FKT: Ashly Winchester - Summit Trail (South Warner Wilderness, CA) - 2020-11-01

Route variation
one way
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
5h 46m 8s

Got a suuuuuper late start on this one.

I chose to run Southbound so that I could get a majority of the climbing out of the way in the beginning. I felt kinda heavy and sluggish from the get-go, but the muscles started warming up around miles 3-4. I thought I'd be able to cruise out the rest of the miles at a faster pace after I hit the high point at about mile 6.3, and for a few miles after that, I felt pretty good and was moving a little better. The views are pretty incredible and those kept me smiling as the miles slipped by and the sun dipped towards the horizon. 

I knew I'd be running in the dark, but didn't realize it was daylight savings until the sun went down at 5 pm. I honestly thought that I was going to have another hour of light. I almost had a meltdown when I couldn't find my headlamp at first and I let out a relieved laugh when I felt it at the bottom of my pack. I was only at mile 14 at this point so I knew I was going to spend some time in the dark!

The rest of the miles didn't go as smoothly as I'd hoped. My ankle that I rolled just 6 days ago was feeling stiff, I couldn't move as nimbly as I wanted to, and I kept losing the trail in the dark. But the air was crisp and cool and the stars were bright and I was in a good place mentally. I got followed by a curious critter for a short while... I'm not sure what it was, but I ended up bringing a hefty rock along for the ride for a few miles and checking behind me every couple of minutes until I was sure I wasn't in any danger.

This trail is very runnable and quite beautiful, and it could go very fast! Heck, I could run it a lot faster on fresh legs (and during the day).

Side note: The description of this route says that there is 3636 feet of gain. My GPS data showed 4577 feet of gain. Also, there were several clear, flowing streams in the middle miles - good to know this late in the season.

I took 2 liters of water with pretty dilute Tailwind, and a few Spring energy gels. This worked out well for me.

Driving beta: I do not recommend getting to the Pepperdine Trailhead by way of County Rd 27 unless you have a high clearance vehicle.