A Perfect Sunday Run
It rained for the latter half of the week…I wake up Sunday morning to spot this above my house; there is only one thing you can do in a situation like this…
Running out my front door and into the snow is a rare treat in Altadena, days like this being few and far between. These trails have been my backyard for well over two decades and yet I can probably count how many times I’ve run them in the snow, especially the lower peaks like Echo Mountain.
Amazing scenery given I ran the same trail last Thursday and it was completely dry.
The crowds were out in full force today, a steady stream of North Face jackets, large loads, Trango boots, and the occasional pack with ice axe and crampons affixed. Apparently climbing a trail to the summit of a 3000-5000 foot peak in the snow is quite an auspicious task.
I ran the Sam Merrill to Echo Mountain, went out to the ruins and snapped a few pictures, then continued up Castle Canyon to Inspiration Lookout. I was pondering going all the way up to Mt. Lowe but the ultra sloppy conditions of Castle Canyon had me thinking otherwise. It was a frozen rainforest, the snow in the trees melting at an alarming rate and raining down continuously. There were also tons of blown down trees and bushes, requiring scrambles on all fours to get under or over them, coming 0ut the other side completely soaked from snow. Given I had a single water bottle, no spare clothes, and I was soaked head to toe with ice water, I figured I’d use a bit of better judgment and call it quits at the lookout.
Apparently I made quite a sight running shirtless and in little shorts up there, given the overabundance of preparation most hikers had gone through. I was actually warmer without the wet shirt on, completely enjoying the sun and the cold air. Surprisingly, people seemed to have no problem stepping aside for me.
I decided to take the Sam Merrill back down, wanting to avoid all the blow downs and see the back side of the mountains. This is where I was truly surprised, running through a nice base of packed powder for the next mile until I came back out on the front. The north slopes were absolutely amazing, very rare snowpack for our location and elevation.
On the way back to Echo the clouds had rolled in, spurring me to pick up the pace before getting caught shirtless in a storm. More sloppy, sloppy, sloppy ice and mud, now working its way into my shoes. In no time I was back down to Echo, dodging the crowds and making a quick descent to the bottom.
I knew the water and grit was rubbing pretty good in my left shoe, then I went ahead and tripped and kicked a gash in my Achilles to boot…got home to discover some pretty good carnage. This is the second time…Will I ever learn that runs of this type require socks? Go ahead, call me stupid or stubborn. Blood only makes me run harder.
A perfect Sunday. I believe the grand total was roughly 12 miles and +/- 7000-8000 feet cumulative.
If you live in the area, get up there while you still have time.