TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Saturday, June 30, 2018

My Friday Day Off

I have Fridays off from work for the summer session. But this Friday I had an 8:00 am meeting (which lasted two and a half hours). Then I needed to stay a little longer so that I could photocopy lessons for next week. I wasn’t off campus until about 10:45 am. Normally, I would have thought that it was a little late for a summer trail. But I took my chances because dang it, this was a day off. If it got too hot after all, I could just hike.

Go figure that I chose a trail that is almost entirely exposed. I guess that whole hike when I need to really solves any issues I have with heat. Besides that, I just won’t put up with it anymore. No more heat sick for me. I can tell if it is going to end up that way, and if I even have a inkling of ending up heat sick, I’ll call it. Ends up, the weather was just as lovely as it has been for weeks. Sure, it was warm, maybe even a little hot, but the skies were blue and there blew a cool breeze. So comfortable it was, I ran much of the distance out to the flags. The hills, of course, that’s another story. I enjoyed a relaxing hike on all of the steep hills.

7.23 mi, 1,325' elevation gain

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Trails in June

The weather is still perfect along the California Riveria and we have only a few days left in June. The skies have been blue (but sometimes gray) with a constant soft cool breeze. Yet, here I am sitting on my living room couch which is somewhat of a bummer to me. I’m constantly torn between heading outdoors and staying behind to catch up on chores and work related things. It’s this (the chores and stuff) and the fact that I just don’t have the ambition to do what it takes to actually get myself to some trails. Ugh. Go figure that I don’t have the ambition because when I finally get out there, it really helps me in so many ways. Trails lift my spirits and strengthen both my body and my spirit. Out on the trails, I stay in the present, the Now -- which is really the best place to be. Ask the devil in The Screwtape Letters who wrote his nephew the same – keep your victim out of the Present – because the Present is closest to God (or something like that – it’s been years since I’ve read the book).

Occasionally, when it’s been a while since I hit the trails, I hit the gym (1 to 2 times a week nowadays). But that really is just to keep minimally in shape. The gym doesn’t offer that mental almost euphoric presence that trails give me. This is because I don’t much stay in the present during gym workouts. I’m more of a thinker at the gym.

Ten days ago (June 16), I amazed myself (truly!) and got out on the trails on a late Sunday afternoon. I allowed myself this because of the progress I had made elsewhere on my “To Do” list. I amazed myself also by the fact that I ran the vast majority of the 12 miles along Tijeras Creek and Arroyo Trabuco Trails. Early on, I saw a deer on the trail. She hopped away then later pounced back onto the trail to cross right in front of me and race off into the hills. The weather was as usual perfect -- blue skies with white puffy clouds and of course that cool breeze. At the end I felt exhilarated, victorious. I had conquered myself by finally getting outdoors for a good long while.

Four days ago (June 22), but it seems much longer, I hit the trails again. And again, in the afternoon! Thankful for the weather that allows me to do such a thing, I got in nearly 11 miles. But the terrain was not so kind in Laguna Wilderness/Crystal Cove. It was not so kind because I had to climb out. I despise climbing out. I would much rather climb in (that is, do the heavy elevation gain at the beginning of the route). The climb out for my loop four days ago started at the surf and went for over four miles. Four. Slow. Miles. I know I just mentioned that I hate the climb out, but that hate goes hand-in-hand with loving it. And I loved it. I loved the struggle.

Who knows when I will get out again. Today would have been ideal -- perfect weather, and only one class to teach this evening at 6pm. But I had laundry to do and lesson plans to create (not to mention emails and a phone call to make).

Stats for June 16: 12.06 miles, 705’ elevation gain

Stats for June 22: 10.64 miles, 1,512’ elevation gain

Arroyo Trabuco Trail (lovely shade!):IMG_2814

Prickly Pear on Arroyo Trabuco:IMG_2827

The Pacific Ocean:IMG_2911

About a mile into the climb out:IMG_2936

Sunday, June 17, 2018

After the Fire

June 2nd, Wood Canyon was accidentally sent ablaze (by a teenage boy, I believe, who later confessed). A sense of sadness came over me when I heard the news. Fire. It’s such a bizarre thing. It can save you and it can kill you. And the whole fire versus wilderness thing, well, that’s all part of nature. The cycle of nature burning and then re-growing is also a part of the natural cycle. So, I think the sadness was mostly due to the fact that a big change was coming for a place that I know intimately. I bet that I could travel all of Wood Canyon blind folded. So, my sadness was over saying good-bye to the way it was, which I loved, really loved. I’ve seen fires come through before, in several different areas. It all comes back – it just comes back differently.

Eight days later, on June 10, I took a hike during the early evening into Wood Canyon. And yes, it had changed. Entering from the Canyon View Park location, I didn’t see any indication of the fire for about the first mile and a half. I did see other signs however. Signs like big heavy machinery tire-tracks left on the trail and in the creek crossings. Signs like branches and brush strewn about on the trail, and trail signs smashed in the dirt.

I could finally see the first parts of the burned portion in Wood Canyon about a quarter mile out from it. The charred area begins near The Old Corral right beneath Soka University. I immediately noticed tiny bits of ash blowing about in the breezy evening air. It smelled of burnt wood everywhere. And the whole canyon seemed to open up and widen with the trees and brush no longer there.

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From Soka University the burnt area continues down Wood Canyon until just before Cave Rock (which I visited to break away from the viewing). Dripping Cave is completely closed to the public due to the fire. The burnt area also continues into Mathis Canyon – just past Nature Loop trail.  The Nature Loop Trail is closed, and all of Coyote Run (south of RockIt).

IMG_2686IMG_2689IMG_2691Some Cave Rock Trail (which completely escaped the fire):IMG_2696IMG_2714IMG_2715IMG_2718IMG_2723

Total Miles: 7.93 / Elevation Gain: 665’

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Friday, June 8, 2018

My Reasons for Nanny Goat 2018



Nanny Goat 12/24 hr has long come and gone. My strength developed into weakness rather quickly, but I still had myself a good time. Fortunately (for me, because I just can't do a write-up at the moment), I did put together a pretty dang long video that explains it all -- my reasons, my goals, etc. It took me a couple of days to recover from the event, and since then, I've been back to doing short runs at the harbor and around town, plus gym work-outs a couple of times a week. One thing for sure that Nanny Goat taught me (which it always teaches me) is that I can go much farther than my physical fitness abilities. I also learned that I cannot make a video of a running event without a shaky camera. Sorry!