Written by Dasha Dennis
It was a Thursday afternoon, and I love hiking on the weekdays. You can be almost certain, that you won’t encounter too many others, and can easily find that solitude that a solo hiker seeks. I started my climb up to the summit of Volcan Mountain, right outside Julian, CA, at 330 in the afternoon, and the weather was beautiful. The clouds strewn across the sky were wispy and puffy at the same time; the kind of clouds that make you feel like you’re looking at a painting. I proceeded up the steep trail, and it was a challenge. You gain almost 1200 ft elevation over the course of 2.5 miles. As I gained elevation, the views started to open up, and I was surrounded by open meadow; there was a family of deer off in the distance, and a coyote a little further down the trail, who didn’t have much interest in me.
Volcan mountain is a special place. It was inhabited by the Indians in the past, and it makes sense why. The animals are abundant, and you can just feel that this place is special. Once you get to the top of the mountain, to the west, you can see all the way to the ocean, and the mountains between Volcan and San Diego County. To the east, you can see out across Anza Borrego Desert. To the south Mt Laguna and The mountains of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, and to the north, the slightest bit of the Santa Ana Mountains. When I’m in those moments when I’ve reached the top of a mountain, I feel such a sense of accomplishment.
This peak isn’t too much of a challenge compared to others I’ve done, but no matter the how big or small the feat, it still feels good. I know that I’m doing something that is not only good for my body, but renewing my mind and spirit, and helping me to have a positive outlet for the stress and frustration of life. As I headed back down from the peak, the sun was starting to set, and those clouds I was talking about before, were creating a beautiful backdrop for the sun to work its magic. The sky was splashed with color and texture, and at that moment, I was so grateful to be experiencing this beautiful work of art that nature was giving me. This hike is beautiful and can be done by people of all ages and ability (some might have to pace themselves more than others, but that’s okay!), and I encourage people to explore this trail as well and see the beauty that it has to offer.
Do you want to check out Volcan Peak for yourself? See all the details on Bivy.