Saturday, May 31, 2008

Running to Switzerland

My Friday afternoon running is continuing. It’s nice to get a good solid run in at the start of the weekend and then have the option to rest or not or find someone to ride with or not or just hang around on Saturday morning drinking coffee – this so far is what I have chosen this weekend – the coffee.

There were a few changes of note in yesterday’s run. One: I wore a watch for the first time in a few years while running. This helped me to estimate my mileage. Two: I was up on a new (to me) trail on the west side of Brown mountain. The trail follows the canyon bottom along the creek all the way back to Switzerland. Well, it used to be called that – now Switzer’s Camp. Apparently back in 1912 through the mid 30’s there was a mountain resort there with tennis courts and a library (M. Troy, K. Woten, Mountain Biking the San Gabriel, 1997.) Enter the motor vehicle and the Angeles Crest Highway and massive flooding in 1938 and television and what we’re left with now is a few river-rock-foundations. I didn’t make it all the way to Switzerland, though. I would like to try running back there again, though. It is so quiet back there. I didn’t see anyone beyond about three miles from the trailhead.

It’s an incredible canyon as you head deeper into it. It gets very steep and rocky with small waterfalls pouring into deep pools. The third new thing for me was wearing a hydration pack. For some reason I only filled it up about two-thirds of the way. Next time I’ll top it off. I was surprised that it wasn’t so uncomfortable as I expected. At first the pack kept pulling the back of my shirt up. Then I crossed the shoulder straps in front across my chest and that was better. Still, though, I had to turn around a couple miles short of Switzerland because I was getting low on water and was also pretty tired. I ended up only slightly dehydrated which is somewhat of a victory for me.

Fourth new thing: I brought food – two packages of gummy cubes and a mini bar. I ate these every 45 minutes. This seemed to help and I think it will also help with my recovery.

I felt very alone way back there. This was good and bad. It was great to be able to experience a fairly remote setting without using the car (I biked to the trailhead). I found myself whistling as I rounded sharp turns in the trail. I’m not sure if I was warning other hikers/bikers or lions, or bears, or ghosts or what. I was very aware of the fact that I did not want to get injured or dehydrated back there by myself. I should probably leave a detailed running plan with someone next time. I also need to find someone to run with back there. I’m not sure how that works though. You just call someone up and ask if they want to go for a three hour run through the mountains on a Friday evening? Who would accept an invitation like that?

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