So, we are 9 days post Jemez, and recovery is relatively complete. I took a few days off, and went for an hour hike on Monday then a short run on Wednesday. I took Thursday off, but Friday did an hour and a half on Glorious Ridge with Justin Evenson. It was good to get back on the trails with him. Saturday I did almost 3 hours in the canyon, doing the tailgate loop while listening to the Lakers game. After hiking on Sunday and going to check out Star Wars in Concert (very good, if a little cheesy and over the top), Monday was a new challenge - High Point!
High Point is the highest point on Palomar Mountain. Starting from Oak Grove, its a 13 mile out and back with 3,600 feet of gain. I picked this one because it should be relatively similar to the climbs for White River at between 500 and 600 feet per mile for several miles. My hope was to get up in 2 hours and 10 minutes and down in 65 minutes. I made my time goal, but was up to the top in 2 hours, and it took 70 minutes to get down. I definitely bonked on the way down, which isn't too surprising given that I only took two gels on the way up and none on the way down. Went through 3 frozen water bottles and could have done another. It was mid 70's at the start at the bottom and mid 80's at the bottom, so it was starting to get warm.
The climb starts with 1,800 feet of gain in 2 miles on technical single track. Definitely some work to get up. It dumps onto a series of fire roads which are fairly mellow for a mile and a half or so, but then kick up before another 1/2 mile flat section through shady oaks and then a final steep kick to the finish at high point. There is a multi-story fire tower up at the top that is sometimes open, but was closed today so that they could do some safety work on it. After about 7 minutes on top, I headed down. I hadn't made it 1/4 mile when a rattler struck at me. It wasn't even close, but it was a wake up call. I have no idea what it was thinking. Its funny because the last time I was here, I had a close call where the rattler struck and missed. Twice! Both times its head bounced off my ankle as I danced and screamed like a 13 year old girl at a Justin Beiber concert. So, the lesson is that they have some grumpy rattlers up there.
Among other sites were numerous blooming wildflowers that were populated with big bees. I thought they were carpenter bees, but they might have been bumble bees. I wasn't taking a close look. There is a great view of the observatory from the top. A possible long run will be to get dropped off at Oak Grove and picked up somewhere in Palomar state park, or, even better, to run down to the state park, then back up and over again. That would be tough for sure. I'll have to scout it out.
More soon!A view of the fire tower from the top. I'll bring a better camera next time because you can get some good pics from a distance. You can see it for the last 2 miles or so of the approach. A good target.
The view of the Palomar Observatory from the fire tower.
A southern Pacific rattler! This was the culprit on Monday, but the last guy who struck at me was a red rattlesnake which are rarer. Neither one makes a good dinner guest.