Top 5 Adventures of 2016
Bulldog Rock & Caves
I was pretty shocked when I learned of caves in this area. I have been visiting the area below for years with no clue of the world above. The hike to the caves is family and dog-friendly but the actual caves and rock-exploring is pretty dangerous. I would absolutely not recommend any children and definitely no dogs to explore this area. You could easily fall to your death or get seriously injured.
Tunnels are not usually my thing. They go on forever and once you're deep in there, you have no way out besides trekking forward or trailing back the same way you came in. On top of that they are pitch black inside, dirty and definitely not for those with extreme claustrophobia. With that out of the way, who's down for a *real* adventure?
This was a crazy time. It took many months of my friend persuading me into embarking upon a tunnel of this size. I finally caved in though. We went maybe 1.5-2 miles in and had some light show fun deep inside. All was well at the beginning.
My friend is mapping out the entire underworld of San Diego and asked if he could quickly map out one of the small inlets from the main tunnel we were in. I said sure. Well, 30-40 minutes goes by and he's still not back. I call his name. No answer. I scream his name. No answer. I scream it again and again and still no response. This is when I realized that I was several miles inside a super-creepy tunnel, a small female (thankfully with some protection as I recommend you always bring too) and alone. I decided I was not going to wait any longer for him because who knows how long he may be.
I pretty much ran back, the light bouncing up and down off the ceiling and ground and looking and feeling as if I were in a horror movie. It was a nightmare come true and thankfully nothing bad happened. I made it out okay and unscathed. Will I be tunnel exploring with my friend again? Probably not. 🙂
Lawrence Welk Cave
Holy crap, what an adventure! I have been out here many times and foolishly never realized that the REAL adventure and REAL caves were further down the hill! The first talus cave is fun, sure, but NOTHING compared to what lays below. Please do not go out here or bring friends unless your whole group is experienced. The place could get shut down for everyone if someone gets injured.
I have not explored the bottom of the canyon yet but have large desires to do so. I have a hunch many more adventure await in this region.
The Martian Mountains were named after Olympus Mons, which is the largest volcano on Mars. Olympus Mons resembles the shape of the large volcanoes that make up the Hawaiian Islands. Resembling a less populated and untouched Mushroom Caves, this area seems like the perfect set for a sci-fi movie and a great opportunity to step away from the trivialities of modern-day society.
These mountainscapes are a cluster of slot canyons that were created over thousands of years from water pouring over the sandstone, creating narrow corridors and fantastic eroded designs. This area is not necessarily safe and even though I had my dog I greatly wish I hadn't brought her. It is not dog (nor kid) friendly in my opinion, and having her held us back from exploring many areas I would have otherwise ventured into.
Because this area is sacred and untouched by the hands of people prone to destroying all things beautiful, we will be refraining from giving directions to the public. Once the Mushroom Caves gained popularity they were destroyed by graffiti within a couple years. It took a whole team to clean it up and the area is now open to the public. Due to so much heavy foot traffic, it is now far more difficult for the area to get vandalized. On the flip side, it is also hard to enjoy the area with so many people around. With that said, welcome the new Mushroom Caves!
Ready Relief Mine
Mines in general are crazy to explore. You are in a dark cave that could essentially collapse on you at any point. This is also a no-trespassing spot which means we were putting ourselves at risk of being caught just by hiking on the land. Right as we were heading back to our car a truck pulled through the gate and parked on the dirt road right by us. We were freaked out and hid in a bush deciding what we should do. That's when we saw the man's pitbull hop out of the car. We watched through the bush as they walked around the immediate vicinity. We went back and forth on what we should do. Should we get up and talk to him? Wait for him to leave or just make a run for it? The dog was getting closer to us and we were afraid it would blow our cover if it got too close. We waited for both of their backs to be to us then got up and prepared to jet to our car which was about a yard away. Well, the dog saw us immediately and started barking furiously and sprung towards us to attack. This all unfolded within seconds. Right when it was about to lunge on us its owner screamed its name and it stopped mid run, turned around and headed back to its owner. We had a lot of explaining to do but thankfully the man let us leave with a verbal warning. These spots are to be entered at your own risk is the bottom line.