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    Howdy. This is Bob. The Bob of Bob Blog. This blog contains about five minutes of my thoughts each day. A record. A history. And occasionally worth reading.

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    Bob Blog
     
    Saturday, April 14, 2007  
    Hiking: Mission Trails - S Fortuna loop
    The hike today was my first real exploration into Mission Trails besides Cowless Mountain. I was pleasantly surprised. And while the weather was warm, it wasn't unbearable. I probably went around 7 miles. map

    South Fortuna hike : start at the visitor center and head to Jackson Trailhead along the loop trail. After Jackson Trailhead, the path drops down to the San Diego River. Head up the hill to the Y junction beneath the Twin Towers. These landmarks make navigation in much of the western part of the park fairly simple.

    The best way is to then go East (right) and drop down to the Suycott Wash. I didn't realize where I was going to go (general goal was the Fortuna Saddle.) So I went left to see what the Clairemont Mesa Trailhead looked like. Starting from that location would remove about a mile and quite a bit of the uphill.

    I looped back to the junction to the NE of the twin towers. At this point, it was clear the path to the saddle dipped down then back up and that the Rim Trail to Shepherd Pond was a good option. But bagging a peak was too tempting and the trail up South Fortuna looked interesting with its steps. And so I dropped down to the Suycott Wash (multiple paths down) and found a wondering picnic area by the oak covered stream.

    The climb to the ridge from the little bridge crossing the stream is 558 feet vertical and .6 miles. The last 250 feet vertical will be over nearly 351 steps fashioned from timbers and rocks. I definitely felt like I was working hard. But the views were spectacular. The peak itself is at 1094 feet (nearly 200 less than the North Fortuna and 500 less than Cowles Mountain.) Somewhere just to the north of the peak I found myself in a swarm of bees. They left me alone.

    The trail goes north from the peak down to the Fortuna Saddle. From here you can go further north up North Fortuna, west back down to the Suycott Wash, or east. My loop continued east down the service road (sometimes called the wall because it is so steep) to Oak Canyon trail and eventually the Old Mission Dam. (1.8miles) I startled a coyote in the gorge. It took off running up the hill with a rabbit it had caught.

    The Oak Canyon portion of the trail was really nice. But the Old Mission Dam, built in 1814 or so, was the highlight. The area was fairly crowded but not too dense to enjoy. Unfortunately I still had to walk along the road (Father Junipero Serra Trail) for 1.8 miles to get back to the visitor center. It is mostly downhill and has a nice view of the backside of S. Fortuna, Kwaay Paay (1194ft and a future hike), and rock climbers on the cliffs above Climbers Loop.

    Future hikes: Rim Trail to Shepherd Pond and North Fortuna (from Clairemont), Kwaay Paay, and Cowles using a different approach.

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