TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

I Understand the Lure

IMG_4285IMG_4292I have been yearning for Maple Springs Road for a while now. And then the Silverado fire happened (which wasn’t in Silverado) and Santiago Canyon was closed for travel. I was afraid that I would miss the Maples turning yellow this year, which would definitely be apropos with how things have been going.  But I did not miss the Maples turning yellow – I finally made it out last Saturday (November 14). I think that it was perhaps the most crowded that I have ever seen Maple Springs Road. With much of The Main Divide still closed due to #HolyFire, this is one of the few ways up the mountain. Being that the gate was open, I was able to drive the asphalt portion of the road. I parked at a bend in the road where the road turns to dirt. From there I hiked up Maple Springs Road (about 4.5 miles and all uphill, but not excruciating uphill). In all, the trip was about 9 miles with 1,500’ of elevation gain.I didn’t see another person on foot. But I talked to one guy in a truck parked at one of the turnouts on the way up and another on a bike (as in bicycle) at Four Corners where Maple Springs Road ends. Both of them expressed their shock that I had hiked “all that way.” This of course puzzled me. I must look really old and out of shape.

Maple Springs Road

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IMG_4314The weather was perfect. I could see the San Gabriels capped with snow. They are calling my name as well! I recalled my first trip up Maple Springs Road (with Tom Fangrow and a group of other runners). I remembered a tunnel of Pine forest that signified we were near the top of Maple Springs Road. That Pine forest burned down soon after that, and now it is bursting back with young pine trees as as tall as me and even taller.  I did a little running on the way back for no reason at all, in other words I wasn’t running late or anything. A running urge just came over me.

I really didn’t mind the crowds so much. I understand the lure. Even with the multitude of vehicles, motorcycles and cyclists travelling up Maple Springs Road, there were many moments of solitude on the way up. And I was almost completely by myself on the way down.

It felt good to be back, even with all of the crowds. I am optimistic about fall! I have not been optimistic in a long time. I am also looking forward to some winter snow on Maple Springs Road in 2021 – stay tuned because I will be there clicking my camera like a fool.

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