Sunday, June 29, 2008

Alpine Lake- Shorter!

Alpine Lake- Round 2
(Azalea Hill- Bullfrog Rd- Kent Trail- Stocking- Rocky Ridge- Bullfrog Rd- Azalea Hill)
(8.5-9.0? miles)

There are two (mentionable) activities that are guaranteed to make me really, really happy. One is salsa dancing (as mentioned in the previous post) and the second is trail running. Yesterday I finally ended up going salsa dancing at The Ramp- one of my absolutely favorite places in San Francisco. (You can't beat a live band outdoors, on a Saturday afternoon, right next to the water, in my opinion.) Today I headed over to Marin for a longer trail run than I had planned, but I was reminded of how much I love this trail AND how much I love long runs in the dirt.

For parking and starting point for this run, go back to my previous post. Today I took it very easy on the beginning downhills, but then was running pretty well by the time I got to Bon Tempe Dam. From there, I took the Kent trail alongside Alpine Lake. I will not go on at great length about its beauty, but it's still my new favorite lake in Marin. This time, instead of taking the Helen Markt trail to the (rather painful) Cataract Trail, I went left at the fork and continued on Kent Trail as it climbed up the hill. Kent trail is not exactly what I would call flat, and there were a couple of "fast-walking" sections, but it was nowhere near as grueling as Cataract-- or that was my impression today, at any rate. Kent trail IS a gorgeous trail though. Shaded most of the way by huge redwoods (see first picture) or overhanging manzanitas, like the picture to the right, it makes for great summer running.

At the next fork in the trail, I headed toward Rocky Ridge. The last time I ran this section of the trail, Alex and I were hot, tired, very low on blood sugar and not in the mood to be impressed by much. (Nor were feeling grateful, to the dismay of the waitress at Cafe Gratitude...) As a result, I wasn't waxing poetic about the view. Today I was much more aware of how far I could see on the top of this ridge. It was not crystal clear today (a few smoky vestiges still), but I could still see the Bay on one side of me, and then, on the other side, the Pacific Ocean. Ah, Marin. Why must you justify your astronomical housing prices?

I must say that I need to find another way to start this run though. For some reason, the grueling uphill at the end (0.8 miles of rather impossible-to-run climbing) didn't seem as painful in my memory as it is actuality. Apparently I could have parked near the golf course, but I was not feeling exploratory today. Too bad.

The great news is that my knee felt fine-- and this was not an easy run. I'm very happy about this. I'm also happy about the fact that I just got back from a five-course dinner at Chelsea and Louis'. In short-- this was a brilliant weekend. This last picture (which was at the top of Azalea Hill as I finished my run) completely sums up how I feel right now...


Kevin said...

Redwoods and overhanging manzanitas? And to think, here in Tek-ses, all we have are oaks and unruly crabgrass. Ahh, but we do have salsa dancing and I used to be pretty decent at it many years ago. Now I'm just a salsa and chips eater.

Derek said...

Love the pictures you take on the trails. What kind of camera do you take with you on your runs?