The weather on Monday morning was cool, crisp, and really clear so it was the perfect day to head to the mountains just east of San Diego. I had it in my head to hike some small section of the Pacific Crest Trail, just to say that I had set foot on it, and found a easy sounding (hey, we were on vacation after all) hike to Garnet Peak. I have to say, I think the effort vs. payoff ratio of this hike is best of any hike I've ever taken (in other words, it's not hard and the view was stunning). First of all, it's a very easy, barely an hour drive from San Diego. You hop on I-8, go east, exit onto Sunrise Highway, drive through some very scenic mountain curves, and you're there. No back roads, no 4-wheel drive needed, no worries about GPS going out of service because it's so simple to get there.
Since we were there so early we only saw a handful of other hikers and had plenty of peace and quiet to ourselves. The hike took us about 2 hours total and that was with a lot of stopping to take pictures along the way. We finished earlier than we anticipated, so we decided to drive about 20 minutes north into Julian. I had heard of "Julian Pies" and we figured there was no harm in seeing what it was all about.
I suppose Julian is like the Ellijay of southern California. They've got mountains and apples and mining and a historic town strip. Julian also seems to have a lot of town pride as everything is called "Julian This" or "Julian That". We went in a few general store type places and yes, found a bakery that sells vegan apple pies. James wanted to go big or go home, so we bought a whole apple pie and then spent the rest of the week trying to eat it. But that's ok because we earned our right to eat whole pies with the amount of hiking/walking we did.