Secondly, I did not get out as early as I had wished. But that is typical – pretty much since my drive went flying out the window a couple years back. But all was not lost. Why? Because we have cold weather once again! So, I don’t need to get out super early to avoid the heat. Hallelujah.
Being that time was limited, I needed trails with a quick drive so that I could get my run in, and back in time to drive my boys out to Fallbrook. But since it rained pretty much all day yesterday, our coastal trails were bound to be closed. Therefore, I had two choices (to my liking) with less than an hour drive: Harding Truck Trail and Santiago Truck Trail, both located in Modjeska Canyon. Santiago Truck Trail is slightly closer. I chose that trail, but not because it’s a tad closer. I chose this trail because I felt I’d probably enjoy it more being that it’s more technical, and seemingly a single track compared to a truck trail. (Parts of Santiago Truck Trail are wide enough for a truck, other parts, it would be a tight squeeze, whereas Harding is all truck trail the whole way – in fact, I’ve driven it).
Right from the start, I saw the trail up ahead crowded with mountain bikers – traffic jam crowded. Seriously, there had to be 50 bikers (it was surreal!). And being that I needed to use the ladies’ room, I hiked off trail, upward, toward the peaks. I needed to hike so far off trail before locating said ladies’ room, that I didn’t want to back-track the same distance to return to the trail. So I decided to hike up the hill some more, hoping that I could find a route back to Santiago Truck Trail. (One thing I hate is backtracking!)
I did not find a route immediately back to Santiago Truck Trail. But I did find a single-track along the ridge, that took me above and parallel to Santiago Truck Trail. Eventually, I came upon a cross made of sticks and branches erected above the valley. And then the trail finally meandered back to Santiago Truck Trail.
I ran Santiago Truck trail for a bit longer until I found another single track that ascended up to a ridge. Being that I was on a ridge roll, I took it and ran it back to Santiago Truck Trail once again. I was able to by-pass all the mountain bikers taking these side trails, and it also gave me ambition to take one last side trail up to a flag high up on a hill (above the vulture crags that I usually run to, where a lower, easily reachable flag flies). I had noted this one particular flag pole for several years now, oddly, never desiring to make the trek up to it – I suppose because there’s so many other landmarks on Santiago Truck Trail. But today, I finally got up to it. The scene was awesome from up there, the flags tattered and torn from the weather. I really could not have asked for a more beautiful view.
In all, about 6 miles run, approx. 1,100’ elevation gained.