Big Sur Country


A motley group of runners organized on Sept. 25-26 for the Trail Runners Club (TRC) event in Big Sur. Members met for lodging in Monterey and Big Sur. Most of the group, in anticipation of our 20-mile run slept slightly anxiously. Most runners were thoroughly prepared with breakfast meals, gels, snacks, water hydration packs and running apparel.
I drove with Ann and my wife LaRue for the relaxing 1-hour trip in the dark morning to Big Sur Station. Unexpectedly, a buck darted into our lane. I braked suddenly and our new car stopped quite well. If we had been driving our old truck, we would have had venison. Our new member, Intara, brought his girlfriend and she waited for him, while he completed his 20-mile run in the Ventana Wilderness to Syke Hot Spring and back. Ann and Michael meticulously prepared adequate water, nutrition, and Michael even brought his hi¬tech water filter. Michael claimed that many sources of unfit water could filter into potable water. Carrying one small water-bottle, one could now run with less weight, and could replenish. None of us had much faith in Michael's filter for potable water. My water vests carried 2-liters of water, and this seemed adequate for the run. Eric carried only one bottle, and we all convinced Keith to bring one bottle of water.
Our group began running from Big Sur Station, and we rose upward on a long and hilly single-track. The panorama of the Pacific Ocean slowly disappeared as we continued on the forested trail. The early run began with a gorgeous warm morning as we climbed on toward the 10 mile mark—the Syke Hot Spring. But, as we wearily approached this hot spring, the temperatures began searing in the late morning. We fantasized about an oasis similar to the La Costa Spa, but the Hot Spring was realistically a small pool with sulfur fumes. Bathing in the pool, the runners actually procrastinated to start the dreaded 10 mile return to the Big Sur Station.
In the afternoon heat, as we trudged from the Syke Hot Spring toward Big Sur Station, and the run was no longer "downhill", but rather UP and down. Our drinking water supply was less than half for our return trip, and the temperatures parched us. Completely out of water as I finished the last 5 miles, I could feel that my dry lips were sealed with white glue and my mouth felt like cotton. Three hikers passed me and asked, "Do you need water?” I replied stupidly, "I'm fine. Only 5 more miles". One of these angels of the hikers forced my dried up throat to quench a bottle of green stuff, which temporarily relieved my insane thirst. When LaRue and I finally finished our total 6.5-hour run, we beamed at the Big Sur Station for a water fountain and 2 ice-cold Pepsis at the soda machine. Intara also returned back to the Big Sur Station, and his girlfriend patiently waited for his return at 3 PM.
Keith and Eric were exposed to intra-cellular mitochondria dehydration, but made it to their lodgings. Michael and Ann were very conditioned and hydrated. They did great, and I hate them.
Later that day, after eating and resting and again eating and resting, we recharged our batteries for tomorrow’s run. The next morning, the survivors drove to the Andrew Molera Beach. Only Michael, Ann and Eric ran the warm hilly 8-mile loop to finish along the cool beach bluffs. Instead, LaRue and I chose to run a secluded beach bluff that was flat, cool, and beautiful.
Our weekend was filled with 2 beautiful runs in Big Sur and this included the hour drive to and from the hotel. Then, we ate at Rosine’s Restaurant in Monterey for breakfast-- the piece de resistance, while relishing in the vistas of Big Sur. It is funny the way we remembered the best and forgot the worst......