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Outdoors, Hiking, Running

Various Hikes & Whining – Q1 2019

Mules on the South Kaibab

Random notes on random hikes and such. Cover photo is from 12/31/18 in the Grand Canyon, but whatever.

Santiago Peak from Silverado Mar 30

So, this turned out to be a weird day. Thought I’d hike, jog up to Santiago Peak (the highest point in OC) from Silverado Canyon via the Maple Springs Truck Trail. I had checked the distance on Google Maps, and it was almost exactly 10 miles, making for 20 miles roundtrip and about 4k elevation gain and loss. Longer than my more recent hikes and runs, but nothing unreasonable. I parked down the road from the trailhead (there’s never parking in the actual lot) and got started around 7:30 am. Felt a bit tired and empty. I’ve been eating small breakfasts before hikes, and was probably a bit hungover from the day before, but I figured it would pass. It did not pass. I felt slow and heavy, but it was a pretty, cool morning and I focused on taking in a new trail.

I passed and was passed by mountain bikers, but never saw any other hikers until I got to the summit — they had all come up via the much shorter Trabuco Canyon route I’d done partially a few weeks ago. No other runners, which seems odd, but it’s not the most scenic trail / road, and like I said…the parking sucks.

To make a very long story, short, I started bonking near the top (not reallyl unexpected given my low recent mileage) and checked Gaia for my distance — more than 12 miles. Somehow, Google was off by more than two miles in each direction, so my hike / jog was now 24+ miles instead of 20. No biggie.

On top in 3:10 I said hi to a few hikers on the summit after wandering around a bit, then checked my “supplies.” I was about halfway through my two liters of water and electrolytes, and I was completely out of food. So, I had planned to go light, and brought only 3 Kind bars for calories. I’d eaten 1.75 of them on the way up, and apparently dropped one somewhere below — which was hard to understand, but it was nowhere in my pack. Sigh. Still, no biggie. My legs weren’t that tired and my energy was low but not terrible.

It was soon terrible. I jogged slowly down the road back to the saddle between Santiago and Modjeska peaks, then walked uphill for about a mile to the turn and lookout on the far west flank of Modjeska, sat down and took a break. I felt like crap (say, bonk level 1 or 2). My first theory was calories; poor diet the day before, small breakfast, very little food (and no calories at ally in my electrolytes). I still had plenty of water and I wasn’t sweating that badly. No big deal. I’d already knocked off nearly 4 miles of the return and the rest was a steady downhill.

Sufficed to say, I got slower, and slower, and slower until it was a bit ridiculous. And it got hotter, a bit over 80 near the bottom. Started making those stupid goals (next corner, next shade, next viewpoint, paved road, etc.) and stopped to rest several times. It didn’t help.

I slogged my way down, feeling lightheaded and slightly nauseated, ran out of water just after hitting the paved road, and trudged toward the trailhead gate. It took a while. By any reasonable logic, with a time of 3:10 up, I should have been close to 2 hours down, for a R/T for 5:20 or so including time dithering on top. As it turned out, I finished 24.2 miles in 6:25, with my downhill death march taking as long as the ascent.  And then it was a half mile back to the car.

And during that half mile, I could barely walk, was lightheaded, nearly threw up, and my tongue was tingly. It was all very silly. Sat in the car with the AC on drinking water and electrolytes and trying to figure out why I felt so crap. I was definitely dehydrated, but the way I felt seemed out of proportion to how dehydrated I was; it just wasn’t that hot most of the hike. I figured it was just severe bonkage, and yet I had no desire to eat. Blah. As usual, the only thing that settled my stomach was a cold Sprite from a store back in civilization.

Back home, I weighed myself and I’d lost 13 pounds AFTER drinking the two liters during the hike, so that’s a lot. Guess I was more dehydrated than I thought. Still wasn’t hungry. Just wanted to sleep. Never really recovered the whole day. Ate, drank, took in salts, crazy tired, but couldn’t sleep. Just weird all around. Odd thing is, my legs were never that tired, and I didn’t injure anything. For me, that’s a great day on the trail. Ish.

There are obvious lessons here about bringing more water and food, but what concerns me more is the drastic change in fluid loss as the temperatures increase from Winter to Spring. If it had been 50 instead of 80, I’d have been fine. I’m never going to be able to do much in warmer weather given my sweat rate. Just something to remember.

As for the good news, fitness-wise and injury-wise, it wasn’t bad at all. I would have been around 5 hours R/T w/o the bonk and dehydration, which is on par with my best 50k finish in terms of pace (including elevation gain and loss). Achilles are fine. Just need to run at night.

