Crystal Cove Hike 6/29/14

Yesterday I hiked from one freeway to another. Below in orange is the route I took this week; last week’s route is in green.

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The El Morro entrance to Crystal Cove State Park’s backcountry is on Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1) which is near the ocean. SR 133 is near the top of this map just behind Bommer Ridge Trail. I literally hiked from one major highway to another. I feel pretty damn good about that. Initially I was going to reprise the green trail I’d taken last week; I wanted to work on the small periodic hills on No Name Ridge to strengthen the glutes. A missed turn led me up Moro Canyon Trail, and by the time I checked my route I was too far in to turn back. I could have turned to go onto W. Cut Across and finished the route that way, but I had extra energy and just a little bit of a crazy thought: why don’t I go see what’s up ahead?

I really don’t know what I was thinking, but I figured that if I went fairly quickly (avg pace under 20:00/mi) I’d be OK. Ok from what, I don’t know. At any rate, it just felt good to be out. It was fairly overcast in the morning, so off I went. I probably should have packed more water or actually brought along some food, but I didn’t. I still need to figure out how much I need and how I’ll want to carry all of this–I don’t have a hydration bladder/backpack, and I’m still figuring out how to dress in a way that will wick sweat but keep me fairly warm (I get cold too easily.)

Some scenes during the hike:

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A little cave off to the side of the Moro Canyon trail (about halfway up.) Very sandy and soft–I was going to scramble up and sit on it but pieces of the shelf were crumbling off.

The Moro Canyon trail up the middle is pretty flat. What little inclines there are are manageable and never take longer than a minute or two to pass. The most challenging bit was the little section called Elevator (0.3 mi), and it’s between the Moro Canyon 0.6 segment and the Missing Link (0.4 mi) trail:

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Going up on the right is shorter but steeper (feels like 45 degrees up.) It passed very quickly but the dirt is loose going up, so be careful. I did kind of crawl/use hands going up just because it was quite steep and loose. Thank goodness for shoes with traction; I would not want to attempt this otherwise.

I was glad there was one other person going up this way with me. At this point most of the hike was pretty manageable, but I was only halfway done and there was still the entire Moro Ridge trail to traverse before getting back down toward home. Walking along the Missing Link single-track trail was also interesting. It only had room for one person, and there were lots of mountain bikers out yesterday. I kept an ear out for their wheels and gears and hopped off to the side to let them pass. I also was glad that I wore long sleeves and full leggings, because there were a lot of red ants on the road as well as brush and weeds poking at my arms as I went along the narrow path.

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Rounding the bend to head down Moro Ridge, and going back home.

I am so pleased and surprised by how yesterday’s hike went. My feet did get tired and sore about the 4-5 mile mark, but thankfully I didn’t get blisters. I am also happy that it was mostly flat and a very pleasant walk. Next time I think I’ll do the other half of the park now that I know I CAN do quite a lot of distance. 10 miles doesn’t seem such a far-fetched idea anymore, provided I do rest and bring food. I booked it for the most part, wanting to finish before the sun came out in full force. Today’s hike really took 3 hours, but I messed up my tracking on Runkeeper so it only recorded 2:42:05. I left at 7:21 am and finished at about 10:25 am.

That’s it from me for now. Later this week I’m looking forward to going back to the climbing gym at some point, and the long Fourth of July weekend is approaching. A few days at the office won’t seem too bad if there’s the promise of outdoor adventures soon!

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