TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Searching for Bedford

I got The Sock (The Strasser Sock) and slept in it last night.  I woke able to walk, and with little pain.   I slept in a little and got a later than usual start for a mountain run.  That was a-okay.  I’m ready to roll with the punches.  I merely decided on a shorter route to The Main Divide for my search of Bedford Peak in the Santa Ana Mountains. 

My shorter route was straight up, and I mean STRAIGHT UP the Silverado Motorway (AKA Silverado Trail).  It’s a bear of a climb, though most of it is runnable (a very slow run for me!).  The gain is 1,800 feet over 3.25 miles.  I didn’t stress over it though – still rolling with the punches Winking smile.  Besides, the views made the trip well worth it.  And best of all, the weather was cool, almost on the cold side.  (One mountain biker in the trailhead parking lot was wearing a jacket, shivering and told me it was “freezing.”  Giggle.  It was perfect running weather for me.)

Running up the Silverado Motorway:

Well, I studied maps, looked at satellite photos, read articles in order to narrow my search for Bedford Peak.  It seemed to me, that the peak was near the start of the first giant “U” The Main Divide made.  The first peak looked too small, I passed it up.  The second, much larger peak looked promising.  I made my way up the steep single track and ran along the top looking for a surveyor’s marker.  The trail was overgrown and seemed seldom travelled and I thought I probably had not found Bedford Peak.  I ran to the edge anyway, and lo and behold, found a bench.  A bench!  Next to the bench were granola bars and jugs filled with water.  I thought for sure I had found Bedford Peak. 

Views from this peak:

I searched the entire peak for a surveyor’s marker.  Nothing.  I double checked the rocks, looked carefully for pieces of slab.  This peak was completely void of any markers.  Usually, they are pretty easy to find, so I figured I had not found Bedford Peak.  Slightly bummed, I ran down the peak and at the bottom came upon a ranger whom I know as “Hollywood.”  He asked if I was okay.  I said I was,  then asked, “Where the heck is Bedford Peak?”  He thought it was 3 or 4 peaks away.

So, I took off along The Main Divide, climbing every peak, large or small.  Then I came upon another ranger.  He asked if I was okay.  I said I was, then asked, “Where the heck is Bedford Peak?”   He studied his map some.  I sensed he wasn’t quite sure when he pointed off in the distance and said, “It might be that peak.”

Well, I ran to that peak.  I so didn’t want to climb it because it looked quite steep.  But I scrambled up it anyway, sometimes on all fours it was that steep.  About halfway up, the trail ended, and I found myself bushwhacking along the peak looking for a surveyor’s marker.  Nothing. 

The climb up another peak:

Its view:

Not wanting to go back down the way I came up (I would fall for sure!), I ran along a ridge off of this peak to another smaller peak.  Again, no surveyor’s marker.  I bushwhacked my way back to The Main Divide knowing that I would have to turn back and try another day.  I had already run up every peak for two miles without any luck. 

Running back along The Main Divide, just about a half mile past the first peak I explored (the one with the bench), another ranger drove up.  He asked if I was okay.  I said I was, then asked, “Where the heck is Bedford Peak?”   He took out his GPS and said, “Gosh, its about 300 feet away from here.”  What???  Nearby, there was the peak I had already explored (the bench peak), plus the smaller one I skipped on the way in, and a peak at the top of the Silverado Motorway.  Tying up loose ends, I ran up the two remaining (small peaks) and searched again to no avail, for a surveyor’s marker. 

Well, judging by my garmin, the time had come to run back down and head home.  So, I kicked up my heels and took that 3.25 mile downhill switch back as quickly as I could.  I worked on my downhill speed, despite an aching foot.  I felt pretty good about my pace and progress running down that tricky/technical trail.  So what if I didn’t find Bedford Peak this time, I had a heck of a lot of fun racing down the Silverado Motorway.

Back at home, I washed my feet, put on The Sock and got on the internet for more research.  I found nothing different about Bedford Peak’s location that I had learned days earlier.  Either these hikers who wrote about it were wrong, or I actually did visit the peak.  I found a topographical map, and with my husband’s aid, determined that I was indeed on Bedford Peak this morning.  Still, I wasn’t convinced.  So, I researched some more until I hit the jackpot.  I found a number of write-ups that noted the bench on Bedford Peak.  One mountain biker even filmed the bench and posted it on YouTube.  And the surveyor’s mark.  Well, I learned about that too.  I found a picture where it used to be and learned that the marker had been “destroyed.”  I’m not sure exactly what “destroyed” refers to, but I have a feeling by the way the rocks were broken up, that it was actually taken.  Someone out there may be collecting surveyor’s markers.  Hopefully not. 

The climb:Running Silverado Motorway looking for Bedford Peak 11-10-2013, Elevation

4 comments:

  1. Glad someone's baggin' & writing up these peaks.. I come up MD on MTB and kinda think I know where Bald & Bedford are (steep climby sections) but, never stop to check for actual peak. The Bench I'm looking for now. Thx.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. I'm searching out Bald very soon. I'll write about it when I think I've found it! ;)

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  2. A fun run even though you never found the peak or knew you found it :) Here by us markers like that are often stolen. People do strange things. Hope the foot is sorted soon!

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    1. Foot still not good Johann, and it is driving me bonkers. I'm sad that people take the markers. It makes it very difficult to find the actual peaks. Besides that, why steal something like that? Why steal something in general (unless your family is starving or something -- still come to me or a number of people I know, and we will give what we can).

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