Speaking of which, call out to all those doing the Barkley Marathons today. Be safe Out There!

Black Star Hike Mar 24

Injured hike-walk-gimp on a sunny day. Injury slowed me down a bit, but still got in roughly 11.3 miles. This took me up to the climb toward the end o the trail/road that most people seem to do (I think another 1.5 miles to the junction). Nice day, but I can tell it’ll suck a bit as things warm up. Still looking forward to when I can run the extended road up to the peaks. Soon, I hope…

Santiago Truck Trail 3-23

Somehow managed to wake up injured (minor grown / inner quad strain) Friday morning. I think middle age means you Injured While Sleeping. So, took a pokey hike on Saturday morning on the truck trail to see what it would be like. Nice grade, good scenery, so if the terrible parking can be dealt with, should make for a nice hill training path. Last of wintery weather perhaps, so nice and cool.

Silverado Trail 03-21

First day of Spring on a great trail in the rain. Best therapy ever. About 7.5 miles and 2K up and down, nice single track, all by myself. Awesome.

Harding Truck Trail 03-17

Drove down the road and checked out…something. Hiked a few miles RT. Good running trail for future training.

Smashmouth Trail Exploration 03-17

Found a little trail out of Silverado, just down the road a piece from Black Star. Crap trail, but lots of elevation gain. Need better shoes for it. Cute little summit view and box with rock bench to take in the foothills. Meh.

Cadillo Trail to Santiago Truck Trail 03-16

Was going to poke around the Holy Jim Trail up Santiago peak, but of course that was closed due to fires. Backed up a bit and went up Cadillo Trail. Around 6.5 miles, 1,800′ elevation gain, so it would have been an0ther 2,300′ or so up to Santiago. Had no food or water, and wanted to take it easy on calves after Thursday, so turned around at 2nd junction. Very runnable once you’re on the Santiago Truck Trail, but too steep / slippery below that. Worth a return trip, with possible alternate starting point to avoid dirt road driving. Eight people seen, two on electric mountain bikes. Slackers.

OC trails so far not as terrible as I feared, but they’re green now and there’s no smog. We’ll see once it’s brown from sky to ground.

Black Star Canyon Run Partial 03-14

Was trying to avoid the post-work slump, so returned to Black Star for evening run starting just before 6 pm (40 min drive in traffic from apt, but would be less from work and if earlier). Ran whole thing until flat part on return, so 7.5 miles R/T, Forgot headlamp in car, so had to turn around before first high point, and it’s good I did; my calves tightened up on the way down and I was crazy tight by the time I walked up to the car and started getting work calls. Calf pain so serious by bedtime I had to take painkillers even after rubbing them out. Apparently 25 miles (this week) of run-hiking is a bit much after no running at all. Still, it felt great in every other way. Love getting out. Made work on Friday tolerable, even if I was a bit gimpy. Oh, I passed three mountain bikers on uphill jog, so that was fun. Neener, neener.

Black Star Canyon Run/Hike Partial 03-10

Decided to look for running trails in the area. Ran 10 miles RT, with 1,300′ up and down more or less. Can’t say it was beautiful, but it was a nice grade for training and body held up relatively well. makes for 18 miles this weekend, which is the first real training weekend I’ve had in a long while. Super tired now, but jazzed body worked.

Mt. Woodson from Lake Poway (Upper Lot) 03-09 (1:33)

Indecisiveness and sunlight meant another run-hike on Woodson. Beautiful cool day. Made it up in 58:05 and down in 1:33:15, both personal bests. Also able to jog more of the uphills than previously, so mild progress. Captain Marvel and beer with Huy @ Green Flash. Good day all around.

Partial North Flank of Ontario via Icebox Cnyn. 03-03 w/John

Mellow hike combined with epic postholing up side of Ontario. Should have eaten breakfast. Turned at ridge under Ontario as clouds started to roll in. Would have been 1+ more hours to peak in 1-3 ft’ deep holes. Sloggin’. Very fun glissades down.

Mt. Woodson from Lake Poway (Upper Lot) 03-02 (1:38)

On a rainy Saturday, drove down to SD to walk-run Woodson and see Huy. Time up was 1:00:45, more than a minute slower than last time, and RT was 1:38:20, two+ minutes slower. Nice day in light misty weather with cool temps and few people. Then hung out with Huy for rotating sishi bar, some beers and sake, then Fighting with My Family. Funny movie. Slow drive in traffic back to OC.

Mammoth with Tim and Andre

Two days fun skiing with T&A, one day looking at condos. So much snow! So few condos! Skis a bit finicky. Great see see Tim and celebrate birthday=light.

