Cowles Mountain November 4, 2014 Trip Report
© November 2014 Adam Helman

Note: Mouse-click either image for enlargement.


As my sciatica continues to improve I attempt increasingly larger hiking distances. Hence this morning I venture beyond Cowles Mountain's summit to an unnamed 1,380+ foot bump located en route to Pyles Peak.


Rather than take my usual service road to Cowles' summit I use the footpath - which is even more crowded with hikers and fitness enthusiasts. Within the 900 feet of gained elevation the final 3 or 400 feet is annoying, with a large number of switchbacks and hence much horizontal distance for a minimal ascent rate.

highest ground
The highest earth is
a rock outcrop.

Somehow I get it in my head that I must max-out the effort, and arrive within exactly 30 minutes of departure despite what I learn later is 1.6 miles distance. Going uphill with a sizable daypack at 3.2 mph (and 1,800 feet per hour) is not too shabby! I am exhausted on top, taking my time to rest before continuing on the Pyles Peak Trail to the aforementioned bump.

About 300 feet of elevation is lost, followed by maybe 75 or 100 feet of gain to the junction with a side trail leading to my bump. This minor trail, rarely frequented, heads east and soon south until it broadens into a roughly 15 x 15 foot area that's been cleared of brush and leveled - with wooden rails delineating its perimeter.

Transmission equipment blocks
a direct view of Cowles' summit
as seen from my 1,380+ foot bump.

Slightly higher ground is immediately (20 feet?) northeast - the true hilltop - yet full of brush.

I lie down on my pack and rest in the shade. It's about 11 a.m. (coincidentally the exact time of day I write this fifteen days later!), watching bees hover midair and with a slight breeze. It's excellently relaxing...

Sadly I must leave, and so after maybe a half hour of sheer joy I reascend to Cowles Mountain, and tag its summit for the second time today.

A bunch of small children (with adult supervision) are just beginning to descend the trail. I don't want their noise so go down the approach road instead - making a loop route embedded within the morning's overall effort.