Friday, July 12, 2013

Atlas ICBM Launch Pads in Scripps Ranch/Santee

The area south of Scripps Ranch and north of Santee has some awesome valleys and trails, as I am about to post. The area is of questionable legality, but is lightly (or not at all) patrolled. When I read up on the area, I found that the Atlas ICBM rocket was tested there in the 1950s, leashed to launch pads that are still there. Read this account of one explorer who actually drove down Sycamore Test Road to the site, something I wouldn't risk. (Good Poway and rocketry history in that piece too.) The area I'm talking about is here:

I'd originally entered from Via Santa Vienta and then gone all the way down to the lakes in Santee. (It's not signed except to say "LIVE FIRE AREA" to the west side of that trail in the valley, so if they want people to say out, they need to put up better signs.) But to go over to to Building 4, you'd have to go through at least one Do Not Enter sign. I really get no thrill from trespassing and at this time of year the land will be pretty parched and hot. Plus urban explorers have kindly already posted the fruits of their risk-taking, and there's gross stuff in the ruins (cadmium, etc.) - here are some excellent photos, and below is one of the videos of the blast shield.

Exhaust flume? Sycamore Canyon Test Facility.  3
Possible exhaust flumes.

Stay tuned for my March and April pics. For my money, those valleys are the prettiest place in San Diego County in the spring when they're green and lush.

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