Lost Boys Scout-out adventure

How did BJ end up rolling down the rock-strewn mountain? Let’s find out.

bj-flip-zoom


 

The Lost Boys 50 Mile Trail Run course is already among the toughest in the region. A point-to-point trail foot race, starting at about 1,000 foot elevation in the Anza-Borrego desert topping off at Cuyamaca Peak at 6,512 feet and ending at Lake Cuyamaca. The course has about 9,000 feet of cumulative climbing. lostboyselevation_chart

Believe it or not, we have been looking for ways to make the race even tougher! We have a few thoughts in the Cuyamacas including adding in Stonewall peak among other potential options. Included in that brainstorm is an alternate first five miles.  Currently runners skirt around the foot of Sunset Mountain, trending uphill on the dirt road in Pinyon Wash.

lb50-classic-start

Pinyon Wash: The traditional start of the Lost Boys 50.

In studying the maps we’re considering an alternate start, one that will add more varied topography and of course more climb! We decided to scout-out the shoulder of Sunset Mountain, and this past weekend BJ and I (Brian the RD) looked into the following potential start option:

altstartmap

We headed up Quartz Vein Wash and were immediately impressed at the interesting twists and turns of the route and the cool looking hillside. It’s reminiscent of the wash after the Boulders aid station, yet with it’s own unique feel.

lb50_quartzvein

Brian and BJ at the start of Quartz Vein Wash, exploring an alternate start to the LB50.

lb50_qvw

Quartz Vein Wash, we thought was pretty cool!

After weaving uphill and through some pretty cool stretches of Quarts Vein Wash we came to an impassible tall dry waterfall. We paused and stared at the obstacle for a bit and realized we could not send the runners up this thing. BJ was the first one to speak and asked something like, “so that’s it then…right… it’s not going to work?…”

‘There’s got to be a way around this, let’s see if we can find it’ I thought to myself, then vocalized the same. So we were on to true exploration.

We backtracked a short distance and started up a side-shoot wash. It was fairly passable at first, then the rocks became more loose and the grade became more steep. We pressed on eventually scrambling on all fours with loose rocks tumbling beneath every step.  About half way up we surveyed the climb and BJ helped me conclude we couldn’t send runners up this thing. But since we were already there, we decided it wasn’t too insurmountable for us. So, we pressed on to the top, checked the view and returned down to the main Quarts Vein Wash.

lb50_wvw_shoot1

BJ on the first side-shoot wash we explored.

img_1260

Brian on the first side-shoot we explored.

img_1262

This first side-shoot wash didn’t work so we headed back down.

We backtracked further and I saw a small slit along the side wall of the main wash. I said, “This doesn’t look like much, but let’s check it out.” I expected this small wash to end a few feet later. To my surprise the narrow wash continued after every twist and turn. This side-shoot wash turned out to be a sweet narrow slot canyon. Very ascendable and super fun! Halfway up I said “there is no course like this… in California.” After we passed through the narrow slots we climbed up a short scree field to a crest of the mountain side. It was a rugged climb, a bit of loose rock, but I thought potentially passable. Did we find the new alternate Lost Boys 50 start? Humm.

lb50_slotcanyon

BJ headed up the cool Quarts Vein slot canyon.

lb50_brian-slotcanyon

RB Brian, hopeful that we had found a slot canyon that could work.

Once on top, I hoped we had found it but technically knew the approach wasn’t really safe. I delayed asking BJ his opinion because I wanted to relish in the hope. I turned to BJ and asked, “what do you think?”Correctly he replied, “Sorry Gonz, it’s not going to work this way.”

Shoot! I knew he was right. Well at least we had fun and we had conquered this climb and enjoyed the exploration.

lb50_bj_not-this-way

BJ conquered the mountain, just moments before the mountain conquered him!

I headed down the scree field first. When I reached the entrance to the slot canyon I turned around and decided to snap one more quick photo of BJ. Just then, I heard BJ holler out and saw him start to tumble down the rock-strewn mountainside!  He had reached forward, securing his hand and full body weight on a rock that quickly gave way and sent him flipping forward!

