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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Holy Jim / Main Divide / Trabuco Loop

I got to return to the Santa Ana Mountains today, early, early in the morning.  I woke at 4AM to meet running partner Tom B. (at 5:30 AM),  and we drove through a dark canyon to take off running at sunrise up Holy Jim Trail – my favorite trail.Disappointed smile

Holy Jim really wasn’t so bad.  I love the switch-back aspect.  And I was still fresh.  The really tough part of today’s loop was running portions of The Main Divide.  It’s exposed and features a few good climbs, one in particular (you can probably pick it out on the elevation chart below).  But The Main Divide is a road, which made for relatively danger-free running.  We had something else to constantly deal with though on The Main Divide -- most of it, those nasty little Gnats swarmed us, several flying up my nose.  I even spit out a few when I finally told myself, “keep your mouth shut.”   

I was very ready for the shade of Trabuco Trail.  What we weren’t so keen on was the rocky, so very rocky portions about half way down.  With the heat and fatigue, I ran carefully to avoid a mishap.  Don’t want to fall on this single track – I might find myself sliding down the side of a steep slope (I’ve done that before). 

Reaching the creek was absolute heaven.  It was shady and lush, a truly beautiful sight. I took that ice cold water and drenched my hair and handkerchief.   Had the creek not been so thin, I probably would have lay right down in it.  I wasn’t exactly delirious.  But I was feeling the heat, I’ll tell ya!  I remember running back to the creek in search of my sunglasses when I realized they were on my face.

I’m very lucky and happy to have a running partner to accompany me on today’s run.  It’s difficult to get people to run up there, not only is the terrain difficult, but the time needed to complete the loop puts a huge dent into your day.  Thanks Tom!  (And a big thanks to Jeremy and Hank too who accompanied me last time).  I’m too chicken to run these mountains alone. 

Today’s run totaled 17.85 miles, a little shorter than I estimated.  But that’s just fine with me.  Those last couple miles running in were extremely difficult.  And hot!

+4,726’ / – 4,683’My Activities Holy Jim-Main Divide-Trabuco Loop 8-7-2011, Elevation - Distance

Early enough in the morn’ that I’m still wearing long sleeves.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Tom crosses creek as the climbing up Holy Jim begins.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Some of the lush beauty of Holy Jim, before the sweat really begins to flow.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s growing warm as we zig-zag up the mountain.  SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Nearing the top of Holy Jim?SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m kinda hoping.  But no such luck.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Actually there’s still more uphill running before we reach the top.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Still climbing . . . SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Now we’re almost there!SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Running along Main Divide,  view ahead of other side of mountain.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Looking over the other side, as gnats accompany us on this trip.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Meeting up with two bikers making the Holy Jim/Main Divide/Trabuco loop.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

View from The Main Divide.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA


Running down Trabuco Trail.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Tom leads the way down this rocky terrain.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Fallen trees across Trabuco Trail.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

After watering down at the creek, a quick pose.  I’m beat!SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Finishing off the last few miles, in and out of shade.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA



  1. Give me three or four months to get into shape and I will gladly keep you company! Nice pictures!

  2. It looked more like Unholy Jim on the way up!

  3. Glenn -- I will definitely take you up on that! Just let me know. )

  4. windnsnow -- I know it looks unholy. And the first time, I thought it was pure hellish. Believe me, it is so beautiful, if you you ever make it to So. Calif. I will go up with you and you will see, even though it may seem "unholy", beauty prevails. : )