Palomar Mountain State Park, CA - November 2015

As you can read in the previous post, T and I were out in this area for a mini-trip to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We'd spent the day before in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park but this day we headed the opposite direction back towards LA and up into the mountains.

Our destination? Palomar Observatory and Palomar Mountain State Park.

As we left Julian we drove past Lake Henshaw. We'd seen it the day before in the drizzly rain and fog. This day the weather was clear and crisp.

The drive up the mountain is pretty picturesque and we saw some beautiful fall color.

We stopped briefly to check out the observatory. Pretty cool site, but not much to do really. It's an active research facility and we didn't choose to take a guided (or self-guided) tour. But worth a short stop if you're up there.

After leaving, we headed down a bit and west into the park. On the way there, we stopped to take photos by the road - such beautiful trees! - and I spotted this hawk who didn't mind posing for me.

Once in the park, we parked in the Silvercrest picnic area and walked over to the Boucher Hill trail where this sign greeted us.

I can see how a Mountain Lion would call this place home. Gorgeous landscape. So peaceful and we were practically the only people on the trail.

We kept our eyes peeled, but we didn't see any lions. We did, however, encounter something else we'd never seen before. These trees that had thousands of acorns stashed into the trunks.

Earlier, I'd seen some woodpeckers like this one

and they turned out to be Acorn Woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus). These are their granary trees - where they store acorns! They use these same trees year after year. Check it out:

Nature is so cool!

Once at the top of Boucher Hill, you're presented with another awesome view. This time of the ocean.

We took our time walking back to the car and drove around to Doane Pond but it was getting late so we decided to start our drive back to LA. Of course, we had to catch one last sunset.

What a peaceful place! Highly recommended.

You can see a couple more photos of this location in the Flickr set.