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The Best of East County

JACUMBA HIKERS ANNOUNCE APRIL HIKES

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 10, 2014 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – The weather is warming up and the Jacumba Hikers are hitting the trail, with a trip to Blue Angel’s Peak  and Nopal Peak planned this weekend and more outings later in the month.  For a list of hikes, click here.  To read hiking safety tips, click here.

A MAGICAL MARDI GRAS: THANKS TO OUR READERS AND SPONSORS!

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 21, 2014 (Santee) -- Our Mardi Gras celebration at Pinnacle Peak in Santee was a hit - thanks to our wonderful readers, the fabulous Bayou Brothers Band, and our generous donors and sponsors!  Your support will help East County Magazine continue to provide award-winning coverage of important news that matters here in our region -- as well as providing wildfire and emergency alerts.  We're your community media!

Oh, and we do like to put the "fun" in fundraising, too!  Scroll down to see lots more photos of our readers enjoying the festivities -- and if you missed the best party in town, be sure to click "subscribe" (it's free!) at the top right side of our homepage to be added to our email list for future fabulous events.

 

JACUMBA HIKERS SATURDAY HIKE - VALLEY OF THE MOON

 

March 21, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - The Jacumba Hikers will hit the trail on Saturday, March 22 to the Valley of the Moon. This trip may include:  Smuggler’s Cave, an old hideout of bandits and smugglers off  I-8 East just past the San Diego/Imperial County line in a high desert area near the Mexican border. We’ll also hike in through the Valley of the Moon, Elliot Mine and Blue Angels Peak Monument.

COUNTY OFFERS TIPS ON 10 THINGS TO DO INSTEAD OF WATCHING SUPERBOWL THIS SUNDAY

 

January 31, 2014 (San Diego)--If you're not a sports fan--or just can't bear to watch the SuperBowl after the Chargers were excluded, cheer up! While the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks duke it out on the (freezing cold) field in New Jersey this Sunday during Super Bowl XLVIII, San Diego County residents can soak up the sunny weather and take advantage of County activities that totally trump TV touchdowns.

Whether you love hiking, biking or just exploring San Diego, there’s plenty to do across the County this weekend instead of watching the Super Bowl. The County offers ten alternatives; all events take place on Sunday. Most of them are free--and most are in East County.

'TIS THE SEASON TO VISIT ANZA BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2014 (Anza Borrego) -- Late winter and early spring are the prime seasons to visit Anza-Borrego Desert State park, when the weather is mild enough for savoing outdoor hikes through rugged and  beautiful terrain.  There are also many activities coming up from hikes to cultural events -- and several organizations offering activities besides the Park itself.  

Winter is a good time to try and spot elusive and endangered Peninsular Bighorn Sheep and other wildlife.  Soon, spring blooms will cover the desert floor and mountain passes, adding brilliant splashes of color to the landscape.

CELEBRATING THE SEASON: THANKS TO OUR READERS

 

December 19, 2013 (Mount Helix) -- Our "Feasting and Merrymaking" party was a rousing success.  Thanks to all of you who joined in celebrating the holiday season as we continued our tradition of giving back to our community of readers.  (Note: If you wish to receive invitations for our future events, including our upcoming Mardi Gras party, be sure to subscribe--free--to our newsletter at the top right side of the homepage.)

Miss San Diego and Miss San Diego East County greeted our guests and were welcome additions to our party this year.  We also had visits from several elected officials including Congresswoman Susan Davis,  La Mesa Councilwoman Christine Alessio, and Jacumba Planning Group member Howard Cook.

LAKE JENNINGS IS OPEN FOR THE HOLIDAYS

 

November 28, 2013 (Lakeside) – While your east coast relatives are shivering in snowstorms, you can savor the warmth of our California sunshine by enjoying the great outdoors over the holiday season.  Thankfully,  Lake Jennings will be open throughout the Thanksgiving weekend, including Thanksgiving Day. Heads up, students! The lake will also be open during winter break, closing only on Christmas Day, December 25.

Lake Jennings is a popular site for camping, fishing, hiking and picnicking. The campground is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.  Camping reservations can be made online at www.lakejennings.org.  Now,  the lake is also available for rental for special events.

AUTUMN ADVENTURES IN THE ANZA BORREGO DESERT

By Miriam Raftery

November 7, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) –Among East County’s best-kept secrets are the dramatic tours offered by Overland Adventures.

  Autumn nights are ideal for several special upcoming experiences ranging from a classical guitar concert by moonlight in the redrock Hawk Canyon area to two overnight camp-outs for stargazers –including a chance to view an upcoming meteor shower and the spectacular comet ISON.

