Each winter for the past 12 years, the Sun Lakes Hiking Club leadership has offered members a Special Hike. Special Hikes involve traveling to another region of the Southwest and exploring it through daily hikes, shared dinners and experiences highlighting the region’s unique character.
This year, the club traveled via Yuma, Arizona, to San Diego, California, in late February. A docent-led walking tour along the Colorado River featured Yuma Crossing and the West Wetland nature trail, while another provided a building tour of the Yuma Territorial Prison and explained its historical importance.
Then the group traveled on to San Diego, California, and the rain began!
After checking in to the hotel where they would stay for the next four nights, the group gathered at Casa Guadalajara for dinner. And the rain continued.
The next day’s plan was to go to the Visitors’ Center at Mission Trails for a hike along the San Diego River in the Fortuna Mountain area. By the time the group met for breakfast, it was clear there could be no hiking, as the rain had made trails unsafe, and it was still raining! Undeterred, the group met at the Visitors’ Center where a park volunteer offered an informative presentation. It was then suggested that Balboa Park might be a good option for the afternoon, since all of the museums there are inside buildings, and one could stay relatively dry while enjoying a museum. Off many went to Balboa Park, only to encounter continuing rain and the fact that the majority of museums there are dark on Mondays. And guess what day it was.
Other group members ventured out to see a movie at a nearby theater but, instead, were forced to recalculate when they were unable to reach the theater due to flooded roads and parking lots.
Fortunately, dinner that evening was at the Fish Market in an area where the streets were open and accessible, although the rain was now making driving in an unfamiliar city extremely challenging.
Following dinner, most returned to the hotel, and a power outage!
By the next morning, the big news was that the rain had stopped, but the power was still out. Hiking for the day at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve was off, again, too wet, muddy and slippery. So trip coordinators went to Plan B, suggesting a ferry ride to Coronado Island and the Hotel Del Coronado. A pleasant ferry ride, tour of the island, lunch, shopping and beach-walking rounded out a full day spent in total sunshine. And by the time hikers returned to the hotel, power had been restored. Dinner at the Rockin’ Baja Lobster in Old Town San Diego finished the day off.
Wednesday dawned bright and sunny and dry, and the group spent it at Point Loma and Cabrillo National Monument, enjoying the Visitors’ Center, Old Point Loma Lighthouse, the kelp forest and the tidal pools and hiking the Bayside Trail. The evening was capped off with a tour of the USS Midway and dinner on its fantail.
Fortunately, this group of hikers was comprised of people who rolled with the punches, found the positives in the situation and remained flexible enough to laugh a lot, and they were grateful, too, to have so many wonderful alternatives to the missed hikes.
Whenever things that can go wrong do, especially on a trip, memories abound and stories gain a life of their own, and so it is with the 2017 ‘Hikeless” SLHC trip. Indeed, those stories were already being retold, as several in the group rendezvoused along the way back to Sun Lakes in Gila Bend for date shakes!