Girls Gone Pasadena: Part One

Locating Pasadena from Inspiration Point on the way up to Mt Lowe

Many people who live in the Pacific Northwest plan for a "sun break" in the long rainy season-- a chance to escape the damp and darkness. After months of running routes limited by snow levels, muddy shoes, and pre-dawn starting times, we were ready for our own version: a long weekend in the Los Angeles area.


We started at Cobb Estate

We picked LA for the weather, well-loved races (route ideas), proximity (short, direct flight), and of course, food-- all important ingredients for the perfect weekend away with your BFF. Ann found an nice 24 mile route in the San Gabriel Mountains for our longest run, so we decided to stay in Pasadena to be near the trailhead (and many others). We got our flight, booked an AirBnB, and rented a car. Then, on a Thursday afternoon, we were off!

The trails were mostly well-signed

First stop, of course-- the grocery store. We got a light dinner for that evening, some breakfast for the morning, and few snacks to take with us on our big run the next day.

Crimson-spot rockrose

Ann had picked a nice, long loop for Friday, meant to be our longest run on the day we thought would be less crowded on the trails. But when we got to the trailhead we saw that it was closed... due to a bear attack!

Phacelia
We used the truly awesome Trail Run Project app to find another route nearby, much shorter at about 15 miles. While we felt disappointed at the start, that feeling soon fell away as we slogged our way from Cobb Estate to Echo Mountain, enjoying the unique desert plants, the sunshine, and the hazy valley views.

"World Famous" Telescope View from Inspiration Point
It was only in the low 70s, but with the exposed trails and strong sun at the end of April, these two Oregonians felt HOT. Inspiration Point was a welcome rest stop with a shady covered area for a quick snack.

Oh yeah, it's right behind me!

We continued up to the top of Mt Lowe, which felt much more wild and remote. Since Ann is an uphill mountain goat, she went on ahead and we each got to appreciate our own pace (slog in my case).


Agave and mountains

I couldn't stop thinking about bears and mountain lions after our detoured start, but the only wildlife we saw were birds and lizards. Reaching the top of Mt Lowe felt like a big accomplishment, and then it was time for the fun part: DOWNHILL!

Steep, rocky, and exposed-- just how we like it

I really enjoyed the way back, speeding past the very spots where I'd struggled earlier. By this time there were lots more people out on the trails, and we were happy to be running shorter than we had originally planned.

Looking back down to Inspiration Point (left)

We finished the run, showered and changed back at the house, and then made the long drive to Abbot Kinney in Venice for our reservation at Plant Food + Wine. We were seated in the back patio, which was absolutely gorgeous with lush plantings, sparkling string lights, and two wandering restaurant cats. I was in absolute heaven.

Mountains, rocks, steepness

We ordered a nice bottle of wine and so many dishes to share. It was such a luxurious treat to run hard in the mountains on dirt and then eat a great meal with my BFF. Then we went home to get to bed so we could do it all over again the next day. And that was just the beginning to the weekend! Part two up next...

Dead and fallen trees make an arch to run through

Ann surveys the San Gabriel Mountains

Mount Baldy and radio towers
Susan surveys the view

Selfie at the top of Mt Lowe, with Mt Baldy between us

Structure and "telescopes" at the top of Mt Lowe

Ann's rave run

Ann's rave run

It felt really hot, and it was in the low 70s. This is what I felt like at the end.

A decent-sized black lizard, enjoying the sun

The one lizard with teal spots on its back

Gotta love a nice trail sign


California poppies and the valley view

Decadent dinner: cheese plate at Plant Food + Wine

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