Friday I got out by noon and drove along the toll road for a run in Crystal Cove and Laguna Wilderness. I had forgotten that nearly every time I run there I think I will never return. Why? Because so dang little shade. Somehow, I always find my way back, and smack in the middle of a summer afternoon.
I arrived to Ridge Park, the hills in Irvine/Newport that overlook Newport Coast, amidst loud and chaotic excitement. A couple helicopters flew above dumping marijuana plants onto a pile in the middle of the road. Police vehicles and news vans crowded the streets. To top it off, spectators drove in and out of the one opened area, laughing and talking, excited about the smell of marijuana in the air.
The marijuana fragrance was strong and stayed with me for a while on the dry hot trails. I ran right through the commotion, thinking that law enforcement would stop me. They didn’t, but I did notice a news camera following with its lens, and I thought, “FUDGE! I don’t want to be on the news.” (I didn’t quite use the word “fudge.”)
It wasn’t long before I was away from all the commotion. I saw very few runners or hikers on the trails. Understandably. It was just too hot. I wondered how on earth farmers were able to grow illegal crops in this mostly brown, exposed wilderness area. How did they water the approximate 4,000 plants. How were they going to harvest without being detected?
I arrived at the bottom taking No-Name Ridge and No-Dogs a little overheated. I decided to take El Moro Canyon back up to Bommer Ridge (the shorter choice), scratching my original plans to run past the canyon and straight up to Moro Ridge. I’m not sure the canyon route was the best choice. I felt like I was running in an oven. On a ridge I would have at least experienced a breeze.
With about a quarter mile left before reaching Bommer Ridge, I konked out. Light headed, I needed to cool off my body temperature. It appeared that I let heat exhaustion overcome me once again. Dang it. Sitting in the shade, I took in a nice breeze and it seemed my temperature cooled quickly. After about ten minutes, I finally got to my feet and slowly ran the additional 1.5 miles to the truck.
Oh! And I was on the news – a Spanish language station. A running friend, Conrado, took a picture of his television as I ran across the screen, and sent it to me via facebook.