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Rancho de San Juan Hike

Rancho de San Juan

May 12th, 2001

2.0 miles
730 vertical feet
Total Time: 1:20

Rating: 6/10

Directions:   View Driving Map

I didn't mean to go so far, but the trail just kept going up.

I started off from the parking lot, taking the right fork along the sandy dried up river bed. Shortly I turned left and headed up toward the shrine. The shrine is a commissioned piece of artwork carved into the rock. There are glass windows in the rock which are visible from the outside. I kept going, past the shrine, past the bench set there for people to take in the views.

I reached a trail intersection -- Petroglpyh trail to the left, Ridge trail to the right. I started off on the Petroglyph trail, but the Ridge trail beckoned to me, and I quickly switched over. It's not so much a trail as a general direction -- it's dirt and lots of rocks, with cairns placed every once in a while to let you know you're on the right track.

I clambered up the rocks while the sun played a losing battle with the clouds. Since I was hiking solo over rocky terrain close to sunset, I tried to be as careful as possible, since I didn't want to end up stranded up there with a broken ankle. I kept looking at my watch, saying I'd turn around after I'd been hiking for half an hour. But the watch hardly moved and I soon found myself nearing the top. Or what I thought was the top. There were many false summits as I hiked up the ridge, and this one was the false summit of all false summits. Another 200 feet of steep climbing lay before me, but I didn't have the time to complete the climb and return for our 8pm dinner reservations.

View from the ridge

I took in the views of the complex below and started back down. My allergies were acting up, and so were the bugs -- following me all the way down. I made my way down to the shrine with plenty of time to spare, so I decided to take a look. Unfortunately it was locked; it turns out you need to get a key from the front desk. I could only peer inside, seeing artificial-looking interior walls and archways. It would be fun to explore, but that'll have to wait for another time.

The shrine

I waited several minutes for the sun to peek out from behind the clouds, then took some pictures of the shrine before returning to the parking lot.

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