The grass in the coastal hills has turned mostly brown in Southern California. Temperatures have risen, and I’m not ready for spring to end. I’ve been making that my excuse to put in time at the gym instead of venturing out to the trails. But cross training at the gym is just not giving me what I need mentally. Today (or yesterday rather because it took me a day to post this blog), I packed a bag for the gym with the intent of driving there straight after work. Instead, I drove home, ate lunch, folded clean clothes and listened to my youngest son play the piano. I debated back and forth whether I should go to the gym or hit the trails in this heat (it’s been in the high eighties Fahrenheit lately). The clincher was learning that my oldest son was going to skip the gym today (as we often go together). If he wasn’t going, then neither was I. And so, with no class to teach on Wednesday evenings, I headed out the door at 4:30 PM in a tank top and running shorts. My handheld filled with ice water and my belt complete with phone, camera and lip balm, I was hoping to get rid of the farmer tan that I’ve been cultivating all year. You know, that tan that begins after the white shoulders, down about short-sleeve length on the arms. With these summer temperatures coming on, I would really like to wear a sleeveless sun dress without looking like a dork.
Though I did have all the time in the world, well, not actually that much, but lots of time anyway, I didn’t spend a ton of time on the trails. I wanted to get home to spend the evening with my family. So, I decided to take my T.O.W. run, but cut it short a bit. Instead of starting out in Wood Canyon and running up to West Ridge, I drove a little further and parked my truck right near West Ridge. That made this out-and-back to Top of the World 5.14 miles instead of the usual 6.5.
Hitting dirt finally at 5PM, the temperatures started to cool, and I had some nice breezes from the Pacific Ocean. There were lots of mountain bikers out, especially near Top of the World where fifty or so bikers wore numbered bibs and did timed, what seemed to me as death-defying runs down the backside of West Ridge into Laguna Canyon. They were a jubilant group of mostly men, but I did notice a couple women among these crazy folk.
Though my lovely green grass was mostly brown, Prickly Pears were in full bloom with yellow and orange blossoms abounding. I expected to see at least one snake, and I kept my eyes peeled, especially on those single-track detours along West Ridge. But alas, not even a single snake trail. A few times I worried about falling, even along the simplest portions. Nothing seems safe to me right now. I can not afford another fall.
Overall, I got what I needed mentally. I didn’t burn as many calories as I would have at the gym. But I did get to hit my groove on the out portion of this out-and-back. I got some wonderful peace, some sunshine, and the passing company of like-minded people who love trails like I do.