Work was cancelled for me Friday, which freed up many hours to get my house in order. Unfortunately, no matter what I do, I always feel like my house is not in order. But I keep trying. So, after getting my youngest off to school, I loaded the truck up with boxes of books, toys, clothing and such to drop off at the Salvation Army. Back at home I vacuumed floors, cleaned the bathroom, washed dishes and laundry. Finally, about 12:30 PM, I filled my hydration pack with water and popped in a Nuun tablet, put on my running shoes, and drove the toll road through the coastal hills to Ridge Park in Newport Coast.
My feet finally hit dirt around 1PM, and it was hot. I didn’t expect anything less – it was after all September 2 (just about the hottest time of the year around here). The heat is the reason I opted to stay up on the ridges overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You’d think with no shade whatsoever, the ridges would be the hottest spots on trails. But not in the coastal hills – up on the ridges is where you get to feel the ocean breezes. And up on the ridges is also where you get the awesome views.
I chose an out-and-back for simplicity’s sake. I’ve been going for the out-and-back’s lately, even though I really am a loop gal. It’s much easier to come up with a route with the precise mileage I want with an out-and-back. I simply turn around and head back at the half-way mark. On Friday, I figured I’d go for 7 or 8 miles, and the best way to do this was Bommer Ridge to Moro Ridge and back. In my mind, I felt that Moro Ridge was at most 2 miles.
I suppose it was the heat of the day, and time as well, that made the trails virtually empty on this day. The emptiness was serene. I felt comforted by it, and secure and confident in the loneliness. I especially like empty trails in the coastal hills where I feel relatively safe. I am rarely without cell service in these areas, and access is not so remote should I find myself injured.
Ended up that Moro Ridge was significantly longer than I remembered. I ran it up until the trail starts to descend down toward Pacific Coast Highway. That put me at about the 4.6 mile mark. Though the return trip was mainly uphill, I did not find it excruciatingly difficult, as the incline was gradual. Don’t get me wrong – it still wiped me out, but it didn’t beat me up and spit me out. Though nearly sweltering, this run with a view was well worth the time, and I’m thinking it did me good, by pushing my mileage up just a tad. And even if it didn’t, it was still nice to be out in the not so remote wilderness overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Total miles: 9.2, Elevation gain: 800’