This is my first hike since I had a muscle strain in my back two weeks ago. I took it easy on the way up and could just feel a slight soreness in my back, but nothing major or lasting. Although the temperature was flirting with the 90's, a nice breeze was blowing this morning as I started up the trail. I saw a small covey of quail run across the trail ahead of me. I got my camera out just in time to catch the last one scurry into the brush.
The trail follows a service road all the way to the top of the mountain. I encountered a lot of locals who looked like they summited this peak on a daily basis. And I also met several people who looked like they were flirting with a myocardial infarction just to see the hazy panorama of San Diego.
While on the summit, a new group of people would join me about every two minutes. This appears to be one of the most popular peaks I've been to so far. The summit has a historical plaque, as well as two informative signs that identify many of the surrounding peaks and natural features. I spent some time guessing what all the peaks were before I noticed the signs. I was wrong about half the time.
On the way back down the mountain, I saw a crow and a red-tailed hawk swoop at each other in a dizzying display of aerobatic combat. The hawk kept flying above the crow and would suddenly drop about 5 feet in an attempt to sink its talons into the crow, but the crow would dart away. Likewise, the crow repeatedly darted at the hawk, trying to get the upper hand. In the end, the two birds had had enough and flew away in different directions.
I was rooting for the hawk.
I was back at the trailhead by 12:30 and felt great.