Southern California has so many great places to hike that you could literally hike every weekend for several years and never hit all of them - AND if you did, many of the desert hikes drastically change each year due to flash flooding during the "wet season". Since it can get pretty hot out there, I am trying to eek out the last few East County hikes this month as the weather is getting warm very quickly. This past weekend a friend and I hit inappropriately named Hell Hole Canyon - apparently it was named more for the 'hell of a time' it was to migrate through more than a description of the weather and surroundings.
I will say that it is always surprising to me how such beauty can grow out of such desolation.
We had a great time - of course we just did the lower portion... the upper portion goes from the originating 1800' to 3030' in less than 2 miles and there is NO foliage to provide shelter OR to photograph - which is why we went in the first place.
The lower trail starts out desert (top picture), has a sudden dip into a wooded area surrounding a creek (complete with mud and a tadpole! - not something you see many of here in such a dry climate) and suddenly you are back up to desert (see the desert through the trees??).
The rocks at one point formed a cave which I am sure something had made a home out of - a palace in such a sunny dry area.
We didn't hike very far due to the frequent stops we made for pics but the first 1/4 mile is a 200' decent which coming back is all up hill. I'll call that my exercise for the day.
Well, we got some great pictures and we had a great day (even if I did get very sunburned on my arms - even with 2 layers of SPF 30.
By the way.... did you see the needles?!