By Linda Wack
Just between you and me, these people are insane. Really. Which was why I had to join them.
This trail was my introduction to California running a couple of years ago. I was in the area on business and I asked Chris where to run. He sent me on a run around Point Mugu State Park, finishing on the Ray Miller Trail. Nirvana. Gorgeous mountains, wildflowers, ocean. I knew I had to return. The first day’s 7 mile teaser run brought back lots of C4P alumni, all eager to return to the trail as well. And it did not disappoint. Perfect weather, perfect trail.
I flew to California a bit concerned that my cranky ankles and knees wouldn’t hold up. So the second day at Ojai I planned to do 25 miles or so. However, I fell in with a bad crowd, and continued on. Laura V and Charlie argued for miles about which of the two alternative trails was longer. It provided endless entertainment for Steve and myself, and we baited them whenever the discussion showed signs of winding down. Eventually I offered the saying above, which was a favorite phrase of my former Boss-from-Hell. It was a big hit. We continued on to the 6200 ft TopaTopa peak, slipping on a bit of snow along the way. Gorgeous view. Did I mention the weather was perfect again? On the way back I heard tales of Hawaii from akabill, and must put that on my travel schedule too. Finally made it back, showered, and hit Talent Night. The level of talent was…hmmm….ahem….unbelievable. We’ll leave it at that.
Back in Point Mugu State Park, my camelback staged an early rebellion and left me in the back of the pack unsure about direction. I hooked up with Carmella and Pat, who showed me new camelback survival skills. We headed off to Butt Crack Rock, however this is naturally not its official name on the map, so we wandered around trails for a bit until we figured out the right course and finally were rewarded with the aid station. Up the trail and through the crack(to purge us of our sins), past the Farm Implement, to the C4P rocks and the lovely view of Tri-peaks. Back at the aid station, as Gary opts not to go to Butt Crack to be rinsed of his sins, he decides to throw himself on the mercy of Chris and confess that he is not carrying his blue balls but has made a shrine with them back on Hell Hill (you’ll have to ask Gary about that one, but mango panties are involved.). I’m thinking that next time Gary won’t take this option, as he is on the receiving end of a stern lecture from Chris the likes of which I last heard in the 8th grade from Sister Mary Eduard. Except she did not give orders to return to Hell Hill to pick up blue balls. At least not that I can recall.
As Gary took off to do his penance, Anstr and I headed off to the lovely Serrano Valley, aka the Sound of Music stage. Julie Andrews was there to serenade us (or maybe that was a hallucination) and all was right in the world. Gary was serious about making amends (or had simply been out in the sun too long), and came down Cardiac to meet us before turning around to head back up. Double punishment, although my attention was focused on avoiding sliding off the almost-trail were were on, down the mountain into the ocean. Not that this could have really happened. I would, of course, have been crushed by the traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway first. It was all worth it when we hit the Ray Miller Trail for the trip home. And perfect weather again. I expressed my interest in instantly moving here to one of the aid station guys. He said, “yeah, this is our winter, we’re freezing, brrrr….”
OK, so the miles started catching up with me the last day. Kinda tired and sore. But who could resist these wonderful trails? Follow the Trail Markings for a return visit to Serrano Canyon, Poison Oak Central. Hanging over both sides of the trail, with no way to avoid it but to practice denial. Worked for a while, but it caught up with me after getting home. Scratch, scratch. Taking in all the scenery on the last day, wishing it wouldn’t have to end. However, to convince us to leave, Chris sent us down Chumash and then back up to Mugu Peak. 1200 ft in about a mile, so the angle of my leg and the trail looked like this V . All good things come to an end, and this was no exception. It was lovely to sit down at last, and watch the antics of the people coming for the final finish.
Fabulous time! Thanks Chris, H’ard, and JABOYS……………..