TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Maple Springs to Santiago Peak

When I stepped out of my truck Saturday morning in Silverado Canyon, I thought I had made a big mistake.  It was DANG COLD.  I’m talking Southern California cold of course.  But that’s still quite cold to me.  I’m guessing it was about 45F (That’s around 7C).  Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Fortunately, I was layered and wore my trusty beanie and warm gloves. 

I ran without music up Maple Springs, enjoying the quiet.  Well, not exactly quiet.  Wind bursts arrived every five or so minutes, trying to rip my beanie off and dropping the temperature down about 10 degrees.  The wind made a tremendous roar, sometimes a whistle as it blew through the canyon.  About a mile in, I realized that I could hear the wind from miles away.  The leaves would rustle, the trees would creak.  The noise moved up the canyon until boom, the wind hit me.  Just like an ocean wave.  And then again, some minutes later, I’d hear it from afar, and it would travel through the canyon and blow right through me.  My smile was wide enjoying these waves.   Wide like the Chesire Cat.

I was not the only person who thought they’d enjoy a beautiful morning up Maple Springs Road.  Several trucks passed me by, as well as motorcyclists and mountain bikers.  But I arrived to a tranquil “Four Corners,” with only one mountain biker who had just rode up Harding Truck Trail.  I took in the views of several counties (San Bernardino, Riverside, LA, and Orange) and turned off on one of the “corners” heading up toward the peak, Santiago Peak that is. 

View of San Gabriel Mountains from “Four Corners”

The road up The Main Divide toward Modjeska Peak (which I only ran past, not up to) was rocky.  When I write rocky, I’m talking about those fist-sized and some a bit larger rocks covering the road.  A challenge to say the least!  At one point I heard an engine revving up this road.  It was a little, and I mean tiny, low to the ground, yellow automobile.  Rocks clinked and clanged the bottom of his car as the driver drove past me.  He wore a huge grin and sat low to the ground.  The scene reminded me of a couple Harry Potter movie scenes.  It seemed to me that this guy driving up the mountain (quite quickly, I might add) was like the bus driver of that crazy, magical bus, manically driving through the streets of London (Prisoner of Azkaban).  At the same time, I saw Ron Weasley in Chamber of Secrets when he stole his father’s car and drove wildly through the countryside.  I had to chuckle. 

That yellow car is about to turn the corner in the background of this picture: 

After I passed Modjeska peak, I ran the saddle of Saddleback mountains.   The wind blew strongly.  The views were immense.  I rarely run the saddle, which lies between Modjeska and Santiago Peaks.  A treat indeed!   While running the saddle, that little yellow car came racing down from Santiago Peak.  I snapped a picture and the driver quickly stopped on the road right next to me.  He turned off the engine.  Red-faced and smiling, he looked at me questioningly.  I grinned back and laughed, “Are you crazy?”  (Like I’m one to ask, standing in the saddle of the saddleback mountains all by myself).  “You know,” he said, “Yes.  I do believe that I am crazy.”  We both laughed and chatted a short bit, then went our separate ways.   I ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread as I made the remaining climb to Santiago Peak. 

In the Saddle:

Santiago Peak where the wind took no prisoners!

The run back down to my truck was tough.  It was after all 9 miles of downhill.  And my foot did not like it one single bit.  I did see several hikers, chatted with some.  More trucks made their way up Maple Springs and countless mountain bikers as well.  My foot ached a great deal for the last two miles.  But I still trotted in.  Arriving at my car, I found another driver parking in the best spot in the whole canyon.  It seemed like I had been the only person to discover this parking place, even though it’s so obvious.  He was a mountain biker, and agreed that we had indeed found the best place to park.  When I pulled out, he pulled into my spot, and set up to make his way up the mountain.  As one comes down, another goes up. Smile

What a WONDERFUL morning!

Running dirt maple springs to santiago peak 2-1-2014, Elevation

1 comment:

  1. Definitely a wonderful morning! You certainly know how to have fun out on the trails.

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