Thursday evening I took off for a short run into Wood Canyon. I really had no final intention on a destination, except for the fact that I knew I’d do between five and six miles. Anymore than that, I’d be running in the dark, which is not such a big deal, else a ranger stumble upon me and write out a citation.
The weather was pleasantly cool, as it has been lately during our mild weathered August. The trails, though not crowded, had more runners and hikers than I’m used to travelling upon them. I’m seldom out on the trails in the evening though.
I wore my pf sock (a short compression sock) that helped immensely with my foot pain (either that or my foot is actually improving – I can never tell). A little over two miles in, running along West Ridge, which overlooks Laguna Canyon Road and the Pacific Ocean, I stopped to snap a photo and noticed something I had never seen before. There off two my right, only slightly obscured by brush, was a heavily travelled, unmarked single-track that descended down the ledge into Laguna Canyon. I do not know how I never saw this. I can tell you that my heart leapt with joy. Seriously. There is almost nothing better than travelling along a trail that I have never before travelled, even if its practically in my own backyard.
I descended quickly down this newly discovered single-track. I don’t mean that I moved quickly, I mean the elevation loss occurred quickly, and oh happy day, I needed to kneel down and slide in some instances, to make the grade.
I could see a large dog park down at the base of the trail, though I wasn’t sure exactly where I would come out. I told myself, “a little further,” . . . “just a little further,” until I decided that I needed to head back. I didn’t want the climb out to be so difficult that it would leave me out in the canyon under darkness. And so I headed back up, gleefully mind you, grabbing at the rocks to pull myself up along the trail. It was beautiful. I never even noticed any problems with my foot.
The sun was still slightly above the horizon as I ran along West Ridge. Coyotes began to howl down in the canyon. And hikers seemed all headed in the direction to leave the park. At the last minute, I decided not to run down Cholla Trail, the one I came up on out of Wood Canyon. I pretty much always take Cholla. But dang it, I’m bored of that trail, so I headed down Lynx instead, a less popular trail in these canyons, though I’m not sure why.
Lynx is a wonderful rocky single-track, technical, but not death defying. There’s even a bullet-ridden car in the gully, hidden to the casual visitor. But if you stand in just the right place, you get a perfect shot of the old-fashioned, shiny, blue car.
When I finally dumped out into Wood Canyon, every cloud in the sky was colored pink. As I ran back up the canyon toward my car, coyotes, many of them on both sides of the canyon barked and howled as the sun finally set on this lovely trail run. It was the dogs’ turn for the canyons.