blowing through. The rain isn’t expected until tomorrow but that doesn’t stop the wind. I am snuggled up in the RV with Callie sleeping on the front seat of the RV and I get to write and gather my thoughts before dinner needs to be made. I am making salmon that Fred brought over on a George Forman Grill that I think will work perfectly.
We are all fed, tired and sunburned and pleased with ourselves for pulling off another fun adventure in the RV. This is our second trip together and we are doing well. We laugh a lot and Callie is constantly entertained almost to the point of exhaustion.
Michael, Fred, Callie and I had another fabulous dinner last night and Fred’s salmon worked out great on the little indoor electric grill. I highly recommend it for camping if the weather doesn’t permit a fire and you want something grilled and not microwaved. I could have improved on it with lemon but made do without. We once again had ice cream for dessert which is so decadent and fun while RVing. I retired early with Callie while Michael and Fred played cards next door in Fred’s Minnie.
We got up to a gorgeous sunrise because of the impending storm and I dashed out into the desert to take photographs. The view we have from our adjacent spots is breathtaking. The ocotillo and brittle brush are in full bloom and I am also spotting desert lily and creosote and a tiny purple pink flower I will have to identify later. Michael and Fred are taking a quick hike while I work on writing and photography. It is a beautiful day with bursts of wind and clouds racing across the sky. Today we head back home so that I can prepare for my next adventure which is a sister reunion with girl cousins included up in Santa Barbara. Callie is back up in the loft sleeping the morning away. She is on her last day of antibiotic and is coughing less, but still coughing. I will take her back for a checkup on the Monday after I return from the sister reunion. The vet did tell me it may become a chronic condition for her but I hope not.
It is starting to sprinkle out and the clouds are casting dark shadows on Whale Mountain. Michael and Fred are still out on their hike and Callie and I are sitting snug and dry inside the RV. I am so happy with our choice of RV. It is roomy and spacious yet very mobile. Callie has several spots that she can rest in and get away from all the activity. When she chooses to be a part of it all, she fits right in. For instance, now she is resting at the table with me while I write. The smell of creosote is just starting to scent the air before the rain starts in full and Michael and Fred arrived back after a nice hike. Heading home soon.