Frequently Asked Questions

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How long have you been around?
Research for Hidden San Diego began in 2003. We started accepting members in March of 2004. Since then, we've added many new areas to the site. We have hundreds of current members and have had many compliments about the areas we've covered.
Who runs the site?
The site is run part-time by native San Diegian David Shenk. Although I'm not a professional webmaster, and would prefer hiking and researching new areas to explore, I've taken the time to create this website so that I can share what I've learned with others.
How did the site start?
I grew up hiking and exploring San Diego and have had an interest in creating a website about these areas. In early 2003, after many trips to the mud caves in Arroyo Tapiado, I learned that there were dozens of caves out there, not just the few that I had been to over and over. I began looking for more information about them and discovered that very little could be found online. This seemed like an ideal place to feature on the website. I decided to create my own maps and do a systematic search of the Arroyo and it's tributaries. After finding 22 caves and having taken hundreds of pictures, I began to create the Hidden San Diego website. Over time, it was only natural to include other 'out of the way' areas in the San Diego region that I had found or were recommended by other members.
Why do you have to pay? Isn't everything on the Internet suppose to be free?
I'll be the first to admit that I enjoy surfing the Internet on a variety of subjects and am annoyed when I find something I have to pay for. While you can find San Diego hiking information on a variety of websites, you'll find that it's usually just a little here and a little there. Hidden San Diego offers a variety of little-known hiking destinations all collected together in one spot. All with no advertising or popups. We are entirely member supported. Our hundreds of members also have the ability to add to and update the information. They can even add new areas to explore.
What are some Member features?
The site you see now is actually the second generation. I moved the old Hidden San Diego site over to a wiki style that uses the same software that runs Wikipedia. Members can now directly and easily contribute to the site by submitting trip reports, uploading photos, adding additional information about a hike, adding new hikes and even entire new sections to the site. This updating can be done from any computer using just the browser window, without special plugins or software. Also new to the site is the storage of all data into a database that can be quickly searched. Members also now have the ability to contact each other through the site to ask questions without giving out their email address, and you are automatically notified when logging in if another member has left you a message. Members can watch pages of interest and be notified by email when they are updated. The list of new features goes on and on.
Can't this same information be found in local guide books?
Some of the information, like general details about where areas are, can be found in local guide books. What we offer is specific information about what to see when you get there. You don't want to drive out to an area and only see some of it. Detailed descriptions, hundreds of photos, road closures and updated trip reports submitted by members are all things you can't get from a book.
I'll be the first to admit that Jerry Schad's "Afoot and Afield in San Diego" is an excellent reference that EVERYONE that hikes in San Diego should own. I've have several copies through the years and wouldn't be without them. The problem is that everyone has that book. If you're looking for areas that are off of the beaten track, you'll have to look somewhere else.
What is the KnowledgeBase?
The KnowledgeBase is a new addition to Hidden San Diego. It is a place to put random pieces of information about hiking, camping, etc. that would otherwise be too small for it's own Featured Area. In the past, as I ran into these little bits of information, they were filed away and not available on the website. Even incomplete descriptions or directions to areas are welcome. Comments like "there is a beautiful little waterfall just north of Warner Springs, but I haven't been there in years and don't remember exactly where it is" can prompt other members that know more detail to post more information, directions and even photos. The KnowledgeBase is a community effort that we can all use to share information we know about San Diego.
How often does the site get updated?
Because this site is run part-time, the frequency of content added by the webmaster can vary. Featured Areas take a lot of time because they usually involve a large area or multiple areas. The mud cave area alone took almost a year to complete. I have a lot of new information to add to the KnowledgeBase, as there wasn't previously a place for it. Members can at any time add information to current areas, submit a trip report, start a new area or contribute to the KnowledgeBase.
Do you reward Members for their contributions?
Members that occasionally contribute by uploading photos, letting others know their impressions of an area through a trip report, etc. will automatically have their membership renewed. So, if you become an active member of the site, you'll be a member for life. Those that choose not to contribute in that way can renew their membership at a reduced rate.
Do you have ads and popups on your site?
Absolutely not. I don't even put them in the public areas of the site. This site is run entirely from members support.
What browsers do you support?
This site uses Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Because support for CSS varies by browser and displays the website in different ways, the following is a list of recommended browsers that display the site correctly:
  • Windows - Internet Explorer 7.0, Internet Explorer 6.0, Firefox 1.5, Firefox 2.0, Opera 9.10 and Safari 3 Beta.
  • Mac OS X - Firefox 2.0 and Safari 3 Beta (Safari 2.0 will display the site contents but not the tabs at the top of the screen used to edit pages).
  • Linux - Opera 9.10, Firefox 1.5 (Konqueror 3.5 works correctly, but some of the page elements are misaligned).
This list includes over 95% of computer users. Because Firefox works well under all platforms, it is the browser I recommend.
What about cookies?
When members login, cookies are used to store your login information. This prevents you from having to enter your username and password every time you view a new page. Your computer must accept cookies to view this site. We don't use cookies to track what you do online or for any other purpose.
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