Oliver the Adventurer…and the Potato Chip

With a jump down and after another few minutes of waiting.  I confidentially and slow walk to the edge, ever knowing that there is a fall in three directions.  I stop, with my knees slightly shaking, and pose for the shot.  As I stand there, I’m thinking, HOLY SHIT, I’m doing it, I’m doing it.  I’m standing on a thin slice of a rock, known as Potato Chip Rock.  As I’m standing on this death defying natural spectacle, as my friend Bryan is taking my picture, I’m still thinking that I freaking did it.  It did without fear and I just committed.  And then all of a sudden, it rush right back.  The fear of falling, the fear of this rock breaking, etc etc etc, hit me.  And when it did, I nearly fell off.  But I quickly composed but not the stance, confidence was cracked and I started thinking, I can’t wait to get off this rock.

This was the climax of a trip that my college buddy, Mikey planned out for the labor weekend.  My buddy Mikey as we call him, is a fellow engineer.  He and the our gang of friends mentioned in the previous article have been friends since our college years.  Which if you think about it hasn’t been very long.  We as group have done a lot of adventures together from weekend travels to cities, annual snowboarding trips, and crazy hikes in the heat.  We are friends that we treat each other like brothers and sisters and even though we don’t see each other often when we do it like it was only yesterday.

This particular adventure begin several weeks ago.  Mikey has been trying for months to hang out with me.  With me being “busy” all the time, it was a bit difficult or nearly impossible for us to meet up and hang out.  So knowing how my schedule can get when you ask me a bit late, he scheduled the whole labor weekend for himself.  Which then it was aptly named “Mikey’s Spectacular Weekend.”

So Mikey had the weekend.  And the only people that could overthrow that would be family.  Yes, even a wedding client couldn’t book a wedding during that weekend.  It was Mikey’s and he’s alone.

Lets fast forward to a couple of hours before the first paragraph.  It was determined that for the Mikey’s Spectacular Weekend would be a day.  A day filled with adventure and hiking.  Hiking?!  Really?!  In this heat?!  “Yeah” says Mikey.  I reluctantly said, “Ok.”  And in the back of my head I was think what the hell, seriously?!  But this was he’s weekend and I gave him the benefit of it.

Mikey decided that our adventure with a couple of other friends would be to the famous San Diego Potato Chip Rock.  This particular hike, as become popular recently as it has been seen, retweeted, facebooked, blogged about, etc etc in the social media stream.  Which this made me kind of not want to do this hike because everyone did it.  But Mikey wanted to try it and do it.  And honestly, I actually wanted to do it but I just had all this noise in my head about doing what everyone did before.

The trailmarker for the hike.

The trailmarker for the hike.

We decided that we would meet up at Lake Poway around 8:40am to begin the hike.  And as always there was something that came up.  For this morning, it was running a few minute behind, I think it was about 20 minutes behind and the push start would be at 9:00am.  Okay, I said in the text message.  So I decided to take my sweet ass time getting ready.  And then do some errands beforehand.  Like pick up water and get gas for my car.  Well taking my time and finally heading there, I text them thinking they would be late.  Well I was wrong.  I should have known Mikey would make up time by speeding on the freeway.  And what do you know it he did.  He apparently speed at an average of 85 – 90 mph on the freeway heading down to San Diego from Orange County.  So unknown to me he got there when we said he would originally be there.  So now I was was the one who was late.  And all I can say for myself was, Ooops!  Sorry man!

After arriving about 10 mins after they did, I got my water, camera, and hat on an met them a few feet away from where I parked my car.  With introductions, Hi’s, and hugs out of the way we began making our way to the trail which would take us up to the Potato Chip.

Only 2 minutes into the hike, we already made our first wrong turned.  For this trip I decided to make a video diary, just like we were going to be stranded and lost and this would be the video the rescuers would find.  A little dramatic yes but it makes for more of an exciting trip.  And after a couple of minutes of looking at the map, talking it out, and a few jokes to poke at Mikey we found the correct trail to go on.

It was now 9:00am and the heat was rising but we were all in good spirits.  Okay, this was one of the first hikes for me in a couple of weeks.  I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make it.  However with our troops of friends one of them being a nurse, we slowly and steadily made our way up.  The views along the way where beautiful.  Lake Poway where we started was calm and blue as the morning clouds burned off as the sun rose high and hotter throughout the morning.

Getting into the stride of the hike, the breathing started to get labored and heavy.  And at that moment all I can think of was, I can’t wait until this is over.  But being the competitor as I am sometimes, I didn’t want to give up and I didn’t want to miss on the chance to get a photograph at the chip.  So push on I go.  Luckily the group of friends that I went with understood and encourage breaks here and there or more so anytime anyone wanted to have a break.  So include the determination, group of friends, and a multiple breaks along the way it made the hike was not as bad.  I was seriously a bit nervous to embark on this hike because of the heat.

After hiking for more than 2.5 miles, we finally reached the spot.  Within the last few hundred of the chip, it showed itself in all its glory.  From far it looked small and ready to break.  And plus it showed the crowd of people that sat and or waiting to go to the chip.  And with only a wait in front of us, we excited reached out destination.

This is where the introduction comes in.

Photo Credit: Bryan Lin My friends and I reach Potato Chip Rock!

Photo Credit: Bryan Lin
My friends and I reach Potato Chip Rock!

After spending nearly an hour at the top, we had to make our way down.  The trip down the mountain wasn’t as bad as the trip up.  This time we had gravity to help us down.  But with that said it still wasn’t the easiest of hikes to go down.  Now boulders and the afternoon heat was the issue or the struggle.  But it luckily the breezes picked up a bit and that help regulate the temperature and the comfortableness of hiking down the mountain.

And finally after about an hour of hiking down, we reach the bottom of the hike.  Hot, tried, but happy and excited to know that we accomplished the hike, got some pictures, and had great bonding time with each other.  It was a great way to catch up with one another and also challenge ourselves mentally and physically.

The things that I learned on this hike is the following:

  • Don’t under estimate yourself.  You must start out with every task no manner what with a positive note.
  • Friends are there to support, humble, and encourage you.  It is a two way streak.
  • Physical challenges are what brings friends together.
  • Friends don’t always have to ask what you need, they just do it.
  • Always have fun and poke fun at each other.
  • Walks are great times to relate to one another.
  • Cherish the moments with each other and share something about yourself that is true and honest.

I would love to do this hike again and can’t wait for the next adventures that we take together.  Chances are it will be this coming winter; Snowboarding anyone?

Leave a Reply