I’m a little behind here in jotting down my runs, so here it goes quick as can be: Last Sunday, August 28, I had the rare opportunity of late to run in the mountains and with friends. I met long time running friend Sheila and her friend Robert at Santiago Truck Trail in the Saddleback Mountains, and we did 7+ mile out-and-back to the flagpole. Sheila and I have run this on other occasions, but it was Robert’s first along this single-track that was once a truck trail.
As we do on group runs, the distance between us lengthened at many points, with Robert up ahead, Sheila in the middle, and me at the tail (no surprise there ). Having started off fairly early (8AM – which is pretty dang early for me, not so for Sheila), we escaped some of the heat. But by the time Sheila and I reached the flagpole across from the vulture crags, it was starting to warm up significantly. Herein is where the adventure lies in this story: Robert was not at the flagpole. And we didn’t see him pass us if he had headed back.
Certain that he must have kept on running for some extra miles, Sheila headed off further along the trail to check around the bend about a three-quarters of a mile away. I stayed back taking in majestic scenes. I wasn’t ready to increase mileage yet at this point. I am trying to be very careful about that, mainly at my husband’s urgings. Alas, Sheila returned empty handed, having not seen any sign of Robert. That’s when some of the mountain bikers overhead us talking and said they had seen a runner some miles back asking if they had seen two women running. They hadn’t of course at the point, and what the heck was Robert doing back there anyway – surely we would have seen him pass us along the trail!
Perplexed, we headed off back toward the trailhead. And it donned on me – he must have gone to the other flagpole! “What other flagpole?” Sheila proclaimed. Hehe, now that was funny. Sadly, I had never mentioned the other flagpole. I myself hadn’t even noticed the other flagpole until after many runs along this trail, and it isn’t actually on Santiago Truck Trail. The other flagpole flies up on a hill that you need to take another trail up to. I’ve trekked up there before – and it was not fun, so steep and rocky, and overgrown the trail was.
Well, to make a long story short, I’ll quicken it up right here to say that, yes indeed, Robert did go to the wrong flagpole. Frankly, I was amused, and love stories like this. You can imagine how he felt when he ran back to the cars to see that we weren’t there. It was a mystery to Robert until he took his phone out of the car and called Sheila on the trail. So, turns out this was not all for moot – I found out (never really knew) that we have cell phone service on Santiago Truck Trail. And from that point on, I couldn’t get this song out of my head: Flagpole Sitta (by Harvey Danger). The tune lingered in my mind all day long.