TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Friday, June 26, 2020

Cool Down Hours

Last Monday (June 22), I headed out to Las Flores for a hike along the Great Suburban Trail – Arroyo Trabuco. This wonderful suburban trail, if you’ve ever been to this blog before, you know that it stretches from San Juan Capistrano to Trabuco Canyon (O’Neill Park). Of course I didn’t make the entire trek –I parked in the lot of a small local park and headed out down Antonio Parkway at 2:30 pm to take a bike path for a bit and then a turn onto Tijeras Creek Trail. After crossing Tijeras Creek, which was pretty dang full for dry Southern California in the early summer (see here), I headed up toward Arroyo Trabuco Trail. Oh, the joy of my feet hitting dirt!

It was definitely hot out there, but it can get much hotter. Those trails can see 105 Fahrenheit. I’ve been on them when they’ve been that hot (& I don’t ever intend to again!) On Monday’s hike, the temperature began in the low 80s, and fell from there (I’m guessing to about 75 or less at the end of my hike). Living on the coast (and we’re in June gloom, which means socked in days) 80s in the sunshine is hot for me. But I know how to handle hot. Years of training. The key is this: don’t ever get overheated – take time to cool down! I bet you thought that I would say that the key is to stay hydrated. Hydration is good, yes, but hydration doesn’t prevent sun stroke (or even at the minimum heat exhaustion).

Heading Down Tijeras Creek Trail

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Crossing Tijeras Creek

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IMG_2907The creeks were flowing indeed, which is super lovely in the summertime, especially when hiking during the cool down hours. There weren’t many others on the trail this time of day. In fact, I recall seeing only cyclists, except in O’Neill park were there were people strolling about the meadows. Arroyo Trabuco Creek was flowing as well, and there were some spring flowers still in bloom. Spring is longer this year thanks many days of rain well into April and even May. Smile

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In all, I lackadaisically hiked about 12.5 miles with minimal elevation gain (750’). The absolutely delightful thing about taking a hike into the evening hours is the noises. The wilderness comes alive. The birds amp up their singing, frogs croak at the creek side. There’s all sorts of rustling going on along the trail. It’s exhilarating!  With just about a half mile left to the bike trail near Antonio Pkwy, I got spooked from all the noises, and hurried off, feeling relieved when my feet finally hit the asphalt. (I also felt comfort by the sudden presence of other people about taking their dogs out for a walk in the last hour before sunset.)

A wonderful hike!

And now I know what I need to do, especially since the evening is so lovely. Screw trying to wake early when it’s just not in me right now. Sleep in til 7:30 or  8 am, then mosey around the house with coffee in hand, do some gardening, some chores, some work . . . And then wander aimlessly on trails in the afternoon to take in the exhilarating cool down hours.

Marching Back Up Tijeras Creek Trail

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