TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Running in a Winter Wonderland : )

Big storm in Southern California this weekend, and I hadn’t run since Wednesday.  Rain always close the local coastal trails, and hubby didn’t want me running mountain trails alone.  I agreed with him on this one.  Last thing I want to do is get injured and trapped in the mountains during a cold winter storm.  Then my break came, I got to tag along with running friend Jeremy into the mountains on a buddy-system run. 

So, at 6:00 AM, I poured my coffee into a thermos, ran out to the truck and headed off in the wind and the rain toward Silverado Canyon.  I nearly choked on my coffee laughing over what I was doing.  I had turn my wipers onto its highest speed for goodness sake, and here I was driving to the mountains for a run.

The right lane on the freeway was flooded.  And on the shoulder, squad car lights spun in the dark where over the railing a car lay on its side.  The rain stopped after several miles.  And I was glad to see runners on the road, someone actually running up Santiago Canyon (crazy!), and a Maple Springs Trailhead lot with a few other cars.

We took off in the cold, lonely canyon, UPHILL on pavement, gingerly crossing streams to keep our feet dry.  At times, we had to walk up or down the stream a bit to find a good crossing. 

Snow appeared early on.  First it was in clumps alongside the trail here and there.  Then the gaps began to fill in and we were running in slushy snow eager for the dirt road.  Of course, the dirt road wasn’t a dirt road at all, it was a beautiful snow blanketed road with a single pair of foot prints, hiking boots, making its way up.   

We got some light rain.  We got some light snow and some light hail.  We also got plenty of wind.  Suddenly those hiking boot tracks ended and we were on our own making our way to “Four Corners.”   Up ahead lay an awesome blanket of perfect snow – below, clouds and mist.  It was very difficult to traverse that trail uphill in the snow.  Yet, it was also extremely beautiful.  I felt an overwhelming urge to lay right down in it.  Beneath the snow, the darker portions, travelled a stream of water, where we learned quickly not to step.  Stepping here meant a foot slammed down in slushy water.  The things you learn on a snowy run.  Smile

Eventually I found that if I ran behind Jeremy, I could step into his footprints, making it much easier physically to climb Maple Springs Road.  Fortunately, I have big enough feet that we switched off here and there using each other’s footprints to lighten the struggle.  Nearing the top, I finally heard voices, then suddenly four or five runners and two dogs made their way toward us.  “You guys got rocks in your head?” one of the male runners asked.  Very cool to see other runners out there on the mountain.

The wind blew strongly at “Four Corners.”  It was cold, cold, cold, so cold, I could hardly set up a “group” photo.  My camera wouldn’t stand upright on the iced gate post and even blew off the post once.  Finally I was able to run to the railing in time for one unfocused picture of two crazy runners who ran up Maple Springs this morning.

The run down was delightful, though cold.  I gave in and finally purposely fell into the snow simply because I just wanted to see what it would feel like.  It felt cold.  My pack on my back prevented me from making a snow angel.  And that’s when I got snow IN my shoes.  My feet were soaked by now.  When we reached the canyon, we didn’t take our time crossing the streams.  Instead, we merely plowed right through them eager for the warmth of our trucks. 

Except for a tiny piece of mild frostbite on my ankle (which feels like a burn), I made it through this adventure unscathed.  I’m so grateful for a running buddy so that I could experience this winter wonderland.  Extremely grateful too that my family put up with me going out for my morning run which lasted more than a few hours. Smile

 Jeremy running up Maple Springs Road (about mile 3):

A little less than mile 4:

Still climbing:

And climbing some more:

Quick pose at “Four Corners”:

Heading back down:

Me with iced hair:

Miles logged:  14.80 (23.82 km)

10 comments:

  1. Alright! Looks like some alaska running in Cali!

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    1. It does look that way to me to Ed (though except for when the wind blew, I bet it didn't anywhere near your type of cold). : )

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  2. That looks incredibly beautiful!

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    1. It was beautiful Rachel. And now, this morning when I looked up at Saddleback Mountains, the snow was all gone.

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  3. Love the view with all the snow-covered trees. Especially since it was warm enough here yesterday to run without a shirt.

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    1. It's never warm enough here for me to run without a shirt TK42ONE. : ) The thought makes me laugh (not of you running without a shirt, but me). LoL.

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  4. Beautiful! You are so lucky Lauren! That is a dream run of mine.

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    1. I really am lucky Johann. To0 bad Pikes Peak is during the summer. Because Colorado has lots and lots of snow. : )

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  5. Cant believe all the beautiful scenery you get to run in/on/by :) Its gorgeous without the snow but incredibly gorgeous with it.

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    1. I really do get more beauty than I ever imagined Khourt. Who knew? I surely didn't. Switching from the road to the trail transformed my life into an awesome adventure (not to say that running roads, or running period didn't).

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