TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Seven More Miles . . .

Sunday, March 3, I went long. I went long on Harding Truck Trail, which starts at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in Modjeska Canyon. I arrived fairly early, as those limited parking spaces fill up quickly, and took one of the two remain spots. It was just before 8:00 AM when I took off up Harding Truck Trail. Several other hikers took off behind me.

Though it was relatively early, it was not so for trail people. I met quite a few hikers and runners coming down as I made my way up that steep grade. Boy, is Harding Truck Trail steep. It’s not so technical, as it is a truck trail after all  (though actually closed to traffic). I found the trek up Harding very difficult, and actually ran very little of it. Once I passed the 5 mile mark (where Laurel Springs Trail branches off), I came up on very few people on Harding Truck Trail. Overall, the views were delightful – lots of spring flowers and above blue skies with white puffy and smeared clouds. The scene was serene.

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My goal (or turnaround point) was “Four Corners,” which is where Harding meets Maple Springs and The Main Divide branching off in two directions. I will not lie and say that the climb up to “Four Corners” wasn’t tough. It was tough as hell. But then again, when do I ever say the climb wasn’t tough. IT IS ALWAYS tough for me. I kept the following in my mind on the way up – “at mile 7.5 you get a reprieve!” That’s when there’s a slight downhill, and then the climb after that isn’t so steep. Right about mile 7.5 I came across what appeared to be three brothers. I didn’t ask if they were related, but they all looked alike. There was a small, a medium and a large blonde haired boy, just like my three sons (though not blonde), but these guys also had a few years on mine. Anyway, I passed them, and kept in the back of my mind not to let them catch up (because I am weird that way).

Finally, FINALLY, after three hours and 45 minutes, I made it to 4 corners. There was one dirt bike rider who came up on The Main Divide. Other than that, I was alone until the three brothers arrived and carried on along The Main Divide. I probably stayed about 15 minutes drinking my protein shake, taking photographs and looking out onto Orange, Riverside and Orange Counties. I felt fully rested, and quite content.

As I made my way back down Harding Truck Trail, I came up on a semi-large hiking group that I had passed on my way up. It was like seeing old friends.

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The run back down was uneventful for the first 2+ miles. Thing was, I didn’t focus well on the trail. Instead, I found myself thinking about work and other such worries. Okay, I know that I must focus, especially when fatigued on trails. You would think that I would have learned. But, NO! I let myself get lost in thought. Then with about 7 miles remaining, I tripped. And when I tripped, I went flying forward. I don’t know where my tuck and roll went, but apparently, it’s gone. Now, it’s just spaz-out free fall. And that’s just what I did.

I landed hard. And though I knew I was hurt, I knew that I did not hit my head, and I probably had not broken anything. But, my breathing out of control, I was certain to vomit. Oddly, I made my way to the edge of the trail so that I could vomit (because I thought it was polite to be neat about it). Leaning over a fallen log, I noticed the blood oozing from my leg. But all I really cared about was puking. Just as I started to dry-heave, I got some reason and focused on getting my breathing under control. I have no idea where that reason came from; I guess just from within. Slowly, so, so very slowly, my breaths lengthened, and I took in more oxygen. It was at that point that the nausea left me.

I could tell that my immediate injuries were to my right leg and palm. The injury to my palm looked terrible with ripped skin covering a small hole in my hand. I actually felt sore all over, but the visible injuries came from the aforementioned. “Seven miles,” that’s what I told myself. All I need to do is focus for seven miles. So, I wiped the blood off of my leg until that was moot – I mean, why wipe the blood when it doesn’t matter? It was just going to keep oozing until it was done, and I didn’t want to wait. And so, I swallowed three ibuprofen and took off trotting down Harding Truck Trail toward my truck parked at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary.

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Those last seven miles were bearable, with my main problem coming from my hand, and a part of my leg that was not bleeding (the right side of my front right calf). With about two miles remaining, I ran up on two lovely ladies who were hiking the trails now in afternoon heat. One of them noticed my leg, and made comments to the affect that I was a bad-ass for traversing the trails seven miles with my injury. That kind of praise always cracks me up (like when people were amazed that I made it two miles to my truck with a broken arm). I mean, what was I supposed to do? I am no bad-ass for running those miles with my injury. I did it because that’s what I had to do to get to my truck. I had no other options. Believe me, if I could have dialed in a helicopter (free of charge of course) to come pick me up, I would have surely done so. Winking smile

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4 3 16

Total trip miles: 18.84 miles (30.32 km)

Elevation gained: 3,666’ (1,117 m)

2 comments:

  1. Sheesh. You're a mess. Breaking cameras, arms, bleeding all over. Glad you survived the run and didn't do any permanent damage.

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  2. Yikes! It is so easy to zone out while running and catch on a rock. I'm glad you are okay (minus the bloody appendages).

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