TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Maple Springs Road in the Autumn

Going way back now, to Friday’s Hike on October 19, 2018, I hit Maple Springs Road in the late morning after getting my boys off to school. I got a later start than I wanted, but heck, it was Friday and I was on Maple Springs Road! I have to say that Maple Springs Road in Silverado, California, is one of my favorite places, and if the drive wasn’t so long, I would be there every week. What a wonderful sight to see. The weather was cool, and most importantly, Maple Springs Road is loveliest in the autumn. It is best in the autumn because the Maple leaves have turned yellow, and there’s another lower shrub that turns a lovely red. So for all those people who say that California does not have seasons, we do indeed have seasons, and autumn is probably my favorite!
So, I hiked up Maple Springs Road to Four Corners. From there, I took on The Main Divide, only to find it closed heading toward Modjeska Peak. Mind you, I checked the national forest website, and it indicated that The Main Divide was only closed from Santiago Peak to Ortega Highway. Well, dang it, I moved forward anyway, and hiked to the saddle, which is the portion of trail in between Modjeska and Santiago Peak. I stayed a while, taking in the view of The O.C. before heading back, running some, to complete my 12.81 miles. Fortunately, I was not ticketed for going into a closed area.
I blundered back at home, and accidentally deleted all the photos I took. But I didn’t delete the video clips. Hopefully autumn will still be in the air when I return, because it’s time for some autumn pictures (the video clips don’t do the area justice).


Monday, October 22, 2018

Prepping for Chimera

Chimera is going to be a whole new beast this year, thanks to the #HolyFire. Much of the original course (which had been re-worked due to the Silverado fire some years back) was burned this summer. We’ve still have a hundred mile course, but now it’s basically a repeat of “The Candy Store Loop” five times. FIVE times. There are several other distances available also. Timing will probably be very difficult. But luckily for me I am not in charge of time. I am in charge of coordinating volunteers.

A whole new beast means completely different needs from the volunteers. We don’t need 4wd drivers any longer. And we don’t need as many aid stations. But what we do need is people to hike-in to stations, and more importantly, people to hike out in the weeks prior to take care of the trails and to stash water. For the past two weekends (10/13 & 10/21), I’ve gone out with a group of wonderful volunteers to hide some of that water. I got to hike with people I have not met before, and I got to do some hiking with regular volunteers and some friends from the trail. And boy has it been a good workout. The trail is single-track and technical, and carrying water, well, that makes it much tougher. Fortunately, it is gorgeous out there. And even more fortunately, the weather has turned. It is autumn!. Yah for autumn!! Over the two trips, we’ve stashed 60 gallons so far. We have a tall order to fill -- goal is 150 gallons of water stashed by race day. I am so appreciative of the folks who volunteered to do this crazy task! What a great group of people, and what a fun workout for me.

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Friday, October 19, 2018

Santiago Truck Trail

While packing for last Friday’s hike (10/12), I noticed a leak in my pack’s bladder. It was hard NOT to notice; the outpour, though small and thin, was forceful. My cat did it. My husband had warned me that he had seen him swatting at my pack here and again. So, there I was, my day off Friday, ready for a hike with a leaky bladder. Fortunately, I had planned a relatively short hike, and could spare going off to the store for a new bladder. I was calm and I was collected because I almost always plan my trail adventures days in advance and knew I had time to spare. Note: calm and collected I am not always, which is why I try and plan things out in advance. (Planning is one of the best remedies for anxiety).

As it turned out, I arrived about twenty minutes before the running store opened. I needed a way to waste time -- because I couldn’t just sit in my truck for 20 minutes (though I should because it really needs cleaning and organizing – really! It is a complete mess) Anyway, I stopped in at Trader Joes, which is in the same parking lot, for some groceries. They were sold out of the items first on my list, so with slightly growing frustration I purchased some nuts (we are a huge nut lover family) and dried salami. Finally, I was back at the running store, purchased myself a new Ultimate Direction bladder ($32) and headed off to the mountains. Santiago Truck Trail that is.
IMG_4432Mid October is the start of autumn in Southern California. We still have warm days, but it’s definitely cooling down. And the mornings, they are sometimes cold. Autumn is the best time to hit Santiago Truck Trail again. There’s hardly any shade, but that’s okay now, it’s all okay now. SmileAutumn is here. And then after that we have winter, and then spring . . . summer is far, far away.

IMG_44931I hiked an out-and-back (with a bit of running) out to the flags across from the vulture crags. On the way, I took two detours – 1) up to a strange cross-like monument, and 2) to a second set of flags, The US flag and the California flag. The trip totaled 7.23 miles with 1,363’ feet of gain. As my hike progressed, enormous white clouds began to appear and the breeze blew cooler It was wonderful. Simply wonderful.

It did not occur to me then that the giant clouds were a hint of something good to come. That night back at home, rain began to fall. And it continued to fall for most of Saturday. And all the plants rejoiced! (As did I).

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And because this was a Friday hike, the video clips put to music. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Aliso Woods Big Loop V. 2

For many years I used to run what I now call The Big Loop at Aliso/Woods Canyons. At the time, it was the biggest loop I could make using marked trails in the park. It is a lollipop loop actually, going up Cholla and down Meadows to close up the loop (or vice-versa). The stick of the lollipop is about 1.5 miles. I call it version one of The Big Loop, because the park eventually opened up another trail to make even a bigger loop, this adding The Big Loop V. 2 to my repetoire. That new trail (not new anymore) is Mentally Sensitive. I believe that Mentally Sensitive is the steepest trail overall in the park (parts of Car Wreck Trail are probably steeper). Gosh, it’s been probably 8 years since  added Mentally Sensitive to the big loop collection. Friday, October 5, I decided to take it on once again for my Friday Hike Video.

What a day! The loop took about an hour and a half longer than I intended. There was just too much to see. With five detours and a wonderful show put on by a coyote tossing around a gopher (13:14 in the video clips, I came in at six hours! Six. Hours.

I really needed that. Times have been a little tough (not terrible) – but not tough enough to get my butt out on the trails for some rigorous miles on my day off from work.

Total miles: 13.37, Elevation gain: 1,581’

The route: Aliso Cyn/Wood Cyn/Cave Rock/Wood Cyn/Cholla/West Ridge/Top of the World/Mentally Sensitive/Meadows/Wood Cyn/Aliso Cyn

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Friday, October 5, 2018

Closing Out September

The purpose of today’s blogpost is to close out September. Yes, summer has finally left our presence!) But I feel I cannot truly leave summer behind until I catch up on making a record of the trails I’ve traversed the last week or so of September.
IMG_4164September 21, it was a Friday, late morning, and officially the last day of summer.  I hit Arroyo Trabuco Trail from Las Flores, behind the water district on Antonio Parkway. Summer was taking full advantage that he was still in season. Yes, it was hot! I travelled 13.92 miles total (out-and-back to O’Neil Park which is at the base of the Santa Ana Mountains). Elevation gain was minimal (727’) and I was quite fine with that. Heat and elevation gain is a choice that I no longer make. In the video clips that I strung together below, it appears as if I had the trail all to myself. Not the case, though traffic was very sparse, I did see a few hikers, several cyclists, a runner or two, and even one guy kicking back beneath one of the many highway pillars. He was listening to music on a speaker while talking to a friend on speaker phone. (The future is here!)

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The video clips:


IMG_4276September 29, it was a Saturday, I hit the trails in Aliso/Wood Canyons Wilderness for a 12.09 mile hike. This one had quite a bit more elevation gain (1245’)  than my hike 8 days earlier. I decided to take Rock It up to the ridge line, which is quite tough, but certainly not the toughest route up. I took the ridge line (West Ridge) to Top of the World, then travelled across the neighborhoods up there to enter the park on the other side. I took Mentally Sensitive back down into the canyon, which was a mental challenge in itself. That trail is quite steep and slippery, and it took all my focus to stay upright. Though summer was officially over, it still felt like summer.I even used up every last drop of fluids that I packed along. Still, it felt great to put in a more elevation. I felt it in my legs that night. (Hurts so good! as John Cougar used to sing Smile)

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And then the very next day, with my legs still feeling it from above, I closed up September with a 6.94 hike in the very same coastal hills (880’ elevation gain). I forgot my camera on this hike. I shot small live video on Facebook. The weather was still summer warm, and top that with the fact that I didn’t even hit the trails until about 2 pm. Good riddance summer, that’s all I have to say. Still even with the heat, this hike was great, providing exactly what I needed: trails to blow off some steam!

My route: Wood Canyon (just a tiny bit from Canyon Vistas Park in Aliso Viejo)/ Cholla Trail / West Ridge / Top of the World and back
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