It appears El Niño has officially arrived. While all that weather makes for a terrible commute, it can make some fantastic hikes! I’ve seen several reports from Cedar Creek Falls and Three Sisters Falls showing they’re flowing pretty strongly. The San Diego River has been looking like an actual river, and there’s snow up in Cuyamaca, Palomar, and Mount Laguna.
So far it looks like the upcoming week won’t be quite as exciting as last week. They’re forecasting a couple days of possible rain midweek, but otherwise mostly clear. As cool as all this weather is, please remember some basic safety precautions before you head out:
- Check the forecast: Weather conditions can change quickly, especially in the mountains. Make sure you don’t get caught unaware by an impending storm like these hikers.
- Beware of flash floods: Avoid low-lying areas like canyons, dry creek beds, desert washes, etc during rainy weather. Even if its not raining where you are, rainfall upstream can cause fast-moving flash floods. This is one of my favorite videos showing how quickly a fast-moving flow of water can appear out of nowhere.
- Beware of lightning: Luckily we don’t have thunderstorms too often in San Diego, but they do happen. Check out this guide from the National Outdoor Leadership School for a good primer on lightning safety. Spoiler alert: the only really safe place to be when there’s lightning is indoors, so check the forecast and reschedule your hike if a thunderstorm is forecast. If you get caught by surprise while out, avoid high points like peaks and ridgelines.
- Avoid fast-moving water: A lot of footbridges and river crossings are getting flooded out. Don’t try and cross any stretch of fast-moving water, sometimes you need to just turn around and go back.
Many trails around the county are closed during and immediately after heavy rain for safety reasons and to prevent trail erosion. Please respect these closures and give the trails a few days to dry out.
Next Sunday you can join the San Diego Natural History Museum Canyoneers as they hike Torote Canyon and Palm Bowl in Anza-Borrego. This is an intermediate 5 mile hike with elevation change up to 500 feet plus extra challenges. Hike up past smoke trees into Indian Gorge to Torote Canyon to view native elephant trees, and then climb over a ridge to the very isolated Palm Bowl to view the most western palm oasis of Mountain Palm Springs. Visit the Canyoneers web page for more information, or visit our Events Page to find even more upcoming hikes and events.
Anza Valley Outlook has a nice article predicting a great wildflower season in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park this year because of the recent rains. Peak season is typically March – May, we’ll do our best to keep you posted on conditions as the year progresses.
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Have a good week!