August Full Moon Hike – Iron Mountain

Hot August nights leave one with little reprieve from heat and mugginess. Do you stay indoors with the AC running (do you have AC?)… or do you get outside till the heat drops so you can sleep without the misery of sweating into your pillow?

Local evening exploration all too often includes the breweries and $50 worth of fogginess in the morning. Walking around the neighborhood with the dog loses its excitement after getting all caught up on podcasts…. How about a hike?

The August full moon gave the perfect opportunity to do one of my favorite hikes. A hike I do not do very often anymore due to soccer moms, yuppies, and hipsters having discovered the mountain a couple years ago. Throngs of people equal not as much fun anymore. Always a fan of getting outside to enjoy the outside, not people, often means frequenting locations really early or really late in the day to enjoy ‘near urban’ outdoors areas.

Arrived at the parking lot off Highway 67 and Poway road around 1830. About forty-five minutes before sunset to allow enough time for a brisk hike up. Had planned a picnic dinner at the summit. Turkish flat bread (lavash), roasted eggplant spread, canned dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), and a brick of hard feta. Light, not needing a lot of refrigeration, and quickly picked up at the middle-eastern market on the way to the trail head.

Only five minutes down the trail I see two kids with a camera gingerly leaning over a bush trying to get a picture. “Hey,  what’d you guys find?” I asked. “Rattlesnake…“,  they responded….neat! I got a peak through the branches of a beautiful snake, about width of my wrist, coiled silently in the dense brush. The pictures did not turn out though as the snake’s hiding spot was very good.

A few minutes later bumped a rabbit on the trail… then again…and again. A few were quicker than my draw on the Nikon (bulletproof little point and shoot). Lots of bunnies on this hike. Surely they were timing their evening activities to avoid the heat and people as well.

Only a few hundred yards from the top… a strategic pause was taken to watch the waning sunbeams dive below the ocean horizon. Most people turn and leave after this part but the best part of sunset the next three hours. The sky changing from oxygen blue to space black with the sun’s rays fire dancing on clouds before fading into vermilion, blues, and purples.

Summit shortly after sunset.

Rock hopping down the mountain in the moonlight (still very dark) is exciting, disorienting, and not for the ‘weak ankled‘. Most people do use flashlights or headlamps… I carry one just in case. There are areas that almost require a light…but with a precise mixture of ‘caring and daring‘ you’ll make it down.

Around 2230 I stood next to the motorcycle donning gear… exhilarated by the hike and night air…and the late night country road that awaited ahead of me to get home. The perfect weeknight out…

 

 

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