What’s left of Deep Creek

     Its a damp and rainy winters afternoon, finally. This has been the least wintry January I can recall. Last week it was almost seventy in this little mountain hamlet. All these snow pigs drive up from the smoggy valley below on the weekends and there is no snow for them to piss and play in! So they just throw their trash in my yard and graffiti up our signs instead. Maybe they will help our struggling mountain economy by stopping at the new tattoo place that just opened across the street from my house. I feel kind of bad for Bubba’s Tattoos right now, I think their homemade card board sign is melting in the rain and snow we have been getting for the last few hours.
   Today is my day off from work and all I plan to do today is write, cook, eat, assemble my new furniture, swear, and eat some cake out of anger. Oh yeah, I plan to make my Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Cake with blueberries.I’m going to need that later; I hate building things.
    I made myself go for a run this morning, even though both my knees were bothering me. I kept coming up with excuses to stay in my nice warm house.
     It looked cold out.
     I had to laundry to do.
    There was horse racing on T.V. cats snuggling on every surface and a fire roaring away, mainly in the fireplace. I did not want to go.
    But I did want to eat Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Cake with Blueberries when I got back.
   So I went for a run.
   It was a very sad run on a cold winters day, and not just because I only ran two and a half miles.
   I decided to run the creek trail down to Deep Creek in Running Springs. When I was a kid, this was my play ground. Summers were spent at the creek in the cool mountain waters with friends. Tragically, when the 2007 fire roared across our mountain homes, it burned right through Deep Creek. I had not been back to the creek in that area in about ten years. As I ran on this foggy morning past half burned spruce and cedar trees, what was left of the green leaves were almost neon green against a dark grey sky, storm building in the back ground. The storm was moving in quickly and I got a late start.
   I was procrastinating and yes…
   Fantasizing about cake….
   I didn’t hit the trail until eleven when the sky was almost ready to open up. I ran quickly through the burnt forest where I grew up. There were fallen logs every where across this trail, still well traveled even though the forest was so dead around it. In some areas the trees were barely scarred and in others there was absolutely nothing left.
     The trail starts out as a barely drive able dirt road, going down, down down into the high desert where all the little creeks seem to meet in the same valley. Its a steep run downhill  and as I ran this trail fast, I could clearly remember hiking up it exhausted so many hot summer days. Running back up this trail would not be easy.
   So many memories of playing in this forest with my friends as a child flashed through my head as I jumped over fallen trees and tried to decipher where the trail used to be in the burnt forest. I came down the steep trail right before you get to the actual creek and the deep pools and I stopped sharp. 
   Everything was burnt. 
   There was nothing left of the old swimming hole. 
   There used to be fields of poison oak and other green shrubs and flowers on both sides of the creek, but there was nothing left now, just boulders and a little water in a few deserted pools, some of it still frozen. A burnt up bike sat left over from the fire so many years ago. This was one of the sadist sights I have ever seen. I wanted to cry thinking how beautiful this area was the last time I had hiked down here so many years ago. It will never look like that again.
   As I starred at the vacant tan cliffs that were the edge of the swimming hole I didn’t even want to take any pictures. I didn’t want to remember my creek play ground looking like this.
   I wasn’t very motivated running back. It was cold and foggy as I ran through the dead and burnt forest and suddenly it felt like a creepy place to be on this cold winters day, and not the forest I used to love growing up. I was panting and wheezing as I made my way to the top of the trail. I knew this trail was going to be a very hard run back, and I didn’t want to stop and rest, considering at less than three miles this was way less than I had run all week. This should have been an easy run considering it was so short, but running straight up steep hills fast is exhausting.
    Last week I ran over thirty seven miles. That is incredible to me. I absolutely am floored that I was able to do that. That was running six days a week. I’d like to do five to eight miles seven days a week, but its just so hard to find two hours every morning to run!