(Seaborg- Briones Crest- Old Briones Road)
96.8 Fahrenheit today. At least, that's the Garmin reading of the situation. This makes me feel better, because Sunday's predicted temperature (as of right now) in Sunol is 93-- a whole THREE DEGREES cooler. This is great news, because today was hot. WAY hot. I'm now worried I'm going to go out too fast just because I want to finish before it gets ridiculously hot... like it was in Briones today.
Having said all that, today's run was a winner. No dogs today because I didn't know how much water there would be and I also didn't want to have to traipse around in the foxtails avoiding herds of cattle. (Of course, that means I saw very few cows... with plenty of space to go around the ones that I DID see!)
Anyway, parked at the cheap spot outside the Bear Creek Entrance, although since it was a weekday, no one was at the kiosk and apparently I could have parked inside without paying. I followed the paved road toward the archery range, at which point I took the Seaborg trail to the right. (On the map I have at home it's called Homestead Valley, but the Briones brochure called it Seaborg.) This trail spent a brief moment on a relatively even plane, then began to ascend sharply once it entered an oak grove.
Briones is not Marin, nor is it Tilden. Briones in the summer (probably like Mt. Diablo and Sunol, I'm sure) is HARSH. If you can cope with high temperatures though, or run earlier in the morning, Briones can be spectacular. At the intersection of Seaborg and Briones Crest, I went left, following Briones Crest and was treated to a series of postcard views of Mt. Diablo like the one above. Eventually the powers of the trail decided it was time for me to stop resting while I took yet another Mt. Diablo view as the trail dropped a bit below the ridge, only to climb up to a view of Mt. Tamalpais and the Bay in the distance. Admittedly, at this point I was rather hot and cranky, and rather less overwhelmed with the beauty of my surroundings than normal circumstances would dictate.
And yet, continuing on Briones Crest Trail, the trail tipped over a ridge and suddenly I had a view of the Carquinez Strait and the Benicia Bridge with the delta spreading out into the distance. This picture does not do justice to the view--of this I am certain. This triumvirate of views added fuel to my rant about Tilden. Yeah, Tilden's great--but it does not have the quality of views Briones can claim. (Tilden's temperatures at 2:00 p.m. were probably more runnable than those today... I'll give Tilden that...)
I will do this run again (maybe earlier in the day?), adding Mott Peak to the loop, but today I was feeling rather wilted and came down Old Briones Road, a fun, gentle descent back to the parking lot.
Overall? Great run. Unbeatable views. Perhaps an early morning (or not summer) run, but great training for Ohlone this weekend. Again, dogs are fine off-leash, but beware the cattle conundrum...