Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Sunday Travels

Spring semester ended late May. It felt like a starting gun for me to squeeze into 2 weeks all that I have neglected. I have neglected much. But that is always the case (though I’m constantly moving. Never. Bored.) Two weeks is not enough time of course. But I still make my lists so that I can at least progress a little. I need to finish painting my boys’ bedroom. I have to get my truck worked on. I have to paint the kitchen and clean up all my stacks. Stacks, stacks, everywhere stacks! And I also have to prep for classes. Fortunately, I have a full load this summer – fortunately for the bills but not so much for tending to that which I have neglected. And not so fortunate for my quest of  trails and secret places.

Who needs trails for secret places? Trails make secret places very easy to realize. So, the answer is I do; I need trails for secret places.  But one can find such a place in a crowded room. It just takes focus, difficult focus. I don’t have that focus right now. I’m out of whack (more so than usual). So, when I can, I drive down to the ocean and find my secret place parked in front of the waves. This works wonderfully.

This past Sunday, I packed a bag and chair and walked down to the sand to set up office.The beach was crowded, the skies were blue. A gorgeous day! I caught up on much of my reading. It felt good. It felt good to get my legs moving too. That is, until it didn’t.

Somewhere in my Sunday travels, I must have twisted my knee. By the time I headed back, my knee was swollen and achy. Weary of injuries, I thought it probably wasn’t a great idea to hike back up Highway One with this knee problem. But after learning that the trolley doesn’t go up Highway One (only down!) and that the county bus wasn’t due to arrive for another twenty minutes, I decided to go ahead and make the trip by foot. Not a good idea. My left knee pained me all night. It was swollen, throbbing and locked up when I walked. I was so perplexed by this injury that I spent several hours icing and researching online. It seemed to me that I had one of two things, either 1) a meniscus injury, or 2) arthritis pain. Because of the locking, I suspected the injury (plus I had been walking around in sand with an uneven load – as if I didn’t know any better!). My prognosis for hitting the trails anytime soon looked poor. I was already planning my recovery.

The next morning I woke afraid to step out of bed. But something very strange happened. I felt no pain whatsoever. The swelling had gone down and there was absolutely no locking. I read that minor meniscus injuries can heal very quickly. But this quickly? I doubted that. So, now I’m a little worried that it was arthritis. Who knows. For now, my knee is good and I’m not going to worry about it. I’m done with carrying about worry.

My office for the afternoon:IMG_6815

Somewhere over here is where I think that I twisted my kneeConfused smile:IMG_6821IMG_6816IMG_6809

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Good Friday’s Station of the Cross

April 15 – hiked to Baker’s Cross (near Black Star Canyon) for the best Stations of the Cross hike in town. Just about 2 miles long, you can almost double that by hiking up the steep dirt driveway, which I did. I highly recommend this Stations of the Cross – what awesome views for a Good Friday!



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Tuesday, March 29, 2022


IMG_0078I originally planned my hike for Saturday with a ten+ miler that I knew would kick my butt. My desire was to get absolutely thrashed. And thrashed I was when I returned from Black Star Canyon. I felt like I had run an ultra. I really had no idea that my arm would ache from the swinging back and forth for 11 miles. Turns out, I do need arms to hike!

With my longest hike since my December injuries being only 5.5 relatively flat miles, I knew Black Star Canyon (which is not tricky at all, just a dirt truck trail) would be difficult. But you may know, I like difficult. Actually, I love difficult.

The morning was crisp and cold, just how I like it. But as I made my way up that steep incline, I realized I had dressed a little too warm for a sunny day in spring. After layering down a bit, I made it to my secret spot in about two hours. I felt good, not necessarily strong, but not aching. I had the entire spot where my secret spot is nestled to myself and hung out there for about an hour before heading back down the mountain.

I continued to feel good for much of the hike back. I could tell though that my body was merely moving automatically, not because I had any desire at all to move. I have to say, one of the greatest things I’ve learned in my life is how to keep on moving (mentally or physically) when I’m dead-dog-tired. This little characteristic has helped me out a great deal. And it helped me on Saturday to get back to the truck. My body was so fatigued, I knew that I had accomplished my goal. I was thrashed but wouldn’t feel the full affects for the next couple hours – I knew that because I’ve been through this before. Smile with tongue out

After the 45 minute drive home, I could barely move to get out of my truck. I kind of just fell out, landing on my feet on the front lawn. My husband who could see me from inside the house, came out to help me up the steps into our home. He’s also been through this before.

Wow. Finally. It’s been too long!

Black Star Canyon Road:IMG_0110Baker’s Cross:IMG_0113



IMG_0128My Secret Spot:IMG_0146

Morning Glory:IMG_0176IMG_0183IMG_0108

11 miles total (will upload watch later & upload elevation gain here) Rolling on the floor laughing

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Backup Plan

I was looking forward to trying out some steeper hills to test out my calf on Wednesday (3/23). So, I drove up Pacific Coast Highway to Alta Laguna Park in Laguna Beach (the Top of the World area). But then I had to ditch those plans when I realized that my pack bladder sprung a leak! And so I drove back home and did a 5 mile walkabout in my own town. It was beautiful. The weather was nice. But it wasn’t the same. I walked barefoot on the sand for a while. Even waded in the surf. Most of time though my feet came down on cement. My feet were definitely sore back at home (I’ve spoiled them with dirt!)Sad smile






Friday, March 25, 2022

Step Two

Having suffered no adverse effects from my the flagpole hike, I set out for Step Two this past Monday (3/21). I chose a nice and easy hike in Aliso and Wood Canyon, and really didn’t push it at all. The Aliso to Wood Canyon hike is always a good one for an easy, relaxed and off and on shady hike, especially if you stop by the caves.

5 miles, felt fine (but then again, this hike has very little elevation gain!).

Until next time ~

Aliso Canyon (Soka University off to right):IMG_0001Inside Dripping aka. Robbers Cave:IMG_0007
Up on top of Cave Rock:IMG_0025Hiking down side of Cave Rock:IMG_0028Backside of Cave Rock:IMG_0034IMG_0041

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Am I Out?

I’ve grown weary with the piled-on injuries status, and a little worried too. I mean, is this how it’s going to always be now, am I out?

With the mountains turning green and starting to bloom in December in my state, I’ve also been growing rather anxious watching spring from the sidelines. This is how I’ve been talking to myself as the weeks turned into months: “Calm down Lauren, you’ve seen spring in the mountains many, many times – in fact, you are blessed with mountain springtime experiences, don’t be so selfish! You are extremely blessed with what you have already been given!!!”

IMG_9891This past Saturday (3/19) I finally got out to walk on some dirt – a short hike really, and I didn’t want to do it. I had to force myself out the door. And then I drove 5 minutes to the closest trails. I just wanted to test out my physical abilities.

The worst of my physical pains is my left arm. Thankfully, though I need my arm to run, I don’t need it so much to hike. Removing the pack can be a pain – a minor inconvenience!  What I really wanted to do is put a few miles in on hilly terrain. I wanted to see if my torn calf had indeed fully healed. I can say after my first experiment, I believe it has healed. 

The hike was a beautiful 4 miles just before some rain came in that night. Lots of mountain bikers were out, a few e-bikes as well. On the way in, I had a nice long conversation with another hiker about coyotes, fishing and bears. In the end, it was good to get out and I felt relieved.

Experiment 1 is complete. Step 2 is to get out again to make doubly make sure the calf is good.

Some pics from Experiment 1: