Monday, August 3, 2009

Catch up time . . .

When last you heard from me, I was talking about the glory of Monserate. So what have I been up to? Well, glad you asked. On Thursday, it was an easy run with Justin E. A lap around the Piedras Pintadas trail (actually less than a lap), and we decided to call it a day. As a result of this, Justin has pledged to get in shape. As an incentive, I've offered him a dinner at Donovan's if he runs twice a week between now and October 1. How hard is that? We'll see if he accepts . . .

Friday was 2.5 hours on the trails of Mission trails. I did the Gorge Trail and Hill, the Fortuna double, down through Shepherds' Canyon, bushwacked up to the top of Portabello Hill, then out the rim trail. Not too fast, but satisfying to be out there and still feel strong.

Saturday, I decided to do Mt. San Jacinto. This is the second highest peak in Southern California at 10,840 feet. Originally, I was going to do Mt. San Gorgonio, the highest peak. However, the main access trail, Vivian Creek, was closed due to "bear activity". When I hear this, I think about 1000's of bears running all around the trails, doing bear like things like eating picnic baskets, shitting in the woods, and generally causing mayhem. Apparently, the real story is that there was one bear who was threateningly hanging out a lot. They don't really know how to deal with bears in So Cal . . .

So anyways, San Jacinto it was, via the Marion Mountain trail. On the drive up, it was 70 going through Hemet and after my 20 min. drive to gain 6000 feet to Idylwild and the trailhead, it was 73. Huh? Gotta love microclimates.

This trail is a 12 to 14 mile (depending on who you believe) slog with 4800 feet of gain. The first two miles are horrific, but really, it doesn't relent. Most of the first 2.5 miles is on broken single track with lots of fallen logs and loose dirt. Then you go through a series of switchbacks covered in pricker bushes. Then through a campground and the last switchbacks up to a scramble to the top. There were some groups, but the top was crowded with all the people who had taken the easy way on the tram from Palm Springs and then 4.5 miles from there. San Jacinto tops out at 10,800 feet, pretty good for So Cal. Took me about 2:45 to get to the top.

I don't know about a hard hat. I'd rather have a rocket up my ass to help get me to the top.

Great views from the top. You can see from the Pacific on a clear day all the way through Joshua Tree and out to the Salton Sea.

I spent 10 minutes at the top eating a sandwich. I had actually brought too much water (it was a very comfortable trip up), so gave out a couple of frozen bottles to people at the top who were grateful for some refreshment to cool them down. Then back down. Had hoped to get down in an hour, but took about 1.5. Felt like I was going decent, though. I always wonder just how long this trail really is.

The drive back is through Hemet, which may be a fine town for all I know, but I sincerely doubt it. It was about 96 going through. Hemet is a collection of stoplights specifically designed to slow your progress and frustrate you to the point that you pull off at one of the chain restaurants and drown your frustrations in a plate of fries. My favorite spot there? The Colonel's Buffet. That's right. All you can eat KFC. And the best part? It has a drive thru. I'd like 14 buckets of chicken, 43 biscuits, extra gravy and a diet coke. To go.

Sunday was a fun 2 and half hours in the evening. Was going to do the loop, but wanted to get some actual running after the climb on Saturday, so did the Spring Canyon to Oak Canyon loop. This is a long run up the canyon with a real gradual elevation change, then a climb up to the roads that run on the military base for a quarter mile, then a drop back down and back under the bridge to Oak Creek Canyon. The run down Oak Creek is a ball where you get back that subtle climb the whole way. Nice to strech the legs and ran the whole way, taking a 1 minute walk break every 10 minutes, just like I plan to do in the race.

Monday was a day off and Tuesday and Wednesday have been good runs in the Canyon. Trying to rest up for a big push this weekend. Only 1 month to Grand Teton!

1 comment:

  1. A lot of San mountains down there. Our mountains are named after beer and weed ( rainier, Adams, baker).