TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

No Capris!

Though Thursday is my toughest workday (about 7 hours of lecture, compared to 0 - 3 on most days), I have the biggest break between classes on this day. I’m off at 12:20pm at one school, and am not due at my next until 6:00pm. As such, this day was a perfect day to hit the trails. A few weeks into my new regimen, I am aiming for 5 workouts each week. In preparation. I wore my running bra beneath my clothes, so there wasn’t any risqué changing parked in my truck in a residential neighborhood just outside a back way into Aliso/Woods Canyons. My Garmin, a handheld of water, and a belt for my keys and phone packed in the truck, I was ready to take on the trail. But first, a change into a pair of capris and off with the checkered ruffle blouse, and on with a new cotton t-shirt in the front seat of my truck.

The time was 1:30 pm when my feet finally got moving. I thought that the afternoon timing would be okay, because it is after all autumn. Our mornings have been rather cold, and the evenings brisk too. Our afternoons have been mild, so much so, that I don’t feel inclined to wear summer clothing lately to work. Anyway! Such was not the case on Thursday. The weather felt more than warm. It was HOT. And my “run” being along West Ridge, didn’t help much. West Ridge is 100% exposed -- that means no shade. (As a side note, run is in quotes because I hiked much of this trip, as I will be doing for awhile until I get more into shape).

I think now is a good time to insert a note about capris. First of all, what the hell was I thinking? For years, I only ever wore shorts on trails. I learned that the first time I ran trails in Peter’s Canyon about 11 years ago. But strangely for some reason, with all the extra weight I have put on, I feel the need for capris. It’s like, I’m too fat for shorts or something. I don’t know. I wear shorts to the gym (those mostly I wear capris). I wear shorts in my neighborhood. I wear shorts around town. So, precisely why I feel the need to slip into capris when I’m on the trails eludes me. (What are capris? They are spandex leggings that go past the knee, so they are nearly pant length).

Well, I am here to report now, I will never, ever wear flipping capris on the trail again -- I don’t care if it’s snowing. NO CAPRIS.

Other than that, the trip was beautiful. :)

Miles: 5.13

Elevation Gain: 593’

Gate to WestRidge Trail (in Aliso Viejo, which leads to Alta Laguna Park in Laguna Beach:IMG_1118Nearing the “top”:me top of the worldHeading back:IMG_1126

Friday, September 22, 2017

It’s Been A While

Saturday, September 16, I woke fairly early (for a Saturday anyway). I’ve been attempting to get back to a morning person schedule. I used to be a “morning person.” Once upon a time I awoke at 5am (sometimes earlier), and had conquered the world before anyone in the house had awakened. Those times aren’t these. I am back however, I am back to rising much earlier now that I’m back at work. So, as I was writing . . . up earlyish on Saturday (7am). But I sat around for a good half hour drinking coffee and surfing the internet. By 7:45, I was finally out the door with pack in hand.

The sky was cloudy and gray, and I was oh so grateful for that because I cannot wait for summer to end. Another thing that has changed drastically with me -- I hate heat, and I used to quite enjoy it. Fortunately, it feels like fall is just around the corner. I’ve actually been throwing on long sleeved shirts in the morning it's been so chilly lately. Saturday was not long sleeved weather, but it was cool nonetheless.

It’s been awhile since I’ve  wandered about Arroyo Trabuco Trail. On Saturday I choose to park in one of my regular spots, at a park across the street from a Las Tijeras trailhead. My goal was a twelve mile hike, and I wasn’t a tenth of a mile in when I spotted a deer in the field just below my trail! She didn’t scoot of immediately, instead merely glanced up at me, taking a few steps here and there before finally trotting off.

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La Tijeras Creek flowed quite well for a mid September day. Last winter’s storms had changed its course ever so slightly, starting my crossing thirty or so feet earlier than I recalled. I crossed easily, hopping from rock to rock. With now nearly eleven miles remaining of my hike, I wasn’t ready to get my feet wet. I save my water stomping for the end of hikes.

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Arroyo Trabuco Trail was full of visitors. There were bikers, lots of bikers -- bikers in small groups, large groups, one was even a group of ten. I came upon several trail runners as well, and I didn’t feel that slight envy that I usually feel when I come upon trail runners. I was really that content just to be out there on the trails. I even recognize a trail runner that I am familiar with, Tom Barr. I called out his name, and we chatted for a short bit. I felt at home on the trail seeing someone that I recognized.

More hikers, more bikers, more runners. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people on the trail. But then again, Arroyo Trabuco had always been a week day trail for me. I ended up talking briefly with two women who had step aside to my side of the trail to make room for bikers. They questioned me about the Arroyo Trabuco, about particular distances. One of the women was a soccer player who couldn’t run anymore due to knee problems, so I felt akin to her. As the bikers passed, the ladies mainly ladies questioned me about trail distances, and ultimately wanted to know the distance from Doheny beach to O’Neill. I had to do some subtracting to come up with a figure. But then later, after leaving the ladies, realized I calculated incorrectly. The women out of sight, I knew it would bug me for hours giving incorrect trail information, so I ran off to find the two. First off, I was genuinely amazed that I could still run. When I haven’t run in a while, I get this looming feeling that I CAN’T run. Anyway, I found the two, gave them a new number, and then headed back toward O’Neill Park.

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I think as I neared O’Neill, the crowd grew heavier. I overheard one woman in a pack of hikers say behind me, “No amount of beer is worth this shit!” After a chuckle, I picked up my pace some because I didn’t feel like hiking in a group. About that time, I realized that AGAIN, I had calculated incorrectly the trail mileage I gave the woman two miles back. Doh!

Still felt strong at the turnaround point. O’Neill is a great turnaround point. It’s civilized land with clean restrooms, and water fountains if you need it. I didn’t need the water fountains, as my pack was still quite full. And the weather, though not cold, was definitely not warm. Heading back with a little over 6 miles remaining, I ate a PowerBar for breakfast, and carried on as usual -- one foot in front of the other. About a mile out of O’Neill, I saw the two ladies again and gleefully told them my new number. “It’s 16 miles,” I said, “And that’s my final answer.” The trail by now had quieted down, and by the time I reached the mesa, it was virtually empty.

Coming in on the final stretch, I started to feel the fatigue. Up in the distance, off the trail, I noticed a man rustling about in the trees. Always cautious when passing someone on the trail (because I don’t want people behind me), I slowed to study the guy. What’s he doing? What’s in his hands? Upon closer view, I noticed a small pair of binoculars in his hands, and figuring that he was a bird watcher, probably posed little threat. And so then I moved on, still a bit cautious studying the dude. It was upon that study that I realized I knew him. It was Tom Fangrow. THE Tom Fangrow, my oldest trail running friend (and again, I don’t mean oldest as in age), that I have written about so many adventures with in this blog. What a great surprise that was! It’s been a long while since we’ve talked, which is probably why I chatted away much more than I usually do. (Usually I’m not a chatter, but sometimes I get the bug). Anyway, Tom and I walked the next mile or so, until I cut up the trail back to the asphalt bike path that I took back to the road to find my car.

Great hike. I felt like I belonged there. 12.27 miles.