Sunday, January 03, 2021

Saigon Trail Hike on New Year's Day (Black's Beach)

On New Year’s Day, Tori and I walked down to Black's Beach from the Torrey Pines Gliderport in La Jolla. We came to hike up the Saigon Trail (or Ho Chi Minh Trail) that we had spotted the last time we were here in 2018.

Walking south along the beach, there is a wide gap in the towering bluffs with a patch of bamboo growing at the base. We had to wait awhile at the narrow entrance to the Saigon Trail as descending hikers used the dangling rope to climb down the slippery bank to the sand. When the path cleared, we scrambled up the steep trail and entered the high walled canyon with a trickling stream running down the center.

Since it was a beautiful New Year's Day, the route was quite crowded. At several spots in the sandstone canyon, we had to wait a long time for hikers going in the opposite direction to make it through the narrow choke points before we could advance.

With steep drop-offs to the side, our sandals were not the best footwear for the uneven and sloping trail. Halfway up, we had to scramble through a fun slot canyon. On the other side, we left the exposed sandstone behind as the trail ran alongside the streambed filled with tall rushes. The last obstacle was a balance beam walk across a 4" plank spanning the stream.

At the top, we had a beautiful view of the entire canyon with Point La Jolla visible across the bay. We thought about returning to the beach through the canyon, but hiking downhill is more treacherous in sandals. I want to come back wearing shoes. The entire Saigon Trail was only 0.6 miles but the rough terrain made it a great hike. My calves were extremely sore the next day.

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