North & South Fortuna

I had hiked the Fortunas a number of times when I lived in Tierrasanta. When summiting them again for the 100 Peak Challenge Reboot, I decided that they should have their own post and not be a part of my Mission Trails 5 Peak Challenge post.

Rather than follow my standard route of up the South Fortuna stairs then over to North Fortuna and back to the Clairemont Mesa trailhead, I opted to approach these peaks via the Oak Canyon route. Since we just had some more rain, I knew that I would have a flowing stream for part of the trail to enhance the scenery.

I parked along the road near the Old Mission Dam and quickly crossed the bridge and onto the trail leading up to Oak Canyon. The rains had certainly created a lot of growth along the trail. The trail to the Fortuna Saddle provided a good hard warm-up.

Once at the saddle, I opted to summit North Fortuna first. I worked my way up toward the peak, which is initially hidden from the saddle. Since it was a late Friday afternoon, the traffic on the trails was light. I did encounter two hikers asking about routes since I carry a paper map, I showed them where we were and the best route back to the visitor center. I let them keep it.

Atop the summit, I could see the clouds starting to form to the east, as a storm was forecast for the weekend. I opted not to sign the register, and then back retracing my route down to the saddle. The new peak marker had not been installed here yet.

The trail up to South Fortuna was a bit easier and much easier than up the stairs. The marker for South Fortuna has been replaced with one that is a bit more impressive. Across the canyon, I could see Kwaay Paay standing tall, and Cowles and Pyles a bit beyond that.

While descending toward the saddle from South Fortuna, a rattlesnake was making its way across the trail in front of me. I let it pass, but it still stopped and hissed at me as I gave it a wide berth.

Retracing my route down Oak Canyon, I pass the Oak tree with a very bent branch. One of my favorite family photos was taken here. I had to reflect that in a few weeks, my twins would be graduating high school and moving on with their lives.

I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, Central Coast, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

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