Peak marker at top of Cowles Mountain
Cowles Mountain is the highest peak within the City of San Diego. It is not the highest peak in the county, but it is only about a 10 min drive from my house. There are multiple trailheads to begin your hike from. The main trailhead is just north of the intersection of Golfcrest and Navaho. There is a small parking lot (only about 25 spaces) but plenty of street parking nearby.
This is the first time I have hiked this peak. In fact it is only the second time I have hiked a peak period. I just got interested in hiking a little over a month ago. That first hike demonstrated exactally how out of shape I have let myself become, so I have decided to do something about that. In addition to my 3 times a week 3 mile walks, I have decided to start hiking off the beaten path :) I asked my sons if they would like to go with me, and my eldest said he would.
Almost 14yr old part billy goat, elder son!
In fact, I was surprised at my couch potato son's level of interest. He asked me several times this morning..."When are we leaving"? After getting some chores done, we were off. It was a quick drive to the main trailhead (we will be trying some others as my physical conditioning improves). We entered the hiking trail and started our way up. I could tell my recent increase in activing was helping (but I would need to make several stops as we got higher...damn) as we started to hit the steeper parts of the trail.
As we got higher and higher on the trail, we started to get great view of the city around us, and each switchback took us higher and higher to ever great views. The lower half of the trail is the steepest. If you are hiking, keep at it, it gets a bit easier at the half way point.
Proof I made it to the top!
Not that it is a piece of cake, but it does get easier. This is one of the most popular hikes in the area. The trail was very crowded, although we had gotten a late start (damn chores) and I did notice that the crowd thinned out on our way back down (around noon). My billy goat of a almost 14 yr old son stayed with me for most of the trip up. He ranged a head a few times, as his fitness level is much better than mine (damn kid) but always made sure to wait when I had to take a breathing break. We made the peak and took several pictures, rested (well dad rested, Brian accomodated) and then started back down. This is were the damn kid showed his true billy goat genetics. I saw him for the first few minutes of the hike down, but he is more sure footed (really less worried about getting hurt) than I, and after the few first switchbacks he was gone.
Lake Murry from about 1/4 mi up the trail.
I caught sight of him from time to time (reassuring me he had not fallen off the mountain) but he pretty much flew down the mountain. He had a big grin on his face when I finally got down to the staging point.
We got back home (after stopping for a celebratory donut...his idea) where he promptly layed down on the couch and fell asleep. HA, I did not fall asleep, in fact I am still wide awake, and not feeling any after effects of the hike 9 hours later! So take that you little brat!