The flipping stopped and BJ stood up and looked at his hand. Both he and I saw that his ring finger had popped out and was dangling at a 90-degree angle. I thought his finger would continue tumbling down without him at any minute. Gross! Instinctively BJ grabbed his finger and thrust it back into its socket – snap! He let out a few war cries throughout the ordeal, and later said he knew right what to do because he’s seen how they do it in the NBA and he knew he wanted to get his finger back in the socket before the adrenaline wore out. Men, men, men, men, manly, men, men…

lb50_bjflip-2

BJ’s full weight on the rock that gave way.

bj-flip-zoom

lb50_bj_flip-full

We paused for a minute to assess the damage. He had rock-educed cuts on both hands and a huge raspberry up his leg. His finger was stiff but not bad, and his pride was hurt for sure. Otherwise BJ was in tip-top shape, so we started the slow cautious descent into the narrow slot.

raspberry

We finally made it back to flat ground into the main wash. We then ran the fun return to our car via the newly found desert wash with new stories but no new LB50 route.

lb50-qvw_bj

Ok ok, BJ, you’re right. That alternate side-shoot route is too dangerous to send runners up.

And the text conversation between my wife Mary and BJ the next day:

“Hey BJ, Glad you’re ok! Next time you can just tell Gonzo “no” about the potential race trail, you don’t have to dramatically throw yourself down the mountain :)”

BJ’s response “He doesn’t listen. Needs visual aids.”

The 2017 Lost Boys 50 course will be exactly the same as the 2016 course, no change this year.

See you on the trails.
Brian Gonzales, Lost Boys 50 RD

Posted in Lost Boys 50 Mile | 1 Comment

Noble Training and SURF Picnic Aug 6, 2016

Join us as we run an out-and-back along the main the Noble Canyon trail followed by a SURF picnic on Saturday August 6th!

This run will start at the lower Noble Canyon Trailhead and will include all of the Noble Canyon trail.

When: Saturday August 6, 2016 launch at 7AM. No need to RSVP.

Picnic: All are welcome to join us for the SURF sponsored picnic after the run (approximately 11AM-2PM) at the trailhead.

Where: Meet at the Lower Noble Canyon Trailhead parking lot. A US Forest adventure pass is required and can be obtained at the gas station in Pine Valley.

Total Miles: Approximately 22 total for this run; since it is an out-and-back you can turn around at any point and therefore run any distance you feel comfortable with. You could also add the loop at the top if you want to add the miles.

Water: We will drop water at Pine Creek Road. Plus water should be on at Penny Pines (so water at miles 3, 11, and 19). If we get news that the water is not on at Penny Pines, we will try to drop water at Big Tree. Note the potential long stretches between water so be sure to carry enough!!

See the maps page of Noble Canyon website for the course map, elevation, and miles. The race start/finish is at the Pine Valley Conference Center but this training run will start at the Noble Canyon Trailhead.

Description of this run: Head out on the main Noble Canyon Trail, after about 2 miles turn left and cross the creek bed, after about 0.7 miles turn right onto the “cutoff trail” and continue to the Pine Creek Road (dirt parking lot, water will be dropped here). Leave the parking lot by turning right, then after about ¼ mile turn left to connect again with the main Noble Canyon trail. Stay on the Noble Canyon trail (follow the marked signs) all the way up to Sunrise Highway (Penny Pines) then turn around and retrace your steps. Note that on race day, at Penny Pines you will cross Sunrise Highway and turn left onto the Pacific Crest Trail.

You are responsible for your own safety.  We will not be keeping track of where runners are on the trails and we encourage you to run in pairs.

See you on the trails.
Brian Gonzales
briang@cliffsandmeadows.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NC via Pioneer Mail – training run July 9, 2016

NC-PennyPine_Panoramic_small

We will be running the upper loop of the Noble Canyon 50k course followed by a SURF picnic!

  • When: Saturday July 9, 2016 starting at 7:00 AM. No need to RSVP for the run.
  • Where: Meet at Pioneer Mail parking lot. US Forest adventure pass is required.
  • Total Miles:  11.5 total for the loop, some may want to also head down Noble Canyon or add in Garnet Peak or other detours along the way.
  • Then hang out with us after the run. The SURF running club is sponsoring a social gathering, food, tales, and fun! The picnic will be at Pioneer Mail from 11AM-2PM.
  • Water: Water should be on at Penny Pines (mile 9.5) then you should leave water in your car if you plan to add the extra miles at the end.

See the Noble Canyon 50k website for the course map, elevation, and miles. Note that we will start this training run right in the middle of the course. We will run in the same direction as the race (counter-clockwise).

