click on any picture in a post for a larger view

Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter Solstice 2013

It’s been a while since I got out under darkness.  Finally did it on the Winter Solstice, the first day of winter.  Boy was it cold!  Southern California cold though, quite bearable indeed. 

As Christmas approaches, I am falling behind on keeping up my blog.  And it seems that all the profound things I wanted to write about this run have flittered away.  Onward nonetheless:  I drove that bumpy, muddy, rocky canyon rode to the Holy Jim lot as the sun began to peer above the horizon.  By the time I arrived, the lot was practically full with trucks like mine.  (The drive from my house takes one hour – thirty minutes of highways and streets, then the last five miles of off-road takes another 25 to 30 minutes)

When I set off on this run up Holy Jim Trail, my right foot felt perfectly fine.  In fact, both feet felt exactly the same, as if I had no injury.  Bliss.  I was able to really take in the trail’s beauty.  And I began to think that perhaps there was an upside to having this injury – I have really been missing the trails, and being away has made my heart grow fonder.

Holy Jim’s Beauty:

About 2 miles up, the beanie comes off!

After mile three, the pack comes off so that I can take off the long sleeves.  I’m warm enough!

My foot began to ache as I ran along The Main Divide.  Fortunately, I had chosen the “short loop” for this mountain run (14.5 miles).  The only really bad thing about my route was that it ended on a rocky, rocky downhill.  Did I ever pay!  Running down Horsethief was excruciating. Trabuco, though not as steep, was no better.  It was beautiful with leaf litter, but still rocky as heck.  At mile 11, I was truly amazed how much pain radiated from my foot after beginning this run with no pain whatsoever.  I wasn’t really angry about the pain.  I was more angry that I chose a downhill rocky route for the end of this Winter Solstice run.  I kept tell myself, “When you reach mile 13, you can hike.”  MILE 13 COULD NOT COME FAST ENOUGH.  But I continued running anyway, just to get there faster.  At mile 13, I walked the remaining distance in to my truck.  A group of mountain bikers offered me beer to ease my pain Winking smile.  I declined, stretched the heck out of my foot and took two ibuprofen in the truck. 

Again, despite the wretched injury returning, I still enjoyed the immense beauty on this trip.  And I am happy to report, that my foot feels much, much better today.

The Main Divide:

West Horsethief:

Trabuco Trail:


  1. Beautiful run again! I hope that foot knows that it is Christmas and that means no aches or pains.

    1. Thanks Johann. With constant rehab, the foot is getting better. :)

  2. I really enjoy following your blog. Your photos are wonderful! The
    landscape is so beautiful and inspiring...I want to find my running shoes and get back out on the trails!

    1. Thanks for reading and your comment Stew Chef. I hope you found your running shoes are back on the trails. It's a difficult task, but well worth it. :)