Distance: 11 Miles
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
Critters: Hawks, squirrels, a coyote, and two very confused bovines.
Boden Canyon lies just east of the San Pasqual Canyon nature preserve, which lies just east of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Both Boden and San Pasqual Canyons are cut by the Santa Ysabel river, which at this time of the year is dry as a bone. Regardless of the lack of recent rain, both canyons support a vibrant riparian ecosystem along the river bed. For those who don’t know, riparian ecosystems represent the plants, animals, and trees that thrive in close proximity to a watercourse. The difference can be pronounced; a few feet away from the edge of a riparian ecosystem, sage and chapparal take over. A few feet closer to the creek sycamores, oaks, cottonwoods, and willows attempt to crowd each other out as cat tails and grasses compete for the remaining sunlight that filters through. In a desert such as inland San Diego county, water turns the desert into jungle.
Boden Canyon represents a fine example of a riparian ecosystem. The initial leg of the out-and-back hike takes the hiker over a double-track fire road, up and over the only hill one encounters on this trail. Following this hill, the trail narrows into single-track and plunges into the riparian woodland consisting of coast live oaks, Engelmann oaks, and sycamores. The scenery becomes more beautiful the further into the hike, as the canyon broadens, the trees grow older and taller, the grasses become greener, and more distance is put between the hiker and civilization.
I have a certain amount of enjoyment and admiration for the dry, desert-like conditions, the open vistas, and the granitic peaks of San Diego county. However, it is the cool shade, the breeze ruffling the leaves on the trees, birds singing brightly in the bows, and sunlight filtering through the branches that I love most about the Mediterranean climate. Boden Canyon provides me with a moderate, long distance hike that can be taken fast (I completed the 11 hour trail in under three hours), or slow with many stops beneath shady oak trees.
January: 62.7 miles
Year-to-date: 62.7 miles