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¡Ay, caramba, Cuyamaca!

Peak Summited2020 Cuyamaca Peak
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadAzalea Glen
EncounteredFall foliage
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusBugs were not too bad
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition

Having just completed El Cajon this past Wednesday, my friends and I took yet another hiking trip down to San Diego in hopes of summiting two more mountains; the first of which being Cuyamaca Peak. We arrived at the Azalea Glen Loop trailhead by 8am and quickly prepped our gear. We also made sure to pay for parking via the mobile app. The Azalea Glen Loop trail is simply outstanding in terms of varying environments. From vast plains to clay terrains and from shaded trees to mountain majesties, this trail features a little bit of everything. While ascending the aforementioned clay-covered switchbacks, the three of us encountered one of the rarest (and most amazing) sights that any of us had ever experienced while hiking: an adult mountain lion. The seemingly startled big cat jumped out of the brush about five feet in front of me and rapidly charged further up the trail before diving back into the off-trail foliage. At first I thought I was seeing someone’s dog. It wasn’t until I had gotten a good look at the feline’s tail that I had realized just how “lucky” we were to be witnessing such a rare sight; especially for 9:30am. After such an exhilarating climb, we made our way to the summit where we took pictures, had a snack and took a brief rest before heading back down the mountain via the fire road.

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