For details on these autumn excursions, scroll down or visit http://www.californiaoverland.com/

50 RANCHERS GATHER TO "BRAND" DESCANSO JUNCTION REMODEL

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

October  6, 2013 (Descanso) –The aroma of burning wood filled the air as ranchers pulled their iron brands out of a flaming pit at the Buckel Ranch in Descanso. Old-timers said it was the only time ever that ranchers from all of East County’s historic ranches gathered  in one place. The occasion?  Tammy Cooker, owner of the Descanso Junction Restaurant, invited these seasoned cowhands to burn their brands into tabletops for her popular eatery now undergoing a remodel. 

Cooker has earned the community’s loyalty, having opened her restaurant just before the Cedar Fire, then keeping it open to serve up firefighters, displaced residents and stranded motorists.  Located in a century-old building, her restaurant closes down tomorrow and will hold a grand reopening celebration October 10-12. The revamped interior will celebrate our region’s historic roots.

ART GONE WILD IN JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 11, 2013 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – “The  people of this town came together,”  said famed sculptor Ricardo Breceda after hoisting a 1200-pound metallic rattlesnake sculpture into place in front of the Jacumba Community Park.  

Best known for his larger-than-life sculptures of present and prehistoric wildlife in the Anza-Borrego desert, Breceda yesterday sold additional sculptures to Jacumba Hot Springs art fans – works that will soon grace rocks and roadways in this high desert community seeking to reinvent itself as an arts colony.

It all started with a winged dragon.

"TRACK TRAILS" SMARTPHONE APP FROM PARKS AND RECREATION TURNS ORDINARY HIKES INTO ADVENTURES FOR KIDS

 

September 10, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Combine kids’ love of electronics with the outdoors, throw in some prizes and an online nature journal and just like that, you have them outside discovering the beauty of nature.

That’s the concept behind TRACK Trails, a new system that County Parks and Recreation is bringing to California and the west coast for the first time.

The grand opening for the trails system took place at San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Cardiff on Saturday.

“While we are celebrating the grand opening of this TRACK Trails system here in Cardiff, families can also take their children to Lindo Lake and Louis Stelzer County Parks in Lakeside to see this new way of discovering the outdoors,” said County Supervisor Dave Roberts. “They can use smart phones right on the trail to log on to a website and mark their progress in a nature journal to win prizes or wait until they get back home to get online.”

JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS CELEBRATES CENTENNIAL & NEW LOGO

 

September 1, 2013 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- Next year marks the century milestone of the founding of Jacumba Hot Springs. Although the community of Jacumba was settled in the mid- 1800s, the first time the community appeared in an official document as Jacumba Hot Springs was in a State of California Railroad Commission document dated1914.

Four major festivals are planned for the Centennial: a third annual Blues Festival May 3, a Healing Waters and Arts Festival the weekend of May 24, a Centennial Fall Festival October 4 and a Christmas Festival December 6.  More details on the festivals will be announced at a later date.

MISSION TRAILS REGIONAL PARK VOTED BEST IN 2013: SUMMER FUN

 

July 18, 2013 (San Diego)--“San Diego Family Magazine” readers voted Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) “Best of Family Fun” for 2013 in four categories: Best Place to Connect with Nature, Best Lake, Best Guided Nature Walk, Best Lake, and Best Horseback Riding Trails (bring your own horse). MTRP was the only entry to win in four categories.   

MTRP is 12 miles from downtown San Diego and five miles northeast of Qualcomm Stadium off Mission Gorge Road. The park encompasses about 5,800 acres, and offers 40 miles of trails for hiking, bicycling – including mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, and a 14,750-square-foot Visitor Center located at One Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego 92119.  It is the largest urban open space park west of the Mississippi and everything is free--including many special summertime activities.  Scroll down for details.

LAKE JENNINGS OFFERS EXTENDED HOURS IN JULY FOR FISHING FANS & NATURE LOVERS

 

July 11, 2013 (Lakeside) – What could be more idyllic than to while away a summer’s day at a beautiful lake?  You can channel your inner Tom Sawyer as you explore Lake Jennings, where you can try your hand at fishing,  campin,g hiking trails to savor nature watching, or glide across the water’s surface aboard a rented canoe, motorboat, or paddle boat.

As a special treat for family summer fun seekers, the recreational side of Lake Jennings (a reservoir)  is open daily in July. Hours are Sundays through Thursdays 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays, 5;30 a.m. until midnight for those who wish to savor the outdoor experience under the stars after  sunset – or do some night fishing.

