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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Holy Moley

I ran my semi-long run in Trabuco Canyon this morning.   I decided mid-week, it would be Holy Jim.  Holy Moley!  Yup, I ran up Holy Jim for a ten mile out-and-back on purpose.  I love Holy Jim.  And besides, Twin Peaks goes up this trail once and then back down later.  So, I better love it!

Camera on my truck, I snapped a quick picture before heading up the mountain (I have no idea what I’m doing with my hands).  I got a late start, 9:00 AM, so it warmed up pretty quickly:

Holy Jim, How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways:

The first two miles were lush, green and cool.  I hopped boulders and ran along logs at creek crossings:

The descendants of Cussing Jim’s figs towered me along the trail:

After the last creek crossing I began the giant switch-back up to The Main Divide, meeting many hikers along the way:

Climbing for awesome views, one hiker said that I was “crazy.”  And I felt like that was a compliment. 

The climbing didn’t cease for nearly five miles:

And then suddenly, there she was – The Main Divide.  I ran up swatting biting horseflies off my legs, and breathing gnats in through my nose.  LOL:

A tiny bit of discomfort all worth-while for Holy Jim:

As I headed back down Holy Jim, a hiker began slipping behind me on this rocky slope.  She chuckled as I picked up my speed to avoid sliding.  When I recommended she move quickly to avoid sliding, I don’t think she believed me at first.  Someone told me that once while running in Weir Canyon.  I didn’t believe him either.  But I watched him run down a steep slippery slope without sliding while I struggled to stay upright:


I ran as quickly as I could on the way down Holy Jim Trail.  Two bikers stopped me to ask if I had bug spray.  Horseflies were biting them as well. By then I had become proficient of swatting the giant flies off without even taking my eyes from the trail.  I didn’t have bug spray, and the mountain bikers didn’t seem too pleased when I warned them about the gnats further up the mountain.  “Breathe through the nose,” I said.  Anyone who has ever practically choked on a gnat, as I have more than once, might find this worthwhile advice. : )

And the sun came out stronger; I ran faster, tripping only once.  I attempted to pivot on the switch-backs, which I found I was too fearful to do while running fast.  However, even stopping to pivot off one leg, seemed more efficient than running fast tiny steps around the sharp corners. 

Oh the glory.  Look closely, a little lower than mid-photo and you will see the trail I ran down (& up Smile):

I passed more and more hikers making their way up to Santiago Peak in the hot weather.  I chatted briefly with one large group of hikers and the motherly-teacher in me gestured for one of the women to twirl around.  You see, she was empty handed, and when she followed my request and turned around for me (I guess I have an aura of authority sometimes) I exclaimed, “Where’s your water?”  That’s when I noticed that hardly any of the hikers carried water.  “Oh, don’t worry,” she said, “he’s carrying my water.”  Apparently a couple guys were carrying water for the whole group.  Not enough, I thought to myself.  That’s when I gave them directions to the spring and let them know that I’ve drank from it plenty of times.  Yes, it was gorgeous up there, but it was HOT.  I drank the very last drop of my 64 fluid ounces as I approached my truck.  Then I guzzled down what I had inside of the car. 

Holy Jim Profile:My Activities Holy Jim out-and-back 6-16-2012, Elevation - Distance

The satellite:My Activities Holy Jim out-and-back 6-16-2012


  1. The trail looks awesome! Too bad about the flys and gnats........ The horseflys have been pestering me for a couple weeks now :-p

    1. Thanks for reading Stacey! Holy Jim really is an awesome trail. This is the first year I've been attacked by horseflies up there. Gnats yes, they've been a problem, but at least they don't bite.

  2. Oh my. beautiful trail (and photos of it).

    As usual, just looking at your elevation chart makes my legs hurt 8/

    Re: gnats.Breath through mouth!.
    Good protein there. Speeds recovery, dontcha know? 8)

    1. Thanks Paul! You don't know how many times I've choked on gnats. I'll have a scoop of peanut butter instead for the protein. : ))

  3. Bug spray helps keep the ticks off us down here and most of the gnats and mosquitoes. But until yesterday, I had no idea how to keep the horse flies off. I'll be posting a full review later but Deerfly Patches work awesomely. It's like fly paper for your hat. Try them, you won't be disappointed!

    PS - Great run. I see those elevation profiles and cringe!

    1. Thanks Lumberjack! I've been afraid of bug spray for years now. Not afraid of snakes, but afraid of bug spray. I used to hike in Utah and get attacked by deerflies and they are the worst, way worse than horseflies. I will have to look into Deerfly Patches.

  4. Hi Lauren, long time no talk to. I hope you remember me because I spent a lot of time with Dave and you and Johnny Sjoberg and Steve Hatch etc just after Dave & Johnny and I graduated (I think - could have been earlier) from South Hills in 79. Can you guess who I am? It's Keith Hanson. I was seeing if I could find Dave just for a bit of fun, but found your profile instead. I saw your pic and knew it was you. You haven't changed much! PS - Great work on the running! Wow - that's dedication! Good on you! Anyways if you can get ahold of Dave or want to communicate you can contact me at media.factory@hotmail.com. PPS - I now live in Australia. Nice to talk to you! :-) Keith

    1. Keith Hanson! Wow. Awesome to hear from you. Of course I can get a hold of Dave. We live in the same house. : )) I e-mailed you with his e-mail. Hope you're lovin' Australia. Time sure flies, doesn't it?