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Afoot & Afield: San Diego County
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
© Jerry Schad/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.
My friends and I did this hike as it was described in an earlier edition of Afoot & Afield, that is as a one way hike from the Inaja Picnic Area to the Cedar Creek Falls trail head in Ramona.
We started at 9AM on the 12th and finished at 2PM the next day. The total distance was about 10 miles, total hiking time was 15 hours.
There was no running water which helped navigating the canyon, but the thick, dried up vegetation and rocky riverbed is extremely challenging. The upper half of the canyon is very rough and choked with dried vegetation. We managed only half a mile per hour. The second and third falls require climbing up and over the slopes. The further south you go (past the third fall) the easier it gets. We did not run into cougars or boars, but encountered two rattlesnakes. Much more a problem were the ticks we picked up pushing through the shrubs, and frequent checks were needed to get rid of these hitch hikers. Poison oak is everywhere! Wearing a jumpsuit or coverall isn't a bad idea. You should also pack some poison oak scrub to wash up as needed.
This was an extremely challenging an exhausting hike, which requires the necessary gear and research. Don't forget to call the Palomar Ranger Station to get last updates on the area before you go. If you do this one way, you need someone to drop you off at the Inaja Picnic Area as overnight parking is not permitted there.
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