Whew! This Thanksgiving weekend has just been a social whirl. We've hardly done much other than eat, drink, make merry, and fall into bed to get some sleep before we start all over again.
Darla suggested we get together today in the late afternoon, which left us the better part of the day to fit in a climb of Mt. Rubidoux. We've wanted to explore that craggy peak since our original visit to Riverside in February 2017.
Mount Rubidoux was named for Louis Rubidoux, who established Rancho Rubidoux in 1847 after purchasing a portion of Rancho Jurupa from Benjamin Davis Wilson, the second elected mayor of Los Angeles. Our campground and the surrounding Rancho Jurupa Park makes up much of the balance of the original Rancho Jurupa.
The mountain, which lies just west of downtown Riverside, has been designated a city park and landmark. It is the site of the oldest outdoor non-denominational Easter Sunrise service in the United States. Many historic markers and memorials have been placed on the mountain, the most prominent being a cross at the summit dedicated to Father Junípero Serra. While a majority of Mt. Rubidoux is owned by the City of Riverside, almost half an acre at the peak is owned by a private, nonprofit conservancy. After the cross attracted a potential lawsuit for being on public property, the city decided to sell the land at the peak in an auction, where it was purchased by the conservancy.
Our total hike was almost 8 miles, with four miles of the total our walk over to the base of the mountain and back. After a mile or so, our quarry was squarely in our sights:
The Santa Ana River runs along the base of Mt. Rubidoux, and boasts a paved 30-mile multi-use trail that stretches inland from where the Santa Ana River empties into the Pacific Ocean. Crossing the bridge over the river, we could see swaths of cottonwood, willow and other local vegetation stretching south:
Monuments mark the base of the mountain on our side where the trail starts up its flank:
Our climb started steeply up a dirt trail:
Soon, we had views west over Jurupa Valley:
The hillside is speckled with vegetation growing in a sandy soil that has eroded from gigantic granite formations. In places, big rounded soft granite boulders congregate. Here, Kathy enjoyed the company -- not to mention the shade -- of some of the boulders:
Climbing further, we found ourselves so high above the floor of Jurupa Valley that we could look across or down on small planes banking to make their final turn to land at a small airstrip near our campground:
Kathy spotted a bench with a great view toward our campground (in the center background) and Darla's community (in the left background):
Eventually, we reached one of the summits, which was graced with a large American flag. To the right, the Peace Tower peers over the granite rock formations:
Another summit of the mountain boasts the cross dedicated to Father Junipero Serra. Between us and the cross, huge amphitheater-like seats or stairs climbed steeply:
Starting to descend, we walked toward the Peace Tower, which gave us sweeping views to the east, including downtown Riverside:
Reaching the base of the Peace Tower, we admired the stonework, and Kathy drafted David to pose with all of it for scale:
We picked a route down that differed from our path to the summits, so we had a chance to see other faces of the mountain. The downward path we chose put us in a neighborhood adjoining Mission Inn Avenue, and we followed park paths along Mission Inn Avenue back to our original trailhead.
After another 2 miles walking home on concrete sidewalks, we probably don't need to report that our feet were very tired and sore. We hurried into crocs, had a quick bite for lunch, and took a warm shower to soak our tired muscles.
Now we just need an hour or two to rest up for the adventure Darla has planned for us tonight: dinner and the Christmas lights of Riverside!
Stay tuned for another big birthday adventure tomorrow.