Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Alum Rock Park- who knew?

Alum Rock Park
Penetencia Creek Trail
(3.31 miles)

Oh, the soreness! My quads are not what they normally are... in fact, they are but pitiful players at the moment. Every time I ran down the slightest hill (and I do mean slight), my quads barked their protest. 

And yet... a new trail today! In San Jose! 

I have been coming to San Jose for the past year and grumbling about all the trail running I *haven't* done while I was there. San Jose made me get a gym membership, for heaven's sake! Imagine my surprise when I found out there was a park with trails... less than 2 miles from one of the schools at which I coach teachers. Instead of going to the gym, I could have been running at Alum Rock Park during lunch breaks. (Insert more grumbling here...) 

In any case, thanks to José, I made the acquaintance of Alum Rock Park today. We went on a short run (but after Sunday's epic journey, I think that was appropriate), and I was suitably impressed with this urban gem. I'm a big fan of parks that people actually USE. (Yes, this should make me love Tilden, I KNOW.) I got there at 6:30 and in the 15 minutes I spent waiting for José, easily 5 different groups of people got out for a quick evening jog, walk or mountain bike. Go people of San Jose-- use your public parks to be healthy!

This park is also the closest thing I've seen to Sycamore Canyon in Santa Barbara, and it made me a little homesick. Once above the oak trees, San Jose's hills are covered with grasslands (much like Ohlone), whereas Santa Barbara's are mostly chaparral, but the oaks and sycamores stretching over the stream we ran alongside made me feel like I was back climbing 

Apparently on the weekend, if you don't park in the small parking lot outside of the kiosk, you must pay to park... and four-legged furry friends are not welcome here, but I will be back to explore more of the midweek options (perhaps not until the fall) at this lovely Tuesday surprise. 

1 comment:

Andy B. said...

I grew up in San Jose, but had never been there until about 10 years ago or so. It is a pretty cool park, though now I live in the Santa Cruz mountains and have quite a few trails to run up here.

I do want to get out on the Ohlone Wilderness trail myself sometime (though hopefully not as hot as when you all ran it). Looks like a fantastically beautiful course.