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I could feel the pollen filling my lungs.

This spring was different from the four others I had experienced here in California; everything was alive and thriving thanks to a massive amount of rain that hit the region in the winter after an almost decade-long drought. I headed up the approach trail to one of my favorite climbing areas near San Diego, seeing the wildflowers that lit up the side of hike-el-cajon-mountain with variations of bright colors.

Wildflowers aside, I venture here every spring in search of another view: that of the marine layer filling in the valley below. Formed over the ocean, this layer rolls in as a layer of clouds, shrouding the view of the geography below. As I climb to the top, the layer makes me feel as though I’m at 17,000 feet; in reality, I’m pushing 3,500.

Hiking El Cajon Mountain

One of my closest friends in San Diego, Rachel, recently moved to San Francisco for work. I have been on the road working for several months, so when we both found ourselves back in San Diego for the weekend, we decided to return to one of our favorite San Diego spots.

Hiking El Cajon Mountain

Rachel had her dog Roux in tow. Our mission was to sleep under the stars and catch the beautiful sight of the marine layer in the morning; the same as we had done several times in prior years before she moved away.

Hiking El Cajon Mountain

Roux has grown; the last I saw him, he was just several months old.