Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tacos make me nostalgic; therefore, I'll write about mountain lions (again).

For those who have been following along, I'm officially a temporary New Yorker. Penny and I are preparing for a trial that begins in New York on January 7. It's scheduled to run for approximately 4 weeks. So I've taken residence in TriBeCa for 42 days. In the middle of winter.

200 square feet of bliss.
It's been a difficult adjustment. It's cold all the time - every day I have to wear shoes WITH SOCKS, layers of clothing, and a HEAVY jacket. Luckily, this is not my first cold winter . . . I still have my winter coat from when I lived in St. Louis, circa 2002.

You know you are getting old when your
clothes reach the double digits in age. 
And after being in New York for a week, I am still half way on Pacific time. Being anywhere by 9 a.m. ET is a huge burden at the moment.

Then there is the mountain of work and extra long hours. And I caught a cold. Sniff, sniff.

But my attitude about New York improved approximately 30% today when I discovered an excellent Mexican restaurant mere footsteps from my hotel: Papatzul in SoHo.

I reluctantly parked myself at the bar, ordered a Negro Modela figuring the beer would be the only part of the meal I would enjoy. New York has a poor reputation for Mexican food, and I was certain there was no way SoHo Mexican food could live up to the Mexican at my beloved restaurants in San Diego (En Fuego, Las Olas, Rubios, Bull Taco, El Callejon to name a few).

To my utter shock and delight, Papatzul was awesome. These are skirt steak tacos with chorizo and fried pork skin. New Year's resolution to eat every thing on the menu?

So, with that long introduction, I'm feeling nostalgic and thought I would recap another trail run I did in the days just before leaving home.

Lake Poway Loop

On Christmas Eve day, I ran the trail around Lake Poway (trail map here). There is information about parking on the Lake Poway Recreation Area website. Basically, there is a huge parking lot at the trail head.

I recommend running the loop counter clockwise (turn right onto the trial from the trail head) because this part of the trail is very easy to follow, as the lake is in view at all times. On the back side of the loop (the first part you would get to if you took the trail clockwise), you leave the lake shore and do a bunch of switchbacks. It would be a confusing start.

The loop around the lake is about 3 miles. And there are a lot of hills! You can tell from the map that the Lake Poway loop connects to some other trails within the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, if you are up for excursions.

This was a run that almost didn't happen because I saw THIS at the trail head:

THIS is a sculpture of a MOUNTAIN LION!

Also available at the trail head - pamphlets about coyotes, rattle snakes, and, of course, our friend the mountain lion! To summarize: Coyotes are no big deal to full grown humans. Rattle snakes probably won't kill you, even if they bite you. But best to go back the other way if you see one on a trail. Don't jump over them. Mountain lions . . . if you see one, you are f*cked. Cold comfort? They are around but are rarely seen. And "REMEMBER: MOUNTAIN LION ATTACKS ON HUMANS ARE RARE!" (emphasis in original)

Because it took me nearly 30 minutes to drive there, I summoned my courage and headed out on the trail.

In the first mile, the trail stays close to the lake, and there are some steep hills. Nothing too long though.

Round about mile 2, there is a picnic table that would be fun to hike to with a group of friends. It is near an interesting rock pile formation.

Mile 3 descends below the lake (there is a dam). And there are a bunch of switch backs and some hills again to take you back up lakeside.

For a mostly road runner like me, this is a good route for an easy run, provided you take it easy on the hills. The trail is soft and footing just difficult enough to keep you in your easy pace zone. There were a lot of people on the trail, and since the trail stays close to the shore of the lake, I never felt like I was being stalked by a mountain lion. I would run this route alone again for sure. (Don't tell the mountain lions.)

two little runners


  1. This trail sounds awesome!!
    I've spent the past month running trails and a lot of hills in Norcal, I feel so strong, and I will be on a mission to find a ton of new San Diego-area trails once I return next week...I'm sad you're no longer in the area.
    Good Mexican food is a must for me! so exciting to read you found a delicious place!
    I hope you're getting used to the cold...eeek! and enjoying the change in scenery!

    1. There are sooo many trails in SD county. You won't be disappointed. In addition to Lake Poway and the many routes in the Coast to Crest system, I love Mission Trials. Torrey Pines (and Torrey Pines Annex)is nice too, but it is crowded and because of the slope and sandy paths, it very difficult to run fast enough there. Haven't been able to run in NY b/c I have a sinus infection on top of every thing else - but hoping medicine will kick in quickly!! :) Kristen