Sunday, July 27, 2008

Burma / Portuguese Bend Orbit Take 2

Not entirely satisfied with the route I forged last weekend, I decide to try alter my over-the-top-of-the-hill hoping to take further advantage of trails while adding miles.

I am also a bit more successful getting an early start (more out of fear considering that I started a 5 mile run yesterday at 6:15am...and it was already warm and humid). This morning's marine layer is not nearly as thick, so visibility is not an issue either.

Since I have not run the complete Burma Road bit since spring, my first alteration to the run is to run to its end...which adds a steep hill around mile 5. As I ascend, I notice two marked downhill trails to my right ("Panorama" and "Barn Owl"). Both appear to reach Palos Verdes Drive South, so I will have to choose one on my way back down.

The descent is quick and short. When I again reach Barn Owl Trail, I decide it looks much wider than Panorama I branch off of Burma onto it. After a few steps, however, I realize I have made a mistake. It is a lot steeper than it looks. I can barely maintain a solid footing because the dirt and loose gravel is sliding out from under my heels. I lean back and proceed slowly and carefully. When I pass someone coming up the hill, she says "It's a lot harder going up." No doubt. I will never take this trail again! As I descend towards the canyon, Barn Owl has numerous branches, but each appear a lot narrower than the one I am on. I stay the course until I reach the trail head at the bottom...exactly where I expected last week's trail to deposit me on Palos Verdes Drive South.

Continuing my run north, I pass a sign on my left for the tide pools of Abalone Cove. I have been thinking about checking out the coastline here, so I decide to follow the gravel road as it descends towards one of the bluffs. As I reach this particular outcropping, I find an area completely enclosed by fences and warnings (including "nude sunbathing prohibited"). A trail follows the fence along the top of the cliff, so I orbit the area...stopping to take a few more pictures.

The only way down to the water appears to be the gravel road I came in on, so I return to the road and continue down the hill.

At the bottom, I figure I can try running along the coast, but the dry surface here consists of loose rocks...too unstable. I start back up the hill and attempt to take one of the dirt trails branching off of the road hoping that it connects to the neighboring beach. I see wild rabbits. Then I come to a dead-end. I try another trail that goes along the ridge, this one much narrower due to encroaching plants. I run face first into a massive spider web. Not only do I have to pull the sticky stuff off of my face and glasses, I get bug guts all over my white t-shirt. Ewwwww! Have I ever mentioned my fear of spiders? And, to make matters worse, this trail also dead-ends.

This has killed my adventurous spirit for the day. No more detours. I climb back to Palos Verdes Drive South and head home. Or, should I say, mom's home. After nearly 17 miles on these hills, my legs are done.

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