Bear Canyon Farewell romp

The plan was simple. Jog or hike a meandering 20 mile fireroad south of the cucamonga peaks to joe elliot campground where i would join the south eastern trail up to the peak and then down icehouse canyon to the trailhead and back along the road to the cabin... This was to be my final hoorah to say goodbye to the cabin the canyon and the mountains.

0945 late start with 1.5 liter pack + two 20 ounce bottles, baby food and laurabars
1000 off the pavement and onto barrett stoddard fireroad, rock climbers in the gorge below
1120 drop down to lowest elevation (2671') in a canyon with red rock cliffs. River flowing well. Decended a lot further then expected before beginning climb to 8859' cucu peak.
1230 'nine miles to camp ground' sign. lots of tics on legs, overgrown trail deteriorating. Simply bushwacking in spots.
1300 topped out around bend. legs scraped from the thorny chaparral brush completely taken over the unmaintained trail. It grows when fires wipe put the trees. (Webster - an almost impenetrable thicket or succession of thickets or thorny shrubs and brambles, Wikipedia - mature chaparral is characterized by nearly impenetrable, dense thickets.) Going slow.
1330 descended to the wash directly below cucu peak. The scope and scale of rock formations is otherworldly, a giants playground. 'cg six miles' sign spray painted on a massive boulder. Cant go 100 meters without having to scramble across washed out scree avalanches.
1400 topped out around another bend through nearly incessant chaparral every twenty feet - badly scratching legs and arms. 'Stranded' in all directions. Already scrambled through too much to turn back.
1500 descended to another wash below cliffs which rise all the way up to rocky ridge above. More washed out sections.
1520 climb to gate with open fireroad on the other side.
1530 Joe Elliot campground and cucumonga wilderness trailhead (5840'). Now just 5 miles climb to the peak 5.8 down to the trailhead and 2 miles of pavement home. Starting to believe.
1604 deer - first wildlife. Still picking off two or three tics every five minutes.
1620 scrambling over 100s of fallen trees for half mile trying to follow debris strewn trail up hillside. Fire must have devastated this forest 10 years ago.
1645 base of summit ridge trail. Slight piercing headache and blurry vision. Moving into conifer forests growing on silvery rock towers. Inspiring place to find oneself. (The biggest and oldest bigcone douglas fir tree in the world is in Bear Canyon near the cabin)
1740 topped out at cucamonga peak trail turn off (8680') decided to skip .2mi summit trail and continue on 'damage control'.
1750 run out of water
1755 most beautiful sunset ever
1800 physical depression. mental confusion.
1805 first human contact - two hikers heading up to camp at summit. Scared them mightly.
1814 icehouse saddle (7580') ate last half of a baby food packet.
1830 trail barely visible. begin use of flashlight
1850 fill up bottle at icehouse spring, passing more people now who are hiking down
1910 reach icehouse trailhead and parking lot (4960'). Decide not to ask for a ride. Run on shoulder of road 2 miles to town.
1930 mt baldy village (4320'). Music comes whistling up through the air from the mountain lodge. The smell of barbecue wafts out of the diner. Through the dimly lit windows i see nicely dressed people enjoying dinner and drinks and warmth. A couple huddles together chatting casually as they return to there car. I enjoy my hike back up bear canyon reminiscing that i wasnt sure how i would get back here.
1941 home (10:00:00)
1945 What a stupid run... then an even better revelation.

