Sweetwater River Trail

Dictionary HillAfter hiking some of the Sweetwater River Trail the day before, I decided to hike another section today. I started at Eastview County Park, which is next to the Sweetwater Campground. I spoke with the Ranger at the entrance kiosk who helped direct me to the proper parking lot. Several families were setting up for their children’s birthday parties. I wondered if I might be able to get a slice of cake when I get back from the hike? Since I hiked Dictionary Hill earlier, I needed to top off my water bottle before heading out. The trailhead was just a bit north of the entrance kiosk. I scanned the trailhead board for any notices and then paused to let two trail runners come up the trail. The ranger mentioned that I should keep an eye out for any ‘danger noodles’ along the trail, as it was starting to be snake season. With that in mind, I set off down the hill toward the river bottom.

The trail cruised, and just before a bridge that spans Hwy. 125, a connector trail from the actual campground joined. Once across the bridge, a large plaque told the story of Mary Augustine, who was instrumental in getting a trails system in place throughout Bonita. In fact, this bridge was named in her honor. The trail descended a bit more, with another trail joining, this time from the nearby baseball field. Once at the river bottom, the trail passed a set of horse stables before following the Bonita Golf Course. I cruised along the flat, wide trail and did indeed encounter two women on horseback. I stepped aside and hid my trekking poles from view, as I have learned that trekking poles can spook a horse. A few other folks passed by, some running, some on mountain bikes. I came to my turnoff onto the Blue Heron trail which would take me to Morrison Pond, my intended destination. I had hiked around the pond a couple of years ago for the Tour Our Trails Challenge. The trail was now a narrow, sandy one as it drew closer to the water. I reached the junction with the trail that would take me to the north side of the pond, but like yesterday the river was flowing too much to allow me to cross. In fact, there was another hiker on the other side who stopped at the water’s edge. We chatted a bit before we both retreated from the river.

I continued westward, where I knew I would have some nice views of the pond. From there I kept going until the trail turned southward and rejoined the wide trail I was on earlier. I retraced my route, climbing back up the hill to the trailhead. When I reached the trailhead, I went to turn off my tracker, only to discover it had glitched and not recorded. Instead, I snapped a photo to use its timestamp to figure out my hiking time (I had taken one at the start). I would have to draw my route in GaiaGPS to resolve my distance. On the way back home, I stopped at Han’s & Harry’s Bakery for a nice apple strudel, since I did not score a slice of cake from the birthday party.

I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, Central Coast, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

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