Annie’s Canyon via San Elijo Lagoon

Was looking for another easy hike to test my foot’s recovery and remembered I had not hiked the new connector bridge under the I-5. Since the main lot was full, we parked across the street at the water district. We strolled along the wide path toward the freeway. Partway, a trail left the main path and took us closer to the lagoon for a while. Once back on the main path, we were almost at the bridge. Slung under the I-5, this nice wide bridge spans the lagoon and offers some nice views. We followed the trail to the right to continue on toward Annie’s Canyon. To our south we could see the trail continuing up and over the hill toward Solana Beach. Thankfully our destination was before that climb. A side trail took us off the paved section and toward the junction with the Annie’s Canyon trail.

Being a Sunday I knew this hike would be crowded. Anita, Ben and Rocky decided to relax on some logs under the shade of some eucalyptus  trees, while I opted to go explore the canyon.

I worked my way up through the narrow sandstone canyon until I reached a queue waiting to make their way through the narrowest of sections where the ladder is. After it was my turn, I enjoyed the view from the viewpoint before taking the switchbacks back to that lagoon’s edge. If you don’t feel like tackling the canyon or ladders, you can take this section of trail to enjoy the view. Just note, you cannot descend the ladder or exit through the canyon. Once back together we retraced our route then headed off to Seaside Market for some lunch.


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, 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. 

North McCoy Trail

Since I am still recovering from a bout of plantar fasciitis, we opted to try a nice short stroll along the McCoy Trail in the Tijuana Estuary. A few cars were parked in the parking lot when we arrived. We strolled over to the visitor center, but the ranger had stepped away for a few minutes, so we decided to just head out along the trail. The trail runs southward until it reaches one of the main channels of the estuary. A couple of benches line the trail, perfect for those who want to take a moment and enjoy the wildlife.

We returned to the visitor center, which was now open, and explored their exhibits for a bit. Then we again continued our tradition of heading into Imperial Beach for some fish tacos at Coronado Brewery.


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, 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. 

Border Field State Park

We parked in the small parking lot and headed down Monument Road. After about 2/10 mile, the road turns south toward the border. You can continue straight along the Beach Trail, but we stayed on the road. The road then turned west again. Off in the distance, we could see our eventual destination, Friendship Park. The park has been closed for some time due in part to Covid and other factors.

After a short climb up the small plateau, we had reached the very southwestern corner of the United States. The border wall loomed to our south and continued into the actual ocean. But around us were shaded picnic tables, interpretive signs, and good views across southern San Diego. After taking in the views, we retraced our route back to the car and then headed into Imperial Beach for some fish tacos at Coronado Brewery.

Be mindful that due to the low elevation of the park, the park is sometimes closed to flash floods, especially in winter.


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, 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. 

Santa Fe Valley Trail

Decided to hike the Santa Fe Valley Trail once again. I hiked this trail as part of the Coast To Crest Challenge a number of years back. This time I was hiking it as part of the Sierra Club North County Group’s 50th Anniversary 50 Hike Challenge. As I drove down toward the parking area, two deer darted into the nearby brush. Was not expecting to see them in the mid-afternoon. 

The trailhead is shared by both the Santa Fe Trail and Del Dios Gorge Trail. I headed toward the west and onto the Santa Fe Trail. For much of the trail, it is nice and flat, I was cruising along, crossing the numerous small bridges along the way. After about 1.4 miles, the trail will begin a short climb. Thankfully, the switchbacks help ease the climb. It drops back down some, before making another climb up toward the ‘end’ of the trail. I snapped my required photo and retraced my route.


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, 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. 

Denk Tank Mountain

The North County group of the Sierra Club is celebrating its 50 anniversary.  As part of that celebration, they are hosting a 50 Hike Challenge. I decided to work on this list as my backup hikes or my mid-week hikes. Yesterday was such a day. Denk Mountain is just a few minutes from work, and even on my way home. I parked near the trailhead and laced up my boots, grabbed my poles, and set off.

While it was sunny, the temperatures were not too warm as I quickly made my way up the trail. There is quite a network of trails across this mountain, so you do need to take some care at junctions to stay on the route you want to take to the summit.

