I am so flippin’ bored of running in the coastal hills that when I pulled up to Aliso / Wood Canyon Wilderness this morning, I wanted to choke myself. Choke myself! Seriously. I did not want to run those trails AGAIN. I contemplated getting out of my truck and plopping down in the grass alongside the road and just laying there, staring up at the blue sky. I didn’t want to stay, but I also didn’t dare drive back home, else I implode in self-condemnation.
The other day I witnessed a woman carrying a big stick as she ran into Wood Canyon. I remembered then fondly the days I used to be afraid of running these trails alone. Today, I could barely stomach going out on the same trails that I have run again and again and again. Yet, somehow I managed to strap on my vest and cross the street and enter Aliso/Wood Canyons Wilderness Park.
I piddle-paddled in and about the native plant garden off of Aliso Creek Trail. I admired the cacti and pretty coastal flowers. I sat at one of the many loveseats and snapped a photo, and I took in an antique harvester used on this enormous ranch so many years ago.
And then I came up on a staircase and make-shift bridge across the creek. I took the pathway over to Aliso Creek Trail East, a trail that I have not much explored due to the fact that it’s not on the park map, and it didn’t seem to lead anywhere interesting, nor attach to any other trails.
And I ran, but not hurriedly, and not caring one single bit about pace. I stopped when I wanted, explored little paths, and noticed my usual trails from afar. I ran up on a beehive farm that I discovered a couple years ago. I approached cautiously and saw several swarms of bees hovering about the drawers. Then I was off again, determined to run this trail to its end. Maybe, I hoped, it would lead out of the canyon to the other side in Laguna Beach.
From there I went into explore mode – my old way of trail running before I knew practically every coastal trail in my parts by heart. And though this trail wasn’t anything to write home about, it was still beautiful, I worked up a decent sweat and best of all got some exploring. This trail eventually dead-ended deep in the canyon at a water treatment plant. I could find no clear way around it. But, on my return, I got in some good old-fashioned bushwhacking in search for a way back across the creek. I never found a passage way, but I found handfuls of clamshells, lots of dead-end single tracks and awesome solitude.
Today’s total run lasted 7.5 miles, approximately five miles shorter than I originally set out for. But heck, I’m happier with this lower mileage because I got to see new things. And I love new things, and I love to bushwhack, and I love to explore.
Coming out of some bushwhacking, I stood in awe at the beauty of this scene. The picture doesn’t really do it justice, one reason is because you can’t hear the wind rustling through the leaves.