TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Friday, August 3, 2018

Into The Furnace

I believe that it was last Monday when I hit the trails.  Last minute decision, I took off up Pacific Coast Highway into Laguna Beach. The quickest route into Aliso/Woods Canyons is in Laguna Beach in fact. I parked along the curb in front of Moulton Meadows Park around 1:30pm. The weather was quite warm, somewhere in the high eighties (Fahrenheit). 

The beauty of parking at Moulton Meadows, even though I do a heavy descent at the beginning, the climb back is rolling and fairly gradual. (I prefer not to have a heavy descent first off -- I like that for when I’m fatigued). I began basically at the top of Mentally Sensitive Trail where there was a nice ocean breeze along the Top of the World ridge. The climb down this trail was steep, and of course I was quite happy that I was travelling down instead of up. I came upon one hiker making his way up, and not too far past him, another sitting in the shade of a small mass of brush. We spoke briefly. He was exasperated by the heat traveling on such a steep and exposed trail. Even though Mentally Sensitive is relatively short (my guess 1.0 to 1.5 mi), the first (or last, depending your direction) 2/3rd’s or so is about as difficult at you can get in this county’s coastal hills.This of course is why I chose to travel down it instead of the other way around.

7 30 18As I travelled down Mentally Sensitive, the breeze lessened more with each downward step. About halfway down the difficult portion, it felt like someone had opened the furnace door. And then finally, at the bottom where I came off of Meadows Trail and entered Wood Canyon, I was full on in the furnace. Can’t tell you how relieved I was to have bought along plenty of fluids. In my pack I carried 38+ fluid ounces of Propel ® water and a few protein/fat snacks (as I had not yet eaten on that day).

IMG_3659So, into the furnace I travelled along of Wood Canyon’s entirety. Even more green growth appeared in the burned areas than my last visit, which is a pleasure to witness. It still looked very burnt and stark though. At the end of Wood Canyon, I climbed up Cholla Trail with much eagerness to reach the ridge. During these hot summer months, the ridge is the best place to be, even if exposed. The ridge is where the breeze is!

And the ridge was empty (West Ridge). I had it completely to myself. I also had the park at the Top of the World (Alta Laguna) pretty much to myself, and the remaining 2 or so miles back to my truck. In all, I travelled 9.98 miles with with 1,248’ of elevation gain.

I will perhaps be staying in for a while to take advantage of the air-conditioned gym. Who knows, maybe one of these days I will be able to wake early enough to get out before the heat. It is possible perhaps, as I’m on summer vacation now! Taught my last class for the summer last night. I am off work fully until August 20.

Mentally Sensitive:IMG_3622IMG_3625IMG_3628

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