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Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Legal Run on Mathis

Today, I thought it a good idea to leave the house at noon (the hottest part of SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA           the day) and head off to Aliso / Wood Canyons for a little trail run.  Why?  Because I wanted heat.  And I wanted grueling.  Also, Mathis Trail had re-opened.  That meant, no more ducking beneath yellow tape.  No more worrying about a ranger chasing you down.  The trail is again now legal!  I’m of course not saying that I ducked beneath tape to run Mathis.  I’m referring to all those other runners who don’t have to worry anymore.

Mathis has been closed for reconstruction ever since our big rains in December, where a usually dry creek bed had overflowed and took out the single track portion of the trail (among other things).  It took construction workers 8 long months to repair the damage.

Mathis Trail was the first trail at Aliso/Wood Canyons that I ever ran to the top.  I don’t like it much, but the trail’s nostalgic for me.  It’s also the first trail I ever took to the top period.  Jessica Deline and Tom Fangrow lead me up that wretched thing.  I didn’t run much of it then.  Back then I thought it was pretty much impossible for me to run such a trail (Ha!) It’s a tough, tough trail that climbs up to West Ridge, pretty close to Top of the World.  While the grade is steep, what’s worse, is that it’s totally exposed.  I didn’t find a bit shade running Mathis today.

The run down Wood Canyon on the way to this infamous trail was shady and humid.  I felt strong (of course I was running downhill).  But I could tell that my burn-out was officially over.

Running through Wood CanyonSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA           SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Quick stop to pose in Sycamore GroveSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

One more silly pose just past Sycamore Grove on bridge crossing creek in Wood CanyonSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

About 3 miles in I hit Mathis Trail.  That’s when the lovely heat really poured down, as did the sweat from my hat.  A breeze came in as I ran up the incline (in it’s entirety – in a race I probably would have hiked some of this).  At one point, I spied two hikers up a ways and they became my target.  The garmin read 3.27 miles when I spotted the two.  I finally passed the hikers at 3.40 miles.  In all fairness they were standing off to the side trying to catch their breaths.  I tell you, it’s a tough climb!!  They were very complimentary of the fact that I was running, to which I assured them as I ran by that it took LOTS of practice to be able to do it.

Eventually, I needed to turn my cap around because the bill was blocking that beautiful breeze.  I only stopped for a second when I reached West Ridge (for a picture) and pushed on all the way the to Top of the World, passing hikers and dodging cyclists as well, as they flew down that hillside. 

I ran a quicker route back, West Ridge, including the offshoots.  Then I finished off this run gleefully running down Cholla as cyclists struggled up that thing in the heat.  Lots were riding.  Some were resting in the shade.  Others pushed their bikes up that incline.  Not many were smiling. Sad smile

Stream crossing onto Mathis TrailSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

The new creek bed, fortified with boulders bulldozed in (by the way, there’s no more single track – it’s all road now)SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Late summer colors of Southern California coastal hillsSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA


Reaching top of Mathis with still half full handheldSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Top of the World on a Sunday afternoonSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

7.73 miles logged this afternoon8 21 Distance


  1. Almost like you are on a new trail!

  2. A new trail yes, but with no single track. In time I will recover. What will be fun is to see that creek after our next big rains.