Saturday, May 17, 2014

Post Cocos Fire 2014 Trail Run & Pictures

On May 16, 2014, post Cocos fire, I ventured back onto my favorite trail in the San Elijo Hills area, the Jeep Trail, part of which is also known as the Way Up Trail. This trail includes what we call the Beast, a 1/2 mile of pain with 348' of elevation gain.  It also includes some nice bowls, that make me wish it snowed in San Diego.

Jeep Trail - gates open - a bad sign
On a bulldozer at the top of Bulldozer
On the run everything looked normal as I ascended the Beast.  Once I got to the top, I began to see signs of the burn areas in the distant. 

However, the first sign of the fire that I encountered was actually a new trail that connects what I call  Jeep Trail Medium to Jeep Trail Long. It's only .3 of a mile but if Strava is to believed, has 359' of elevation gain.  (I walked down it.)  It was created by a bulldozer, hence my naming it the Bulldozer.  I assume it was created as a fire break or as a way for vehicles to get through.  It has about a foot of sandy soil on the surface and will need some time before it turns into a decent trail.  However, it definitely is a legitimate new trail.

Bulldozer - looking down

After coming down Bulldozer and reconnecting to Jeep Trail Long, I got my first close view of fire damage:

Lord of the Rings type devastation near Bresa De Loma Drive

A little to the left of the picture above
I kept running, half expecting some Orcs to attack me and discovered Juan's trail, which was hardly much of a trail at .1 of a mile.  It's an offshoot of Jeep Trail Long, near where it reconnects to Jeep Trail Medium.  It bows out and then comes back, so it doesn't go anywhere new. Despite my wife's protestations that my ego is out of control (something I didn't know), I named it Juan's Trail, after myself via my nickname, Juan.

Juan's Trail 
After reconnecting to Jeep Trail Medium I ran toward Frank's Peak, which did have some burn areas at the south portion. However, the more dramatic burn areas were off to the east.

 From here, I could also see (little) Mt. Whitney, which had been burned up to the trail that wraps around it on the south side.
Mt. Whitney in the center, burned up to trail

 I then ran between Frank's Peak and Mt. Whitney down to Attebury. There were burn areas around here  and another new small trail (.1 of a mile), which I named Shortcut Trail.

Shortcut Trail to Attebury (burn areas to the right)
with Doublepeak in the distance.

Overall the fire resulted in a lot of singletrack being turned into fire road.  Additionally, the fire roads are now a lot plusher on the feet, as the bulldozers left 6 inches or more of sandy soil on top. Here is a link to my Strava run:

To end, I wish to thank all the firemen who worked to subdue the Cocos fire.  As I ran through the burned out areas, I imagined the fireman out in the middle of the trails, with limited options of egress if the fire turned.  It certainly takes a brave person to work out in the back country in the middle of a firestorm. Great job!      

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