Sunday, March 15, 2015

Big Horn Mine

After taking a weekend off from hiking to go to San Diego, the following weekend we were back at it hiking in Angeles National Forest northeast of LA. Hiking to Big Horn Mine has been on my California bucket list for quite some time now. This hike is a great way to explore the mountains and also take in a little bit of history while you're at it. 

To get to the mine I typed in Big Horn Mine in my Google maps app which got me to HWY 2 then I parked in the Vincent Gap parking lot. You technically need to buy an adventure parking pass, but I didn't see any other parked cars with the pass displayed. We went to a few outdoor stores to find the $5 day pass, but after seeing that no one else had it, it felt like a waste of our time. Once you are parked at Vincent Gap take the trail to the left called Big Horn Mine Rd (not labeled). The trail will split a little while down, but stay to the right to get to the mine. This hike is only about 4 miles round trip and was pretty easy for the most part. There was some ice on the trail and some parts that were washed out, but overall it wasn't too bad. The trail that takes you to the mine was created as a wagon trail and is carved along the side of the mountain. 
Mountain views on the trail
Snow covered mountains 
Along the trail
First time seeing snow all "winter"
First entrance to one of the tunnels
I love you
You will eventually come around a corner and see Big Horn Mine in front of you. The gold mine created in 1895 is perched 7,000 feet above on the slope of Mount Baden-Powell. We explored the mine for a while and then sat to eat a lunch that we packed. It was pretty windy so our food was flying around, but eating while enjoying the view of the snow covered mountains in the distance was stunning. After lunch we climbed on top of the mine and searched in some of the old tunnels. The tunnels are blocked off, but there are some areas that the bars are far enough apart that you can squeeze through. It is pitch black inside, so we brought a small flashlight to explore. It is pretty eerie, so I only lasted about 10 minutes inside the mine tunnel before I ran back to the entrance. 
The first view of the mine
Blocked off tunnel
View from inside the mine
Broken down 
Loving this view
Above the mine
Looking down
Inside the tunnel
It is pretty dark, let's get out
Working our way out
We then hiked back the same trail that we came on. There were a few other people on the trail, but it was not too crowded. I wish that we wore warmed clothes because it was windy and very cold. When we left Orange County it was in the mid 80's, and we were not prepared for the frigid temperatures. There are so many great trails to hike in Angeles National Forest, and I can't wait to go back and explore others. 


Sunday, March 8, 2015

San Diego

Ever since I made a trip down to San Diego last summer with my family, I knew I had to go back and spend more time exploring the city. My boyfriend and I decided on a date, and I spent the entire week ahead of time planning exactly what we would do during our day trip.

Our fist stop and what I was most excited about was La Jolla Cove which is known as Seal Beach because of the dozens of seals that hang out year round. During the winter months, Children's Beach, which is probably the most photographed area of La Jolla Cove, is closed to allow the seals to give birth in peace. The day we went there was actually a one day old baby with its mother. There are other parts long the cove that are accessible during the winter, and you can still get pretty close to the seals. After stopping at Children's Beach, we walked along the cove going out on the rocks wherever we could. We were able to stand just feet away from all the sunbathing seals. The smells is pretty terrible, but the experience was incredible. We kept walking and eventually came to Sunny Jim's Cave store where you can pay $5 to go down 145 man-made steps and end up in a sea cave. This cave was cool, but I wouldn't pay the money to do it again. Overall we spent about 1.5 hours at La Jolla Cove exploring the beaches, rocks, and caves. 
Children's Beach
Seals just chilling
The water is so pretty
Mother and one day old baby
Looking back at Children's Pool
More seals on the rocks
With boo <3
Tide pools
My new friend
Steps down to the cave
145 steps
View of the sea cave
Back up we go
So pretty
After leaving La Jolla, we drove further South to San Diego. Our next stop was Balboa Park which is a huge park in downtown San Diego with gardens, museums, and the zoo. Parking was impossible to find on a Sunday afternoon. We drove around to every parking lot and also looked for street parking for at least 30 minutes. After we finally found a spot, our first stop was the Museum of Man. We didn't go in (costs $12.50), but I really just wanted to see the architecture and paint colors from the outside. If I go back I would like to climb the tower to get a bird's eye view and take pictures of the entire park below. After taking pictures at the museum, we then walked to the Botanical Gardens. It's free to enter, but I wasn't impressed with the inside gardens. It was nice, but noting special. I did enjoy looking for fish in the long pond outside. Next we went to the Japanese Garden ($6 to enter) which is currently under renovations to expand the gardens and waterfall. The garden was very peaceful and quiet. I would love to go back when the construction is done next year. Balboa Park reminded me a lot of Central Park in NY where you have the city all around, yet there is a beautiful park right in the middle. I could have spent an entire day in the park, although we only spent about 2 hours in total. I can't wait to go back hopefully when it is less busy. 
Museum of Man
So pretty
Another museum 
Water fountains 
Inside the botanical garden
Very green 
Pond outside the botanical garden
Inside the Japanese Garden
Koi pond
Tea, cheers 
I love you
Our next stop was to drive across the Coronado Bridge onto Coronado Island. Although not really an island since it is connected by a small part of land, the "island" has views of both downtown San Diego on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. We first went to the ocean front Hotel del Coronado which is a famous hotel seen in many movies and is also thought to be haunted. We walked around the grounds of the hotel and also along the beach. There were people taking engagement photos, building huge sandcastles, and enjoying the historic hotel. Here we decided to sit on the rocks and watch the sunset over the ocean. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets I've seen since moving to California. 
Hotel sign
View from the beach
Goodbye sun
Enjoying the sunset
After the sun had set we then headed back to the other side of the island for dinner at Peohe's. The decor is this restaurant was really incredible. There was a waterfall, fish tank, and breathtaking views of downtown San Diego. I felt like I was on a cruise ship. It happened to be San Diego restaurant week so Peohe's was offering a 3 course meal for $40. I had the crab stuffed tilapia and my boyfriend had a steak for our main course. The food was just alright. I wasn't blow away like I was with the ambiance inside. With alcohol, tip, and an additional appetizer, everything came out to be about $200.
View of downtown 
Front of restaurant 
Wine and a view
My tilapia 
Boo's steak
After dinner we were really stuffed so we decided to walk off some of our dinner before heading home. The view of downtown San Diego from Coronado Island was really awesome. The entire city comes alive when the buildings light up. We were exhausted from an incredible packed day so we made the hour drive home and crashed on the couch. I had such a great day in San Diego and can't wit to go back in the summer time.