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…
If you have been cycling for a while, you probably have some sort of backpack that is made just for your cycling pleasure. I am sure that most of us gear geeks have a Camelback or two hanging out in our gear shed (Two for me!). My latest purchase needed to be a little more versatile than both of my Camelbacks, so I decided to try out another brand, which led me to my local outfitter, Roads, Rivers, Trails to check out the variety of packs. After talking over my wants and needs with their knowledgeable staff, I ended up going with Osprey. The bird geek in me rejoiced.
The Talon 22 is one of their Multi-Use packs, which focuses primarily on cycling. This pack is very versatile in regards to size, fitting in the 1200-1300 cu in. daypack category. This is a size of pack that I am desperately lacking (I am a backpack whore, I’ll admit) and primarily I plan on using it to carry my growing camera gear while on the bike. I also wanted a pack that I could load up for the day, and stay in the woods for a while. This pack fits right in with those thoughts. While it is on the smaller side of the spectrum, it still packs in quite a bit of gear, and I plan on trying to do an ultralight overnight or two with this pack, with minimal gear of course.
Some of the other handy features of this pack are an external hydration sleeve to keep your reservoir separate from your stuff; side pockets with compression straps, with one side having taller tie down points for longer gear, like a tripod; and the handy dandy LidLock, which holds your helmet in place when you are not wearing it. I am a bit confused as to why I need that concept, but it does work nicely.
In this price range of around $100, this is a solid pack so far. I have only had it in action just once, since I just bought it yesterday. Today on a small hike, I loaded it to capacity to see how it felt, and it was pretty amazing. We shall see how that first impression stands up to the tests of time. Stay tuned!
Osprey sums up the Talon 22 with this short video, as well as providing the monotone overdub:
Be sure to check out Osprey at the link above, as well as Roads, Rivers, Trails which is located in historic downtown Milford!