TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Robber’s Cave (and also the Ketogenic Diet)

IMG_1718I am just about caught up with my recent trail blogs, this being the final outstanding one. Though it is late, I am sleepless at the moment. I am sitting in a hotel room right now after spending the day with my oldest son in Ventura County. He plays violin in a university symphony which had its spring concert tonight. It was a lovely concert, and an even better dinner with my son at The Outback Steakhouse. As I sit here pondering what to write about my last trail adventure, I’m not really sure where to start because I have other things that I'd like to report.

How about first, the last trail adventure? That was this past Sunday (4/22) when I ventured out for a hike (no running) in Wood Canyon. (Read further for more on the Ketogenic diet if that is why you are here). It was evening. The temperature was mild. And at about two miles in, I ventured off of Wood Canyon Trail onto Mathis Trail so that I could catch Dripping Cave Trail.

Dripping Cave Trail, is a short trail (I’m guessing about a mile or more in length). There is some elevation gain basically all in one spot. And there’s a nice size shallow cave toward the end (or beginning depending on which way you take the trail). The cave is named “Dripping Cave” officially, but also “Robber’s Cave” due to an infamous group of thieves who took it as a hideout in the late 1800s.

Dripping Cave Trail:IMG_1732IMG_1734

Dripping Cave is a lonely trail, which makes it all the better, sometimes even eerie. It’s shady and at times exposed. It’s quiet and unassuming. Quiet frankly, it’s a lovely and tranquil place to be -- I thoroughly enjoyed this careless hike. Especially liked seeing Robber’s Cave once again. In all, I enjoyed 6.42 miles of trails with 532 feet of elevation gain.

Aside from Dripping Cave (more pictures below – please scroll down if that is why you are here!), I really wanted to report on the progress of my ketogenic diet. For those of you who haven’t heard of a ketogenic way of eating, it is basically this: a diet high in fat, extremely low in carbs with a moderate intake of protein. My calories have been distributed pretty much like this: 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs. I know that probably sounds ridiculous, mainly because it goes completely against everything that I have been taught about nutrition. And because it goes against everything that I have learned, it was quite difficult to begin this regimen. I began this way of eating on February 14, and really want to share my experience (as briefly as possible, though I’m not sure that it will be brief since my results are so profound).

I began this way of eating because I was desperate to loose some pounds. But it ends up the unintended consequences of this diet have far outweighed any weight loss. Below are my results. Some of them are provable (measureable) others are subjective, but be assured, I feel them, subjective or not. Eating this way has made a tremendous impact on my life. It really is like a drug:

  1. I lost 26 pounds, and I don’t even care about losing weight because I feel so much better.
  2. I am absolutely never, ever hungry.
  3. I have shrunk 6 inches from my hips, 6 inches from my waist, 3 from each of my thighs and 6 inches from my bust.
  4. My focus has improved (tremendously).
  5. My insight has improved (I can read a map, typed text and my garmin without glasses which is really, really bizarre. Vision isn’t perfect by any means, but it used to be that I could not decipher words at all without my glasses. Now I can.)
  6. My fingernails are thicker.
  7. I wake in the morning refreshed.
  8. I am able to small talk with ease (where it was always a great chore for me historically).
  9. I never nap (whereas I always used to nap).
  10. I frequently go 24 hours (with ease) without eating (refer to #2 above).
  11. I have greater patience.
  12. I am calmer. (Not to say that I am calm, but way more so than ever)
  13. I no longer crave sweets or breads and can easily walk down the candy aisle without even flinching.
  14. I love things like brussel sprouts and broccoli (used to hate).
  15. Anxiety has decreased.
  16. No more lethargy.
  17. I forgive easily and don’t hold grudges.
  18. I self-reflect with ease and am more accepting of myself.
  19. I am okay with not accomplishing everything I want to accomplish in a day (before keto this was a great anguish of mine).
  20. My skin is softer and clearer.
  21. I no longer have aches and pains (there had been a couple that were worrisome).
  22. I am hopeful (or at least much more hopeful that I have been in a long time).

I realize this sounds a little crazy. Especially when I tell you what I do eat. My diet consists of:

  1. Eggs
  2. Avocados
  3. Butter
  4. Heavy Whipping Cream
  5. Sour Cream
  6. Beef, pork and chicken (sometimes fish)
  7. Bacon (I list separately from pork because I consume bacon more frequently than other forms of pork)
  8. Cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, bleu, parmesan, dubliner, etc)
  9. Broccoli
  10. Brussel sprouts
  11. Spinach
  12. Romaine, Green Leaf and Red Leaf lettuce
  13. Cabbage
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Zucchini
  16. Pistachios, almonds and cashews
  17. Coffee, tea, water (occasionally diet coke)
  18. Salt
  19. Salad dressings (Bleu cheese, Italian, Caesar or any other that I fancy)
  20. Onions (on occasion)
  21. Occasionally shrimp, crab or lobster.
  22. Occasionally turkey.

These are the things that I absolutely never consume (and at the moment have no desire for):

  1. Bread
  2. Pasta
  3. Beans
  4. Fruit or fruit juices
  5. Tortillas
  6. Chips, crackers, etc, or any other food in a box or bag.
  7. Soda (non diet)
  8. Rice
  9. Corn
  10. Potatoes
  11. Yogurt
  12. Milk
  13. Candy, pastries, cakes, ice cream etc.

