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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mathis Who?

Minimal time and the sun blaring, I opted for a shorter loop at Aliso/Wood Canyons today.  “Shorter” meaning, shorter than the big outer loop.  I thought, heck, if I cut off Wood Canyon Trail after only about a mile and run up to West Ridge via Mathis, I’ll make this trip 2 1/2 miles shorter than the “big loop.”   I thought my idea so grand, that I made another decision.  Why not cut Wood Canyon Trail even shorter and take a detour trip along Dripping Cave Trail?  It will add a lot more difficulty, but will shorten the loop a tad too.

Brilliant. : )

Sightings Board at the Ranger Station (notice sightings are getting crowded by “lost” stuff)sighting board

Dripping Cave Trail

dripping cave bridge

Arriving to Dripping Cave AKA. Robber’s Cave

at cave

Taking a step back so you can see the cave (infamous because robbers hid out here during the “Old West”. ) Their markings (holes in the walls where they hung their things) are still evident.

me in front of dripping cave 

After Robber’s Cave the climb begins on Dripping Cave Trail 

up Dripping Cave

And then finally it's down, down, down with a few tricky steps toward Mathis Trail.

descending Dripping Cave 1

Running through brush canopy to end Dripping Cave & come out on Mathis Trail

finishing up Dripping Cave

Mathis who? 

Mathis is no friend of mine.  Mathis tugs and weighs down your legs, he gives you no shade, disturbs your breathing.  Mathis hurls mountain bikers at you.  Mathis pours salt all over your face to drip down into your eyes.  Mathis drenches you, but does NOT cool you off.  No . . . no, Mathis was no friend of mine today.  He gave me a hell of a time.  But I did not quit, and ran the whole way (at a tortoise’s pace :) 

On the good side, as difficult as running Mathis was, it made reaching West Ridge and ultimately Top of the World, even that more triumphant.

I ran across Top of the World to enter the park again for a run down Meadows Trail.  And there in front of me, a shepherd attempted to get hundreds of goats into a newly fenced-off area.  His job was tougher than my “fun.”  He’d get them all going in one direction, toward the fenced area.  Then suddenly, one or two goats at the back of the pack would turn around and run.  And then it was all over.  All the goats, like dominoes, turned and ran in the opposite direction as well.  The shepherd, wearing long pants, ran quickly from the front of the pack, to the back, to herd them all again in the right direction.  He was yelling something that I couldn’t make out and headed them back toward the pen.  Then he’d run off to the front of the pack, when suddenly, one or two goats would turn around and run in the opposite direction.  And yes, again, all the other adorable kids followed suit.  I stood watching, amazed, as this happened again and again.  Poor shepherd.  How or when would this difficult feat end? 

Finally I couldn’t wait any longer to find out.  I took off running down Meadows, rushed again, to make it in time to stretch, get gas and pick up our kindergartner. 

I made it.

Goat Crossing at Top of the World

goats crossing 

Posing at Top of the World, about to descend on Meadows over Laguna Beach and a socked in Pacific Ocean, as goats make their master run about in this heat (to my right)about to descend

View from top of Meadows Trail looking toward Aliso Viejo and Santa Ana Mountains
top of meadows

 Elevation Profile  (Miles run:  9.34)Aliso,Wood, Dripping Cave, Westridge, Meadows 9-16-2010, Elevation - Distance


  1. Mathis looks like a task master but one that's worth the work!

  2. I heard they used goats in Laguna beach for fire abatement (they eat all the old brush), but I've never actually seen them in action. Great picture!

  3. Sometimes Mathis just kills me Stuart and I don't think I can do it. It really is one that is more physical than mental. If Mathis was in a race, I would definately hike much of it. But in training, I force myself to run it.

  4. Glenn -- this is the second time in the past year or so that I've seen goats up there. An amazing site, so colorful, and they really are so cute. I wonder what the coyotes think of them? Perhaps the sheperd sleeps up there (is that what you call the guy who herds and watches over goats???)