Rancho San Antonio
I love this place! This is one of my favorite places to run. There are many long trails and loops to do, the terrain is hilly and varied and the wildlife is fantastic. I see some form of wildlife every single time I go out here.
The most exciting wildlife encounter I've had at Rancho was with a bobcat a few years ago. She came sauntering down the trail towards me, I stopped and stood quietly in my spot. She walked right up to me and passed by me, almost close enough to brush my leg. I spoke quietly to her and she gave me very calm "kitty eyes" back. She then stepped off the trail and into the field next to it. She was so beautiful. It makes me feel good to know that creatures like her still live near us and continue their natural lives.
My 3/4 run at Rancho was fantastic. The weather was a perfect, sunny, 70 degrees. The recent rains have turned the hills of Rancho green and the creeks are full of cool rushing water. About 1/2 down the Rogue Trail in the valley I encountered a group of eight deer. I stopped in the trail and watched them crash through the creek and shrubbery at the north side of the trail, cross behind me over the trail, and leap up the hillside towards the switchbacks of the Wildcat Loop Trail.
I also saw bunnies munching on the grass along the Rogue Trail.
At the end of the Rogue Valley I saw this big tree down. A remnant of some of the crazy storms we had late this winter.
Happily my ascent on the Upper Rogue Valley Trail was easier than I expected. I guess all of that hill running that I've been doing is really getting me fitter. I haven't run here in a while, and I remembered this portion of the trail as being longer and harder. This was a big confidence booster.
Next I turned right to head up the High Meadow Trail. I have to admit that I did a good amount of dwadling up here. The warm sun, the views and the solitude did my spirit good, so I wanted to suck it all up. I thought about my former coworkers and how they were stuck in their offices right now! I was so happy to be able to take advantage of my time off and the perfect weather to get stronger, fitter and soak in nature. I'd forgotten how difficult the very last part of this trail is. Just before it intersects with the PG&E trail at the very top by the vista point the Upper Meadow Trail becomes completely unrunnable. It's steep climb forced me to switchback it at a hiking pace. At the top I encountered this curious sign and an unmarked trailhead. I wonder where it goes to? If anyone knows, please tell me so that I don't have to find out for myself!
The vegetation was much thicker than I remembered going down the PG&E trail. I was getting tired so all of the little uphills inbetween the big screaming descents were just killing me. I encountered lots of people who were totally overdressed for the weather in running pants and long shirts, it's hard to believe 70 degree weather in early March!
I was thrilled to see that even with all of the photos, dwaddling, sun-worshipping and soul-searching I finished this run in less than two hours! 1:58! And today the day after, I'm not sore. I'll do an easy 4 miler and then another long run tomorrow. Diablo 50k here I come!