In beautiful Mission Trails Regional Park there is a mountain that looks more like an ant hill, with the lines of hikers, trail runners, college kids and families crawling up it's side...it is, Cowles Mountian.
Cowles is the tallest peak in the City of San Diego at 1,593 feet and the most crowded hike I have ever been on. There are three approaches to the top, the 'ant hill' as I call it, off Golf Crest Drive and Navajo Road and two approaches on the back at Boulder Lake Avenue.
Josh, Carlos and I grabbed our gear after work and fought the city traffic to the trailhead. We chose to take the back way off Boulder Lake Ave up the fire road, which is less crowded. We luckily found a parking space and started up the hill about 6:15pm
The trail is steep and only five minutes in we are breathing heavy and laughing about it. We stop to "look at a beautiful vista" which is code for, "holy crap, I can't breath".
The trail gains 950 feet in 1.5 miles. The fire road gains sharply and levels out at half way through, even losing elevation slightly, before it starts to gain again. We stop to survey how far we have come before taking the last climb to the top.
As we crest the last hill we are excited to see we've made it just in time for the sunset! We watch for the green flash and make our way to the summit marker. This is Carlos' fist time up Cowels and Josh and I are super impressed as our first times to the top respectively, were full of tears and vomit. Carlos has showed us both up! Awesome!
After kicking some people off the monument who had decided to commandeer it from the rest of the hikers, we took our photos and moved to the Pyles Peak side of the mountain to rest.
Josh and I survey the peaks in the distance, trying to figure out our path for the Mission Trails Regional Park 5 Peak Challenge! We are going to hike Cowels, Pyles, Kwaay Paay, and North and South Fortuna in succession in a day when the heat breaks. I love the peak challenges! Hopefully Carlos and I can arrange work schedules and we can do it as a team!
The sky is getting dark and we take off the way we came, marveling at the steepness of the trail we just climbed. While talking about Reddit and local hikes we arrive back at the trailhead quickly. We agree that Monday after work hikes is where its at and plan to make it a regular event! Good times are always had on the trail, big or small!