When we think of San Diego, we usually think of beach and sand. Driving through its mountains and hills, San Diego showed us what we've been missing out on all these years. Cleveland National Forest is beautiful, featuring rolling meadows, ancient forests and abundant wildlife. There is hunting here, but it's mostly on private land. Still, it was nice to be outside. We enjoy watching and photographing wildlife as much as we like to hunt them.
When visiting a national forest in California, remember to have an Adventure Pass. For $35, you can visit Angeles, Los Padres, Cleveland and San Bernardino National Forests for an entire year. The money goes towards maintaining the area. Or, you can buy a $5 day pass at the nearest ranger station.
Earlier in the day, we saw wild turkey...
Then we saw this doe eating by the side of the road. She stared at us for a moment, then decided that we were too close for her liking. She bailed and jump over the bushes behind her.
She had freakishly large ears. She was a mule deer.
Here's another deer we saw, terrorizing a trash can by the restroom. :-)
We backed up the car to watch her from above.
She darted, too.
Much of Cleveland National Forest is leased out to ranchers. We saw lots of cattle grazing in the distance. We almost felt like we weren't in California.
It's a great place to go for a drive.
Then we stopped by a graveyard of bare trees, obviously burnt by wildfires.
It was a little ghostly, listening to the breeze blow through bare limbs.
Then we drove up to a top of a mountain to see the gigantic Palomar Observatory.
Beware of snakes! A sign just to freak out Rick's mom. (She gives us a lecture about the dangers of snakes whenever we go out.)
And here's a sign for Asians, who apparently like to steal the ferns?
Us, by the observatory.
It was huge! Unfortunately, it was closed by the time we got there.
Look! It's a Keelber Tree!
The Keebler Elf had no cookies. But at least he was handsome. :-)
Then we made our way down the mountain again to find a place to rest and have lunch.
We ended up in a campsite that was well hidden by tall conifers. Looking at our map, Cleveland National Forest has many campsites to choose from.
Then it was time to go home. First, an ice cold Coca-Cola!
See the traffic in the distance? Yep. It's Friday evening on a California freeway.
Fortunately, traffic cleared up. We had a fantastic day in Cleveland National Forest. Go visit if you get the chance!