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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Got to Love an Adventure

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. Winking smile

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.

Exercise, Exercise, Come on Everybody do your ExerciseCIMG9498CIMG9502

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. Smile Smile

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!


  1. Lovely and entertaining post! I like adventures like this as well. Luckily we don’t have poison ivy but we have enough other bad stuff to make up for that. Keep it going and stay safe!

  2. I feel like I was scrunched inside a little dry pocket of your waterpack. Thanks for bringing me along! It was a nice (imaginary) nature break. Got some of the (also imaginary) library dust out of my lungs. :-) I love your blog! See you soon, my friend.

  3. I am still trying to figure out how you are levitating in that second pic...

    What an adventure. You are a crazy brave trail runner! Mountain lions and poison ivy... Nothanks!!

    Do you have a gamin map of this wandering through the brush?

    Glad you made it back safely. Hope the PI isn't too bad. And I lose my sunglasses on my head all the time :)

  4. Sounds like quite an adventure.
    I love strapping on my camelbak and just running wherever I feel like.
    Things can get hairy though!
    Glad you made it out ok.

  5. Thanks so much Johann! No rash from the poison oak (I mis-wrote in the blog, we have poison oak, not ivy). Anyway, I scrubbed with hot water and soap back home, and then some more with poison ivy/oak scrub. Even if I did get a rash -- it would have been worth it (am I crazy or what?)

    Today's adventure didn't turn out as lovely. : (

  6. Thanks Melissa. You are so sweet. And you have such a lovely way of putting it. Glad you got an imaginary break. Hope to see you soon.

  7. LOL Lindsay. It does look like I'm levitating. Actually, my hands are covering where my behind is resting on the bench edge. I didn't post the garmin map because it leads straight from my house, and I a little paranoid about doing that. Next exciting adventure though, I shall crop out that portion and post the map. Thanks for reading!

    ps. no reaction from the poisin ivy (actually, I meant poisin oak : ) I really think I'm immuned (knock on wood!)

  8. Thanks for stopping by Jessie. Yes, it is the best to just strap on that pack and adventure hunt. I have a bad habit though. I usually don't study maps beforehand. I want to just "find" my way. Luckily, I've ended up okay. But, today's mapless running left me without water on a scorching day!

  9. Great little adventure! Don't those locked gates just burn you? Kind of like Emerald Canyon. Beauty beauty beauty wtf?

  10. Thanks Glen. These locked gates are about to drive me crazy. At least the first time I ran Emerald Canyon, I was warned about the locked gate. Still, I searched for a hole. No such luck!