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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Arroyo Trabuco -- Tijeras Creek Loop

I woke too early.  Recently, waking at 5:00 AM on a weekend is a NO DEAL.  What I mean to say is that I AM TIRED.  But 1) I wanted to run with the OCTR and 2) and I wanted to re-visit the scene of the DFL (Yes, it’s doubtful I will ever live that down, but that’s a good fun thing,) and yes, this run covered part of Arroyo Trabuco trail, THE trail, the trail of the Las Flores Marathon. 

Thing is, less than a week after a marathon is too short of time to hit the trail for a 13+ mile trail run.  I kind of knew that. Truth is though, I didn’t let it cross my mind at the time. 

I’m glad I did attend this run, even as fatigued as I was.

Why?  Because the company was fun.  Even though no one says it out loud, we all know that each one of us has got to be crazy!!  And also, because I got out on trails that I wouldn’t normally run solo. And best of all, because there’s always a story – it’s either a story of getting lost, getting injured, triumphing difficult terrain, falling, laughing, crossing creeks, difficult elevation, near heat stroke, forgetting to bring calories, meeting familiar faces, having a bobcat, rattler or deer cross your path, finding cougar tracks, not to mention traversing through gorgeous terrain, and the most common story for me, thinking I can’t run another step, yet, somehow, I can.

Today’s story:

We all met up at the Albertsons parking lot at Plano Trabuco. We, meaning:  myself, Sheila, Kelly, Tom and Dave.  The skies were gray, the air cool.  I actually wore long sleeves (not for long).

We ran the streets for about a mile to the back gates of O’Neill Park. Problem was, the gates were locked!!  There was no climbing over the fence, topped with about six inches of barbed-wire.  I could not even get my big feet into the fence links for an attempt.  Even Kelly, with much smaller feet than I, had no luck.

And so, some of the runners (and I won’t say who!) sat down on the bench and said, “let’s wait.” (Meaning waiting til 7AM when the park opened). Other’s, myself included, because, that’s how I am “wham bam, thank you ‘mam.” Walked around, thinking, thinking, thinking.

I was thinking “there’s for sure, a way in, we just have to find it.” I happen to have a husband, who when we were dating, never let a locked gate to the wilderness stop him.  So I’m used to looking for way in.  I looked for a piece of fence peeled back, a gate, that even though locked, opened wide enough to squeeze through, something, anything.  After several unsuccessful attempts, I came upon a large tree in O'Neill Park.  Its branches reached over, leaning downward onto our side of the fence.  I think I heard, “No way!,” not sure, as I pulled myself up and over.  Before you knew it, I was in the park, with only one scratch on my hand (that I didn’t even notice til much later).  One by one, each runner, happily, climbed up the tree and over the fence, and we were off!

Up and Over, climbing trees at 6:30 AM



Sheila holds branches down for an easier route down



And as I think I’ve already mentioned, we were off for a 13+ mile loop.  We ran at first under cloudy skies. Crossed some streams (still, people laugh at me when I plough through the streams – but I really think that’s best for me – remember my parents used to call me “Grace” as a child. If I try to gingerly try to make my way across the crossing, balancing on rocks, I’m going to either fall and get my feet anyway, or fall and twist my ankle, or worse).

Disoriented at first, because I haven’t got these trails memorized like my home trails, I was gleefully surprised when we came upon the Las Flores turnaround arrow (from the opposite direction).  When I say “gleefully surprised,” I mean it in the way that if I were to come across the girl named JANICE, who bullied me in the 7th grade. : )  I would love her in a nostalgic way. (But I would still want to kick her *** – just kidding. I didn’t just write that) 

We ran through “The Jungle,” but took a left onto a closed trail (not my idea!).  And we continued our loop to end up on a sunny, hot climb out of the trails back onto the streets.  I was DEAD-DOG-TIRED, and hiked much of the inclines back.

“The Jungle”


Spring Color


Twin Peaks in the back ground
Kelly, Sheila, Dave, Tom, Me

13.21 Miles logged this morning.  Upon arriving home, I cooked up some homemade beef vegetable soup (from veggies out of our gardens) which meant plenty of standing time (chopping veggies). Then I made potato salad (request from son #2) AND then I crashed.  I mean I CRASHED, salty and all, I lazed about, sleeping off and on for hours.  I finally woke fully at 5:00 PM for a much needed hot bath.

I’m taking 2 days off. I am. REALLY.  Not even going to the gym.


  1. nice climbing :) which gate was that? There is one back gate that you can squeeze though. done that before :)

  2. Hi Jessica! I'm not sure what street it's on. But if you were to enter thru the main entrance (live Oak Road?) and walk straight ahead at the main gate, walk across the grass, past the creek and up to the the restrooms along the gate -- it was right there.

  3. Oh I saw Tom's gps track. I think if you had gone down that road just a bit further you could have squeezed through the fence but it looked like more fun to climb trees anyway :)

  4. That is so funny! I thought for sure there was a fence we could squeeze through somewhere!