I first heard about this route in 2018 or so as my sister led an outdoor ed class trip through Big Dominguez Canyon. She raved about the petroglyphs and told me about the loop. I really like canyon link ups in the desert and with the last couple years of racing more competitively, I haven't had as much time to go and explore and push myself in the style of a solo adventure or FKT effort.
Earlier last week, I decided the timing was right for an adventure and I honed in on this loop and the Mee-Knowles Canyon loops as they were both short drives and new territory for me. I ended up landing on the Big/Little Dominguez Canyon loop and reached out to Kevin for some beta on water. I chose to go in the same direction as he did, learning about ample water around the start of Big Dominguez canyon at mile 25.
I pushed my start time earlier in the morning as it looked like some weather rolling in around 12 or 1pm. This proved to be a foolish move, as the first couple miles of Little Dominguez Canyon are pretty trick to follow, even harder in the dark. Daylight started sneaking in about 5 miles into the effort and I got a beautiful sunrise around mile 9, climbing out of Little Dominguez Canyon. That climb is a little techy in spots, but my advice is don't follow the center drainage. After this climb, I was in no-mans land, no trail to be found, for the next three miles.
I regained a semblance of a trail around mile 12 and had a nice flowing run across the dirt roads that connect the canyons. The top of Big Dominguez was frozen and so gorgeous in the pale morning light.
I took a wicked spill around mile 34. I was listening to Morning Star, the third book in the Red Riding trilogy, and there was a fight scene happening, next thing I knew I hit the deck. Full wind knocked out of me, scraped leg, arm, and hand. Sore hip and back. Woof daddy.
I pulled myself back up and tried to maintain under 10min/miles for the final 5 miles to the finish. There are some truly amazing native ruins and petroglyphs in this stretch. This is the only section of trail I saw anyone, in the final 45 minutes.
I pushed it to the finish to be done before noon, as I started at 5:35am. Watch time, 6:24:56.
Big thanks to Kevin for some help with the beta and encouraging me to go on the adventure.