Little remains of the century-old, redwood-planked flume, or aqueduct, that once brought the waters of the Cuyamaca Mountains to Grossmont Summit (La Mesa) and farther west. Much of the flume’s 36-mile-long grade is hard to identify, since no fill-dirt was used to maintain the flume’s uniform fall of 4 feet, 8 inches to the mile. Instead, workers employed numerous cuts, several tunnels, and more than 300 trestles. The completion and filling of El Capitan Reservoir in the 1930s put an end to the flume’s usefulness. The 9 million board-feet of lumber used for the flume itself and for the trestles were scavenged a long time ago. As you get closer to Conejos Creek, there are detours where the path darts above or below the original level of the flume. The footing there may be treacherous. When you reach the spot where the flume grade crosses Conejos Creek, you’ll discover a sublime sylvan scene, with water darting over and around boulders and century-old masonry associated with the flume.
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