TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Got to Love an Adventure

Perhaps I am certifiably insane.  Perhaps I’m merely an explorer.  I don’t know.  I just love an adventure and I probably spend too much time on my hair-brained ideas. Winking smile

Today’s concoction:  Run the bike path (or the riverwalk, as I call it) above San Juan Creek.  But instead of running into the historic district and downtown San Juan Capistrano as I usually do when I run the riverwalk, I planned to turn off and follow the bike trail that I pass over on the freeway almost every day.

So I strapped on my pack full of water and other essentials and headed down the highway.  About a mile in, I realized my hands were empty and I gasped, “I forgot my water!”

Uhhh, Lauren, your water’s on your back. 

Funny how the brain confuses.  I never wear a pack when I run the road.  Today though, I wasn’t sure where I’d end up, so I put on the pack.

I took Sycamore Creek Trail to the “Riverwalk".  No creek runs along this trail.  Though some small Sycamores grow along the side.  Actually, the trail runs through an exercise park with a dozen or so stations along the way.

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Running along the “riverwalk” aka bike path – Enjoyable?  Yes.  Hot?  Yes!  The cement path offers very little shade opportunities.  Though the sound of rushing water helped me feel refreshed.

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The long, lonely road.  For some reason, just like with trails, I tend to veer to the edge. 

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Running beneath the road (Camino Capistrano) meant shade!!  Up head, more shade as I ran beneath the freeway (I-5).

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Okay, I didn’t care about the heat about now, because I’m feeling a trail coming on . . .

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Ahhhh, yes.  After a quick stop at a water fountain in a park (because I didn’t want to run out of my supply) I happened upon a nice, slightly muddy equestrian trail.  Notice the shade – glorious, glorious shade.  (Today, by the way, was the hottest day in a long time)

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I felt good, confident that I knew where I was headed.  My plan: reach a ridge a few miles up. 

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There’s only one problem.  I ran this trail until it ended.  I mean ENDED. It ended at the locked gates of the equestrian center on Highway 74.  I couldn’t find any way around it.  And as it was, I was on the wrong side of the creek.  Well, I disobeyed (who me?) the signs that warned to stay on the trail.   There was no way I was turning around and running all the way back.  My plan – cross the creek, or rather creeks at this point and find a trail on the other side.

I crossed the first creek merely submerging my shoes.  The second creek, same thing.  The main creek however flowed rather quickly, and appeared about knee deep.  I scoured the land for a way to cross.  Two ducks swiftly floated by.

When I’d find a trail, I’d take it until I found myself boxed in by shrubbery so thick, I was forced to turn around and take the trail back in search for another trail.  This occurred again and again, the brush was so dense.

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Finally I phoned my husband so he could look on the Google Earth and find a way.  He reported that I took the wrong trail – I was on the wrong side of the creek. 

Really?

Noticing mountain lion tracks in the mud (be sure I know my cougar tracks, they are unmistakable once you know them), I told him, I’m just crossing the stream.  “No,” hubby pleaded.  He said that he hated not being there to make sure I didn’t get swept up in the creek.  So while he scoured the satellite maps with the computer freezing up, I talked to him as I crossed the stream.  It wasn’t quite knee deep – I’d say it was 3/4’s calve high.  But it did flow swiftly.  I slipped only once, but made the other side safely.  On the other side – no trails!  Just massive brush.  I ducked beneath branches.  I trampled through poison oak.  Really, I had no choice.  I could see the steep riverbank, but could find no way to it.  Hanging up the phone so that I could concentrate and listen for dangers, I trudged through that stuff knowing I had to get to San Juan Creek Road (according to a very helpful husband who by the way, wasn’t too thrilled about my adventure – but perhaps he’s getting used to this).

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Boxed in again.  Ahhh.  Duh!

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Finally, I saw the light.  A way up the bank.  I scrambled up that bank to find a massive hunk of thick, knee-high brush.  I plowed my way through that and what do you know!  An equestrian trail!  A lovely, muddy equestrian trail!  Just a little ways a head, I spotted a street sign that read “San Juan Creek Road!” 

