Thursday March 25, I specifically set out for flat trails. There’s only one place best for that. I headed out to Arroyo Trabuco (the Great Suburban Trail!) of course. I guess that I was a little distracted as I packed because I forgot my beanie and gloves. And it was cold. Boy was it cold. The skies were gray and the trails were empty. Empty and eerie.
Rummaging through my pack, I found my thin buff and wrapped that around my head and neck. Then I zipped up tight and made my way down Tijeras Creek Trail. From there I hiked to Arroyo Trabuco. By then my shoes were wet, as Tijeras Creek was too full to hop the rocks across.
@ the Tijeras Creek / Arroyo Trabuco junction:
Trabuco Creek nice and easy crossing:
My shoes had plenty of time to dry out along Arroyo Trabuco Trail. The creek crossings had more than enough rocks to hop across. I had also warmed up a bit, but remained zipped all the way up, with much of my face, head and neck covered. At about the 4 mile mark it began to drizzle. I sat beneath a tree that provided ample cover along a dry creek bed and ate my first meal of the day – beef stick, nuts, dried fruit. It was a lovely. But then the rain came down harder and fell right through my tree. I grabbed my stuff and ran back to the more heavily forested area and stood in the trees’ shadows and took in the rain. It was beautiful.
As quickly as the rain blew in, it stopped and I decided to head back. I saw a couple of people along the way, a guy on a bike, and a woman on foot. At one point, while walking beneath a tall canopy of trees, I heard the familiar sound of a branch or trunk squeaking in the wind. Oh boy, that caught my attention. The first time I heard that sound was about 35 years ago, I was playing frisbee in a forested area near Walnut Creek in Covina with my husband (then boyfriend) and his friends when we all stood still to listen to a strange creaking sound. And then, before our eyes, a 30 foot tree crashed to the ground. Many years later, as I sat in the Holy Jim parking lot in Trabuco Canyon, I heard that same strange creaking sound coming from above. And then right before my eyes, I watched a giant branch fall several stories high, smashing into the ground below, barely missing the cars parked there. And so, having heard this creaking again, I did the only thing that came to mind. I quickly ran ahead out of the wooded area. Then I stood back and watched. Nothing fell this time. I hope that when it does, it does off trail or when no one is around!
The season was surely spring as evidenced by all the flowers. But it was definitely like a winter day. I sure relished it because I knew it would most likely be my last until next winter. Winter was my season this year. I am grateful for it.
8.54 mi with 1,431 ft of elevation gain (not exactly flat, I know, but these trails definitely seem flat in comparison to other trails).