Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunday Trail Bliss
I rolled up to Zweirlein trail head in Huddart Park a little later than I wanted too, but it didn't matter because I had all the time in the world to get in a good trail run. My water pack was topped off with PowerAide, and I was ready to go. The weather, well it was finally perfect - no horrendous winds or unseasonably cold weather. I should just give up and move to Arizona already.
I was kind of surprised that there weren't that many cars in the parking lot, being that it was Sunday and one of the nicest days we've had in months.

The trail quickly dips off into the redwood forest. And the trail is beautiful, soft and loamy from decomposing redwood needles. A few squirrels chattered at me as I ran by. A fairly large lizard sunned himself on a rock and did his little up and down display dance.

It takes me a long while to get warmed up. So I did a little bit of walking running, which I'm not happy with myself for doing. It seems whimpy and lazy to me in hindsight. I need to bump it up hard again.

I passed by a few small groups of hikers heading back to the parking lot. And only one runner, surprisingly. The Zweirlein trailhead opens up to the Crystal Springs Trail, a long trail that connects through several open space areas. I was taking CPT to the top of the ridgeline. Down in the lower regions it switchbacks through lovely, dense redwood forests and then gradually transitions to an oak forest. The oak forest is thicker in undergrowth and at times a little creepier as larger critters can easily hide out there. It didn't feel creepy in the slightest today though.

I wound past the Toyon camp ground area and came to a great natural rock bench. Sitting on the cool rock feels great on the hamstrings!

It seems that the CST was resurfaced in parts since I was there last. It had pressed gravel in some sections that are pretty remote, kinda surprising. I suppose they did this for the equestrians, since the horses tear up the trail in the wet weather.

After winding up through the oak and chapparal for a while the CST plunges back into redwood forest again. This is when I know that I'ms nearing the top because at about this time I'm trying to remember where the heck the top is. It's a constant climb up with almost no break. And you think that you've hit the top when you make the connection with the Skyline Ridge Trail, but nope, it's the insult to injury part. There's a 0.7 mile section to the very top from here that has several bumps that are super steep, pretty much too steep to run at any real speed but I'm sure that some of the speedy local trail racers just fly up them. At times I have to kind of march them sideways, foot over foot.

When you crest that last hill and reach the very top you're still shrouded in beautiful redwoods as you are for most of this run. I stopped here to snap a few pictures and have a Gu. Then I kept running on the Skyline Ridge trail until I hit the Chincaupin trail. I love this trail. It's like a rollercoaster going back down again. Chincaupin rolls down through the redwoods and sometimes clings to some very steep cliffs, getting narrow to a point just before being nervewracking.

The further I descended, the warmer it felt. Quite by accident I happened upon a great way to keep cool. When filling up my backpack bladder I must have accidently sprayed some water inside my backpack. It started to slowly leak out during my run and onto my back....refreshing! At first I was afraid that my bladder had a leak in it (okay, not THAT bladder) but the leak didn't taste or look like PowerAide. I think maybe next time I'll stick some ice into my backpack and see how that works.

As I neared the trailhead I could smell barbecues cooking. And when I came out into the parking/camp area it was packed with people who weren't there only an hour and a half before. I guess folks were getting a late start on their Sunday fun. When I drove out of Huddart there was a steady line of cars coming in.

So for Sunday, it was about 11 miles in the coastal mountains.

Monday = day off

Tuesday = 3.5 miles easy, feeling a little sore.

Wednesday - 5 miles with the babyjogger.


Marcy said...

Ohhhh sounds like a fabulous run ;D You're so lucky!! ;-)