A few weekends back, I booked a campsite via Reserve America (part of the Active Network) in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park to be used as a basecamp for both Friday and Saturday nights. After growler fills at the Alpine Brewery on Friday evening, I started my weekend of camping, mountain biking and good times with my friends.
Alicia cooked up some delicious backcountry Gnocchi at our camp in Paso Picachu campgound for dinner on Friday night.
Then first thing Saturday, Alicia and her pro photographer friend, Chip Allen, and I were up at 5 a.m. and had coffee in-hand by 5:20 a.m. on our drive to catch sunrise. We got to the Sunrise Highway and hiked out to the Pacific Crest Trail via Penny Pines to take photos just as the sun crested the eastern horizon at 6:15 a.m. and warm sunlight flooded the Anza Borrego Desert valley directly below us.
Chip killed it with his legit camera while I snapped a bunch of photos with my iPhone. I was pleased with the following:
After breakfast at the restaurant on Lake Cuyamaca (which was quite decent), I geared up at camp and embarked upon a solo epic mountain bike ride. I had all the gear I needed in my pack for a full day on the bike, and Alicia and Chip headed back to the city when I hit the trail.
I was riding for 4 hours and 45 minutes and covered a huge loop in the park. I know the park well from all the miles that went into running the San Diego 100-Mile Endurance Run in 2008, but there still remains many many miles of trail that I've yet to touch. So I got on some new stuff and connected with some familiar sections. It was tough. The park is rocky and it felt like I was climbing for the majority of the day. It was the ride I needed to get ready for the Whiskey 25-Proof MTB race in Prescott, AZ the next weekend.
Around the same time, 3 carloads of my colleagues from Active.com arrived. I think all-in-all, I got to see 20 of my friends in Cuyamaca State Park that weekend!
Sunday morning I hit a quick climb straight up Cuyamaca Peak, called my mom from the summit and then headed back to camp to pack up and drive back to SD and meet up with Alicia for a roof-top party at my old housemate Jordan's new place downtown. A well-balanced weekend for sure!
See the yellow meadow in the upper right corner? That's the meadow in the photo above!