Friday, February 28, 2014

Tecate Peak, Non-Standard Route

*NOTE*: if you're reading this for directions/trail reports, note that I unintentionally took a different way than the "standard" route, and can't guarantee you can get to the top this way. But I haven't seen this on the web either so I'm posting it here. Read on for route description.

I'll be honest, from the satellite imagery Tecate looks like a rocky inland sh*tpile, but it's actually a pretty cool little climb. Between the mountain you're on and the mountains just north of you, you feel like you're actually way up there and there are some steep drop-offs. Pretty good for less than an hour from downtown.

That said, I didn't go the "correct" way, and didn't get to the summit. I'm not even disappointed since it was a cool cloudy day and part of the reason I turned around was that I had already gotten into the cloud deck, so I wouldn't have been able to see where I was going, much less the view.

Near Tecate summit. From

The way I went: the road that turns south off 94, 0.5 miles east of Barrett Junction Cafe. (Don't park at the Cafe without eating there, but that shouldn't be a problem, because the place is awesome.) The road that goes up the mountain should be driveable for 4WDs but there's a locked gate; if you get there and it's open, don't assume it will stay that way. There's a road that switchbacks up up up, with some nice views of the valley and mountains to the north I don't think you'd get on the normal route; near the highest point on the road you pass a cluster of three very lonely-looking trees, then you reach the highest point on the road at a small water tank on the west shoulder of the summit. Just to the south(=downhill) of this, there's a single-tracky looking thing that takes off very steeply to the main summit. Not having gone up to the summit, and not being able to make it out on the satellite map, I can't guarantee it makes it to the top or even that bush-whacking would be possible (couldn't see how steep because of the clouds). Why did I go that way? Because I put in Tecate Peak to Google Maps from downtown SD and that's what it said! (Insert sad trombone, "wah waaaahh!")

The way you're supposed to go: every other source, including the late great Jerry Schaad's guide, says approach from the southwest and turn west off 188 0.4 miles before it crosses into Mexico. From Schaad:
At a point on Highway 94 about 19 miles beyond Jamul, turn south on Highway 188. Just 2 miles down this highway lies the Tecate border crossing. Don't cross into Mexico. Instead, turn west on an unpaved road, just 0.4 miles shy of the border itself. That road swings south, hugs the border fence for a while, and then turns northwest and starts climbing the flank of Tecate Peak. A locked gate blocks the road 2.8 miles ahead, and you must find parking where you can below the gate.
I probably liked this run more than I otherwise would have because of the cool cloudy weather and because I liked Barrett Junction Cafe, but it's still a real mountain either way. I will definitely be back to do the normal route. One note, do be ready for interactions with Border Patrol. They were a little puzzled to see me up there and one kindly explained that this was not the normal way up. As it turns out they were following somebody's tracks and one officer wanted to see my shoe tread to make sure it wasn't me. They're just doing their job. I did have one negative interaction with Border Patrol a few years ago on the PCT at the border; the guy basically tried to intimidate me and told me I shouldn't be on the trail. The guys that were up on Tecate yesterday didn't pull that, and that level of more professional conduct is what I normally experience with Border Patrol.

Cedar Falls to El Cap Reservoir (Also, Don't Trespass)

In order for me not to have a BIA agent show up at my door, please assume that this post is about a hypothetical version of me in a parallel universe, and the pictures included are from someone else.

A little bit ago I did a run I've been wanting to do for a while, which is start at the Ramona Oaks trailhead for Cedar Falls, head down into the canyon, and then go south all the way to El Capitan Reservoir. It's one of the most beautiful canyons/valleys in San Diego County. Even after this terrible dry winter the hillsides were somewhat green. I imagine after the (still not adequate) rain we're having as I write this, it'll green up nicely.

First view of the lake, looking south.

Closer to the lake.

Next several are looking northeast back up the valley.

Important point: don't run this route, because you'll be trespassing. I did this by accident, and won't do it again. There's a small dam on the creek maybe halfway between the falls and the lake, and there was an open gate there. On the way back from the northern tip of the lake I saw a sign (hard to see when you're coming from the north) saying "No Trespassing, Federal Indian Reservation", and then when I came back through the open gate, saw the other one, which I had missed on the way down. It turns out this is the Capitan Grande Indian Reservation, official population 7, which is the ancestral home of people in both Viejas and Barona reservations. The history of the reservation is worth reading. Basically, a century ago San Diego decided it needed the south end of the valley for the reservoir and - surprise! - forced out the people who lived there, who are now at Viejas and Barona.

Below: grinding stones (morteros in SoCal archaeology jargon). When I saw the rock along the trail I made a bet that there would be some and I was right. This rock is fairly easy to find, on the west side of the trail, about 1-2 miles south of the falls turnoff.

I have no idea how to contact anyone involved with the Capitan Grande Reservation. But an excellent way to protect this area from development, or future shenanigans from the city, would be to open it to hikers and riders, so if in the future any agencies try something, there will be lots of people from San Diego who want to protect the valley as it is.

Future plans for this area: bushwhack from the Cedar Falls Canyon over to Three Sisters Falls.

Monday, February 17, 2014

10 Acre Development Approved at Del Mar Mesa

(Previous Del Mar Mesa stories here.)

