Sunday, September 30, 2007

My Trail

In running I would almost say there are no wrong turns it is all karma or Zen or destiny. As they say there is no good weather and bad weather it is just weather. On Wednesday morning my plan was to record my loop time for a newly plotted route on my local trail. Where I live there is a finite amount of trails within running distance. In fact I could probably name them all in one short list. The names have some significance and I'm not sure where they came from but you can tell from area why they came to be.

I live in Mission and as you can guess there is a mission or more correctly a monastery in the middle of town. It sits perched on the side of a hill or mountain, Mount Mary Ann. So in the shadow of this beautiful monastery is a small network of trails. The longest trails are probably only a mile end to end but they run in different directions so you can link them together.

My loop was found by accident. I start by the trailhead off Prentis Avenue across from the Four Square Church. From here you run along Salamander Trail. After about 500' you come to a small rise and a triple fork. The left is Jacob's Ladder which goes up to the monastery. The center is College which meanders up and joins Jacob's Ladder and come back down to join Salamander. And that leaves the right fork, the Salamander Trail which continues on to see where College joins again and then where another fork you'll see where they put a drain pipe to cross D'Herbomez Creek. But you stay left on the trail that parallels the boundary of the OMI aka St Mary's. Follow this to the very end and you'll end up at the end of Jasper Street but I take the very last turn left. How do I know it's the last turn? Experience or Zen or Karma.

Up the hill I go. This section is called Hail Mary. It's maybe a quarter to a half mile long but it is steep. You can’t run it. You can hike fast with your hands on your knees. I love this section.

Near the top if you are too focused on your turnover you'll miss the left turn which takes a final steep push to the Sanctuary. If you miss it you'll soon find yourself on the Gondola with some pretty steep slopes on your right and spectacular views of the valley below. The Gondola is not as steep as the left turn you missed but it was well worth it. It eventually switches back and you find yourself in the Sanctuary. This in the junction for five trails: Hail Mary, The Gondola, Blaspheme, The Monastery, and Jacob's Ladder. There are signs posted for which is which but vandals have removed the one for Gondola and Blaspheme. Total elevation gain is about 1000' at a 20% grade.

Going down Jacob's Ladder is less steep probably 5% at times 15% at others. Going down Jacob's Ladder is always less confusing then going up. Just remember to stay right if given the choice. The choice is possibly hooking up with Glen's Loop (twice) or College trail. Even if you do make a wrong turn they all join Salamander at some point so it's all good.

So after reading this did you figure out where I made a wrong turn? I've been running these trails for years and all my 'wrong turns' have been an evolution into the perfect trail route.

Like I said before there are no wrong turns it was meant to be!

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