What is the fastest time up Cowles Mountain?

Dear Matt:

Here's a question I'd like to know. What's the fastest time on foot to the top of Cowles Mountain? I started hiking up this mountain a few months ago, and one man, aged 70, said he made it to the top in less than 17 minutes at age 60. I talked to a young lady yesterday, and she said she walks up five or six days a week before work. It's a very popular place to hike.

-- Tim Cotes, on the trail

Via Jerry "Afoot and Afield" Schad, we learn that about five years ago there was an unofficial sort of competition among regular runners up the south slope of Cowles Mountain. He referred us to one of the instigators of the ongoing event, who requested anonymity. Maybe reluctant to have his name linked with the Alices'. Who knows. Anyway, at the top of the 1.5-mile trail was a tin can into which runners could drop a slip of paper with their names and their times. Unlike Ace Parking, the whole thing was on the honor system, so we have to say that allegedly the fastest time was 15 minutes, achieved by a member of the SDSU cross-country team. The, um, runner-up, shall we say, was someone who left no name but claimed 16 minutes, 13 seconds, "documented," though apparently no proof was offered. Fastest (identified) woman was Donna Gookin at 23 minutes, 20 seconds. So, Tim, your 60-year-old was humpin'.

Here's a related fact-ette for your mental dead-letter file. I'll brazenly borrow from another local author, Charlie Elster, and ask, "Is there a cow on Cowles Mountain?" Naw. Not a vaca in sight. But there is some coal. George Cowles was not George Cow-l's, he was George Coals. And so's the mountain. Of course, if you pronounce it correctly, no one will know what you're talking about, so there you go. George will just have to plug his fingers in his ears, grit his teeth, and endure it.

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