click on any picture in a post for a larger view

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Run

Labor Day has always marked the end of summer for us, even though it’s not the official end of summer.  This day has always been the last holiday before school resumes.  The boys go back to school on Wednesday.  (I go back to work somewhere around then, depending on enrollment numbers).  So, I suppose I can call today’s run the last run of summer.  (Therefore, HEAT – go away!!)

Turns out that oh, a few hundred mountain bikers decided to take their last ride of the summer at the same place I chose for my last run – Aliso/Wood Canyons.  I started off strong (though slowly) and chose to zig-zag my way through the wilderness, going up the hardest trail first:  Mentally Sensitive.  I didn’t mind so much running Meadows to get there, jumping out of the way for mountain bikers every few minutes or so. 

No one else dared going up or down Mentally Sensitive on this sunny, hot, last-day-of-summer Labor Day.  I had a enjoyable hard time of it myself.  Toward the top, I opted on some bushwhacking for a trip into a local park.  I came across a few other female runners in the park.  They looked so nice and fresh with matching attire and shoes, whereas, dirt already caked my legs and clothing.  I’m making up for all the dirt I didn’t play around in as a young girl.  Smile

I took a quick run down Meadows back to Wood Canyon, completely annoyed by the twenty or so mountain bikers FLYING down that steep switch-back.  Now, I don’t want to complain too much about mountain bikers.  When I run in the mountains, I only meet polite riders.  And in the coastal hills, I’ve met many wonderful cyclists.  But today, the numbers were just too great, which meant those riders that ride as fast as they can inches away from hikers and runners, were out in greater numbers.  Each time they flew by me, they left a spray of dirt in my face.  Not fun, especially with temperatures rising.

Meadows Trail (going down):

Back in the canyon, I opted for trails where I rarely see mountain bikers.  Cave Rock for example, does not even allow bikes.  I did notice a multitude of tire tread prints, but enjoyed the trail alone.

Cave Rock:

Back in the canyon, I ran onto Dripping Cave.  A group of 50 or so hikers made their way out as I ran in.  I skipped the cave, as heat was increasing and I wanted to get as many miles in as possible.  I got to pass a few mountain bikers who stopped to walk their bikes up the inclines of Dripping Cave.  We all thoroughly enjoyed the shady downhill to Mathis Trail. 

Dripping Cave Trail:

I ran up Mathis, the merciless trail toward the ridge with absolutely no shade.  I met several pleasant cyclists and hikers struggling their way up as well.  Those riding down left so much dirt in their wake that my mood began to waiver.  I made West Ridge in one piece, but wanted to toss a handful of dirt at the cyclists as they rode down.  I just wanted them to experience a fine mist of dirt thrown in their face while riding.  Perhaps they didn’t know.  I mean, would they ride so quickly down, so closely to other people, spraying dirt into runners’/hikers’ faces if they knew?  I resolved to think they didn’t know, but decided not to throw dirt in their faces.

Good thing I didn’t act so severely, because I would have felt very badly when I ran toward Top of the World, past a fire truck on a rescue (probably a mountain biker).  And then later as I ran along West Ridge, I stood with a group of bikers and hikers as we all watched a helicopter attempt to land for another rescue.  We couldn’t see the hurt individual, the trails the helicopter hovered told me, the wounded had to be a biker.

Top of the World:

With a full pack after refilling at Top of the World, I ran along West Ridge with dread over the heat I’d encounter for the remaining run (as I was running away from the ranger station at this point).  I felt extremely over-heated and the thought of running back down through the canyons for FIVE miles did not appeal to me.  When I reached the end of West Ridge, I had all intentions of running back down into the canyon.  But then I did something that I have never done.  No.  I didn’t phone my husband to come pick me up.  I’ve done that before.  I ran straight out of the park into the suburbs. 

I simply couldn’t take running through that oven of a canyon full of speeding mountain bikers and opted for the streets instead.  Yes, I willingly chose road running over trails – road running with shaded sidewalks and slight breezes, no dirt in the face.  I wasn’t even exactly sure how to make it back to the ranger station using streets, but I had a notion. 

I made it back just fine.  And it turns out that my detour out of the wilderness ended up being the EXACT same mileage as if I were to have run back through the canyons – five miles, making today’s last-day-of-summer, Labor Day run 16 miles long.

Leaving the wilderness for a street run:

The Profile:Running Labor Day 9-3-2012, Elevation - Distance


  1. Great run once again, well done! There are some trails close to where I live I've never run because there are too many mountain bikers. My training grounds don't allow bikers and I love that. Last day of summer... I hope our winter is gone for good.

    1. Ahhhh, trails with no mountain bikers (nothing against mountain bikers : ))) The only trails that don't allow bikes in my parts are those with steps, and even then I see tracks.

      Summer is still lingering here. Funny how we are in opposite seasons. It seems when the end of one season is near, I am so ready for it!!