Today we were blessed with sunshine again – three days in a row now. Maybe sunny southern California will be sunny again.
Not far from Escondido is a 3,000 acre city-owned property that is criss-crossed with trails. Daley Ranch was a working ranch until it went up for sale in 1996. Developers were interested in the site but the city felt that it was a unique area that should be protected. They purchased the property and it is managed in perpetuity for the preservation of a biologically unique and diverse habitat area of regional importance.
The trials are open to hikers, bicyclists and horse riders from dawn to dusk every day. There are park rangers that make patrols to make sure the rules are followed (dogs leased, no smoking, no drinking, stay on the trails) and give guided tours on certain days to explain the different plants and animals in the area.
The ranch house is open for tours the second Sunday of each month and the barns and numerous outbuildings are open for exploring. There are over 20 miles of trails throughout the ranch, from family-friendly paved roads to more vigorous hillside scrambles. And, there are over 90 geocaches hidden along the trails and roads. We went out this afternoon to check the place out and see if we could find a few of them.
We hiked a loop – took us 2 1/2 hours – and found 9 caches. We picked up a trail map on the way out and intend to orient ourselves to where more caches are hidden for another afternoon or so of hiking/caching while we are here. It was a nice afternoon. The weather was warm, the trails were good, the caches were relatively easy to find and I got to meet lots of dogs, as Daley Ranch is a popular place to walk your dog. What more could you want from a day?