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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

There’s More Than One Way To The Top Of The World

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA           No matter your destination, there’s always more than one route.  This is true in many ways, not only with running.  It’s true in all things in life – there are countless routes.  In some cases, all the routes are difficult.  But I suppose that depends on your goal.  If your goal is run to The Top of the World (the top of Aliso/Wood Canyons over looking Laguna Beach), the only way there is up and up and up.

If you know me, you probably know that my favorite route to the top is up Meadows Trail.  Why?  Not because it’s the steepest way.  Because it is.  I love running up Meadows because it’s a switchback, single-track.  There’s something about Switchback single-tracks that my brain can grasp onto and change into something exciting and fun!

Today, I chose a different route to The Top of the World.  I chose Mathis, which is not a single track, nor is it a switchback, and I usually also don’t pick it because there’s no shade. 

Fortunately, shade didn’t matter on this misty, cloudy day.  And the idea of Mathis gave me no anxiety.  I felt carefree as I ran in and out of all the different trails along the way.  It was one of those days, like so many on the trail, where everything was beautiful.  I had to eventually tell myself, “No more pictures!!.”

I broke through countless spider webs as I ran along Wood Creek Trail.  I noticed that the poison oak leaves were turning red and I took delight in moss covered rocks.  Here I stopped to set up a picture among one of my favorite spots on Wood Creek Trail (I love, love, love running up these rocks):


Wood Creek dumped me back into Wood Canyon.  I saw a few cyclists, a runner here and there.  When I jumped onto Coyote Run Trail, I didn’t see one person as I ran in and out of the trees.  At one point, thousands (I’m serious THOUSANDS!  It had to be that many) of crows flew about and nested in the trees.  They cawed so loudly and almost frantically, I was a bit spooked, wondering, “What do they see that I can’t see?”

For all I know, they could have been having an acorn feeding frenzy.  I don’t know crow habits.  I did try to capture a picture here before turning off to ascend Nature Loop Trail for a ridge run so that I ran above the canyon.  But the picture doesn’t show the countless crows sitting in the trees.  It still think it’s an eerie picture:


I descended down Nature Loop to hit Mathis.  I ran along a new barbed wire fence that’s up along the newly reinforced creek bed.  Good thing they put in these single chains every fifty feet or so, otherwise everyone and her brother would be getting in:


I ran Mathis with little thoughts running through my mind.  One foot in front of the other – that’s all I did, except for some focusing on form.  When I reached the top of Mathis, two female hikers were sitting at the kiosk.  One of them said, “YOU JUST RAN UP THAT THING???” 

“Ya,” I chuckled.  “It’s a little hard.” 

“Ya,” she said.  “It’s a little steep.”

Yes, Mathis is a little steep.  But, amazingly, I’ve run steeper.  And the steepness continued up West Ridge.  I took a little detour onto Park Avenue Nature Trail to finally reach THE TOP.

Nothing to see at Top of the World except pure white skies, I spent little time there.  I don’t need to see the ocean anymore.  Just being at The Top of the World was glorious.  I ran back down West Ridge in the cold, my clothing wet from sweat.  I saw my running friend, Jeff, far off in the distance.  Then I opted for a nice technical downhill on Rockit Trail:

Ending up Rockit, fall flowers line the trail:


Back onto Coyote Run Trail, I ran with joy, wanting more.  But I worked today and I just didn’t have the time.  I did have the time to snap this photo of my favorite tree on Coyote Run:


Finally ending back on Wood Canyon Trail, I realized that I had run 2.5 miles (4.02 km) more than I planned.  With some melancholy in my heart over the fact that I would be leaving this beauty, I stopped to capture one more picture of Southern California coastal trails:


Elevation Profile:  9.51 miles (15.30 km) run today

My Activities To Top of the World 10-19-2011, Elevation - Distance


  1. Mathis scares me at times - especially on weekends. All I can see are bikers barreling down the hill!

  2. I am very careful on weekends Glen. The trail where I've been nearly wiped out on is Rockit. Those bikers fly! Thanks for reading.