After cooling off at the beach, and rinsing off the salt deposits, our Airstream Safari was ready to get high again in the Cuyamaca Mountain Range that we visited just two months ago. Last April, after a three year absence, we were curious to see how William Heise County Park fared after trees were damaged by wind and wet snow, and oak trees were killed by the Goldspotted Oak Borer. We were pleased to see that there were plenty of oak trees still surviving and many improvements have been made, including new picnic tables, beautiful cabins, and the surprise that dogs are now allowed on park trails. So on the eve of summer before temperatures peak, we returned for five days of camping in this beautiful forest setting surrounded by pine, oak, and cedar trees.
Ten years ago the devastating 2003 Cedar Fire* burned approximately 70% of William Heise Park, which is now a showcase of a forest in various stages of re-growth. Chaparral is rapidly recovering, even though bleached white skeletons of black oaks and manzanitas are still seen on surrounding hillsides. With rainfall just 65% of normal, San Diego County firefighters are preparing for yet another potentially dangerous wildfire season.
We positioned our Safari in our favorite non-hookup campsite for optimal sunbathing, which enabled our two factory installed solar panels to recharge our two Lifeline AGM batteries to 100% by mid-morning each day. We had full sun all five days and the solar panels delivered a total of 193 amp-hours by the fifth day.
Each day began by walking our Corgis, Mac and Tasha. The ranger explained that the recent decision to allow dogs on trails in this park is based on the premise that it is better to have people enjoying hiking on trails with their dogs on a leash, than having dogs left alone at campsites.
While our trailer soaked in the rays, we enjoyed relaxing in the shade of the nearby Coulter Pine and Canyon Live Oak trees as cool breezes flowed up the forest hillside. This was an excellent location for reading, bird watching and listening to relaxing bird sounds.* Our peace was only interrupted by biting flies that Tasha snapped at before retreating under the truck. (Larry killed 18 flies in one afternoon.)
My summer reading included Illumination in the Flatwoods – A Season Living Among the Wild Turkey, by Joe Hutto. (Appropriate reading in a park known for its turkeys!)
*This is a link to a YouTube video.