It might not be the Sierras or the Rockies, but the Laguna Mountains are pretty darn nice and only an hour away! Yet we seem to only get out there about four times a year to ride our bikes, and every time we ask ourselves, why don’t we come out here more often? This time we took the Airstream and spent the weekend at Burnt Rancheria Campground.
We were very impressed with the campground. It has 110 sites, mostly for tenters, but a handful a sites will accomodate trailers our size and larger. It is very spacious and spread over multiple loops. Even though it was nearly full, it was quiet. Since it is at 6,000 feet it’s only open from May till typically the end of October. Yes, it snows in San Diego County.
According to R, Amelia actually camped here in the fall of 1971 in the family’s VW bus, but she was too young to remember it.
Brand spanking new sign. Beware, if you are driving north on Sunrise Highway, the sign is immediately past the entrance. We passed it and had to hang a u-turn, which is always interesting while towing.
OMB checking out the campground map.
Yucca loop, site #24, selected for optimum solar power.
The Birch’s site, Yucca Loop #22. A beautiful oak canopy spot. That’s Georgie and Diego on the road. OMB is backing in.
Friday afternoon we did the short hike to the desert overlook. Saturday morning our friend Quan met us at the trailhead for Noble Canyon, an IMBA Epic ride. There are two types of riders, those who shuttle and those who don’t. We didn’t. Saturday afternoon, Shelli and Osborne came down from Orange County, spent the night with us, and rode the Big Laguna Trails on Sunday with OMB, and another friend Jennifer, who drove out that morning. After the ride we had a few snacks, broke down camp, hitched up, and were back home in 70 minutes! One more day sure would have been nice.
Acorn Woodpeckers are all over the campground. They drill holes into the bark of Jeffery Pines to store acorns. It does not harm the tree. These are called granary trees, from the latin word granaria, a store house for corn.
Here’s an up close shot. See the acorns? When the fresh ones dry out they’ll move them to another smaller hole.
Boo hoo no bikes.
The Desert View trail overlaps a small portion of the PCT. In our dreams, PCT stands for perfect cycling trail. Someday it will be open to bicycles, but probably not in my lifetime.
The Desert View. That’s the Salton Sea way, way off in the distance.
Amelia, Sara, and the Birches, leaving the Desert View.
Amelia at the top of the first grueling climb of the Noble Canyon loop: Pine Creek Road, 4 miles and 1,100 feet elevation gain.
The girls taking it easy before the next climb.
The next climb is Indian Creek Trail: 2 miles and 800 feet elevation gain, but this is dirt! Not that easy pavement stuff.
Indian Creek trail. If you enlarge the pic you might be able to see Amelia. That’s Cuyamaca Peak in the background.
Quan and Amelia taking a quick break at Penny Pines.
Back at the bottom, sorry no pics of the fun downhill, we were too busy passing and staying out of the way of runners that were competing in the Noble Canyon 50k.
Amelia and Shelli, bundled up. It was chilly. Low 30s in the morning, we even had ice on the truck and Airstream Saturday morning. The mat and chairs at the rear are a telltale sign of the campground really being for tenters.
Sara and her two boyfriends.
Crowded Airstream for dinner, 5 adults and 3 dogs. Yup, that’s an Alpine Duet IPA on the table!
Big Laguna Lake
Amelia, Shelli, and Jennifer
Jennifer and Shelli
Big Laguna Trail