Archive for the 'Running and Hiking trails' Category

Hirschman Trail, Nevada City, California

said on April 22nd, 2012 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Localism, Running and Hiking trails

To get to the Hirschman Trail, take Highway 49, north out of Nevada City, California . . . but not too far. Go just past the County offices (and the jail), then take the first right on Cement Hill Road. A hundred yards or so up Cement Hill Road, you’ll see the Hirschman Trail sign and parking lot to the left.

 

The parking lot can be jammed, and if it is, you can park at the large county office parking lot across the road.  The good news about this trail is that it is easy to get to.  The bad news . . . it is easy to get to.  Most of the time you will be sharing the trail.  Here’s what the parking lot looks like on a good day:

There’s a detailed map at the trail head.

The first third of a mile is wheelchair accesible.

The topography has both wetlands and rocky terrain.

Coincidentally, I went for this run on the same day, and at the same time, the trail was officially dedicated  (and, no, that’s not Dharma, my loyal running pooch.)

At the .4 mile mark, the trail will open up for a view of the pretty Hirschman Pond.

Here’s something you should know about the pond: it is largely man-made, or miner-made to be precise.  Look those bare earth cliffs on the other side.

And how was it “miner-made?”  I bet you already know.  With one of these, on display at the far end of the pond.

Yep.  That’s a water canon used in hydraulic mining.  Vast areas of the Sierra foothills are still scarred and pock-marked by the deployment of hydraulic mining “artillery.”  Here’s a comforting footnote.  In 30+ years exploring these hills, I have noticed how Ma Nature has already restored much of the damage.  Jagged edges have been softened, vast expanses of raw earth have been covered by vegetation.  In another hundred years there won’t be much evidence that mining ever took place.  OK, maybe it will take a thousand years, or ten thousand years, or one million years.  Ma Nature has plenty of time.  One Million years?  A blink of her eye.  Where will WE be in a million years?  Hmmmm?

OK, where was I?  Oh yes, on the Hirschman Trail, running and ruminating about philosophy and the environment and such.

You can’t get lost on the Hirschman Trail . . . except one place.  Even then, you won’t be lost for long, because when you take the wrong turn, you’ll discover that the trail gets smaller and smaller, steeper and steeper, and the blackberry brambles begin to tear you up.  I don’t want that to happen!  You seem like such a nice reader to have gotten this far, so lets make sure you take the correct turn.  When you get to the end of Hirschman Pond, you will cross a little bridge.  You can go right (toward the thorns) or you can go left (toward more fun and illumination).  See the photo below.  Go left.

From the bridge  to the end of the trail, it is exactly 2 miles, and there is no way to get lost because the trail is well-marked, every 1/10 of a mile in fact.

The trail itself is well-built, but not especially scenic.  You could call it “pleasant” or “relaxed.”  A bit of up and down, but no “wow” factor.  In several places it veers to within 20 feet of Highway 49, just in case you need to thumb a ride, or perhaps you like listening to road noise as you run through the forest primeval.

That last remark was a little snippy, wasn’t it?  Sorry.

So, you run along for about a mile until you come to the turn off to Woods Ravine Trail.

Woods Ravine Trail is a nondescript spur off the main trail.  It is a .2 mile out-and-back, so you can add another .4 to your outing for a total of 5.2 miles.

If you go all the way to the end of Woods Ravine Trail, you will emerge on to Indian Trail Road.

Go right on Indian Trail Road, one block later, go right again on to Indian Flat Road, run a couple of steep, uphill miles to Cement Hill Road, go right again for about 150 yards and, abracdabra, you are back at your car!  Or, turn around when you get to Indian Trail Road, run back down Woods Ravine Trail, get back on the Hirschman Trail, and finish your business properly.

Watch out for poison oak.

Here is California’s most ubiquitous shrub, manifested in this photo as a vine.  Mostly it takes form as a bush, the kind you might find yourself in the middle of, naked, stark naked, trying to hide as a bus load of Japanese tourists hike by with their cameras and their giggles, then you look down at yourself and say curse words because you are screwed, totally screwed unless you know a witch, a real witch, the kind of witch who lives up on the San Juan Ridge, and who can provide you with a home-brewed potion that will make the poison oak vamoose.  Don’t know a real foothills witch?  Oh man, like I said, you are totally screwed.

