Today these two and I went on a trail run before the family and I embark on a little road trip tomorrow. I was looking forward to getting this long run done, so that it just doesn’t matter what I do for the next few days. Here we were at about mile 11, and unfortunately had yet to scale the mountain behind us. It was a slow slog. Early on, we saw a rattler:
By “saw,” I mean “ran by and screamed and leapt four feet in the air when we discovered we were right next to it.” We also saw a coyote, casually walking toward us ahead on the trail. We weren’t too rattled by that encounter and it chickened out off to the side of the trail. No photo opp.
We finally made it to the top of Rockhouse.
Even though cloudy, the air was the clearest I’ve seen all summer. You can see Pt. Loma and the Pacific in the distance. From there, we let gravity do most of the work in getting us back down to the car. It has been encouraging me into restful positions ever since.
I met a bunch of new people today when a friend and I joined them for a trail run. The woman taking the selfie here ran 28 miles yesterday, and here she was today. Another woman – older than me! – is running the Barkley Marathons 50K next weekend in Tennessee. I’m out of my league.
Someone said there were 480 stairs here, but I didn’t count them. We started heading up them around mile 8 of the “Stairway to Heaven” 1/2 marathon trail run, so I wasn’t in a counting mood. Instead, I was in a mood to use the excuse of documenting to stop climbing, and the photos I got throughout the race are all similar in that way and thus highlight the more painful moments of today’s experience.
The course took us around a sizable portion of Mission Trails park, including to the top of South Fortuna, which was the 5th peak I needed to conquer to complete the “5 Peak Challenge,” that the park offers. The others I climbed on previous visits. I can pick up a certificate at the Visitor center sometime.
The one thing going for us today was that it was cloudy for the first couple hours. This race was the third of a four race series of trail runs, and the one I was most reluctant to do because of heat this time of year. I don’t think the weather has been this forgiving in years past, and I doubt it will be again, so I’m okay with calling today’s race an “x in the block.”
Before the stairs, at around mile 3 we climbed this fun hill, called “the widow maker.” It took us up to a saddle between North and South Fortuna peaks. Fortunately, what goes up must come down, and on the backside we followed a rolling loop of a trail that was the most scenic part of the run, prior to the stairway. Because it was pleasant and fast, and I was feeling good, I didn’t stop for pictures.
The last couple miles were relatively flat through an area called the Grasslands. That was a bit of a relief, but since the clouds had cleared the heat compensated for the elevation to continue the torture. Therefore: photo time.
The only photo taken when I wasn’t in agony was this “before” race pic.
Because “after” we were considerably dirtier, smellier, and less inclined to an upright position, we didn’t manage a picture. But since there is nothing like pain to make you appreciate its absence, we were still smiling.
Today I took a quick jaunt up a well-travelled trail nearby, in prep for a trail 1/2 marathon that will be neither quick nor jaunty this weekend. I encountered this apparent snake trail when I diverted to a different path after seeing this cross the trail ahead of me:
I did my good deed by back tracking a bit to inform a couple of older women hiking behind me that they might want to change course. Fortunately, this weekend there will be plenty of others ahead of me on the trail to scare away the varmints before I get there. Not that I ever was, but there are fewer incentives to being head of the pack these days. I like it.