Progress and Beauty
Today I’m pleasantly sore. I have that mild soreness that tells you you’ve accomplished something in your run, that you have made a step up, that tomorrow you’ll be more fit than you were the day before.
Yesterday was a gorgeous day. Warm, brilliantly bright and with none of the wind that we usually get from the ocean. I did an early morning run with the dog and girls, only 2 miles, the last of which was mostly walking as the girls are still small and they pooped out. Then I set up my hydration pack and headed up to Huddart Park.
Huddart Park is a large open space with many miles of trails that connect to other large open spaces up on the ridgeline of the peninsula. It is filled with cool redwood forests, perfect for a hot day’s run. The lower slopes also have scrubby California oak forests and some grasslands. But up high, it’s full of towering redwoods with a verdant green understory of ferns, spring flowers like purple iris and sky blue forget-me-nots. Redwood forests also provide the best running trails imaginable. Few surface roots with a soft and loamy dirt created from generations of redwood pine needle decomposition. Perfect after a week of running in town.
Upon arrival I was surprised by the state of the parking lot. It was virtually empty! How could that be on a day like this? And I was getting a late start due to my pre-run run. I’m continually amazed by how few people take advantage of these beautiful places that are so nearby. I suppose they are all in town, shopping and adding more stuff to their houses, the modern pastime. I find that I have less and less in common with my neighbors.
As I started out I gave a silent thanks to the Great Spirit for the beautiful day and everything I have. And for the opportunity and ability to run in this beautiful place. The trail I typically take switchbacks out of the camping/parking area through dense second-growth redwoods down to a creek crossing (I think it’s a tributary to Union Creek further on below). This trail, Crystal Springs then switchbacks relentlessly up through alternating California oak and redwood forests to the top of the ridgeline near Skyline Blvd. There’s about 3 miles of never-ending up to get to the top.
At the ridgeline I eat a gel and snap a few photos with my phone. I follow the connecter trail that takes me to Skyline Trail. You can take Skyline Trail 5.7 miles south to connect up with gorgeous Wunderlich Park (another one of my favorites). But I’m not in that kind of shape yet. I do a few miles down this trail and then double back. Along the way I encounter a large patch of forget-me-knots in a clearing surrounding a spot in the trail. I stop and tear up a bit. My grandmother loved these flowers and always had a riotous patch of these happy sky blue flowers in her gardens. Every time I see them I think of her and I feel that somewhere she’s watching me. Maybe it’s her way to say hi.
There’s also a lovely series of pools and waterfalls along the creek that boarders Skyline trail. Next time I might stop to dip a toe in!