Perhaps I am certifiably insane. Perhaps I’m merely an explorer. I don’t know. I just love an adventure and I probably spend too much time on my hair-brained ideas.
Today’s concoction: Run the bike path (or the riverwalk, as I call it) above San Juan Creek. But instead of running into the historic district and downtown San Juan Capistrano as I usually do when I run the riverwalk, I planned to turn off and follow the bike trail that I pass over on the freeway almost every day.
So I strapped on my pack full of water and other essentials and headed down the highway. About a mile in, I realized my hands were empty and I gasped, “I forgot my water!”
Uhhh, Lauren, your water’s on your back.
Funny how the brain confuses. I never wear a pack when I run the road. Today though, I wasn’t sure where I’d end up, so I put on the pack.
I took Sycamore Creek Trail to the “Riverwalk". No creek runs along this trail. Though some small Sycamores grow along the side. Actually, the trail runs through an exercise park with a dozen or so stations along the way.
Running along the “riverwalk” aka bike path – Enjoyable? Yes. Hot? Yes! The cement path offers very little shade opportunities. Though the sound of rushing water helped me feel refreshed.
The long, lonely road. For some reason, just like with trails, I tend to veer to the edge.
Running beneath the road (Camino Capistrano) meant shade!! Up head, more shade as I ran beneath the freeway (I-5).
Okay, I didn’t care about the heat about now, because I’m feeling a trail coming on . . .
Ahhhh, yes. After a quick stop at a water fountain in a park (because I didn’t want to run out of my supply) I happened upon a nice, slightly muddy equestrian trail. Notice the shade – glorious, glorious shade. (Today, by the way, was the hottest day in a long time)
I felt good, confident that I knew where I was headed. My plan: reach a ridge a few miles up.
There’s only one problem. I ran this trail until it ended. I mean ENDED. It ended at the locked gates of the equestrian center on Highway 74. I couldn’t find any way around it. And as it was, I was on the wrong side of the creek. Well, I disobeyed (who me?) the signs that warned to stay on the trail. There was no way I was turning around and running all the way back. My plan – cross the creek, or rather creeks at this point and find a trail on the other side.
I crossed the first creek merely submerging my shoes. The second creek, same thing. The main creek however flowed rather quickly, and appeared about knee deep. I scoured the land for a way to cross. Two ducks swiftly floated by.
When I’d find a trail, I’d take it until I found myself boxed in by shrubbery so thick, I was forced to turn around and take the trail back in search for another trail. This occurred again and again, the brush was so dense.
Finally I phoned my husband so he could look on the Google Earth and find a way. He reported that I took the wrong trail – I was on the wrong side of the creek.
Noticing mountain lion tracks in the mud (be sure I know my cougar tracks, they are unmistakable once you know them), I told him, I’m just crossing the stream. “No,” hubby pleaded. He said that he hated not being there to make sure I didn’t get swept up in the creek. So while he scoured the satellite maps with the computer freezing up, I talked to him as I crossed the stream. It wasn’t quite knee deep – I’d say it was 3/4’s calve high. But it did flow swiftly. I slipped only once, but made the other side safely. On the other side – no trails! Just massive brush. I ducked beneath branches. I trampled through poison oak. Really, I had no choice. I could see the steep riverbank, but could find no way to it. Hanging up the phone so that I could concentrate and listen for dangers, I trudged through that stuff knowing I had to get to San Juan Creek Road (according to a very helpful husband who by the way, wasn’t too thrilled about my adventure – but perhaps he’s getting used to this).
Boxed in again. Ahhh. Duh!
Finally, I saw the light. A way up the bank. I scrambled up that bank to find a massive hunk of thick, knee-high brush. I plowed my way through that and what do you know! An equestrian trail! A lovely, muddy equestrian trail! Just a little ways a head, I spotted a street sign that read “San Juan Creek Road!”
When I reached the road, I ran a stretch of pavement with delight in my heart, not to mention flashbacks of those cougar tracks running through my mind.
Soon I reached the trail I aimed for. And I ran up to that ridge for a bit of treasure – a view of San Juan Capistrano (I could even see the mission) and behind me, the foothills of The Cleveland National Forest.
I grew extremely fatigued on my (more direct) run back. At one point, I realized that I would run near our boys’ school about the time my husband picked them up. (It’s “early out” all week). So, I put in one more call to cut this run about 3 miles short. I asked if he could please wait for me and take me home. My better half offered to better that, and pick me up at my current location. I insisted that he just wait, perhaps drive up the road from the school and wait for me at the “riverwalk.”
Turns out, he arrived at the exact same time as I did. I hopped into the truck, dead-dog tired, happy to see my two youngest, who weren’t so interested in seeing me as they busily planned the rest of their “early-out” day.
Miles logged on this adventure: 11 (though it seemed like so much more!)
To be determined: status of poison ivy tramping.
Injuries: just a few scrapes on the legs.
ps. times like this, I feel like the luckiest person on Earth.
pss. and then I went to work, the students were wonderful, except for one exceptional student I had to “yell down,” and threaten he was out of the program unless he turned in some work today (this after he called me a liar!). Needless to say, he turned in some work. And though he still thinks I hate him. I don’t. (I could have booted him after the “liar” comment. But I just don’t have the heart). Okay, is that TOO MUCH INFO???
It’s so hard to watch people with “talent” for lack of a better word, to waste it. I on the other hand have no such “talent” (except to be freakishly organized and feel unorganized), but I make do. And so can you!