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Friday, November 11, 2011

Autumn Run

People say the seasons don’t change in California.  Born and raised in California, I’m here to testify that the seasons do change.  They don’t change in the same manner that they do in other places, say . . . the eastern coast of the U.S.  But here in California, we definitely know when the season’s a changin’.

When autumn arrives we usually have fires in Southern California.  We call October “Fire Season.”  The reason we have fires (I won’t get into any political facts here) is mainly because of the Santa Ana winds.  Those are those warm winds that blow toward the west.

One of the changes on the southern coast in California during autumn is the smell.  When I wake in the morning, I smell campfires from the beach (or, fortunately not this year, I smell fires elsewhere).  And though the mornings have usually cooled during the autumn, there is an occasional  (actually semi-frequently) warm morning due to these Santa Ana winds.

And sure the colors don’t change like they do elsewhere, but the colors still change.  To begin, that brown coastal sage that I’m used to in my local hills gets drowned out by new green growth.  Autumn is almost like spring in Southern California.

I never saw this bloom at Aliso/Wood Canyons during the summer (must be an autumn bloom!)SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I wanted something different on this Thursday autumn morning.  But I really didn’t have “all the time in the world.”  I like having “all the time in the world to run.”  But with 3 youngish boys and a husband, not to mention a job and household chores, that “all the time in the world” is considered bad.  Selfish, selfish . . . selfish.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Anyway, I did have some hours, and I set off lackadaisically (because I’m still in “recovery”)  in Aliso Canyon with no real idea where I was running.  The weather was cool, the skies grayish.  I had lots of different routes in mind.  And I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WAS THINKING, but I decided to run up the new trail “Mentally Sensitive” again.  LOL.  The best thing about the trip was that I could see the Saddleback mountains in the distance (& I’m still in reminisce mode).  The worst thing about that trail was that it was HORRIBLE.  I mean, WHAT WAS I THINKING?  That trail gets so steep that I’m serious when I write that I have to use all my strength not to slip backward.   You can see from the profile below that this trail basically goes straight up.  And in my silly mind, I thought that I’d run the whole thing.  Problem was, I found it impossible to keep up the mid-foot strike and had to resort to the fore-foot strike.  At first I kept the fore-foot strike only on my left foot (where a nerve has been surgically removed), but eventually I had to resort to a fore-foot strike on my right foot (where I have refused a second surgery).  I felt okay with the toes during this horrid trail.  But eventually I resorted to some backward running, and also running up the hill sideways.

As I ran up Mentally Sensitive, I thought this has got to be the LAMEST NAME FOR A TRAIL EVER. (Sorry if you named it.).  While running it, the name that fit perfectly for me was RIDICULOUS.  Then after some time, I realized that the best name for this trail that simply climbs and climbs and climbs is Psycho-Path

Autumn colors from Mentally Sensitive (Psycho-Path)SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Running up “Psycho-Path”SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA


Well, it appears that I am NOT making a “long story short,” nor am I really proving my point about autumn (I would rather make a long story short than a short story long).  SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

So!  When I finally reached the top of Psycho-Path I thought that since I was up there that I’d  venture into unknown areas and explore past the park I found the first time up this silly trail. 

I recovered quickly viewing the lovely gray Pacific Ocean and ran off to my left, and ran joyfully (I’m not joking) through the soccer field exploring like Lewis and Clark.  Wait!  More like Ponce de Leon who was searching for The Fountain of Youth.  Unlike my friend de Leon, I found the fountain of youth.  A swing set. 

After my little play session, I ran along the asphalt neighborhoods to Top of the World.  From there, I simply ran and turned down trails based on the time of my clock.  As I ran along West Ridge Trail I found my Conservation Corps friends.  I snapped some pictures of these young and beautiful guys and gals with the promise that I’d post them for their viewing on my blog (advertise!)

Conservation  Corps rebuilding a trail off of West RidgeSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA


This is our autumn!SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I could go on and on with this run.  But if you follow this blog, you know these trails well.  Instead of running down Cholla Trail, I decided on Lynx Trail, one that I hardly take.  That trail lead me right out onto Wood Canyon, which of course was a pleasant delight.  Then I finished up my loop, recording my evidence of autumn with my camera, running Wood Creek, Coyote Run and Wood Canyon trails. Smile



The lovely color RED has overcome the poison oak:SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA



My Activities loop clockwise from Mentally Sensitve to Lynx 11-10-2011, Elevation - Distance

Miles logged Thursday morning:  13.27


  1. This is my favorite time of the year when the nights get cooler and days are warm enough.
    Nice hill work. Trail pics are awesome.

  2. Interesting name for a trail :) Ahh swing sets. Must reminisce with a few leg pumps! Why are they rebuilding a trail? (I mean what happened to the old one?) curious.

  3. Thanks Thomas. I really like this time of year too (except when they close the trails "due to wet & muddy conditions).

    Glad you like the pics!

  4. Thanks for stopping by Lindsay -- the old trail had a gulley down the middle due to the rains. I kind of liked the gulley, because I could jump from side to side as I ran down. But I guess they had to fix it, else the entire trail would be gone eventually.

  5. Mentally Sensitive? What weird name for a trail. hahaha.

  6. Very strange name Kate. I can't understand it, except my husband says it's a perfect name for me. Haha. : ))

  7. Awesome trails! You should try Rebel Race.

  8. Thanks for reading Bruce. I've heard of Rebel Race, I think it's an obstacle course type of race?