Actually, I have a working relationship with poison oak.  I leave it alone, and it leaves me alone.  No so with scotch broom.  I rip that stuff up whenever I can.

Scotch broom.  Do not plant this stuff.  Do not think it’s pretty.  Do not buy it.  Do not put it in your yard.  It is a self-seeding menace, the most dangerous, invasive horror in the foothills.  I have friends who have been waging war against scotch broom for years.  They are losing.  Scotch broom is northern California’s version of kudzu, the vine that is eating the southern United States.

After a while you will come out of the scotch broom and onto a series of brief, but steep-ish switchbacks.

At the top of the switchbacks you will see one of the unobtrusive mileage markers.

You are done!  This is the end of the trail.  Turn around.  Go back the way you came.  The round trip is . . . let’s see?  2.4 miles + 2.4 miles = 4.8 miles.  Duh.  Unless you also ventured up and back on the Woods Ravine trail for an additional .4 miles.

Or, you can turn your outing into a loop by leaving the trail and returning by either Indian Flat or Indian Trail which eventually intersects Indian Flat.  It’s a pretty country road, though quite steep  toward the end.  If you take the looping road back, the trip is a bit longer, right at 6 miles I’d estimate.

But for today’s  run on the Hirschman,  I decided to come back along the trail.  Just loping along, the return took 28 minutes and 30 seconds, a laggard’s pace of  11.9 miles per hour, but it’s more uphill on the return, and quite twisty, and the day was already hot.  Blah blah blah.  I need to lose some weight.  You, too?

 

 

 

 

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Rain Gear

said on December 4th, 2011 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Localism, Running and Hiking trails, Whimsy

Start your run in the rain. Avoid getting your feet wet. Dodge puddles. Try to run on the side of the path that has become a Class II rapid.

Sooner or later, you will mis-step and come down ankle deep in the creek. The other foot will continue reading…

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Easy Running on the Clementine Connector

said on November 15th, 2010 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Running and Hiking trails

Connector scenetry

So what, exactly, does the Clementine Connector connect?  It connects the upper end of the Lake Clementine Trail with the lower end of the Forest Hill Divide Loop Trail.  I start at the trailhead that is just a few yards from the intersection of The new Foresthill Road (a couple of miles after you cross the bridge) and the old Foresthill Road (right where it comes up out of the canyon).  Take the spur road that hairpins back down to the Lake Clementine dam.  Look for the continue reading…

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Running the Summit on San Bruno Mountain

said on November 13th, 2010 filed under: Running and Hiking trails

Every now and again, you need to mix in a novelty run among your usual trails.  I was visiting a friend in South San Francisco and looked around on the map for an interesting afternoon run.  Right in the middle of South San Francisco where San Bruno, Brisbane, and Daly City all squish together, there’s a huge blank space in the map—San Bruno Mountain State and County Park.  Well, why the heck not?

San Bruno sign

I found the trail head right inside the park entrance.  How about the Summit Loop (3.1 miles) with the Ridge Trail (4.8 miles) out-and-back added on to the loop.  Let’s see, looks like continue reading…

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Stagecoach/Mossy Rock Trail

said on November 2nd, 2010 filed under: Auburn, Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Running and Hiking trails

Stagecoach may be the oldest trail in the Auburn, California area—and the most accessible. 

Trail Head

You find the Stagecoach trail head on Russell Road, just off Lincoln Way, inside the Auburn city Limits.  From this trail you can connect to the Pioneer Express trail and scamper down hill about 40 miles to Folsom and Sacramento.  Or you can connect up hill to the Clementine and Foresthill Divide trail system and run a sweet little marathon-length loop.  Or you can say “what the hell” and run 100 miles overland to continue reading…

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Cascade Canal Trail, Nevada County, California

said on October 3rd, 2010 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Localism, Running and Hiking trails

Cascade Canal trail is flat as a pancake.  As a runner I find that kind of terrain tedious, but it does have its uses.  Some folks need a flat trail because they can’t handle a lot of hills.  It’s also very shady and, because the trail follows the canal for its entire length, there is plenty of water for the pooch.