Mt. Woodson from Lake Poway (Upper Lot) 02-16 (1:36)

Was going to go skiing, and drove all the way to Baldy, but turned out road was closed (stupid Shawn). So, drove back, changed, drove to Woodson, ran it, then went to drinks and movie (Alita) with Huy. Nice cool day for hike and not too many people. Times were 58:23 up, 37:42 down, 1:36:05 RT. Both PRs, so that was cool. With some actual running / training and losing a few pounds, sub-1:25 seems within reach. Legs a bit trashed. Drove back 15/74/5 to see burn, but didn’t see much of fire.

Baldy Ski 02-09

Fun day, 1 run in west bowl. Would have done more but, well, out of shape. Lots of postholing (left skins in car). Gorgeous day, actually. Wish I could have taken more pictures on the way down. Skied most of the way from Ski Hut to Car. Much faster that way ;).

San Jacinto (Tram to Wellman+) Feb 2 (3:30)

Didn’t make it to the top. Just decided to stop. But the snow was beautiful. It rained way too much low down, though, so it was a heavy / wet morning.

Baldy Bowl Ski Crust Jan 26 (4:05)

Had big plans for the weekend. Was even thinking of doing the Gorgonio Traverse on skis starting at Momyer. But the alarm clock went off at 3:30 am and I rest to 5, then 6 and finally got out of bed at 6:30. Felt drained and a little sick. Back to Baldy!

The weather forecast was mild, calling for 20 mph gusts, but when I got to Manker there were 30+ gusts in the parking lot. Worse, I could see that a massive amount of the base snow coverage had melted off during the previous week. So, I hoisted my pack and skis with small hopes or runs higher up.

Was god tired all the way. Not sure why; hungry, dead legs and just wanted to sleep. But still a beautiful hike. Wind came and went until just after my transition at the ski hut (hiking shoes to ski boots). Halfway up the west bowl face, a skiier came down and stopped to say Hi. Gib or Gabe from the ski hut (Sierra Club volunteer). We bitched about the snow while smiling. Wind and crust aside, it was still a great day.

About 3/4 of the way up, the wind picked up, then again, then again. As my energy drained, the wind tried alternately to flatten me into the face or blow me off. My skis were like sails in the wind. I won’t say it was precarious, but if I hadn’t had three points in contact with the face at all times, I could have ended up sliding down on my butt many times.

At the ridge, the wind decided to assert it’s bad self and it was hard to even stand without getting knocked about. I dithered for a while, thinking about going up to the top, but between my lethargy and the wind, there wasn’t really any point. The 20 mph forecast had turned into 30-40 mph sustained winds on the ridge and gusts of 60+. Just guessing, but it was hella windy.

Put skis on and tried to drop in. Wind pushed me back. Tried again. Pushed back. This went on for a while. Slid down to another entry point and entered sliding perpendicular to the wind. After that, it was a nice, crusty-scrapy and occasionally rocky sky down the bowl. Loved it.

Ran into a border at the ski hut who’d been there the week before. Yes, he said, the snow and wind sucked. He blew out a long trail of smoke. Seemed like he might have skied that bowl every day for the last twenty years.

Back to the car in 4:05 or so which, taking into account sluggishness, slow transitions, wind and dithering, seemed like an okay time. Plus, skiing. Hard to complain.

Baldy Skiing Jan 20 (5:40)

Great hike up to the top via west Baldy Bowl to the peak, ski down a bit below the saddle, climb back up to West Baldy, then down to ridge and drop back into west Baldy Bowl to ski down. Beautiful day.

Bear Flat Up to Baldy Ski Hut Down – Jan 19 John

Was going to ski this while John snowshoed, but wet storm melted more snow lowdown than it brought. So we hiked up Bear Flat Trail on a bluebird day and glissaded down to the Ski Hut. Great day on the mountain.

Bear Flat Trail Toward Baldy – Jan 12

Started in rain, finished in snow when feet got cold (wet feet). Gorgeous day. about 4:20 hiking R/T from wherever I turned around.

Skyline Trail up San Jacinto – Jan 6 (5:05)

Knowing I was out of shape, I signed up for some humiliation with Huy on Skyline. Our best time on this trail together is 3:53 (also my PB). His best is about 3:39 or something. Today, was hoping for under six and we made 5:05, which was pretty cool. Gorgeous, cool weather with very light snow at the end. Kahtoolas from the Traverse on. Just ate cookies, so stomach was good, but hungry at end. Still need to work on food. And fitness. And weight. Hurray, 2019!

Peace.

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