In the Loop

image In the Cleveland National Forest

Today we hit the trail and revisit one of our favorite hikes from last year, the San Juan Loop off the Ortega Highway. It’s not a long trail, only 2.2 miles, but it’s a scenic circle that overlooks the Highway, descends into a green valley, and then winds back up again.

We begin ascending a rocky terrain with views of the surrounding mountains.

img_1699

A few steps further, the Ortega Highway comes into view.

img_1700

And it gets tricky navigating the rocks.

img_1702

Notice the mountain bike tire tracks in the picture above. Two guys blow by us as we scurry to step aside and find some footing on the rocks. Correction… one biker seamlessly flies down the trail, while the other hesitates, bounces along and keeps saying, “Holy Cow!”

Up we go as the path narrows. We try to hug the mountain to our left while looking straight down the side of the mountain to our right. Below, the sun reflects the sky, coloring  a pool of water bright blue.

img_1703

Water and rocks? Jeff stops at a viewpoint railing to throw rocks into the water. (He claims he is determining how deep the pools are!)

img_1706

img_1707

What goes up quickly begins to descend gradually. I stop and capture the beauty of the present moment.

img_1708

img_1712

img_1713

Then the terrain becomes less rugged, more lush, and greener. We walk under the canopy of large trees as we approach the valley.

img_1714

img_1715

The sun highlights a rocky cliff above.

img_1717

As we loop our way back, the Ortega Highway peeks through the trees.

img_1720

After crossing through a campground, closed for the season, I am captivated by some rock formations

img_1722

img_1724

and the red berries on this tree.

img_1723

It’s amazing how much more I noticed on the hike this time. But the best part is that Jeff’s bum leg didn’t give out on him, bolstering his confidence and reassuring him that he is healing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s