Roughly speaking, the undeveloped Del Mar Mesa open space comprises south of the "bend" in the 56, and north of Penasquitos Canyon, between the 5 and the 15. It contains the one of southernmost stands of riparian oak woodland on the West Coast (the Tunnels). And it's very frustrating that while the status of the open space around Del Mar Mesa has remained uncertain for years because of inexplicable bureaucratic blundering, developers are still able to get their plans for the area approved. If you're a biker, hiker, or runner or you're just concerned about open space in SD County, this is a story worth paying attention to. One can be forgiven for thinking that something untoward and un-transparent is going on with this piece of land. Previous Del Mar Mesa stories here.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Silverado Canyon Cirumnavigation

You know, Silverado Canyon in the Trabuco Unit of Cleveland NF? I've been wanting to do this one for a while. Start at the Silverado gate, up Silverado trail to Main Divide, then along the ridge all the way around to the junction that heads up to Modjeska, and back down the switchbacky Maple Springs Truck Trail.

I knew I'd be in for a nice hill workout because once you gain the ridge, there's still a lot of up and down, and it's mostly my back and gluts that are paying for it today. But even beyond that, this one wins the award for Most Annoying Trail Run. An. Noy. Ing. Seriously, you keep thinking you're about to connect to Maple Springs and then the ridge swerves away AGAIN - and no wildlife at all up there yesterday, and lots of death cookies to blow an ankle on. The view of the San Gabriels and San Bernardinos and San Jacinto were nice (no snow right now, sadly enough), and it's kind of cool to look down into Corona, and sunset over Catalina wasn't bad either with the marine layer creeping in. It was also nice to seemingly scare the bejeesus out of a couple guys in the 4WDs not expecting to see someone on foot up there especially after dark. But I don't know if I'm going to run this one again any time soon. I've already been up Santiago from the southern entrance and that trail is a little prettier. I might be taking a little break from the Trabuco...(Images below the map from and respectively.)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Outstanding Rock Art in Southern Los Padres NF

David Stillman gets out to a lot of not-public sites and shares images with us. I've included one below, but here's a link to the whole post. If you're interested in the history and geography of Santa Barbara County, here's another great post at Jack Elliott's blog about the perils of Point Conception.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Mission Trails: Still Awesome

I know you were worried that somehow, Mission Trails would become less awesome. I know that I personally worry about things becoming less awesome and have to go out to check them out. Fortunately I'm here to tell you it's fine. I volunteered today with two Meetup groups planting natives at Mission Trails. Turnout was great, I think close to 30 people. (Want to volunteer? Go here.)

After this, I went for an awesome run from the visitors center then up and over Mount Fortuna, including a little side trip to go up the climbers trail. The dopamine was flowing quite freely, I think because I got up and did something useful and met some cool people - I have to do this more. Plus now I know which plants are lemonberry. Picture below is from; it really should be greener than this right now considering it's February.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

World Series Ratings NOT More Sensitive to Geography Than Superbowl

This is cross-posted to my economics blog The Late Enlightenment. Next up: how much does winning actually correlate with the franchise making money?

It's been said that it's a television ratings disaster when the World Series comes down to two teams that are from smaller markets, and/or closer together. That is, the thinking goes that if St. Louis plays Kansas City, it's a Midwest series and people outside MO and KS don't care, and consequently a ratings disaster. Yet somehow this same concern isn't expressed for the Superbowl, which always seems curious.

I'd never seen actual data on this. So, I got data for all Superbowls through 2013, and all World Series from the same period (starting in 1968).

The inputs I looked at (i.e. things that could influence viewership) were as follows: 1) total combined home market size of each team in the championship (i.e. greater metro area)[a][b], 2) driving distance between the two teams, and 3) time zone distance between the two teams. The logic for using home market size is obvious. The idea behind using distance is that the farther apart the two teams, the greater ratings might be because the broader the appeal of the game (i.e. maybe people in L.A. don't care about Seattle, but if Seattle is playing some East Coast team, well that's different, and ratings would be better; vs. if the championship were between San Diego and Los Angeles, maybe people in the Northeast wouldn't care, and ratings would be worse.) I also looked at time zone distance for this same reason.

My outputs were: 1) absolute viewership, and 2) viewership as a percentaqge of national population. Because the average audience can change over time, I also tried looking at each year in comparison to the 11-year moving average that bracketed the year (average calculated from 5 preceding and 5 succeeding years). I then looked at scatter plots of the data.

The answer is that there is no relationship. That is, the television ratings of both the World Series and the NFL are NOT influenced by home market size or distance of the competing markets from each other. So if the A's and the Giants play each other, fine! (Not counting any earthquakes that might be induced thereby.) So it turns out that demography is NOT destiny, at least not in football and baseball ratings. The highest R^2 for a linear trend anywhere in these comparisons was a worthless 0.08; there's no point in showing you some uninformative crappy scatterplots.

Just for grins I also looked at ratings against the Excitement Index calculated for the playoffs since 2001 (were the games snoozefests or edge-of-your-seat games); if there were exciting playoffs, there might be better ratings. Again, no relationship.

It's clear from the graphs below (total viewership over time, then % of US population viewing over time) that even if baseball isn't more sensitive to geography, it has other issues.

[a]In cities which have two teams I ran two versions, one which assumed that everyone in the home market would follow their home team when it's in the championship, and another that assumed only half the sports population would support each team.
[b]It's clear that there are some strange geographic distributions of fans around the country, but for simplicity's sake I just used metro area population to get a number for home market.