I went to the cabin looking for a hard life. But now im going back to the land of recycling, in sink-er-ators and community pool access. Not because i discovered that the harsh environment isnt good for you or that its not for me. Its because i want 'hiking-up-rocky-stairs-to-freezing-cold-cabin-after-running-in-the-mountains-for-ten-hours' hard, without the 'driving-four-hours-a-day-in-traffic-to-work' hard. I want to make work easy or at least efficient so that my struggle will be focused on running and training and living an intentional life. In many ways the great thing about this experience was that it forced me to simplify every aspect of myself. And yet by doing that i think grew. And im taking with me so much of this short cabin experience. Who knows what adventures i am graduating to. Hiking the PCT? Owning a cabin in Big Bear? Working for the forest service? The grand experiment continues. Never stop exploring.


the importance of SLEEP

Imagine a restaurant full of patrons eating drinking and enjoying themselves as the waitresses scurry around fixing drinks and delivering food which the kitchen full of cooks fry, steam, bake, and boil for the clientele. now imagine at night after everyone leaves and the staff has gone home an 'overnighter' as we used to call them comes in to get everything clean and ready for the net day when it happens all over again. he drains the fryer and washes everything in the kitchen, he restocks the napkins and cup dispensers, and he puts the next days menu where it can easily be found first thing in the morning when the groggy staff returns. The staff does some tidying up throughout their shift but he takes his time all night long and does a thorough job leaving nothing undone. Now imagine if the 'overnighter' is told to accomplish his job in 1 hour instead of the usual 8. Imagine the the crew coming in the next morning and not being able to find the menus. Imagine them scrambling to restock the napkins and salt and pepper shakers while taking the first orders of the day. Imagine the cooks trying to wipe things down between cooking omelets and toast. Or worse imagine them delivering dirty food to costumers along with burnt day old coffee! Imagine the same scenario in a hotel room, or an airplane and you have the perfect analogy for what happens to the organs of your body when you don't sleep. They cant function efficiently or properly when they don't get a good overhaul in between shifts. They start the day already in a state of stress and the dirt and grime continues to build up. At first it's just in the seams and cracks but after a couple days with improper restoration everything becomes greasy and disorganized.


A Morning At The Canyon

Theres nothing quite like waking up at the cabin, surrounded on all sides by forest. When woodpeckers and blue larks fill the air with cheerful bantering song, and the radient morning sun pierces through the chill tree limbs painting efforvescent green foliage and deep brown bark with patches of glowing warmth. Words like 'serene' and 'peaceful' come to mind but dont do it justice. Its a hopeful place full of life. ants marching in their disciplined lines up trees, where squirrels dart around and leap through the air chasing each other around the laborynth of branches, bees flys nats and bugs buzzing about, a deer or two navigating the precipitous rocky slopes between the brush, an occasional bear looking for an easy meal. Its also a harsh environment in a state of constant erosion and decay. The rocks tumble off the mountain one by one as the universes clock turns. No patch of land will be left uncovered for long as trees endlessly shed their dead parts to make room for new. Nature is a quiet terror. Devouring anything too weak to survive without comment or reflection. As it should be. A woodpecker snatches a grub from some vertical trench in the tree bark. A spider suckles the moth snagged in his lare the night before. But for these first few hours everday hope returns. Life running through the veins of those fortunate enough to have it flows with conviction. I will miss listening to the stream on these quiet mornings and the owls hooting on moonlit nights. but despite the lack of vigour with which i have to leave i will also always have this place with me in the form of a growing desire to spend more time in nature. Its an education from which i can take valuable lessons into my next adventures. Owning a cabin in Big Bear? Hiking the PCT? Joining the forest service?

- Posted from the Road


Quotes - Running On Empty

The challenge of ultrarunning is 90 percent mental, and the other 10 percent is all in our heads. - ray zahab

If you can run twenty-six miles, then your body can surely carry you even farther, and the only question is whether yur mind can go the distance, too.

Dont flinch when the road gets rough, you fall down, you miss a turn, or the bridge you planned to cross has collapsed.

All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why. - james thurber

If you're going through hell, keep going. -winston churchill

No matter how unique any of us wants to believe we are, all of us hurt, suffer, and feel sadness.

We find ourselves when weve lost everything. Thats when we recognize, appreciate, and embody the essentials.

This is the first time in history that people are trying to figure out what to eat based on individual nutrients rather than just choosing food. Thats a mistake in 'my book'.