Lake Chabot Loop
(Bort Meadows Staging Area- Brandon Trail- Ten Hills- McGregor George- West Shore- Bass Cove- Columbine- Cascade-Brandon)
Sheesh. This run was HOT. And not because the Trail Tarts of Power were running. I mean, we certainly heated up the trail on our own-- if I must be modest about these things-- but I really meant the weather.
And while this run was quite delightful in some ways, here's a hint: when it's boiling outside, you might want to stick to Redwood. And by stick to Redwood, I mean down in the stream section, under the redwoods.
However, let me tell you about the nice things about this run:
1) It's almost completely runnable. The Trail Tarts were trying to save their legs this weekend (one 50K last weekend, one 50K the next), so between that and the heat we walked quite a few sections, but if we had been in our normal PowerTart form (with normal temperatures), we could have run just about all of it.
2) There are multiple water stops. After a recent brush with dehydration, this is a plus. Also, one of those water stops is at a golf course that apparently provides reading material in the bathrooms, should you be so inclined.
3) You run by Lake Chabot for a few miles. I am a big fan (as everyone probably knows) of running by lakes. Even though it was blazing hot, it's nice to have a large body of water right next to you.
4) It's Firetrails practice! Not all of it, but enough that I felt as if I were doing my Firetrails training some good (besides getting some miles in, of course).
It starts out with a section on Brandon that looks flat but which is actually slightly downhill, making you feel like a rockstar fresh out of the gate. Then the trail winds through some eucalyptus trees for a while, providing some welcome shade on Sunday's run. Then the trail comes out on the top of the ridge and you follow Brandon down to the golf course (where reading material and a water fountain await you...). This section was one of the most brutal on Sunday because it was so exposed-- the heat seemed to rise up from the trail in waves. (And yeah, I'm sure it's hotter in Arizona right now. But we're wimpy Bay Area people who don't know what it's like to run in blazing heat all the time.)
From the golf course, we took Ten Hills trail. Apparently there are MORE than ten hills (false advertising!), but they're all rolling hills and again, if it weren't 5,000 degrees outside, quite runnable. This was a nice trail though- most of the time it was relatively shaded.
Water stop #2 was at the Lake Chabot Marina, the start/finish for Firetrails. We hung out here for a while, slurping up as much water as we could stand. If we had a car there, we might have called it a day, because another 5 miles was not sounding like a picnic. However, we saw no one we knew (and hence no car) so we slogged on up the trail. The first bit of the Firetrails course is on a paved path that runs next to the lake-- this is nice if you have a baby jogger, I suppose, but it was nicer when we got onto the trails.
The section that leads away from the lake (Columbine-Cascade) was one of my favorites of the whole run. Unfortunately, by the time I got there, I was a little over taking pictures and trying to avoid whining about how hot it was, so I forgot to snap any, but it's a green leafy section in the East Bay in the middle of the summer-- nice.
From there, the trail connects back with the last mile or so on Brandon, and you can realize that the trail that looks flat is actually slightly uphill-- enough to make you bitter about running it, but not enough to make you feel ok about walking it.
All in all, a great loop and one I think I will do again! Thanks to my fellow Trail Tart for bringing me out there-- next time we'll run when it's not Saharan desert temperatures.
Also, it's all EBRPD land, so you can bring the pup- must be leashed around Lake Chabot/Marina area, but if you bring enough water, no problem!