Hiking in San Diego: Potato Chip Rock

Potato Chip Rock

Potato Chip Rock, an 8-mile hike located north of San Diego in Ramona, is a mostly uphill but not too difficult climb with a great place for pictures at the top. You can hike up to the peak to see the famous “potato chip” cliff that everyone poses on, and then continue down the trail or go back the way you came returning to the parking area. Although it’s mostly uphill it’s not extremely steep, and I was encouraged seeing little kids and dogs trekking up and doing just fine. However, like most hikes in Southern California, it can be very hot and dry. There are a few spots of shade, but it’s best to bring lots of water and go on a cooler day.

 The hike generally takes about 3 to 4 hours, but can vary based on your own personal ambition. Don’t forget a camera! At the top there will most likely be a line of people waiting to get their pictures taken on the dramatic Potato Chip ledge, for which the hike gets its name.

 There is parking at the bottom of the mountain. You can park along the road too, as there are rarely available spots. Additional parking can be found for $10 at the Lake Poway parking lot adjacent to the park. If you park here you will start the hike at the Mt Woodson trailhead. Dogs on leashes are allowed and this hike is family (but not stroller) friendly.

 I personally didn’t find the hike exceedingly challenging. The incline makes for an effective workout, but there’s no need to shy away from this trail if you’re not an avid hiker!

The Dangers of Drinking Your Calories

“For the same amount of calories you could either eat lunch at McDonalds or have a coffee at Starbucks.”

Starbucks and other coffee houses like to pride their brand on supplying consumers with a quick, delicious fix to perk up your morning. What isn’t advertised is the high calorie count of their drinks that rivals meals at other fast food restaurants. Most buyers wouldn’t consider Starbucks as fast food, but the calorie amount in their drinks suggests otherwise.

 You wouldn’t think such a small beverage could be so loaded with calories and sugar, even the venti sizes. But the truth is that Starbucks Frappuccinos are on average 140 to 580 calories. The small sizes are usually around 170. The lowest calorie dose is the tall Tazo Chai Frappuccino at 140. The ventis come in around 500 calories, at most the venti Java Chip Frap at 580. The mochas and lattes also come with a heavy calorie count. A venti Iced White Chocolate Mocha is 640 calories. Most lattes and mochas range from 100-500 calories depending on size.

 These large caloric numbers don’t take full effect until they’re seen in perspective compared to fast food meals. For instance, at McDonald’s a Premium McWrap with chicken and bacon is 640 calories, the same calorie amount as the Starbucks large Iced White Chocolate Mocha. So drinking that large iced mocha is the same amount of calories as a wrap at McDonalds, except there is no protein as provided by the bacon and chicken and instead massive quantities of sugar.  In other comparison a Big Mac is 530 calories, less than a venti Java Chip Frappuccino. A McDouble Burger is 380 calories, about the same as a grande frap or mocha. For the same amount of calories you could either eat lunch at McDonalds or have a coffee at Starbucks.

 In another example, at Taco Bell the Beefy 5-Layer Burrito consists of 500 calories. Still less than Starbucks’s largest and most sugary beverages. The Combo Burrito is 430 calories and the Burrito Supreme is 390. Both totaling at around the same calorie levels of medium sized drinks at Starbucks.

 The danger in Starbucks’s calories is in the size. Sticking to light and tall sized beverages keeps the calorie count mostly below 200. It may seem like a small and insignificant snack, but compared to meals from fast food chains Starbucks drinks are more sizable than you may think.