Run Directions: From Pioneer Mail Carefully cross Sunrise highway then turn right onto Pine Mountain trail, after a short bit you will cross a dirt road (stay on trail) until you come to the Champagne Pass Junction. Turn left onto Indian Creek Trail. After a couple miles you will “T” into the Noble Canyon trail. Turn LEFT onto Noble Canyon trail (note that on race day at this junction you will turn right to return back to the start/finish area). Stay on the Noble Canyon trail all the way up to Sunrise Highway (Penny Pines). Carefully cross the highway and turn left onto the Pacific Crest Trail. After 4 miles you will come to Pioneer Mail, do a short ½ mile out then ½ mile back on the PCT returning to Pioneer Mail.

You are responsible for your own safety.  We will not be keeping track of where runners are on the trails and we encourage you to run in pairs.

Let us know if you have any questions: briang@cliffsandmeadows.com

Posted in Noble Canyon 50k | Leave a comment

Can You Find the Lost Boys?

LB50_tr_d9

The first eighteen miles of the Lost Boys 50 course were conquered by a small band of five lost boys this weekend. This stretch of the course has plenty of climbs and is quite tough.

Brian the RD with the help of Larry drove the runners to Pinyon Wash in the middle of the Anza-Borrego Desert State park Saturday morning and sent them on their way.

LB50_tr_start

Moments into the run, headed up Pinyon Wash.

After five miles of sandy steady uphill, runners scramble up the boulders and wind through the narrow canyon until they reach the mouth of the canyon and the open desert floor.

LB50_tr_Boulders

Boulders Aid Station, 5 miles into the race. Runners scramble for about 0.10 mile up and over these boulders.

LB50_tr_canyon

After the Boulders Aid Station, the course weaves along the base of this narrow canyon.

The open desert stretch is exciting and memorable, there is no trail, just an unfamiliar network of desert washes – you can truly imagine yourself as a “lost boy” here. Once you learn where your target is, on the other side of the desert floor,  your instincts easily kick in and you are pulled toward the distant split in the fence.

LB50_LG's

“Lost Girls” Mary Lou and Melanie exiting the mouth of the canyon and entering the open desert stretch.

Can you find the lost boys?

In the next series of photos can pick out the band of Lost Boys BJ, Joe and Gabe- Yes they are in every one of the next photos:

 

LB50_tr_d1

Just getting started, easy to find here.

LB50_tr_d2

LB50_tr_d3

See ’em?

LB50_tr_d3 - Zoom

Here’s a hint from the previous photo

LB50_tr_d4

LB50_tr_d5

Lost Boys Gabe, BJ, and Joe

LB50_tr_d7

Do you see them?

LB50_tr_d8

LB50_tr_d10

I hope they know where they’re going. Can you find our boys?

LB50_tr_d10 - zoom

Hint from the last photo.

After the open desert stretch the five runners ascended a series of dry waterfalls (this is a highlight of the race for many). Then continued to climb and then descend Pinyon Mountain. About a mile after transitioning onto the California Riding and Hiking trail the runners crossed over the historic Foot and Walker Pass then crossed over the expanse of the dry lake bed.

Can you again find our lost boys?

LB50_F&W1

Our runners are on the dirt road approaching the historic Foot and Walker Pass.

LB50_F&W2

Here they are clearly descending the back side of Foot and Walker Pass. (clearly?)

LB50_F&W2_zoom

Hint from the previous photo.

LB50_F&W3

Another memorable stretch, crossing the dry lake bed with Blaire Valley aid station coming into view. Do you see our boys?

LB50_F&W3 - Zoom

Hint from the previous photo.

LostBoys_blaire

Our Lost Boys from this week: Gabe, BJ, Joe, Melanie, and Mary Lou!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Lost Boys 50 Mile | Leave a comment

Lost Boys desert run February 27, 2016

Come check out the lower desert section of the Lost Boys 50 Mile course. All are welcome to participate, even if you are not planning to run the LB50.