Crazy? I should say!! (Watch The Magic Pill on Netflix or do more research on the internet for more information – I have only touched on the topic. The topic is tremendous for me, and some other time, I will surely say more!). For now, some more of Dripping Cave . . .  

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Big Loop, Version 1

I am going to make this blogpost quick and mostly pictures because I am quite behind on journaling trails and I am running ragged with things to do. Still teaching at 3 locations, I have meetings and two weekend (back-to-back) trips that I’m prepping for, not to mention regular stuff like chores, and getting my boys off to school, music lessons and so on.

Up to bat is my 4/21/18 (last Saturday) run-hike. The loop I took on is a classic of mine. Though I much prefer mountain trails over the coastal hills (for many reasons), this coastal hills loop wasn’t too shabby. I have enjoyed it for many years. I call this one: The Big Loop, Version 1 (straight from Aliso/Wood Canyons Wilderness).

12.05 mi, 1,225’ gain.

Aliso Canyon Trail:IMG_1607IMG_1615

Wood Canyon:IMG_1618Top of the World:

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Meadows Trail:IMG_1679IMG_1690IMG_1692

Route: Aliso Cyn/Wood Cyn/Cholla/WestRidge/Top of the World/Meadows Trail/Wood Cyn/Aliso Cyn

4 21 18a4 21 18

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Destination: Cave Rock

Last Sunday (April 15), I decided that a hike would help my legs repair from Holy Jim’s adventure the day prior. I need something relatively close by too, as I did not leave until 4 o’clock in the afternoon. I decided on Wood Canyon, but not immediately Cave Rock. It was after I started the hike that I decided my destination would be Cave Rock. The route to Cave Rock is an easy hike through the canyon – I rated it a 1.5 in difficulty in my log (1 to 10 scale). Not sure the hike repaired my legs any faster. I was sore for the next two days. But I liked the soreness – it meant that I really worked.

I’ll make this short, with mainly pictures, because I am so behind in my dairy of run-hikes here. The most memorable event on this hike is after I turned off onto Cave Rock Trail. I saw something flutter in the distance, and I just assumed there were people up ahead on this usually empty trail. A few seconds later, a coyote came running down the trail straight toward me. He was a cute fellow, I think a pup, but not necessarily a puppy. It took me a second to process what kind of animal was running up on me. By the time realization set it, he veered off the trail and ran into the brush.

Miles: 7.02, Elevation Gain: 496’

Wood Canyon:IMG_1496IMG_1506IMG_1518IMG_1524IMG_1526IMG_1527

Cave Rock Trail:IMG_1529IMG_1532IMG_1535IMG_1536IMG_1538IMG_1545IMG_1547IMG_1549IMG_1551IMG_1557IMG_1563IMG_1567IMG_1568IMG_1569IMG_1575IMG_1591

Friday, April 20, 2018

Holy Jim!

Last Saturday I was up before dawn which has been a very rare thing over the past few years. The reason for such an early rise was to take on Holy Jim -- both lower and upper. I can’t say precisely how many years it has been since I have visited the trail named after Cussin’ Jim in the early 1900’s. I will just go with many -- it has been many years. I had been hearing of mountain lion sightings on the trail lately, so I was reluctant to travel it alone. But I have been aching to go. As it turns out, last Saturday, I was not alone. There was a mountain bike race in Trabuco Canyon, not to mention many other hikers once the morning aged. Still, I got in lots of quiet, tranquil time traveling one of my favorite trails.

I didn’t see any mountain lions on Saturday. I did see rabbits and lizards, and a whole lot of sweat. Yikes. The main part of Holy Jim wasn’t terribly tough, but taking on The Main Divide up to Upper Holy Jim was quite difficult. Of course, I didn’t run a single step. And thankfully, there was a cool breeze blowing. Great relief accompanied finally reaching Upper Holy Jim. But the difficulty did not end there, even though I was on a pretty good descent. Upper Holy Jim took a great deal of focus -- it was steep and quite technical with slippery sandy parts and lots of boulders and rocks to catch my feet on. Surrounded by Manzanita, I kept upright, occasionally stopping to take in breathtaking views. I also met a man on a motorbike toward the top of Upper Holy Jim. Shocking! I cannot imagine how he had made it over such crazy rough terrain. He looked defeated though and was parked in the shade.

IMG_1477In all it was a wonderful Saturday morning wandering about in Cussin’ Jim’s stomping grounds. His figs were ripe for the picking (if I liked figs), and his trails were just difficult enough to make my legs sore for the next few days. And then back at my truck, as I sat in the shade, a bird pooped in my eye. No kidding -- it splattered all over my sunglasses and sprayed into my right eye. And it stung. Still, that did not ruin the day. Love Holy Jim Trail. I sure would have liked to have met the man, a bee-keeper and apparently a fig farmer, who lived in these woods so many years ago.

Just past the trailhead, looking back:IMG_1492One of several creek crossings before the real climb begins:IMG_1456Figs!IMG_1461Time for switchbacks:IMG_1465

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The Main Divide:IMG_1475

Views from Upper Holy Jim:IMG_1481IMG_14854 14 18a4 14 18

April 14, 2018; 11.67 miles, 3,438’ elevation gain.