January 3, 2017, Chula Vista- Whenever I look out the window, from my son’s apartment, the curious sight of Mount San Miguel, in the Otay Range, looms to the southeast. I took advantage of Aram’s being back to work, got up before dawn, and headed over to Mount San Miguel Park, on Chula Vista’s east side. There was a short wait, of about twenty minutes, as the city park opens at 6 A.M., with decent light about 6:30.
My choice of trails led up Mother Miguel Mountain, to a military commemorative, called Rock House. Two explanations are in order: “Mother Miguel” is a mash-up of Madre Grande, which some early settlers from the eastern U.S. took to pronouncing “Mother Grundy”, and San Miguel, the name given to the area by earlier Spanish ranchers; Rock House is the name given to a rock arrangement which houses two, rather tattered, flags-our national flag and the banner honouring Prisoners-of-War and those Missing-in-Action. The latter is to be flown, or displayed at meetings of veterans’ service organizations, until the day comes when all such persons, or their identified remains, are honourably interred or cremated on U.S. soil.
My leisurely up and back lasted about three hours, over a round trip of 6.2 miles. The photos, taken with my phone camera, are not as clear as those taken with the digital, but you will get the idea.
Here is the trailhead for Mother Miguel, from the east end of Mt. San Miguel Park.
Above, is a view of the destination, for which I used a series of 22 non-taxing switchbacks.
Occasional limestone boulder piles provide a place to sit and contemplate, along the way.
Others just dominate their area, as does this castle-like outcropping.
Once atop the modest-sized peak, Mexico looms, to the south, with the San Ysidro district of San Diego, in the foreground.
Here is Rock House, with its resident banners.
A second stone arrangement, intended as a circle for contemplation, is found just south of the Rock House. Sweetwater Reservoir is seen in the distance.
A third, circular, stone arrangement is a bit more to the south, still, and seems to invite a holistic view of the repatriation process.
Off to the east is Mount San Miguel, whose owners SAY they don’t want hikers going to its summit, but do nothing to prevent those few intrepid people,usually military members doing personal training, who make the steep hike up its western slope.
Speaking of which, there were about six others on Mother Miguel Trail, while I was there. One, a young lady, passed by, as I was taking in the rock arrangements, and went to the southernmost point on the summit. After she had returned from her moments of solitude, and headed on down the mountain, I went to that point, and found a commemorative bench.
There is, indeed, nothing that replaces a sense of home. I hope that she felt comforted, and reassured, by this message.
The way down had me thinking, somehow, of just how vital the two youngest generations are, and will continue to be, to the well-being of our nation, and of our planet, as a host of problems, heretofore unfaced, will present themselves, over the next decade or so. I guess the energy of the young runners and hikers, along with the industrial views of the area to the west and north of the park, set this thought in motion. Like all previous such times of challenge, humanity will prevail, by working together. There is no other choice.
The rocks remain, and patiently look upon us.