Sunday, we got a good downpour here in the land that seldom sees rain. I know that we need the rain, but rain spoils things for me, especially since Mondays are one of the few days that I can get out and run. As expected, all my local tails were CLOSED “due to wet and muddy conditions.”
Well, I had me a full tank of gas, so I thought, “Hell with it,” and headed up Ortega Highway in my beloved truck. I know that I would have been better off staying home and putting in miles right out my front door. I would after all, have time to get in some good mileage if I had chosen that route. But what I wanted was beauty, not brawn.
I pulled into Blue Jay campground an hour later, and felt calm and joyful being back to this lovely location. The ground was still muddy, a few campfires smoldered beneath overly cloudy, cold skies. Gosh, it had to be 50 degrees F! (I’m so sorry – I know that isn’t cold for the rest of the world, but it is cold here). Branches were strewn about; no trees were down, though a few widow makers hung precariously from branches above. I felt so at home that I could have pitched a tent and stayed a week.
I cannot adequately relay just how happy and peaceful I felt.
Since hubby had indicated that he would pick up the boys from school, I took off down San Juan Trail feeling like I had all the time in the world. I did not see another soul on the trails as I made my way toward the San Juan / Old San Juan Trail junction. But I was not alone. The forest was alive with sound – critters scrambling through the brush, birds singing anonymously among the trees. Listening to this music, I had no desire for man-made music, and kept my ear buds hanging over my shoulders.
I spotted my destination, Sugarloaf Peak, a mile out. It took some trial and error to find the path that leads to the entrance at the top. Then it was climbing time, scooting over boulders, grabbing onto branches. My legs were scuffed with scratches. Oh the glory.
I summited Sugarloaf Peak and took a seat on a large flat boulder. I could see Los Pinos Trail climbing up the mountain on my right. I could see as far as the Pacific Ocean, with ridgeline overlapping more ridgelines reaching out to my left. I had my beauty. And it took some brawn to get it. (The best of both worlds).
The wind picked up; the temperature dropped. And I simply sat there on that rock and took it all in – the sights, the sounds, the chilling wind. It was a little spooky, like the wind might swoop me off my rock. I dug around in my pack and replaced my cap with a wool beanie, and I was good for the cold. Then I sat some more.
Eventually, I felt that I ought to get going – not that I wanted to go (I could have stayed all day). I just needed to get back to reality because I do have a wonderful family back at home (young sons that I desire to see, since I miss out on so much with this crazy work schedule). And I also had a meeting with my boss later in the afternoon.
I finally glanced at my garmin when my feet hit Old San Juan Trail. It read 1:10. Flabbergasted, I thought to myself, “This must be time elapsed – it CANNOT be 1PM!” But, alas it was after 1PM (time elapsed was much greater). One might think that since it was so dang late, that I would have picked up my step a bit. But I did not. Instead, I lackadaisically ran back (because that is the way roll) toward my truck.
At the Old San Juan Trail / San Juan Trail junction, I decided to take a so-called short-cut by going straight up Old San Juan instead of meandering San Juan. (Okay, we have two trails out here called “San Juan Trail”, not to mention an additional “San Juan Loop.” We have an older, less travelled trail, the original San Juan Trail, that we call “Old San Juan Trail.” And we have a new San Juan Trail that we call “San Juan Trail” or “New San Juan Trail”. Just thought I’d straighten that out). Now, speaking of so-called short-cuts, I know darn well that “short-cut” never really means that the trip is shorter in time. In fact, short-cuts are usually much more difficult. And that it was. But it was a lovely struggle getting back to the truck. All that beauty was well worth the brawn.