FOWL PLAY: TURKEY RACING AT THE COUNTY FAIR

By Nadin Abbott

Photos, Tom Abbott, Video Nadin Abbott

View video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i46r-s8qyAQ&feature=youtu.be

June 12, 2013 (San Diego)— Here's some entertainment that's strictly for the birds. Nancy and Gil Riegler, owners of the Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona, are holding turkey races at the San Diego County Fair at Del Mar--as well as  an exotic bird show.

So how do they get the turkeys to race?

CAJON CLASSIC CRUISE NIGHTS REV UP CROWDS IN EL CAJON

 

By Sierra Robinson

Photos by Sholeh Sisson and Miriam Raftery

 

May 28, 2013 (El Cajon)--Every Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m., Downtown El Cajon Business Partners hosts a classic car show. Each week  the theme changes, from last Wednesday’s “Topless Night” where all of the best convertibles could be seen on the Promenade, to this week's Salute to the Military. 

Other upcoming events include Charger Steve's Starz Carz, Return of the Horseless Carriage, and Thunder on Main Street for the season finale at summer's end, featuring a full street closure.

A DELIGHTFUL DAY ON THE DEERHORN VALLEY HOME AND GARDEN TOUR

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 28, 2013 (Deerhorn Valley) – The first-annual Deerhorn Valley Home and Garden Tour  on April 21 provided an intriguing glimpse into the history of this fascinating area of East County, as well as tours of a spectacular and diverse array of homes and gardens. 

A unique aspect of this tour, unlike others that are self-guided, was the tour bus provided along with helpful guides who gave details along the way not only of residences on the tour, but also colorful tales about the communities and rich heritage of this region.

JACUMBA HIKERS AND WALKERS ANNOUNCE SPRING SCHEDULE

 

 

March 26, 2013 (Jacumba) – From wildflowers to waterfalls, the Jacumba Hikers have announced  a variety of unique hiking destinations for their outings this spring. Scroll down for a list of hikes and descriptions of hikes set for April and May.

To view flyer with details, including difficulty/accessibility of hikes, click here.

TOWN OF CAMPO TAKES ON MEXICAN BANDITOS IN HISTORICAL REENACTMENT

                                                                                                                                                            

 

By Ariele Johannson

April 9, 2013 (Campo)--Imagine the Old West back in the 1800s. Lawmen are few and far between. Desperadoes sometimes spread terror throughout the new state of California. And Campo, on the United States-Mexican border, is the site of a confrontation between law-abiding citizens and one such gang of outlaws.

The Gaskill Brothers Gunfighters, an Old West reenactment team, brought history to life with period attire and weapons outside the Golden Acorn Casino on March 23, 2013. The occasion was the Campo Gunfight of December 4, 1875. Forgotten by history, The Campo Gunfight lasted longer and had more casualties than the shootout at the OK Corral.

LIVING IN THE PAST: REENACTORS OF THE GASKILL BROTHERS GUNFIGHTERS

                                                                                                                                                                          

By Ariele Johannson

April 9, 2013 (Campo)--The reenactors involved in this fascinating hobby of bringing the famed Campo Gunfight to life have their own histories and stories of how they came to portray the Old West—that is, when they are not working as investment brokers, linemen, firefighters, lawyers, and more.

Frenchy (photo, right) is played by Bear Larsen, who has acted in Hollywood movies, such as The Dogs directed by John De Bello, best known for directing Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Larsen has been involved in reenacting for over 30 years. He speaks about it this way: "I love doing it. It's in my heart."

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE CAMPO GUNFIGHT

                                                                                                                                                                        

By Ariele Johannson

If you've watched a reenactment of the 1875 Campo gunfight, you may have wondered what led up to the conflict and wanted to learn more about this fascinating tale. Here are the true details behind one of East County's most infamous historical episodes.

The leader of a Mexican gang, or Californios banditos, was Clodoveo Chavez and his most trusted man, Cruz Lopez. Chavez had recently threatened revenge on the gringos, because his “captain,” the infamous Tiburcio Vasquez had been jailed in San Jose for two murders. Vasquez pled innocent, and it is possible he never committed any murders during his “career.”

DREAMS HAVE COME TRUE AT HACIENDA DE LAS ROSAS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 24, 2013 (Ramona) –“It all started with my horses,” Tammy Rimes told ECM at the grand opening of Hacienda de las Rosas Winery’s new Mission-style tasting room in Ramona. 

In addition to Spanish-style wines, the opening featured dazzling displays of horsemanship, including riders in Peruvian-style attire demonstrating the Peruvian Paso breed’s unique gait, steady ride ( riders  carried glasses of champagne as they rode) and a “Marinera” dance that includes a stallion, rider, and dancer with swirling skirts.  (View video of the Marinera dance.)

JACUMBA HIKERS ANNOUNCE BACKCOUNTRY OUTINGS

 

March 2, 2013 (Jacumba) – The Jacumba Hikers will host three upcoming hikes into some of the most unique destinations in our region on February 16, March 2, and March 16--including sites where you can view Native American pictographs, spectacular scenery, and a 200-foot-high railway trestle. 

Destinations include Indian Hill and Gun Powder Shack,  Carrizo Gorge, and Mortero Palms/Goat Canyon.  Scroll down for details.

BACK ON TRACK? RAILWAY ACROSS EAST COUNTY MAY BE RESTORED

By Miriam Raftery

February 26, 2013 (San Diego's  East County) -- A colorful chapter from East County's past may soon come rumbling back.

Ernest Dahlman, chief executive officer of Pacific Imperial Railroad, has announced that he has signed a 99-year-lease with the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway Company. He is raising funds to restore and operate tracks on the Desert Line to run through mountains and deserts in San Diego, Imperial County and Baja, Mexico. 

Dahlman hopes to link the freight line up with trolley and train lines in San Diego, as well as a transcontinental railway route to the East.

The route through East County includes the rugged Carrizo Gorge.  An amazing feat to complete, the line was dubbed the “impossible railroad” by engineers when it was first proposed.

FARM-FRESH FOODS DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOU

Our Guide to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms in East County

Updated January 27, 2013

By Ariele Johannson

Note: Please help us update this directory. If you know of any CSA programs we missed, please contact Ariele at arielejohannson@gmail.com or editor@eastcountymagazine.org. Farmers: Please send in any changes and visit our blog to connect with other farmers to help create a self-sufficient East County.

January 26, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Eating healthy means including plenty of fresh foods-- and the freshest of all are those grown here in East County. Have you thought about allotting part of your food budget to locally-grown organic fruits, vegetables, milk, meats, and more?

HAWK WATCH: AN UP CLOSE LOOK AT RAPTORS

 

Event continues each Saturday in January and February

By Miriam Raftery

January 27, 2013 (Ramona ) – A Ferruginous hawk, the largest hawk found in San Diego County, hunkers down on a treetop at the Ramona Grasslands preserve.  In a field nearby,  volunteers with the Wildlife Research Institute give visitors an up-close look at another of these magnificent birds (left), which winter in our region after migrating south from the northern U.S. and Canada.

Rainfall  moved the event indoors, where a Peregrine Falcon and a Screech Owl were shown off next. “We’ve never cancelled a single time,” WRI executive director Dave Bittner notes.  Later, as the weather cleared, Bittner displayed a golden eagle outdoors; a special report by the WRI warns that “our last remaining Golden Eagle territories in San Diego County are being threatened.”

WILD HORSES IN RAMONA: THE COYOTE CANYON HERITAGE HERD

By Ariele Johannson

January 15, 2013 (Ramona)--On a warm spring morning in the Upper Borrego Valley in 2003, the last 29 wild horses in East County--were rounded up by helicopters and driven into pens. They were then removed from Coyote Canyon and trucked to a sanctuary in South Dakota through a snow storm with temperatures 4º below zero. 

A MAN AND HIS THREE MULES

 

Story, photos and video by Billy Ortiz    

Video clip

 

 

 

Like the pioneers of old, he packs his mules...walking from town to town searching not for gold or silver or fame, but for the land that connects his three mules and himself.

November 10, 2012 (Lakeside)--A lone drifter, age unknown, rides into Lakeside, California with only his thoughts and his three trusted mules. North and south, east and west, they wander the country. Guided only by the love of the earth and its creatures, the man who goes by the name Mule allows his trusted mules to lead him.

OSPREY NESTING TOWER TAKES WING AT LAKESIDE RIVER PARK

Story, photos and video by Billy Ortiz

View video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9Y0hc267sA

November 3, 2012 (Lakeside) -- On a cool, cloudy autumn morning on October 20 in East County a group of teenage Boy Scouts from troop 801 in Coronado arrived at the Lakeside River Park. They brought heavy timbers and other materials to build what they hope will become a nest for the Ospreys that frequent a pond at the River Park. 

THE WILD AND WOOLY HISTORY OF EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery, Editor

www.EastCountyMagazine.org

October 31, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) -- With two cities (El Cajon and La Mesa) celebrating their centennials, much attention has been focused on our region’s past of late. But just how much do you know about East County’s colorful history? Take our quiz below to test your knowledge—and learn some fascinating facts.

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