Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wonderful Windy Hill

Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
(Portola Road- Spring Ridge Trail)
(3+ miles?)

Yeah, this was a short run. I did this last week, and my hamstrings made running anything much more than 3 miles an impossibility.

This run starts just outside of Palo Alto. I was under the mistaken impression that Palo Alto was close to San Jose (yeah, so I don't know South Bay geography too well), and as it's NOT, I probably won't be running here much again. This is too bad though, because Windy Hill Open Space Preserve is a great mid-week run option. While more than 12 miles or so probably isn't realistic, a great 8-12 mile run is very possible here.

I started at the Portola Road entrance, and immediately found myself looking at Sausal Pond, which the signs pointed out (quite helpfully) was not safe to drink from, in case red algae looked tempting to you.

From there, the trail followed the edge of the preserve until it forked right on Spring Ridge Trail. The trail immediately starts to climb out of the oak-lined fire road, opening up to dry grassy hills dotted with shrubs and pine trees. Your climb is rewarded with gorgeous views of Windy Hill itself (I assumed) in front of you, and then the Bay behind you-- all the way to Mt. Diablo, if you look closely!

Unfortunately, I could not run much more than 3 miles, but if I was in Palo Alto on a regular basis, this would be a running haunt. Plus, dogs on leash are legal on most of the trails, and in the South Bay, that's quite an anomaly. (When I was there mid-week, I saw only one or two other people the whole time, so perhaps no one would notice if your pooch was running free...)

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