Sunset Trail

The connection of Sunset Trail to Big Laguna Trail in the Laguna Mountains east of San Diego is a sweet 3 mile loop. It starts in a “pasture,” goes through a forest of Jeffry Pines, around a rocky hillside, down a harsh little narrow trail through pines, and out at Laguna Pond, around the front of that rocky hillside and back out across the pasture.

To narrate the collage above, left to right each row — the fence post where I hung my dogs’ tags when the dogs died; trail through the enchanted forest; wild lilac (ceanothus); view of the Lagunas from the top of the rocky hillside; trail from the pond (pond in the background); various wild flowers; owl clover (I think); stream coming from the pond; Indian paintbrush.

Because the trail was so short, I could do it before school. I did it one day in deep snow with Jasmine T. Wolf and we had a BLAST even though the snow kept falling off the trees into the neck of my jacket. I didn’t care. I was so happy to be in the snow. Ariel T. Wolf and I ran it several times in the snow and one of those times I decided to make a snow angel. Ariel — who was experiencing snow for the first time — watched her crazy human then leapt into the snow next to me and wiggled around on her back. The middle picture in the middle row shows the spot where I saw the mountain lion, on the far side of the pond near the boulders. I was coming down from another trail and she was walking toward the pond.

I got to hike this trail and others in the Lagunas for years, and it was wonderful. There were some pretty wild adventures, usually with range cattle. So-called “wild” animals are a lot more predictable.

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16 thoughts on “Sunset Trail

  1. What a beautiful trail. |It has been a morning of walking down some memory trails for me. I find comfort and joy in the memories of trails walked and loved.

  2. What a beautiful hike! Good trail, no monster hills to climb, High enough to get some rain and not to be insanely hot. Even a body of water and a small river! I’d be out there a lot, just like you.

    • ❀ The trail drops a few hundred feet, enough that one March day, after a BIG snow dump, I could ski from winter (the trail head) down to spring (the pond). One Valentine's Day I started and about 4 feet into the hike it started to snow. It snowed all the way around, and stopped when I got back to my truck. The best Valentine I ever got. I miss these friendly mountains very much.

    • Many wonderful snakes. I only saw three rattlers the whole time I hiked there, but one VERY rare California Mountain Kingsnake and a beautiful little ring necked snake. Also a pair of bright blue skinks, dozens of coyotes, red tailed hawks, bald eagle, and ❀ Mountain lion. It's lush in these photos partly because it was early summer. The altitude is about 6500 feet, too. It's on the wet side of the rain shadow that makes the Arizona desert. I miss it a LOT. None of these snakes (except the rattler) are poisonous.

  3. Beautiful post about a loved trail. I can just see you making a snow angel and the consternation on Ariel’s face! hehehe! Love these tales (and tails)!

  4. I love this. Your pictures made me cry. Our heaven on Earth. The Lagunas sound perfect (except for the mad cows). ❣🐢

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