Sunday, March 6, 2011

Run for 3-6-11. Run with fear built in.

I'm tossing and turning at night worried about my next adventure run in the morning. It's a new route for me and it's in bear and lion country. My husband decided that I needed some bear spray so that he can feel better. I'm running 12 in the morning and it's going to be an adventure.

After attending a deputy taught self defense class and reading the book The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker, I knew that the fear that I had going into my run wasn't real. I was playing out the what if's in my mind and it was creating a fake fear. I was never in any real danger.

So armed with my dog and bear spray I headed up to the starting point.

After reading this
I see this. I don't think so! Come on Boogie!!!

Sign at the start
And off I go for 12 miles.

So yes I totally freaked out, not knowing for a good 9.5 miles that I didn't need to be. I first came upon a sign and got a little confused about which way to go. But, learned my lesson from Forest Park...always go up. I headed towards Coastal Trail.

The first 1.5 miles was up this amazing difficult hill. I mean I was tired. I even had to stop at one point after realizing that I was feeling dizzy and wanted to throw up. It was a hill!!!! And the footing, looked like this, except this was the pleasant part. Most of it was covered in water from a stream going down. It wasn't bad going up, but very slippery on the way down.
Here are some more pictures of my 1 mile up hill. I didn't take very many on the worst parts, too busy breathing. And if you don't believe me, I'll gladly take you.

After the huge climb, the forest got a little spooky. I then took the dog off the leash because he was freaking me out. He kept looking back and I kept wondering if he knew a wild and crazy animal was behind us. He would even cough and it sent shivers up and down my body.

Here are some more photos from the dark and scary forest.

I started to calm down a little after this last section because I came upon a bridge and I thought it was pretty.

I saw this after the bridge and got a little excited. Were they there because of a race?
We finally got to our turn around and I  noticed signs of life and wonder!

It was after our turn around that I decided that it would be a really good idea  to clear my throat really, really loud every 1/2 mile to scare the bears away. Protecting the dog, just protecting the dog. I know, I'm a dork.

It was right before 9.5 mi and before my next throat clear that I saw a runner and he was coming right at me! And, it was Mr. Ralph Hirt. He is 73 and still runs 100's. I meant him years ago at the Hagg Lake 50K, I knew he lived in my town, he knew I was coming. It was wonderful to see him. We talked for a good 20 minutes and he told me I didn't need the bear spray on this trail. He even mentioned that he saw my letter in the town's newspaper and was wondering what I was doing on the streets anyway. I needed to be on the trails.

So after 9.5 miles and only 2.5 miles to go I felt better. Except for the huge hill I was now facing. But, hey not scared. Thanks Ralph.

I finished up my run in happy spirits and even visited the beach before I left. Here are some beach photos.

On the trail, looking way down.

Part of the trail.
So there you have it.

Total run 12.41 miles. Total time? Don't ask. Happy spirit.

What's next?

More information about the run:

The Coastal Trail

DeMartin Section

Length 12.6 mi · Climbing 2370 ft
California > Redwood National and State Parks > Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
Red alders on the Coastal Trail


Much like the Last Chance Section, this out-and-back hike starts at the beach and climbs through a variety of attractive mixed-species forests before entering old-growth redwood uplands. The DeMartin section, however, feels less like an old road and a lot more like a real singletrack trail; the redwood section in particular was obviously built as a footpath. The DeMartin Section is also more scenic, with its sunny meadows and old-growth spruce in the first half and better-looking redwoods in the second. Overall it's perhaps the second-nicest part of the Coastal Trail in Redwood National and State Parks, after the long, spectacular stretch of Gold Bluffs Beach in Prairie Creek.

Perhaps because the trail is on the dryer east side of the ridge, the old growth that you'll see is a run-of-the-mill redwood upland and not the primeval, fogbound redwood forest that you'd see on the upper part of the Damnation Creek Trail or in Jedediah Smith park,. It's still very scenic, though.
The trail is little-used and can be a bit overgrown, but it's easy to follow. There are, unfortunately, few ocean views. A few glimpses through the woods suggest that, if the views weren't blocked, they'd be amazing.
Click map to show all trails and roads
Part of the Trail Map of Redwood National and State Parks (Redwood Hikes Press, 2009)

Hike description

Click here to see the trailhead location in Google Maps or in Google Street View.
Start at the Wilson Creek parking lot, which is on the west side of Highway 101 across from the former Redwood AYH Hostel. If you're driving north, the parking lot is at the point where Highway 101 begins to climb into Del Norte Redwoods.
To reach the trailhead, you can either ford Wilson Creek or walk on the side of Highway 101, across the bridge and over the creek. The trail begins by climbing a knoll covered in a very attractive, bright and open forest of white-barked red alders and light-grey hemlock. Rounding the top of the knoll, there are some views of a large seastack. Traffic noise drifts up from Highway 101. As the trail begins to descend you'll see a large, deep valley ahead, but fortunately the trail doesn't descend all the way to the bottom of the valley. Instead, the trail crosses a saddle and begins to climb again. At one point the trail switchbacks through a grove of immense spruce trees, passing through once, then switchbacking to pass through again.
The trail breaks out of the woods for a time. Grass grows on the trail and there may be no visible tread, but it's still clear where you're supposed to go.
Much of the Coastal Trail is overgrown with grass and other groundcover
Older maps show a split in the trail just before the DeMartin campground. The left branch, which bypassed the campground, no longer seems to exist. This is unfortunate since it passed by a scenic little pond, which you can still see through the woods.
The trail passes by the DeMartin Campground. Some of the sites are wooded, while others are sunny. It's one of the nicer environmental campgrounds in RNSP, although it does get a little traffic noise. After the campground the trail descends slightly, then begins an insistent climb. Soon the trail enters the redwoods. Because this is a natural redwood boundary, the trees are on the small side at first, but as the trail crests a ridge, you enter full-blown old-growth uplands. There's no traffic noise at all on this side of the ridge, and the forest is very open, with some good-sized trees. There are a lot of rhododendrons here; a few stretches are densely-packed with the trees and must be quite a sight during the spring bloom. The groundcover is a lush mixture of ferns and, in some areas, redwood sorrel.
The trail meanders around many gullies, remaining more or less level. The trail is not overgrown in the redwoods, although in winter and spring it might be littered with fallen trees and debris. As you approach the end, the trail climbs to the ridgetop. The forest loses its openness as an understory of huckleberry closes in around the trail. The trail crests the ridge and descends to Highway 101.
Old-growth redwoods on the Coastal Trail

© 2008 David Baselt


  1. Hey, I found your blog through my hubby's Facebook. We live in Eureka. This trail definitely looks worth the trip.

    A lot of people just sing or talk to scare the bears away. Your voice is the only unmistakable sign that you are human and not food.

  2. Thanks Karen. Perhaps we could hook up for a run there soon.
    Tomorrow, I'm running another hilly route.

  3. Too bad you have to run these trails by your self at first. They look great! Good news you met Ralph, he should be a good resource.