TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Monday, June 24, 2019

First Hike of the Summer

I got out for my first hike of the summer yesterday, June 23. I was feeling quite lazy in the morning. I certainly didn't want to drive far, especially being that I didn't even get out of house until 12:30 pm. So I decided on a lackodasical hike through Wood Canyon. June Gloom was gone for the day, so fearing the sun, I thought that Wood Canyon could give me the shade I would probably need. 

My feet didn't hit dirt until 1:00 pm, and the weather was completely bearable the entire 8.35 mile hike. I took all of the detours along Wood Canyon on the way out. And on the way back took Wood Canyon all the way to my truck parked off of Pacific Park in Aliso Viejo (by Canyon View Park). I got a cool ocean breeze for practically the entire hike. It was glorious!

The canopy is haunting in Wood Canyon:


First detour -- Wood Creek Trail, a fairtale single track that moves up and down the slopes along the creek:

 View into Wood Canyon from Wood Creek Trail:


 Wood Creek Trail is dark and spooky in places, a hidden gem in Aliso/Wood Canyon Wilderness Park:

Poison Oak along Wood Creek Trail (you can pretty much find it everywhere in Wood Canyon):


 Second detour -- Coyote Run Trail, another lovely single-track with lots of shade:


Coyote Run Trail without the shade, but still plenty of cool breezes:



Detour number three, Dripping Cave (Aka Robbers Cave):


 
And then detour number four, an old time favorite -- Cave Rock: 






 




Saturday, June 22, 2019

Last Days of Spring

Friday afternoon, I took a drive into Laguna Beach and up to the top of the hills of South Laguna to Moulton Meadows Park. Oh, was it chilly. The skies were whitish-gray, and the air was misty and cold. It was a lovely June Gloom day on the coast -- June 14. I needed to wear an extra long sleeved shirt to keep warm. That part was glorious. Well, most of it was glorious. There was a bit of tricky downhill (I took the steepest route down, Mentally Sensitive!), and there was some good climbing up RockIt and then West Ridge which over looks Laguna Beach and the Pacific Ocean on one side and Aliso Viejo with the Saddleback Mountains as a backdrop on the other.

In all I hiked 9.55 miles (1,483' elevation gain). June Gloom parted for the last few miles. The weather warmed up, but not enough to hate it. Coastal temperatures in Southern California in June and July are almost always perfect. I handled the 9 plus miles rather well under such weather. But I felt it later that afternoon back at home. Boy was I dragging, and I kept thinking, "What is the matter with me?" My husband had to nudge my shoulder -- "umm, 9 and 1/2 miles?" But I think that it wasn't only the number of miles that I put it. It was also the fact that I haven't cut all the junk (junk as in grains and some other things) from my diet. So, my energy has not really kicked in. But I'm making steps in the right direction. Making small improvements and ignoring the downfalls. Just moving forward. Here is my goal: One step at a time, make things better and check things off my list. And enjoy trails. That's number one. My medicine.

What a beautiful time to catch time on the trails -- the last days of spring!

My route on June 14: Moulton Meadows/Mentally Sensitive/Aliso Canyon/Wood Canyon/Coyote Run/RockIt/West Ridge/Top of the World back to Moulton Meadows.












Friday, June 14, 2019

June Gloom

With June came the gloom. The weather is cool and misty, humid yes, but quite bearable. Like clockwork, we're socked in beneath gray clouds, and will be for most, if not all of June. The is the nature of my town.

Most days, you can't even tell the difference between the ocean and the skies. The color is the same: Gray. That's why we call it June Gloom.

Now that I'm working less (summer session), I really must force myself to get out and hit the trails. One foot in front of the other is my medicine. Even during June Gloom (because I really just want to rest now), I was able to force some trails. I was able to do it because I knew that the payoff is big. That payoff is a tranquity and it is peace, and there are other rewards as well like figuring out things, getting exercise, etc. Bar far, the main payoff is tranquility and peace. 

June 2nd, an afternoon in Laguna Wilderness: (Fortunately, I can't estimate distance worth beans anymore -- I set out for a 5 mile hike and ended up with 8.62 and glad for it!)





And then a couple days later . . . the stomach “flu” ripped through our house. That was a brutal. Now that it’s over, I do what I often do when things jolt me. I use it as a reset button. It’s time to get some structure now that I’m barely working, because in a few weeks, I’ll be off work for a month and a half. I have much to do, and if I’m not feeling well physically and mentally, I’m not going to get them done. I’ve got to force myself to get my act together. It doesn’t matter that I don’t feel like doing something in particular. I know full well that I don’t have to force myself very long. Small progress motivates me, so I can force myself for just a bit, just long enough to see progress in whatever it is I want to accomplish. By that time, I’ll see a bit of progress, and wala!

All I needed was that reset button (the “flu”). For the past week or so, I’ve been planning my meals. I’ve been cleaning house (literally and figuratively). With the right foods and rest (which is recent due to the reset button), I’ve been accomplishing some small goals. One of those small goals was forcing my butt back to the gym. Cardio at the gym had always been a great release for me. And it really irked me that I was paying for a membership that I wasn’t using. It's time to get focused. I really need these next couple of months to be productive. It's going to take a full pronged attack to achieve the desired focus -- diet, rest, strength, endurance. Here we go.

Take that June Gloom.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Catching Up

Two months have past and not a single blog post. My only excuse is that there are two many things to juggle. And I'll take that. I'll take that only because the alternative is less appealing. 

Overall, my life is good despite the human condition (in other words it's a roller coaster ride but I'm doing it). And for the sake of my sanity, hanging by a thread here, I continue to hit the trails. Not often (not even once a week), but always just in time before the nut cracks. Trails always put things into perspective and give me a calmness (though momentarily it might be!). I don't recall a lot right now from these trail adventures but because I keep stats and photographs which I post online here, I have a record. Amazingly, I can look back on the pictures and memories and get me some residual calmness. 

So, with relief, I am back for now, writing to the internet about my time wandering. Writing, it seems, also gives me perspective and calmness. But writing is much more difficult than miles on my feet or any strenuous hill. This is why I haven't been writing. I haven't had the strength. I have been haggard. Thank God for the gift of wandering. It has helped bring me back here.

Cathing up, there was . . .

March 23: 4.64 miles on hike with my youngest son and his friend in Aliso Canyon. They took the bushwhacking creek route, I opted for the single track above the road. It was good to get out. And it was good to let the boys do their own thing. Later and us three explored the caves of Cave Rock Trail. 

March 31: 10.75 miles, again in Aliso/Wood Cyns Wilderness. The hills and meadows there were still saturated with green and peppered with white, orange, yellow, and purple flowers. I took on Mentally Sensitive, the steepest trail in the park, and its spring flower splendor was like none that I've seen before on that trail.

April 4: 3.86 miles, not on trails, but instead a walkabout down to Monarch Beach. I took pictures, but didn't post them anywhere. It was an emotional day. At the furthest point in my loop, I received some news and wanted to get home, so I phoned my husband to pick me up at the library across the street from the Pacific Ocean.

April 5: 17 miles, Santiago Truck Trail to Old Camp. Santiago Trail was bursting with flowers, so much so it was distracting (I had to stop often to take in the beauty) and that slowed my trip some. Took lots of video too, but have not strung the clips together yet (and I probably will not when it's all said and done). What a memorable trip this was. A life saver!



April 27, 11.37 miles not on trails, but instead on the paved walkways of Six Flags Magic Mountain. I had a great time chaperoning an overnight music competition for my youngest son's orchestra. What a blessing the weekend was. I learned and reflected much, which headed me in a good direction. The day at Magic Mountain was also quite nostalgic. It's been 35 years since I've been to that park. I think that I enjoyed it most this time. And yes, I took in a few rollercoasters. I love/hate the shrieking terror of rollercoasters. I cannot resist. (Can you believe I walked more than 11 miles at an amusement park!?)

May 12, 12.24 miles, once again in my backyard known as Aliso/Wood Canyons. Did a loop that I haven't done in a while that involved a trail named RockIt (which includes a wonderful rocky climb). Spring flowers were still blooming in abundance. It was another magical hike. Something that stands out from this adventure: At Top of the World, I saw a woman with a cat on a leash in the park. As I resituated my pack, I saw the cat run up into a tree with the owner still holding the leash. And then I witnessed a drama unfold as the pet owner and a friend, as carefully as possible, YANKED the cat off a branch and out of the tree! All was well in the end.


And this brings me up to date, my most recent hike:

May 29, 10.02 miles  along an old favorite, Arroyo Trabuco Trail (with a detour along Loop Trail). I have fallen out of physical shape, but I can still pack in the miles. I was a bit more fatigued than normal, but that's okay. I can handle fatigued -- that's my modus operandi. Fatigue is well worth the benefits, and this last hike greatly benefited my state of mind. Work and other life matters are slowing down. I am beginning to see an end to things, and possibly a begining to other things. I took lots of pictures of Arroyo Trabuco and I worked through many concerns and ideas in my head. Most of the time though, I didn't think about a single stinking thing. 



At last, I am caught up on my blog and other things in life (like I finally got my truck legal to drive!!). I also just finished a week off from all teaching. Next week I return on to a reduced teaching schedule. That means I can work on items to get myself situated on the straight and narrow toward hope, acceptance and calmness. Yay for summer vacation. The key here for me is to keep a schedule and some kind of structure. I want to get organized, do some "spring" cleaning, some reading and more writing. And most important of all, I want to get in more trails.