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Updated on June 4, 2017
Lost in the Foothills My run began east of Santa Maria off Highway 166. I planned to go to the Big Rocks OHV area, but when I pulled in I saw a big sign saying “No Trespassing.” I thought that was a forest service road, so it was annoying, but I just headed down the road to the Adobe Trail. I ran this trail about a year ago. It is a steep climb that leads to a maze of intersecting single track trails, cow trails, double track roads that disappear, and fireroads that go nowhere. The last time I was here, I just followed the ridge line for the entire run. I tried to do the same thing this time, but I ended up getting lost. Everything looks exactly the same up there, so it takes some time before you realize your mistake. I am lucky enough that I don’t need to worry about those mistakes too much because I am able to easily add mileage if I need to, and know the general lay of the land. If worst came to worst, I can always get back to the highway. But there were a couple of moments that I wondered how I was going to find my way back. I suddenly realized that I set up markers on the trail last time just so I wouldn’t get lost. There is no cell phone reception back there except in tiny unpredictable pockets. It was quite cold up there, and there were ice patches scattered all over the trail. It is not the kind of place that I would want to spend the night. At one point, I spotted my trail across a canyon, and I almost bushwhacked it to get back on track. It turns out that this would have been a horrible idea. I think I knew this subconsciously because I didn’t do it, despite never actually making that decision. But it was a challenging route. I got almost 3500 feet of climbing. And that means I got almost 3500 feet of descending, all of which was a workout for the quads. I was actually happy to get a little extra distance. Another half mile would have been perfect, but when I was done, I was done. Great run. Nice challenge.