Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Time For A New Season


I’ve been away from trails for a bit, a LONG bit. I don’t even want to look up the last date I ventured out. I’m sure it was spring. It depresses me. I really need that contemplation that trails  afford.

Among my excuses: I’ve been busy, (plus it’s hot). Gratefully, I had a good amount of work this summer. I taught a session at the community college (online), had some committee work there as well and taught speech and debate to youngsters out in the San Gabriel valley – quite a drive every Saturday (100+ miles). I also painted my boys’ room (tan with cream trim and ceiling – the toughest part, it’s cathedral!). I also wrote more fiction and added a few short stories to my latest project – a collection based during the turn of the century, the last century in and around the areas that I love (San Juan Capistrano, Black Star Canyon, Silverado, etc.)  This project of course took a lot of blood sweat and tears and added to my ache for the trails. I couldn’t help but think if I could just get out there and wander aimlessly in the mountains say for five to eight hours at a time, I could pretty much finish up the entire collection in my head. But I didn’t do that, instead I struggled and had a rough time of it. I have to hand it to the writer’s group I attended for a while – deadlines really helped me churn out the pages. Lastly, for eight of these summer weeks, I spent my Monday and Wednesday mornings in an online piano class at the college I teach. What a joy that was! It’s been many years since I’ve played. Looking back, the summer was a success but there was always something missing. Trails. Thank God it’s still in my blood. I have this tiny worry that my love of trails is going to slip away and I’m give up that joy. (sigh)

To celebrate my physical return to campus, I went out for a little hike the Friday before the first day of the semester (August 19). I set out in the morning and hiked only a few miles (a little under four). It was hot as expected. But the shade was plentiful in Wood Canyon. I took the scenic trails, the less travelled, and hunted for a perfect spot to sit up above the trail in secret. I eventually found that spot, up from Coyote Run Trail, a nice shady location on a gigantic boulder beneath a canopy of trees. I sat silently above the trail for a nice long while taking in the soft breeze as it blew through the trees. Occasionally a cyclist rode by or a bird hopped about in the leaf litter. The climb down was steep and I scuffed up my knee a tad. Oddly back at home, seeing those scratches comforted me. It was back to normal. Hopefully, it will be that way more often. I know it’s early still and we’ve got more than three weeks left of summer, plus a few more hot weeks after that, but I’ll be happy to say “So-long summer!” It’s time for a new season.

Wood Creek Trail (Photoshopped with a saturation layer):SearchingPoison Oak (Photoshopped with a poster edge filter):PoisonOak

Friday, August 5, 2022

Anne-Marie (Annie) Harvey

IMG_6901The trail running community in my part of of this amazing and perplexing world said good-bye to a lovely woman, an exceptional woman this year. I knew her as Annie and I am blessed to have known her.

I met Anne Marie Harvey at my first long distance trail race – Calico trail run, January 18, 2009. I didn’t meet her officially then. I happened to sit next to Annie, and unknowingly her husband, Steve Harvey. I plopped down on the ground at the awards ceremony after finishing the 30k, wrecked, my skin encrusted in salt, knees bloodied and pebbles embedded in my arms. I wasn’t feeling that great.

This event was indeed my first fully physically trashed experience. It was the one event  that really started this quest for these types of endurance runs. And amazingly, to me anyway, serendipity put me sitting right next to Annie Harvey. If you know me, or if you know this blog, you may know that Calico Ghost Town, oddly, plays a significant part in my life (beginning with my first visit as a Girl Scout camper back in 1975, up to rediscovering it in 2009, then returning year after year.)

Annie ran the 50k in 2009 and finished well before I staggered across the 30k finish line. She finished placing in her category too (I believe she placed first). When Annie stood to take her award, she looked back at me and smiled. Years later, I would know that smile. Annie smiled often. And then she said to me with a wink as she stood to accept her award that day in Calico, “It finally pays off to advance to a higher age group.”

For the next year or so, I saw Annie off in the distance with others at various trail events. I didn’t actually see her again, up front and in person until nearly 2 years after my first Calico. Once again, I was wrecked, so wrecked, I wondered if I could even finish the race. That’s how these things usually went for me, especially in the beginning. The race: my first Saddleback Marathon, November, 2010. And as serendipity would have it once more, I got the pleasure of meeting Annie again -- this time at the last aid station of the race, the Trabuco Trail AS.  

For miles, I had been trying to catch my running friend, only to find out from Annie, that she had just dropped and had taken a seat in the last truck down. I was so disappointed. I counted on some camaraderie to help me make it to the end. My Garmin read something like 21 miles. How was I going to make 5+ more miles? I felt like I was going to collapse! My first time on this course (heck my first time in these mountains), I had no idea what was left of the course. 

Annie smiled. She leaned in and said, “You can do it. You’ve only got a mile and a half to go.”

“Wait. What? That doesn’t make sense.” I looked down at my Garmin.

Annie smiled again and put her fingers to her lips. “Shhhhhh,” she whispered. “The course is short.”

OMG! Well, you can imagine my glee? I was in pretty bad shape but not bad enough shape to stop me from stumbling through 1.5 mostly downhill miles. Thank you Annie for this wonderful news! I could have kissed her. I didn’t. I wish I would have.

I saw Annie in many races, either as a runner or aid station crew. She was a comforting soul at these events. She was too far out ahead of me in races to know her during the run. If my memory serves me correctly, Annie ran one of those Calico races with a broken leg (& I believe the Long Beach Marathon too). By 2015, we were working together side by side, sleeping in trucks parked along the road in the same lower Blue Jay campground circle for Chimera 100s, Old Goat 50s, and the Saddleback Marathons. Annie was always a delight. Annie was appreciative. She was humble and she was kind. We were not close but spent many hours together. I never heard Annie utter an unkind word. She was the type of person who was happy for you and what you could do. I know it’s cliché, but true in Annie’s case – she was one of a kind. 

annieI’m very fortunate that I got to work for Steve Harvey (Old Goat Races). I received much (immeasurable) on my part of the deal,  not the least of which, working with Annie. Annie was lovely. I really cannot think of a better word to describe her. She was the queen of Old Goat. This summer we said good-bye to a queen.  


I picked this up from a little piece of paper with this link printed at the photo showcase during Annie’s Celebration of Life in San Juan Capistrano this summer: “When Annie met Steve,” at the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, June 1991. -