Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hot Trail, Happy Dogs

Briones Regional Park
Pereira-Deer Creek-Briones Crest-Abrigo Valley Rd (4.5 miles?)

After hosting a Rioja tasting party
last night, it was time to give the puppies some attention. I didn't want to run too far because we're running looooong tomorrow on the Ohlone Trail, but the border collies needed to move!
I parked by the side of the EBRPD Bear Creek Staging Area entrance, but still on Bear Creek road so as to avoid paying the entrance fee. From there, I ran up Deer Creek to Briones Crest. This led straight up to a rolling trail that offers 360° views as I ran along the ridgeline. The lack of foliage meant this was a very hot run however, and I would not recommend this
as a summer run, particularly if you are going to take dogs for longer than an hour. It's not even May and it was very warm already this morning. My running companions were panting two miles into the run. (This did not stop them from enjoying every minute of the run, however!)

Once off Briones Crest, the trail drops fast into the canyon, passing by two group campsites. In my former life as a middle school teacher, I took a group of 6th graders here once for a very successful beginning backpacking trip, and if you are ever looking for a place to take a group of kids on an overnight, this is a wonderful option. We stayed at Maud Whalen and from the look of Wee-Ta-Chi this morning, I think MW is the better campsite.

Again, this run might get very warm in the summer--I would keep it as a spring or fall option, unless I was training for a race in a hot climate. Briones is a great place to run with dogs though--they can be off leash if they are under voice control, making some very happy dogs today. Neko even found a marshy pond to jump into just before we got into the car. Fun. Smelly wet dog in car.

As a final note, one of my favorite blogs has a much longer description of "Brionesland" as he calls Briones. Read it for some history about and gorgeous pictures of this (yet again) underutilized East Bay park.

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