trail running

Chasing Life: Trail running in Santa Barbara, California


Groves of ancient oaks shelter the trail

The day started with a trail run through shadowed canyons and groves of ancient oaks. It ended with a bottle of cava, hand-carried from Spain and uncorked on a sunset-lit beach that looked out over Morro Bay.


Nodding to our anniversary with cava at Morro Bay.

This trail run was for healing. We had just had a year without a Christmas tree, a reluctant holiday saturated more with tears than wine or eggnog.

But, grief is a dark place, difficult to endure for long.

We needed to flush out–and then refill–ourselves with the smell of eucalyptus trees and the sight of arching oak limbs.

Arguably, trail running is always about healing. Refreshment. Meditation. And so off we went, starting from a small neighborhood in the foothills–just outside of Santa Barbara–and feeling as though we were dropping off the map.


We ground our way up toward La Cumbre Peak, winding through pastures and threading through boulder-strewn ravines. Our lungs stung. Our quads burned. But the views were worth it.


Threading the trail toward La Cumbre Peak

Finally, our spirits soared, circling and rising higher like a hawk on an upward draft.

Trail running is chasing life, grabbing it, letting it go, and then chasing it again.



Whether you’re #trailrunning or #hiking, the La Cumbre Peak trail in Santa Barbara, California awaits you. Check it out.

Patricia Erikson blogs about Maine writers, travel, and science from a vibrant, literary community perched on Peaks Island, two miles off the coast of the beautiful and award-winning city of Portland, Maine. If you haven’t already, follow her on Instagram at @seashorewrite or subscribe to Peaks Island Press in the upper right corner at

2 replies »

  1. I couldn’t help but notice the HUGE difference between the trails you and two ran on in California and our own rocky, tree root infested trails here in New England. Here, lose concentration on our feet at own peril. Out there I can see that keeping your head up and ambling along can be magical.
    Chuck Radis


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