click on any picture in a post for a larger view

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Holy Snowy Jim

Rain and hail poured down upon our fragile roof last night (I describe it that way because of the skylights).  I could see the pea-sized white beads of ice settling on the ceiling windows..  We had  thunder so loud, our boys just couldn’t believe it.  They had never heard a thunder boom so enormously.

I went to bed bummed because a storm like this surely meant that my local trails in the coastal hills would be closed.  As I drove my boys to school beneath dry skies, I saw a snow covered Saddleback Mountain.  Suddenly I HOPED my local trails were closed.  I checked the website and called the parks up until 9AM, thinking “be closed, be closed, be closed!”

Needless to say, they were closed.

Sure, I didn’t have a lot of time, but I had enough time to do some running up Holy Jim Trail in Trabuco Canyon.  So, gleefully, I headed off toward the freeway to find myself in a traffic jam getting to the onramp.  I couldn’t wait, so I took a left onto a side road.  Apparently, THOUSANDS of people came up with the same idea.  Traffic did not move.  From there, I could see the freeway marquee indicating a major accident at Ortega.  So, I got out of line, and waited to make a u-turn.  Apparently, HUNDREDS of people came up with that idea too.  Well, I wasn’t going to do the next obvious thing; instead I drove north some before finally getting on the freeway.  Anxious, I told myself, “Okay, you won’t have time to run all of Holy Jim.  And if you don’t hit snow, well, heck enjoy the muddy/rocky off-road drive to the trailhead.”

Downright giddy that I’m finally off to try and run to the snow!  And downright silly for taking this picture!

I had no idea whether I’d hit snow running up Holy Jim.  It was dang cold for sure, and I could see lots of snow up in the distance.  I passed two hikers making their way up.  After 8 stream crossings, still no snow.  Three mountain bikers passed me on the way up at about mile 1.  And though I was still running on dirt, I felt exhilarated.  Then at about mile 1.4, I spotted two small clumps of snow.  By then I had already peeled off my warm layers (It’s not easy running up Holy Jim).  Then at mile 1.5, I saw long strips of snow along the trail’s edge. 

A stream crossing on Holy Jim:

A quick pose before peeling off the winter duds.

Off in the distance – the prize!!

Other crazy people: Smile

I didn’t note on the garmin when I finally found myself surrounded by snow.  It sounded like rain as the snow melted and dripped from the trees. A tiny creek ran swiftly down the center of the switchback trail.  And then the snow stopped melting, and as I ran past the trees, clumps of snow fell to the ground directly behind me.  It was an honor to be Holy Jim’s guest this morning.  I didn’t want to turn back.  I pushed the time limits as far as I could.  I didn’t want to leave this glorious winter-wonderland, but I had to get ready for work.  As I turned around I tucked away the camera and told myself, “No more pictures – enjoy!”  Though I did take the camera out just a couple more times.  Call me camera crazy today.

Running up Holy Jim:

On my trip down I saw this guy running up Holy Jim.  He didn’t seem to notice me, because when I spoke it seemed I startled him.  I said, “Who is this lunatic running up a mountain in the snow?”  I laughed, but he was so concentrated on the run, he didn’t act like he got my joke.  But I did get his name. 


One last picture as I ran back down Holy Jim:

I worked long hours this afternoon into the night.  I’m still grading papers at home.  And it seems like ages ago that I went on this run.  It was so delightful, so surreal, it’s almost like it didn’t happen.  I feel extremely  fortunate.

Miles run 7.01 (11.28 km):My Activities snowy holy jim 2-28-2012, Elevation - Distance


  1. You are fortunate for sure! I would so love to run in snow. That is something we don't really get here by me. Lovely photos!

    1. Thanks Johann! I have been wanting to get up there when it's snowed and run for so long.

  2. That is awesome Lauren.. I want to do that someday.

    1. The next clear day after a storm Jeremy, take a sick day from work. : ))

  3. That's rad - looks like the snow level was pretty low!

  4. The snow level was very low Giraffy. I was really surprised!