Originally written on July 15, 2016
Well, we’ve been here at Jojoba for about two weeks now. Two more weeks to go. We have had a great time so far. Met a lot of folks, had some fun times in the pool and spa. Shared some meals and have taken a few day trips. One to the beach at Oceanside and Carlsbad. Another to Julian, a historic town up in the mountains south of here about 40 miles and, of course, several trips into Temecula for shopping.
Jojoba Hills is on the eastern side of Palomar Mountain and the famous Palomar Observatory. Pretty much every view within the park here includes the numerous ridges leading up to the farthest ridge line leading up to the summit of Palomar Mountain. The mountain is literally across the highway.
As I have been soaking in the pool here, I often have found myself looking at the side of the mountain and, in particular, the various “jeep trails” cut into the hills, switch backing their way up. As I looked at the various sections of the trails that were visible from here in the park, I wondered if any of them went all the way to the Observatory. Going online to Google Maps, I found that one in particular DID go all the way to the top, almost right into the parking lot of the observatory. That’s when I decided that we should go “jeeping”. So, today was the day.
Fortunately, the road (trail) to the top starts about a ¼ mile up the highway from Jojoba Hills. Pretty convenient. Almost immediately, the pavement ended and we crossed a dry river bed. It wasn’t long before we started climbing. And climbing. And climbing. This entire region is one of hills, mountains and rocks, some of the rocks too big to be called “rocks”. Here is an example of a few “rocks” along our route.
Although, in this photo the road seems innocent enough, smooth and wide, things quickly changed. And although I was too busy driving to take photos, trust me, we were soon climbing on nothing much more than a goat trail in places.
Very soon, we saw in front of us the reason for the name “Oak Grove”. This was a very extensive grove of healthy and very mature oak trees that probably took several minutes for us to pass through. Once we did, we climbed even further and came upon the Palomar Mountain Fire Tower. Vehicles are not allowed on the spur road that climbs up to the tower. You have to walk about a 1/4 mile. We chose not to make the climb, continuing toward our goal, the Palomar Observatory about another mile further up the jeep trail.Unbelievably, within about 1/4 of a mile from the observatory parking lot, we came upon a locked gate preventing us from progressing any further. No advance warning. Nothing. We had no choice but to turn around and head back. This after about 12 miles of “jeeping” to the top. Here is aGoogle Images and Yelp stock photo of where we had intended as our destination.
And below, is another Google Image satellite view of our route up Palomar Mountain. The white arrow on the left marks the location of the fire tower at an elevation of ab. The rightmost white arrow marks the location of Palomar Observatory. From the fire tower, at an elevation of 6100 feet +, views are unrestriced from Mt. San Gregonio and Mt. San Jacinto to the east, Mt. Baldy to the north, San Diego to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.