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When I reached the road, I ran a stretch of pavement with delight in my heart, not to mention flashbacks of those cougar tracks running through my mind. 

Soon I reached the trail I aimed for.  And I ran up to that ridge for a bit of treasure – a view of San Juan Capistrano (I could even see the mission) and behind me, the foothills of The Cleveland National Forest.

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I grew extremely fatigued on my (more direct) run back.  At one point, I realized that I would run near our boys’ school about the time my husband picked them up.  (It’s “early out” all week).  So, I put in one more call to cut this run about 3 miles short.  I asked if he could please wait for me and take me home.  My better half offered to better that, and pick me up at my current location.  I insisted that he just wait, perhaps drive up the road from the school and wait for me at the “riverwalk.” 

Turns out, he arrived at the exact same time as I did.  I hopped into the truck, dead-dog tired, happy to see my two youngest, who weren’t so interested in seeing me as they busily planned the rest of their “early-out” day.

Miles logged on this adventure:  11 (though it seemed like so much more!)

To be determined:  status of poison ivy tramping. 

Injuries:  just a few scrapes on the legs. Smile Smile

ps.  times like this, I feel like the luckiest person on Earth.

pss.  and then I went to work, the students were wonderful, except for one exceptional student I had to “yell down,” and threaten he was out of the program unless he turned in some work today (this after he called me a liar!).  Needless to say, he turned in some work.  And though he still thinks I hate him.  I don’t.  (I could have booted him after the “liar” comment.  But I just don’t have the heart).  Okay, is that TOO MUCH INFO???

It’s so hard to watch people with “talent” for lack of a better word, to waste it.  I on the other hand have no such “talent” (except to be freakishly organized and feel unorganized), but I make do.  And so can you!

10 comments:

  1. Lovely and entertaining post! I like adventures like this as well. Luckily we don’t have poison ivy but we have enough other bad stuff to make up for that. Keep it going and stay safe!

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  2. I feel like I was scrunched inside a little dry pocket of your waterpack. Thanks for bringing me along! It was a nice (imaginary) nature break. Got some of the (also imaginary) library dust out of my lungs. :-) I love your blog! See you soon, my friend.

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  3. I am still trying to figure out how you are levitating in that second pic...

    What an adventure. You are a crazy brave trail runner! Mountain lions and poison ivy... Nothanks!!

    Do you have a gamin map of this wandering through the brush?

    Glad you made it back safely. Hope the PI isn't too bad. And I lose my sunglasses on my head all the time :)

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  4. Sounds like quite an adventure.
    I love strapping on my camelbak and just running wherever I feel like.
    Things can get hairy though!
    Glad you made it out ok.

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  5. Thanks so much Johann! No rash from the poison oak (I mis-wrote in the blog, we have poison oak, not ivy). Anyway, I scrubbed with hot water and soap back home, and then some more with poison ivy/oak scrub. Even if I did get a rash -- it would have been worth it (am I crazy or what?)

    Today's adventure didn't turn out as lovely. : (

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  6. Thanks Melissa. You are so sweet. And you have such a lovely way of putting it. Glad you got an imaginary break. Hope to see you soon.

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  7. LOL Lindsay. It does look like I'm levitating. Actually, my hands are covering where my behind is resting on the bench edge. I didn't post the garmin map because it leads straight from my house, and I a little paranoid about doing that. Next exciting adventure though, I shall crop out that portion and post the map. Thanks for reading!

    ps. no reaction from the poisin ivy (actually, I meant poisin oak : ) I really think I'm immuned (knock on wood!)

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  8. Thanks for stopping by Jessie. Yes, it is the best to just strap on that pack and adventure hunt. I have a bad habit though. I usually don't study maps beforehand. I want to just "find" my way. Luckily, I've ended up okay. But, today's mapless running left me without water on a scorching day!

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  9. Great little adventure! Don't those locked gates just burn you? Kind of like Emerald Canyon. Beauty beauty beauty wtf?

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  10. Thanks Glen. These locked gates are about to drive me crazy. At least the first time I ran Emerald Canyon, I was warned about the locked gate. Still, I searched for a hole. No such luck!

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