    • WHEN: Saturday February 27, 2015. 7:00AM
    • WHERE: We will meet at the “Blaire Valley Aid Station” along the S2 highway at Green highway mile marker 24.
      From there we will carpool to the start line of the LB50 at Pinyon Wash
      (which is at white highway mile marker 81 along Highway 78).Here is a map of the trail-head meeting place:

 

 

  • DISTANCE/RUN DESCRIPTION: From Pinyon Wash we will run the first 18 miles of the course ending back at our cars at the Blaire Valley Aid Station. The open desert stretch will be marked with ribbon but the dirt roads/trails will likely not be marked.
  • Print or save to your phone the turn-by-turn directions on the maps page.
  • Also the Drive Directions page describes how to get to the Blaire Valley Aid Station.
  • Water will be dropped at the Pinyon Mountain Valley Aid Station location (12 miles into the run)
  • RSVP: Yes, since we are carpooling an RSVP is required Click here.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in Lost Boys 50 Mile | 1 Comment

Lost Boys Training Run Jan2016

Come check out the last 20 mile of the Lost Boys 50 course – rain, snow or shine. This will be a good opportunity for those running the race and also their pacers to see what they’re in for!

The new rerouted Cold Spring Trail

There are a few slight changes to the course this year and we will check out the changes on this run.

All are welcome to join even those that are not planning to run the Lost
Boys 50. Remember that each person is responsible for themselves, we will
not be keeping track of who is where and we encourage runners to run in
pairs.

      • When: Saturday January 23, 2016. Launch at 7:00AM
      • No need to RSVP
      • Total Miles: Approximately 20 miles (with a couple shorter options).
      • Water: Water will be dropped at West Mesa (approximately 6 miles into the run). So carry enough for the final 14 mile stretch.
      • Training Run Details: We will start and finish off the official course but 95% of this run will be on the official Lost Boys course. Leaving Big Bend we will head East until
        we meet Stonewall Creek Fire Road (mile 33.8 in the race). We will turn
        right here and follow the race course and loop all the way around to
        Marty Marshall trail (MMT). At MMT we’ll continue straight to finish back at Big
        Bend.
      • See the Maps page for turn-by-turn directions of the course and especially the TRAINING RUN MAP.
      • You can cut the miles short in a few places as follows:
        • When we arrive at West Mesa you can cross the highway then instead of continuing west on the LB50 course you can turn right (leaving the LB50 course) onto the West Side Trail. Stay right and follow the signs to the Paso Picacho Campground, then run north along the highway for a couple miles back to Big Bend. This option is a bit confusing so you should only consider it if you know the area.
        • Another place to cut out a few miles is before you get to the top of Cuyamaca peak, you can turn right onto Conejos Trail and just continue on this all the way down to Milk Ranch Road (this skips the Cuyamaca peak aid station).
        • Another option would be at the Milk Ranch Road aid station you can just stay on the dirt road heading east instead of heading up Middle Peak. This will cut out a climb and about 3 miles.
      • Where: Meet at “Big Bend.” (AKA Milk Ranch Road). This is the big turn in Highway 79:
        0.8 miles SOUTH of the Cuyamaca Lake Store
        1.7 miles NORTH of Paso Picacho Campground

Let me know if you have any questions. See you on the trails.

Brian Gonzales, Lost Boys 50 Mile – RD

Posted in Lost Boys 50 Mile | Leave a comment

Approaching Penny Pines

RD Brian enjoying the runnable Noble Canyon trail leading into Penny Pines.

RD Brian enjoying the runnable Noble Canyon trail leading into Penny Pines.

Two weeks from race day Brian roamed around the upper Noble Canyon trail near the Penny Pines trailhead. Here are some photos from the day!

The highest elevation point on the course is about 1/4 mile before the Penny Pines Aid Station. Though there is still some downhill then uphill later in the course, you will not be any higher than this point:

High Point on the course.

High Point on the course.

NC50k High Point panoramic.

NC50k High Point panoramic.

There are not a lot of trees on the course, but the views and trail quality makes it worth it! All of the course is single track or double-track.

Fun trails with great views.

Fun trails with great views.

NC single track and the trail in the distance.

NC single track, also look for the trail along the green hill in the distance.

Race Director on the course.

Race Director on the course.

The official Noble Canyon trail is 10 miles top to bottom. Since the race course does a short detour at the bottom to enter the Pine Creek aid station, we pick up a bonus mile each way.

The start of the Noble Canyon Trail.

The start of the Noble Canyon Trail.

See you on the trails…

NC_See you on the trails

Posted in Noble Canyon 50k | Leave a comment