Mountain Tops to the Ocean Bottom

It was another exciting weekend for the Wandering Dolphin crew.

Saturday started off as a day of volunteering.  I raced around the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center taking care of the feral cat colony.  After running home for a quick bite to eat, I drove up to the Wolf Center in Julian where I completed my animal care training class.

I got to enter the wolf enclosure and got within six feet of a Mexican gray wolf!  I learned about cleaning their enclosures and how to feed them, as well as safety procedures.  Very cool stuff.

Then I headed back home where Andy and I took care of our park hosting duties.  It was a hot, long day but it was very gratifying work.

Sunday, we decided to spend the day with the dogs.  After a lazy morning and FaceTiming with my parents in the early afternoon, we decided to explore two new hiking trails in Santa Ysabel.  Ramona was pretty toasty but Santa Ysabel was just a little cooler and we were able to safely take the dogs hiking.



Our first trail was a short 1/2 mile hike around a picnic area, Inaja Memorial Park.  It had amazing views and we decided it would be a great place to come back to and actually bring a picnic.


Water break
Different shades of brown…
Super neat, simple viewfinder
Checking out the sites

Our next hike was a bit longer, Santa Ysabel Nature Preserve East.  We were intending to hike the full four miles but the first mile was an uphill climb the entire time.  Our legs were killing us by the time we reached the top so we decided to cut it short and head back down.  Two miles isn’t so bad!  It’s been too hot down here for us to do much hiking so I figure this is a good start to get us back into it.

We spent a nice night grilling outside and playing cribbage, eating some delicious brats I found at a local meat market.

Monday was an adventurous day for us.  We had a relaxing morning, with a light breakfast, and then headed down to Mission Bay for some snorkeling.  A neighbor of ours recommended a spot and after doing a little online research, we figured out the place to go.

A view of the bay


This was our second time snorkeling since we’ve been here and the lack of aggressive sea lions was definitely a plus.  The visibility was pretty poor for most of the swim but we did get to see some neat things in the shallower waters.  We will definitely try this place again! The only downside was sharing the space with on-shore fisherman; we had to watch out for their lines and hooks.

We precariously climbed down some rocks to enter the water.
View across the bay from where we entered the water.
Beach at one end. We started at this end, went around the rocky point, and followed the jetty towards the ocean.


Poor visibility on such a beautiful day.
California spiny lobster

We saw a California black sea hare — the largest gastropod in the world.  Very cool but the picture turned out like a giant black blob.  It was over 2 feet long!


After a couple of hours in the water, we were famished and ready for a late lunch.


We drove into Ocean Beach and decided to try out a Greek restaurant called OB Kabob.  The food was inexpensive ($20 for two meals and two beers) and pretty tasty — our only complaint is that the lamb tasted a little gamey and some of it could’ve been spiced better.  I don’t know that we will go here again with all the other restaurants waiting for us to try them.


Before heading back home, we stopped at a brewery down the street from the Greek restaurant.  Andy and I split a flight of beer and had a great time trying the different types.


We were impressed with one of them that was over 9% abv and did not taste that strong at all.  It was a friendly place with good prices ($10 for a flight of 5 beers) and a great atmosphere.  Plus, it was dog friendly!  They even sold dog treats made from their recycled grain.


It was a great few days and we are excited to see what this week brings!



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