Palomar Mountain, Saturday, May 16, 1998: Glenn Paden (KE6ZLY) and Bob Gonsett (W6VR) blaze yet another trail from Observatory Campground to Doane Pond. The hike proceeded from Observatory Campground through Fry Creek Campground, southwest a few hundred feet to the large Penny Pines sign on the saddle, then south on what started out as an old but level logging road but which eventually became nothing more than animal trails. The hikers used GPS navigation (Garmin 12XL) and emerged from the forest at the school near Doane Pond, just as planned. They then walked over to Doane for lunch. Hiking conditions were reportedly excellent following recent rains.

On the trip back, the duo spotted an orange bobcat, maybe three years old and only 20 feet away from them at the edge of the school property. They watched the critter catch a gopher or large rat in a matter of seconds, then saunter off to enjoy lunch.

On the way back, the hikers took a different route following a stream trail with many waterfalls and spectacular scenery. GPS navigation brought them right back to the Penny Pines sign. Then, they retraced their steps through Fry Creek Campground and reentered

Observatory Campground via a slightly different route. Total time for this very relaxed round trip: just under four hours.

The hike was made entirely over public lands - Cleveland National Forest and California State Park property. The stream route they took was by far the simplest and best of the four trails they have discovered so far. The trip was significant for Paden who had hiked the entire distance from Chihuahua Valley to Pala - in bits and pieces over the years - except for the "missing link" between Fry Creek and the State Park. Now, he can say that he has gone the entire distance, both ways. According to Gonsett, "The stream trail provides a new and convenient link between two seemingly isolated parts of Palomar Mountain. Hiking from Boucher Hill to the Palomar Observatory itself is now possible - all on great forest trails."

Questions or comments?
Send email to

This page was last updated on July 06, 2003.