At the summit, I snapped a few photos, including the one for the challenge, and headed back down. There were a few flowers dotting the sides of the trail. Judging by the tracks on the trail and the repair stand at the summit, it is safe to assume this area is favored by mountain bikers, so make sure you keep an ear and an eye out for them when you hike it. The hike was 2.8 miles in 1:07 with 663 feet of gain.


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, 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. 

Gonzales Canyon

I decided to do this hike after work, since it is just about 15 minutes from my house. My daughter decided to join me for this jaunt. We parked at Torrey Highlands Park and headed to the north end of it. From there we picked up the Nature trail and began our descent into the canyon. The route we choose became a touch rocky, since my daughter did not have trekking poles, she had to be careful.

We chatted about our upcoming road trip to see my sister and the new school year as we made our way to the selfie spot. I pointed out the poison oak that lined the trail. We took our photo, and began to retrace our path. Instead of climbing back up to the trailhead, we opted for a different route. She was not pleased with the steep hill we had to climb, but she made it. With that my 2021-2022 Coast to Crest Challenge was complete!


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, 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. 

Dust Devil Trail

Decided to hike the easiest of the Coast to Crest Challenge’s hike, the Dust Devil Trail with some of the family. We pulled into the parking lot in the early evening to enjoy the end of the holiday weekend. The sun was just behind the late-day clouds, as we strolled to the wildlife view spot, aka ‘selfie spot’.

The family returned the same way to the car, as it was getting close to when the trail closes. I opted to hustle around the larger loop to take in some sights. We meet back at the car almost at the same time. One more hike to go and I will have completed this year’s Coast to Crest Challenge.


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, 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. 

Santa Fe Valley Connector trail

Once I was done with my summit of Black Mountain, I drove the short distance to the trailhead for the Santa Fe Valley Connector trail. This section of the Coast to Crest Trail was recently acquired, so I was looking forward to exploring it. The trailhead is shared with the Lusardi Creek Loop. The early morning cloud cover was burning off, so I made sure to apply my sunscreen before setting off.

The trail passes by some incredible homes before dipping down toward the Lusardi Creek. The creek is still flowing, from residential runoff, and it made for a fun crossing. A guide rope is secured to the trees to help you across. From there, the trail follows the creek for a while, before turning east. 

After following the San Dieguito river for a bit, I had a small climb to reach my turn-around spot. I located my ‘selfie’ spot, with the Crosby Golf Course behind me, and took my photo. I retraced my route. The day had warmed up and I was glad I only had the short climb back to the car.  


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, 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. 

Black Mountain (via Miner’s Ridge)

For the second hike on the Coast to Crest Challenge, I decided why not do the one that is almost in my backyard, Black Mountain. The recommended route was to take the Miner’s Ridge trail to the summit to snap your selfie. From the parking lot, the trail heads east for a bit before making its turn and starts climbing toward the summit.

I took a more direct route so I could also summit the ‘secondary’ summit as well. Plus, I was planning on getting in a second hike in after.

Once I reached the summit, there were numerous mountain bikers, some other hikers. I stayed long enough to take the photo and retreated from the crowds. I made my way back to the car, tossed in my gear, and headed off to the Scorpion Ridge-Santa Fe Valley Connector trail.


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, 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. 

Bayside Trail

My final hike of the day was going to be the Bayside Trail at Cabrillo National Monument. This hike had the added bonus of stopping off at Fathom Bistro for lunch and a beer. They are located on the Shelter Island pier and serve up some tasty hot dogs and have a wonderful tap list. I drove out to Point Loma, passing my old office along the way, showed my National Parks Annual Pass, and parked. I grabbed my gear and a jacket and set off toward the lighthouse. The trailhead to the Bayside trail is just before the lighthouse along the access road. The trail follows the cliffs down to a nice view of San Diego and Coronado with several information panels along the way. I reached the end of the trail, snapped a few photos, and began my ascent. Back at the access road, I stopped and chatted with one of the park volunteers for a while. Afterward, I thought to myself this is exactly what my dad would do all the time. With three hikes done for the day, some BBQ was in order for dinner.


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, 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.