Hike at Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, Escondido, CA - February 2016

I went down to Encinitas to see a concert with a friend at the Belly Up Tavern (great show!) and spent the night so that we could go hiking the next day. We ended up at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve (love the name!) which is located in Escondido - part of the Olivenhain Municipal Water District.

According to the website "One of San Diego County’s most precious natural resources, Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve offers approximately 11 miles of hiking, mountain biking, equestrian trails, as well as picnic areas and scenic mountain viewing points."

Here's where we were:

You can see a trail map here.

They also have a botanical trail complete with a cool, interactive map you can find here (printable version here). Lots of great information. We actually weren't on the botanical trail. We were just winging it and went up, up, up which I see now is fittingly called the "Way Up Trail" (1.41 miles).

I noticed right away how green and lush everything was. It smelled heavenly. In parts the ground was noticeably wet (this is a treat for someone like me who lives in such a dry place!).

Right away I started seeing wildflowers, looking extra bright against the saturated green.

California Lilacs (Genus Ceanothus)

Red Sticky Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus var. puniceus)

Elder (Genus Sambucus)

Milkmaids (Cardamine californica)

We hiked up a mile or so to the overlook of the Olivenhain Dam and Resevoir which contains 8 billion gallons of water!

Yucca blooms all around.

And then back down again!

After a few minutes relaxing streamside we left to get something to eat. A quick little jaunt, but much needed and appreciated.