It can be hard to be living in a place where the number of good trails at your disposal is limited. We have our signature trails here in San Luis Obispo that we’ve each run more times than anyone should. They get boring and monotonous and it can be really hard to pull yourself out of bed or off the couch to run one of these routes.
Today, Cody and I had a rare opportunity. It was pouring here in SLO. Not just some drizzle that passes through, but a full on torrential rainstorm that flooded trails and left waterfalls and mud pits galore. It was time to tackle good old Madonna Mountain again, but this time it had a much different flavor.
The trail that followed close to Laguna Lake was full of huge puddles and deep mud. Within minutes of stepping on the trail, our feet and legs were soaked and totally dirty. We knew it was going to be a good jaunt. Running up the mountain was nearly impossible, with each step sending my leg flying out behind me in the slippery mud. I worked to try and get that perfect step down each time as I cursed my lungs for not being able to withstand all the work I was trying to do. But it made the hill fun! My frustration turned into laughter as I realized how ridiculous we would look from anyone passing by. And it was different! The mud, dark clouds and small river that had formed where a trail once was completely changed the climb. As we neared the middle of the mountain, where the trail turns and heads around the perimeter, there was only more excitement. Waterfalls gushed out from rock outcroppings and the single track trail became a perfect chute for all the excess rain. We were running through the swift moving water and loving it.
As we neared the top of a ridge that signaled our last high point on the run, we were able to watch the setting orange hue through the clouds. What an incredible day for a place that I thought we knew too well.