Just Hiking Along… North Fortuna Mountain, via Oak Canyon.
Spent a solid two hours after work this evening back at Mission Trails regional park. This is one of my favorite places in the San Diego area, only around 20-25 minutes from the city proper. No excuses for those yuppie surfer types on how far away the mountains are. Yah bruh.
One of my favorite hikes in the park is the climb up to North Fortuna peak. Not the highest mountain in the range, but definitely the most secluded, and one could argue the most difficult. Most folks head over to Cowles mountain, which at 1591′ or so, is the tallest peak in the city. Two facts here: 1. Cowles is pronounced “coals,” and 2. Cowles mountain is higher than 8 different states’ highest points. Amazing right? Thought you might like those.
Anyway, I started my hike at the grasslands parking area, which dropped me into one of my favorite trails, Oak canyon. Rocky does not even begin to describe it. Here is a small taste:
In the rainy season, this canyon is green beyond green, with many different pools and waterfalls that are a pleasure to see. No joke. After this favorite trail, it was on to one of my least favorite parts of the hike, what I like to call the wall.
This climb, going up to the saddle between North and South Fortunas, is like climbing a loose granite gravel service road, that at points decides to go straight up. Not the most technical climb in the world, but quite the workout on your legs. I climbed this road once on my mountain bike a while back. That day was one of the worst of my life.
Once climbing that horrid piece of tilted Earth, you start your final climb to the summit, which is a narrower dusty trail that gets only a quarter or less of the traffic of nearby Cowles mountain. I like Cowles, but being alone on Fortuna is pretty amazing.
At the top, amazing views all around, views down into Mexico, the Pacific, downtown, out east to the Cuyamacas, etc. On a clear day, it is something to see.
After hanging at the summit for a bit, I loaded my camera gear back into my Osprey Talon pack and headed back down the trail. Once back in the canyon, the lights were getting dim, so I alternated hiking with trail running to make it back to the car before dark. Total mileage of around 3 or 4 miles I would guess, and a total of 2 hours hiking time. Such a great hike, and so close to the city. One of my favorites…