Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mid-Peninsula Parks and their trails get no respect!

Welcome to my first blog post! I think it is only proper to make my first post an expansion of the blog title and description. First, an introduction. My name is Jonathan. I'm a married 38 year old trail runner. That is to say that I run more trails then roads. Most people who claim to be trail runners are emphatically just that and love to go on and on about how the roads are terrible and road racing is boring. That is not me. I am not opposed to running roads or road races. I just prefer the beauty , solitude and challenge of trail running. Especially over long distances for hours on end. To me it feels adventurous. I have run a lot of road races because I have found some of the events are absolutely fabulous like the SF Marathon or the US Half Marathon but given the choice I will always prefer trail running and the community vibe of trail racing.

My favorite places to run are in the mid-peninsula area of the San Francisco Bay Area. Specifically I run Huddart Park or Wunderlich County Park almost daily. If I'm not stomping these trails then I can be found running Water Dog Lake Park, Edgewood County Park, or Windy Hill Open Space Preserve. That's just a few of the awesome parks I have within 10 or 15 minutes of where I live. I have run almost every other park in the bay area, at least the major ones, and can honestly say I think the trails and the views in the mid-peninsula are every bit as spectacular as those found elsewhere. I realize that in the Marin Headlands you get the Golden Gate Bridge and that's unrivaled. Nothing can compete with its majestic grandeur. Besides that one iconic landmark I can't think of another that warrants any special mention. You can mention the sweeping views of San Francisco but in the mid-peninsula you get sweeping views from South San Jose to South San Francisco with the Mission Hills in the background.

I think most people gravitate to the Marin Headlands because the Dipsea trail and Miwok trail have become synonymous with trail running. People come from all around to run those iconic trails and the world famous races that are held on them. Ditto for the Mt Diablo area to the east and it's multiple write ups in various running magazines. I know that a lot of races are held up there but I think just as many are held in Huddart Park and the surrounding trails just to the south. I have run in the mid-peninsula with PCTR, Inside Trail, Coastal Trail and Norcal AR. All races were well attended, aid stations were not too far apart and the park facilities were clean and well kept when compared to other park facilities.

View from Hickory Oaks Trail in Long Ridge OSP
The major difference between the mid-peninsula and south bay trails versus all of the other trail systems in the North Bay and East Bay is the redwood trees. Berkeley has some, Muir woods has more but the best in my opinion are on the west slope of the Santa Cruz mountains in El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve, Pescadero Creek County Park & Big Basin Redwoods State Park. These are huge trees covering acres of land that has many, many trails to choose from. I have recently run a 24.5 mile route that took me through Pearson- Arastradero Preserve into the Palo Alto Foothills Park, through Los Trancos Open Space Preserve, Montebello Open Space Preserve and across the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve. Where else can you run from trail to trail and from park to park and cover such a huge portion of the bay area?

My love of trail running runs deep and my bias towards the mid-peninsula is obvious. I will write about all things trail running, especially that which is bay area centric but if you notice all my posted routes and stories are from the mid-peninsula trail system you will know why.

See you in the woods.


Here is one of my favorite routes from Rob at BayTrailrunners.com .... Ole Buckeye