Sunday, August 20, 2017

New Years Day! (In August)

Tomorrow is my new year. Yay!!!!  It is my new year because I am a teacher. School starts tomorrow at two of the schools I teach. In another two weeks, I will be back at all three schools. And so, tomorrow, everything starts over, as far as I’m concerned. It’s like January first. And I am glad. I am so glad. I have had a rough summer. And now, I feel that I have a new beginning with New Years Day occurring tomorrow.

This summer showed me something, in abundance, that I have known all along is very important to my well-being. That is: I need structure. I need structure big time. If I didn’t have to do anything, it seems lately, I’d just laze around the house all day, taking naps here and there, accomplishing very little, even though I desired to accomplish much. Give me some structure -- then suddenly, I get to those things that have been weighing me down, things that I actually really want to do, but for some reason, with an unstructured lifestyle can’t seem to get it done. Case in point: I didn’t paint the house this summer like I planned, I didn’t find my novel, Beyond the Pale, so that I could give it a read and make changes (I think it’s under the bed), I didn’t clean out my closet, and most important and dear to my heart,  I didn’t get back to trail running.  Mostly, the things that I accomplished were those things that I HAD TO DO. I did get my syllabi created, my class websites set up, some cleaning and reorganizing of my office and also my boys the things they needed. But myself, my physical and mental health: total and utter neglect.

I’ll stop complaining right now, and say that it wasn’t all for naught. I got out and wandered some, and I spent several hours in the gym. But those wandering hours -- they are where it’s at with me. I love to wander. I have two such wanderings to clear out before the new year tomorrow.

The first was way, way back on August 11, for 6 miles. It was an evening expenditure, taking the first steps out my front door. My route included: Doheny Beach, Capistrano Beach, and the wharf. The weather was warm, but beach breezy. And at the wharf, I saw sea lions barking and swimming in the waters right off of Wind N’ Sea restaurant. 

Doheny Beach:IMG_0846

Sea Lions playing near the wharf:IMG_0860


IMG_0876The second was at one of my usual haunts, Wood Canyon way back on August 15, for 7 miles. I took this one in the evening, or thereabouts. No stress involved, just lovely scenery and moving the feet. It’s odd when I am so out of shape, and I mean it (really!), I can still hike seven miles. So, I guess, I’ve got a good base to start over with on this upcoming new year (that happens tomorrow!)

Wood Canyon:IMG_0879

Pretty cool hiking partner:IMG_0889

More Wood Canyon:IMG_0892

And some parting pictures from the year --

From our summer garden:IMG_0871

And . . . my cat in a box:IMG_0902

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Aliso/Wood Canyons Loop

August 2nd, Wednesday, in the muggy heat of the afternoon, I parked my car at Canyon View Park for a long hike in Aliso/Wood Canyons. The place was empty. Empty, as in not one car was parked along the road that is usually lined with automobiles. I noticed a young couple hiking up from Wood Canyon as I prepped at my truck, and overheard them ask a maintenance worker the whereabouts of a drinking fountain. The worker shook his head, and I shouted out that there was a drinking fountain over in the playground. Turns out, I went to check that out on my way into the canyon, and to my horror found that the drinking fountain was no longer there. Why would they remove the fountain? It actually annoyed me a great deal. Well, I trotted on down into the canyon to catch the couple, and offered them some of my water. I would after all, be able to refill at my half-way point. They politely declined and said that because they were from Texas, they could handle it. 

So, I took off into Wood Canyon, opting for the shady route for the first half. But as I inched into the canyon, I could feel the furnace heating up. And somewhat disbelieving that the Texas couple could hack their lack of water, I changed my route, and decided to head up Cholla and hike the same route as the waterless two.

Ends up, I never saw them again. And it was really a good thing that I changed my route. West Ridge was breezy and lovely. Much better than hiking the canyon where the heat gets trapped. About a mile in, I met up with some hiking company – gentleman named Kevin, a professor from Cal State Fullerton (my alma mater). We hiked those 3 miles up to Top of the World, chatting and comparing notes, which made the time scoot by quickly, especially on the two particularly steep portions that I struggle on of late. 

At Top of the World, Kevin headed off to his car, while I headed into the neighborhoods to pick up the park at the other end near Meadows Trail. At Meadows I headed down into Aliso Canyon. Then I made the trek back up Wood Canyon to my truck parked alongside Canyon View Park, for a total of 9.71 miles.

I saw lots of snake tracks along the way, but not a single snake, and snapped a few pictures of the scenery that I possess perhaps thousands of pictures of already. Smile


Wednesday, August 2, 2017


Gotta keep moving!

Hot and muggy in my parts, but nothing like what a little drive inland will give you. We are still WELL below 100 F. We even had a little rain the other night. And it pretty much constantly looks like a thunder storm is going to burst down upon us. Plus despite the humidity, we still have those cool ocean breezes a plenty!

Sunday late afternoon (7/30), I decided on the coolest route possible to get my legs moving – a walkabout in my own town. Took off on an incline to move inland some, then I caught the bike path down to Monarch Beach, where the Monarch Links (a golf club) overlooks the shore.

Miles for this loop totaled 7.7. Dark clouds loomed above. Cool breezes blew in my face. I am just so dang spoiled here. The climb out of Dana Strands to the Headlands was really tough (need I mention I’m out of shape!). But it was well worth it to venture across the Headlands. I arrived home just after the street lights came on.

Monarch Links:IMG_0759

At Salt Creek:IMG_0765

Salt Creek, or maybe Dana Strands:IMG_0773

Hiking the Headlands:IMG_0777IMG_0782

Back in town:IMG_0785