Woodson Mountain (via Fry-Koegel)

With my usual hiking companions busy, I decided to start working on this year’s San Diego Six Pack of Peaks challenge. I debated between Volcan Mountain and Woodson. Since I did not feel like making the long drive out past Julian, so Woodson it is. I opted to ascend via the Fry-Koegel trail and descend via the service road. Unlike last time, I started after the sun rose. While cars lined the road near the usual trailhead, no one was parked near the trailhead for Fry-Koegel. It was chilly, so I did slip on my light fleece before setting off. The trail follows the backyards of some homes for the first part of the trail. This time there were some lovely smells of breakfast cooking…

Some mushrooms lined the side of the trail as I worked my way westward. After a bit, I shed my fleece and secured it to my waist pack. 

A few folks passed me returning either from their earlier summit or a morning walk with their dog. 

Reaching the junction with the old Fry-Koegel trail and the new Fry-Koegel trail, I opted to take the old route again, in part to compare my times.

Once on the trail that leads up from Lake Poway, I cruised toward the summit. But first I would pass by the “famous” Potato Chip. I have been out on it several times, so I could bypass the Disney-like lines to climb out on it. Now I did snap a photo with my San Diego Six Pack of Peaks Challenge Legacy badge before cresting the summit.

I slipped my rubber tips onto my trekking poles, as the rest of the hike would now be on asphalt. Streams of hikes huffed and puffed their way up the road. Some were clearly not happy about the steepness of the route they were taking.

Soon I found myself back along the road. A sheriff’s car was parked right at the trailhead, and almost all the cars had a warning flyer about keeping valuables either at home or out of sight. In fact, there was broken glass from two smashed windows near where I parked. Thankfully, I had no issues upon my return. I tracked my hike at 5.3 miles in 2:19, with an elevation gain of 1,410 feet.

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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