9 p.m., Feb. 22
This weekend my husband and I drove out to Julian and hiked Volcan Mountain. Fog hung about the mountains, the leaves had turned gold and rust, and the fields swayed in the wind. It was idyllic.
The trails are clearly marked, and like many trails down in Southern California, the first big warning sign detailed what to do in the case of a mountain lion sighting: don't run, be loud and try to look bigger than you are.
The entrance is engraved with animals and these metal totem-like poles. The summit is about 3-4 miles from the start, but is closed after October for winter.
The total ascent was around 400 feet or less, and the terrain changed from oaks, scrub, and sage to wide open fields.
From midway it was possible to see the valleys and regions below.
Since the summit was closed, we took Five Oaks Trail back down so as not to repeat the trail. The golden corridor was littered with foliage.
And afterward we drove into town picked up two pies from Julian Apple Pie Company! I highly recommend the trail--it really makes you feel as if you've gotten away for the weekend.