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Sunday, April 3, 2011

What to do about Horse Thief Trail–just keep going up it. Face your nemesis, and sooner or later you’ll conquer.

Early to bed, early to rise.  That’s the way I like it.  This morning I drove up Ortega Highway to Blue Jay Campground to meet fellow runner Jeremy.  I would never run the trails up there alone, so I was so happy that Jeremy agreed to accompany me.  I posted the run on the OCTR, but this morning, no other takers.  All you need is two to make a group right?

Right?  The main thing I learned as a young girl in Girl Scouts is the buddy system – always take someone with you.  I don’t always do that in my local hills.  But in the mountains the buddy system in my mind is crucial.  Cougars roam up there!  (The other precious gem I learned in Girl Scouts was, “Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold.”)

The weather was overcast.  Delight, delight.  And to my surprise the campground was pretty  crowded.  (Spring break in our parts right now.)  Jeremy showed the way for a quicker route to San Juan Trail that I completely forgot about.  I would have taken us around the long way on PAVEMENT.  Right away on that first trail though, a rocky single track, I actually fell!  The fall really took me by surprise – I was down before I knew I was falling.  I usually don’t fall first thing.  Falls normally happen when I’m super tired or giddy.  Perhaps I was giddy. Smile

I have to go back and research to know for sure.  But I think that’s fall #11.  But it might be more, since I’ve fallen a few times lately after a long sabbatical of no falls.  I don’t recall seeing any other runners on this lovely run.  We saw some hikers (one guy who seemed to eye us suspiciously, like he thought we were a couple of nuts running in the mountains.)  Some dirt bikers plowed up the trails, and we also met a couple of mountain bikers at Trabuco Creek.  Overall, the trails were pretty empty, especially Horse Thief Trail and the Main Divide afterwards. 

The Run elevation profile below:  3,014 feet elevation gain (Horse Thief runs from a little after the 5 mile mark to about 7 miles).My Activities San Juan Trail, Trabuco, Horsethief, Main Divide, San Juan 4-3-2011, Elevation - Distance

Running, well . . . actually posing on San Juan Creek Trail. 


Running down Trabuco TrailCIMG9554


By the time we reached Trabuco Creek, Jeremy pointed out my knee.  Yikes!  It didn’t look like this after the fall!CIMG9558

Time for a group picture and a hesitant moment before the big climb up Horse Theif.  Notice I’ve taken off my long sleeved shirt.  The climb is really the most difficult I’ve encountered.  Tougher than Bulldog in Malibu Creek Park (though Horse Thief thankfully, is shorter). 


Going Up Horse Thief


At the top at last, running the Main Divide SmileCIMG9572

Pretty yellow flowers alongside the trail – it’s springtime!CIMG9574

Jeremy poses with Lake Elsinore far below


I think, I’m not positive, that Horse Thief was a little easier this time.  One advantage going up today was that the temperatures have lowered and the sun hid behind the clouds.  If only I could get out there once a week to train, I think I’d greatly improve.  Thanks to one brave runner, Jeremy, I was able to get out there and run this morning.  (That’s not to say there’s not lots of brave runners out there, it just takes a lot to get up here, waking early, and a driving a long windy drive up a mountain with other drivers riding your tail to get over the mountain, etc.) 

Quite a run!  Very enjoyable, not to mention tiring.  I call that a plus/plus.  Miles logged:  12

ps.  some of these pictures are courtesy Jeremy, I didn’t mark the exact ones, because I’m so dang tired, happily tired. Smile


  1. Thanks for letting me tag along this morning. It was fun. Lets try to get up there again soon and someday go up Holy Jim.

  2. Thanks for the company Jeremy. And thanks for the pics. I definatey want to do Holy Jim. I could post something on the group site. Do you have a preferred route? Perhaps Holy Jim/Main Divide/Trabucco? Or Holy Jim/Main Divide/Silverado Motorway? I found a post of my Motorway run http://laurenontherun.blogspot.com/2009/09/maple-springs-main-divide-silverado.html

    Motorway dumps out pretty close to Holy Jim. (That parking lot at the creek with the outhouses)

  3. Nice run but bad luck on the fall. That knee looks quite bad. I nearly fell on my long run yesterday but somehow stayed on my feet. I’m not ready for a fall now. Looks like another great trail for training. You are one tough runner for sure. Lovely photos!

  4. Thanks Johann. Funny thing, I always wanted to be tough, never thought I was tough : ) The knee (& elbow) really seemed okay when I was running. I woke this morning however, feeling a bit like I was in a car accident or fell down a flight of stairs. Doing a-ok now :)) (double smiley) So glad you didn't fall on your run yesterday. Falls are a big bummer, but kinda fun to laugh about later.

  5. Lauren, I would be up for any trail up there. Feeling a little more conformable about going up there. Headed to do the Lake Havasu Run (wish it was a trail run). Should be fun. Glad the fall didn't amount to much.

  6. I can't wait til I return to real running...I'd love to join you for a run there...been one trail I've been wanting to do but am too scared/smart to do alone.

  7. Man. What kind of masochist are you? Running Horsethief for fun....

  8. Good Luck in Havasu Jeremy! It's a beautiful place. Thanks again for the pics. I posted one you took, on my facebook and never got so many comments. Wishing you and your family a fun and safe getaway in Havasu. I'll be posting runs soon on OCTR.

  9. Please join us Rachel. REALLY. I'm not that quick. And I am good at giving directions if you want to race up ahead. I post the forest runs on theoctr.org It's free to join, and then you can see the calendar. I don't post many of the coastal hill runs, because most people work during the hours I run those. But occassionally I'll post one.

  10. ps. Rachel, thanks for reading. And I totally understand not wanting to do some runs alone. I absolutely will not run the mountains alone, though I see many who do run alone. I have 3 young boys at home, I though I LOVE running, I don't think it's worth the risk. : ) Good luck w/ your running.

  11. Thanks for reading Glenn. So good to SEE you and read about your progress. And look who's talking about Masochists!! Aren't YOU the one training for a half marathon up Indian Truck Trail!!! I would never.

    Anyway, please join me for my next run up Horse Thief or Holy Jim. I post those runs on OCTR.org (free to join).

    Wishing you the best in your training : )

  12. I'm a member of OCTR (and TrailHeadz) but rarely do group runs. Hoping to be healthy and back to running consistently in a couple of months so I'll check out the group runs then. :)