Saturday, February 23, 2008

10 miles on Mt Tam :)

Okay, so this is the final part to the Mt Tam Saga. The weekend is here and I can finally write what is arguably the most interesting post of the four, since this one includes really trail running :D

After much debate over breakfast while looking at the trail map, we decided to do a familiar but good route, running down troop 80 to bootjack, to something else to Pan Toll. Then we took coastal to Matt Davis down to Stinson beach. We planned to have lunch down there, then head back up Dipsea to Steep Ravine to Pan Toll, and then back the way we came :)

However, before we could start any of this, we needed to find parking. Now, we could have been smart and moved the car to the free lot across the way when we woke up, but we didn't think about it. By the time we were ready to go around 11, (we left late both to enjoy our room right up until check out time, and because the weather was cold and cloudy when we got up and had burned off by 11). So, it took a bit, be we got the last spot down on an off shoot of the road. Next was finding the trail. I hadn't ever started a run here without more experienced companions, so this was a bit of challenge. We found a trail and saw a road below, so I forged ahead, only to realize it wasn't an official trail but more of a homemade one.

Not too bad though, and then we were on the paved road that would take us to the trails. It was fun to be on familiar trails that I hadn't seen in probably 10 months or so! Troop 80 was lots of fun, and I remembered how nice that trail was to run the other direction, with the soft dirt and the switchbacks.

Our first 'stop' was at Van Wyck meadow, with this great sign:

Ed, being the manly man he is, had to go conquor the boulder

With the conquoring finished, we headed on our way to Pan Toll (after spending a few minutes with the map to confirm our direction :D). At one point, I stated with confident that "I remember this spot! Some great downhill will be starting soon"...yeah.....definitely not true. What we got was some good uphill. I had forgotten that it is somewhat uphill getting from Mt. Home to Pan Toll. That was great on the way back, but on the way out, it was making my lame leg sore and worrying me about our full loop.

We were doing more hiking than running, and Ed was a little tired of that, but being a good sport. Finally we were at Pan Toll!

We headed towards Coastal Trail/Matt Davis, but I stopped to really think about doing this. My leg was feeling pretty sore and those Dipsea and Steep Ravine stairs were magnifying in my mind. Feeling frustrated, I told Ed that maybe this look would have to wait. I was just worried about getting down to stinson and not being able to get back up!

But, we really did want to get lunch at some point, and we were going to get to rest down there, so we decided to go for it.

Coming out in to this view, I knew we made the right choice. This stretch of coastal is probably my favorite trail to run anywhere! It is amazing. Slightly downhill for the most part, so it's a place you can really run, and it's spectacularly gorgeous to boot. Looking down it looked cold at Stinson, but it was still sunny and beautiful up here :)

Soon we got to the junction turn off for Matt Davis, and here was where Ed really fell in love with Mt. Tam. This was his favorite trail out of the whole loop. Running through the trees with a great downhill and lots of switchbacks, you have to be on your toes through here, but it's lots of fun.

Soon, Stinson came into view and we knew we were almost down.

Finally, we popped out onto a street and set out to find some food! We decided to go to, I think, the Sand Dollar. It was a burger and fish and chips kind of a place. I got a chicken burger while ed got a normal burger, with lots of fries. Not exactly mid run food, but I told Ed this was good ultra training, eating substantial food and then going and running :D. We got a bit chilly while we were eating, and layered up best we could when we headed back out.

I was a little worried about finding the Dipsea trail, but it wasn't too hard, and soon we were on our way.
Ed wanted to take off running right away, but I didn't want to push it too much, so I kept it a nice hike. Ed would run ahead, but then hang back and wait :)

Coming up the Dipsea and looking back at the ocean is always one of the best views in this section

Soon, we were onto Steep Ravine, with its stairs, bridges, and fallen trees :) Luckily, it really wasn't as bad as I had built it up to be. We also weren't breaking any speed records here, but that just gave us more time to enjoy its beauty :)
You have to be careful going under these trees. The last time I was here I misjudged the width of a tree and cracked my head on it! Ouch. I was much more careful this time :)Finally, we reached the famed ladder. Apparently, a very fast runner a while ago was coming down Steep Ravine from pantoll for the first time and didn't know about the ladder. He was running fast and by the time he realized there was a 10 foot drop, it was too late to stop, so he just flew over the top and remarkably landed unscathed. Pretty crazy! We took our time and were able to get a hiker to take our photo:)

Once we got to pantoll, it was a very quick journey, it seemed, back to Moutain Home. Running the trails this direction, there was lots of easy running and great slight downhills. Before we knew it, we were back to mountain home and back to the cars.

We were back out of the clouds and able to soak in some lovely afternoon sun during the last section.

Once we were back to the car, it was time to change into some drier (i.e. not sweaty) clothes and make the 2 hour drive home back to reality.

All in all, the best valentines a girl could ask for!

(and....finally....this mult-parted posting is finished :D)


rick said...

Love the dipsea trail. Really nice pics. At Stinson there a great place there by the beach park that you can get killer ice cream shakes. All take out though.

Nice pics. Glad you were able to enjoy the trails running.

Sarah said...

Awesome views! And what a fun way to end a great weekend. I'd love to run there someday.

Sensationally Red said...

Boy, you did have a nice Valentines Day...the best! Great photos. You really have me wishing winter would go away now. I haven't seen greens like that in a long time. Sounds like you are doing a little running, then, so that's good to hear. I used to love my foam roller till my kids warped it by standing on it.

PKPWV said...

A wonderful end to a great weekend! Glad you had a great time!! And the pics are beautiful!

Southbay Girl

runningtwig said...

Sounds like a great way to cap off an awesome weekend! Great pictures and story!

robtherunner said...

What amazing looking trails! Nice 4-part wrap up.

Journey to a Centum said...

Ed's the man! Thank you for taking us along on your running adventure.

Trail Scat

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

Gosh, that's so beautiful. And the best part is that I get to run these famed trails for the first time in my life next week! I'm really, really excited about that!

Nice quadruple post!

Sunshine said...

Thank you for sharing your spectacular run. Enjoyed all the pictures!!!

Jean said...

Excellent pictures, Addy. That is some amazing and beautiful terrain. Not a bad way to spend a special weekend!

Bob Gentile said...

Very Awesome Pics...that was a FUN Day!!