I got to return to the Santa Ana Mountains today, early, early in the morning. I woke at 4AM to meet running partner Tom B. (at 5:30 AM), and we drove through a dark canyon to take off running at sunrise up Holy Jim Trail – my favorite trail.
Holy Jim really wasn’t so bad. I love the switch-back aspect. And I was still fresh. The really tough part of today’s loop was running portions of The Main Divide. It’s exposed and features a few good climbs, one in particular (you can probably pick it out on the elevation chart below). But The Main Divide is a road, which made for relatively danger-free running. We had something else to constantly deal with though on The Main Divide -- most of it, those nasty little Gnats swarmed us, several flying up my nose. I even spit out a few when I finally told myself, “keep your mouth shut.”
I was very ready for the shade of Trabuco Trail. What we weren’t so keen on was the rocky, so very rocky portions about half way down. With the heat and fatigue, I ran carefully to avoid a mishap. Don’t want to fall on this single track – I might find myself sliding down the side of a steep slope (I’ve done that before).
Reaching the creek was absolute heaven. It was shady and lush, a truly beautiful sight. I took that ice cold water and drenched my hair and handkerchief. Had the creek not been so thin, I probably would have lay right down in it. I wasn’t exactly delirious. But I was feeling the heat, I’ll tell ya! I remember running back to the creek in search of my sunglasses when I realized they were on my face.
I’m very lucky and happy to have a running partner to accompany me on today’s run. It’s difficult to get people to run up there, not only is the terrain difficult, but the time needed to complete the loop puts a huge dent into your day. Thanks Tom! (And a big thanks to Jeremy and Hank too who accompanied me last time). I’m too chicken to run these mountains alone.
Today’s run totaled 17.85 miles, a little shorter than I estimated. But that’s just fine with me. Those last couple miles running in were extremely difficult. And hot!
Running down Trabuco Trail.