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San Diego's Best Hiking Trails And Tips For Newbie Hikers

An undated photo of Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve East.
Priscilla Lister
An undated photo of Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve East.

San Diego’s Best Hiking Trails And Tips For Newbie Hikers
San Diego's Best Hiking Trails And Tips For Newbie Hikers GUEST: Priscilla Lister, author, "Take A Hike: San Diego County"

Beaches and cool get a lot of attention but they are not the only natural wonders in San Diego. Our County has the largest variety of plant and animal life of any other county in the continental US. According to my next guest, -- guest one of the ways to experience is to take a hike. I spoke with former San Diego Union Tribune columnist Priscilla Lister about her new book called "Take A Hicke: San Diego County" a guide to 260 hiking trails and Sango County. You grew up in point Loma you did not start hiking as a kid. What got you interested in hiking trails in San Diego? An old boyfriend. I lived in Seattle for 8.5 years in the 70s and I moved there with a boyfriend who was from Tacoma and he grew up hiking which was a very big deal for decades in the Pacific Northwest where it was not so much in San Diego where I grew up. Anyway, I learned from him to hike and grew to really love it and then all of us -- also after finding several jobs in Seattle I wrote that catalog for REI when it had only one store in Capitol Hill. So I got into it more and started photographing at that time. So I moved back to San Diego in 1980, I was not going to let that pass time go away. And you certainly did not get you have now hike more than 1000 miles in San Diego County. Right. Was that work for your duty column or for pleasure? Both. I started hiking virtually since I returned in 1980 and did not start the column until 2007, 2008. So I had been hiking a lot before that. What is the kick you get out of hiking? I find it incredibly restorative. There have been many studies, scientific studies done now that have confirmed the endorphins you get and the general piece that you -- peace you get when you look at a Vista can help your immune system and avoid depression and things like that. When I view the wondrous wild flowers we have in abundance or get to see a jackrabbit run across the trail or simply look at some of the unbelievable vistas we have from our hiking points, I just find that extremely pleasurable. And I think it is obviously healthy. In "Take A Hike: San Diego County" you don't talk about Iron Mountain, Cowles Mountain and Mount Woodson. Why not? They are too crowded for me and probably also too hard. While many trails a cover, 260 trails is a lot and many are challenging for sure, I do not like severe, extreme pain when I am hiking. [Laughter]. And I do not like to be in a line of other people. That is not -- part of what I'm seeking is a certain solitude so I do not hike trails that are extraordinarily popular. So is this aim of the book is -- beginning hikers? Absolutely. Children, people who are up until their 80s I should think can do a remarkable number of tribal -- trails have covered in the book. It is a pastime for entire families. If I can do these trails, believe me, I think most can. Are there good trails all over San Diego counties, even urban areas? Surprisingly, yes. I think people would be genuinely surprised to see how many trails might be within a team out radius of their own home, no matter where they live in the county. Some of our new cities especially North County have made a point of building trails into their infrastructure, notably send Marcos, Carlsbad. Those cities have great trail systems. You may be surprised how many opportunities there are within the urban core in the city of San Diego in bankers Hill, Uptown. There are many canyons that provide a respite from urban stress. There are off of the I-5, 52 three canyons, Rose Canyon, to the Lodi Canyon, Marion Bear which form what they call the try Canyon Park and -- -tri- Canyon Park If you're starting out what you need to take with you and what you need to wear? spin that I highly recommend wearing long pants or jeans. you may wonder why because it's hot. Ms. brush that may get in your way and you may be built to avoid takes if you are wearing -- ticks if you are wearing long pants. Hiking boots, the better hiking boots you have the better you will be on terrain. And it matters in both cases, genes, hiking boots. -- jeans. Hiking boots if you encounter rattlesnakes. In terms of taking things with you, you emphasize taking water. Absolutely. If you take nothing with you but water, you will be better off period. Most of the trouble on the Cedar Creek Falls trail has to do with people who did not bring enough water and got dehydrated. Severe dehydration in many case they suffer heat stroke and that is actually how people have died, very young people have died from heat stroke on the trail. If they had simply brought enough water, they probably would have avoided these serious calamities and health issues. You should take -- I take 3-4 bottles of water with me on an average hike. Some would say maybe one gallon for an entire day. Don't be foolish about not bringing water, it could save a life. Back to the rattlesnakes. This is a rattlesnake season. What do you do if you encounter one? Back up. I have seen one only wanted all the year so that should give you a certain pause to not quite be so afraid of them. They will only strike you in defense. They are not typically really aggressive creatures. The only time I did see one. It alerted me to his asked this -- existence before I saw it by rattling. I immediately knew what was happening and I turned around and left. I been speaking with Priscilla Lister author of "Take A Hike: San Diego County" . Thank you.

Our beaches and coast get a lot of attention on Memorial Day, but they're not the only natural wonders in San Diego. The county has the largest variety of plant and animal life of any other county in the continental U.S.

Former San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Priscilla Lister says one of the best ways to experience all that beauty is by going hiking. She wrote the newspaper’s hiking column for more than six years and compiled her articles on 260 trails in a book, "Take a Hike: San Diego County."

“I’ve hiked well over 1,000 miles of San Diego County, and I can identify more wildflowers, trees, birds, and mountain peaks than I ever thought possible,” Lister wrote.

Despite covering nearly every trail across the county, Lister purposefully left out Iron Mountain, Cowles Mountain and Mount Woodson from the book.

“They’re too crowded for me and probably also too hard,” Lister said. “I don’t like severe, extreme pain when I’m hiking. And I don’t like to be in a line of a lot of other people. Part of what I’m seeking is a sort of solitude.”

Lister shares some of her favorite trails and how newbie hikers should prepare on KPBS Midday Edition Tuesday.