Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Running the Iron Mountain in Poway, CA...

This past weekend I was back in San Diego for a wedding. On Sunday at the crack of dawn I took advantage of a lull in activities and drove out to run the Iron Mountain and its adjacent trails in Poway, CA. Located in Northeast San Diego County, Poway is home to two of the largest peaks in the area, one of which is Iron Mountain.

The area is southwestern pretty with outcroppings of huge stone boulders everywhere. It gives the appearance of being on a movie set in mars. Vegetation runs rampant amongst the boulders with lots of dead brush spewing deep green, rich vegetation from grotesquely disfigured opaque wood. Most of the low lying underbrush is prickly and undeniably harsh. Natural wildfires ravaged the area in 1995 and 2003, so I imagine that most of what is alive is recovering from dead vegetation. Life literally seeps from the grips of death. Native to the area are chaparral, wild lilac, white and black sages. And of course snakes, lizards, bobcats and an occasional mountain lion.

I wasn’t sure what to expect of the terrain and foolishly thought that it would be similar to Torrey Pines – compact dirt with a thin layer of what feels like beach sand ideal for running (heavenly, actually). Torrey Pines it is not. Iron Mountain is not that tall (2,696 feet in elevation) but the adjacent trails surrounding the mountain (Wild Horse and Ellie Lane) are tough to navigate for moderate/fast running. I was looking to do a long run of 16+ and had to settle for 10 jagged, tedious, slow, frustrating miles. At times I was just hiking and climbing, not running. The Iron Mountain trail is better with a much wider path and devoid of intense geology (softer ground too), but at 2.5 miles in length…it's...yeah; yup, exactly.


No comments: