The first Sunday in June, we woke up early and walked down to the Rock N Roll Marathon route just in time to see the lead runners zoom past. The elite runners trickled past, then after about 10 minutes the crowd starting picking up, and by the time we left about 20 minutes later we’d watched thousands of runners go by, several in full “Running Elvis” garb, been nearly splattered by wayward water cups, and helped one runner with a wardrobe adjustment. As we left, I was of two minds about any possible marathons in my future – on the one hand, it was very exciting to watch the runners go by, and when you think about the distance in terms of doubling training miles (run a 5K, then a 10K, then a half-marathon, then a marathon) – it sounds like a completely reasonable progression; on the other hand, we were watching from right around the seven mile marker, and a lot of people were looking like they were in pretty rough shape already – with over 70% of the race still ahead!
After our marathon-watching, we headed out to east county for a hike (our first one since all of the moving craziness began, it had probably been about three months!). We went to Iron Mountain, Chuck’s favorite San Diego hike.
When we started out, there was still a nice cool layer of June Gloom protecting us from the sun and shrouding the trail in mystery:
The sun came out soon after we started on the trail, so I piled on the sunscreen as we trekked. Iron Mountain is a tricky hike – when I picture it mentally, I always think of the first 1.4 miles as fairly flat, and then expect the actual ascent to the mountain to be a harder climb. In reality though, that first section has about half of the total elevation gain of the hike, and is steeper in parts as well, so it always beats me up a little bit, but by the time I’m doing switchbacks up the mountain, the going is pretty easy (unless, of course, Chuck is in race-hiking mode, in which we try to pass everyone else on the trail to prove to ourselves that we’re faster…then, I’m just panting along and trying to keep up!).
Iron Mountain is a very popular hike, but it doesn’t typically feel crowded, either on the trail or at the top. This time though, there was a boy scout-like group on a backcountry training trip, probably 10 or 15 of them in the group, AND they left the summit right after us so that it felt like we were being chased down the trail until the faster ones passed us halfway down the switchbacks. The view from the top was a little bit obscured by the fog, but I was happy to have it in exchange for mild temperatures.
Views from the descent:
Want to hike Iron Mountain? Here’s what you need to know:
- Trailhead: route 67, just south of Poway Road
- Distance: about 5.8 miles; Total Elevation Gain: about 1200 feet
- Don’t forget: sunscreen, water (if you’re hiking with a dog, take lots of extra water!)
- Need More Info? Get the ultimate guide to San Diego hiking – Afoot & Afield San Diego County
See the route on MapMyRun: