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April 01, 2016

Potato Chip Rock–East Approach

I follow several blogs that have covered the hike up Mount Woodson to Potato Chip Rock from Lake Poway.  Most recently Jim and Gayle along with Suzanne did this hike together a year ago with great success – nobody at the top!  And Josh of California Through My Lens has done an excellent job of documenting the west approach.
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The east approach is from Highway 67, “Drive 55 on 67” is the slogan – nobody does, but me.  So rather than park facing north on 67 find a safe place – PAST the fire station to turn around and park facing SOUTH on 67 where it is legal and you feel safe.  There will be a lot of cars near the trail head.  It’s silly to park facing north and then cross 4 lanes of fast moving traffic – twice! 

There is a great article on the local paper that details that 160 acres have been acquired for a ‘Park-n-Ride’ and remove the parking along the highway.  ARG!

Unlike the west approach the east side can be done as a loop, however I noticed there are now a billion intersecting trails and I missed the needed Fry-Koegel trail head!  That’s not a big deal since I could come down that way.  It’s about 7mi RT with 1750’ elevation gain from where I ended up parking.  Still a bit shorter and not as much elevation as the west approach from Lake Poway.  It’s hard to miss the trail head just south of the Ramona Forest Fire Station.
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After passing through the live oak on the short well maintained trail, the paved access/maintenance road to the top is reached.  Don’t expect to be alone on this route, it is quite popular.
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Just follow the paved road to the top.  It is an unrelenting uphill of about 2.5 miles.
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Although there is morning shade on this side despite the morning sun it is often already taken.
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But Whoot Whoot! a massive resting area all to myself Smile.  The lizard on the right is a fair sized ‘blue-belly’.  He is doing his push-ups and hissing at me.  Up-down, up-down … hiss.  It worked I left him alone after taking his picture.
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The access road was blasted out of a ‘granite’ like stone that create the massive boulders.  The rock looks like granite but weathers into round shapes and has soft pockets that are easily exposed.  Whatever the composition the lichen like it.
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This is also a popular spot for rock climbers.  It provides easy access and safe but challenging climbing routes.
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The summit has an extraordinary accumulation of microwave and cell towers
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Take the right fork at this point and begin a decent from the summit.  Who’d not want the view that comes with his office!
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Where is Potato Chip Rock?  Really can’t miss it – the kids waiting for their selfie opportunity will be blocking the trail!
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I really like this picture!  A young Asian fella is focused on his own selfie while a pretty girl is sitting on the ledge.  Yes, there were again mostly Asians on this Friday morning hike – when is their Spring Break?
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A few pictures of the view from the top with Lake Ramona nearly depleted.  The Mt Woodson Golf Club is where the F-K trail will lead as the way down.  It comes out a bit north of where I am parked.
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And there were still some flowers.  Although it looks like this tree stopped the boulder, it is the boulder that is providing the moisture for the tree.
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The different stages of the Century Plant bloom is always a beautiful sight.
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And some of the best flowers?  Right outside my passenger door where I parked!  Who Knew?  A nice welcome back.
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I'll want to do Iron Mountain from Ellie Lane before the Park'n'Ride construction begins.  But next week San Felipe BC.

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