Canal lower 2

Lower Cascade Canal Trail

continue reading…

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Long Range Fitness Goals–Fun and Games

said on October 1st, 2010 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Running and Hiking trails, Whimsy

  

We’re three quarters through 2010.  How are you doing with your annual fitness goals? 

 

 Here is my report, promised last month, whether you are interested or not, but hey, who is this report for anyway?

 The Run Around the Earth project.  If I complete my mileage goals for 2010, I will have run more than 24,000 miles toward my long range goal of 25,000 miles, the circumference of our planet.  The other day it occured to me that if one middle-aged guy can run around the globe, then it’s a pretty small world.  Finite.  Just how many people are crawling around on this ball?

 The Thousand Miles in 2010 project.  As of today’s run, the final run of September, I have run 785 miles this year.  To stay on track to meet the 1,000 miles goal, I need to have run 750 miles.  I am 35 miles ahead.  No celebration, though; I’ll need the miles “in the bank” because December is always one of my worst running months.  The holidays are distracting.  The weather turns bad.  Blah blah.  Whine.

 The Kinsey Milhone vs. Bob Jenkins competition.  I beat Milhone again this month, my 96 miles to her 90 miles.  I have, in fact, beaten her 6 of the 9 months so far this year.  But . . . the 3 months she won during my sciatica episodes, she really kicked my ass.  In toto, she leads 819 to 785 going in to the last quarter of the year.  She will not falter.  Her lead of 34 miles is probably insurmountable.  She will run 1080 miles this year, the darling girl (bitch).

 

 Kinsey Milhone

How Far is Afghanistan?  My son’s return date from Afghanistan is December 1.  That’s actually the estimate for “wheels up” as his aircraft lifts off the desert of Afghanistan.  Good enough.  Because I want to hit December with 950 miles run, Luke is a scant 164 miles away.  Just run 164 miles and my boy will be done with war.  Honorable, safe, home.   

Luke's 4th of july

Luke

What’s the point?  If you want your fitness to be a lifelong lifestyle, you got to keep it mixed up and have fun with it.  You need to find ways to keep your mind occupied, to keep yourself motivated, to kick your own ass when necessary.  If you can’t do that, Kinsey Millhone will be glad to oblige (bitch).

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Fitness Goals. Hop Till You Drop

said on September 12th, 2010 filed under: Running and Hiking trails, Success Stories, Whimsy

Yuba Run with Dharma

Embudito Canyon, New Mexico.  I’m enjoying one of those perfect runs in the hills above Albuquerque.  It’s a sparkling autumn morning.  Ahead, one cotton tailed bunny, then another, then another, hop out of the path.  No fear of me, no hurry.  “Lippety lippety, lippety lippety” as Bea Potter captured the moment in “Peter Rabbit.”

The run feels so good.  I’m scooting along, laughing at the rabbits, and I’m trying to be serious, but it’s hard.  “Lippety lippety.”  I’m trying to formulate, to really think about my long range physical fitness goals so I can write this post.  Damn it, rabbits, stop being so cute!  Can’t you see I’m trying to meditate on deep truths?  Bunnies.

Bang!  It occurs to me that this perfect moment, this lovely run is, itself, exactly the fitness goal I’m trying to express: to lope comfortably down the path, in the morning sun, all by myself (except for the bunnies), joyfully, for the rest of my life.  Yes, that’s continue reading…

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Easy Running

said on August 25th, 2010 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Running and Hiking trails

Arnulfo Quimare and Scott Jurek

Arnulfo Quimare and Scott Jurek

Tarahumara Arnulfo Quimare and American Scott Jurek in the climactic ultra race described in Chris MacDougall’s Born to Run.

I’ve never run with the Tarahumara. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a living Tarahumara, but you never know.  As they say, “Indians are everywhere.” But I’d sure like to run with these people, the greatest ultra-distance runners on the earth, not that I’d last very long, because, for the best of them, hundred mile lopes through rugged mountains are casual day trips.

The Tarahumara live in the Copper Canyon wilderness of Northern Mexico. They are continue reading…

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Are You Independent Enough for the Independence Trail?

said on July 29th, 2010 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Running and Hiking trails

The Independence Trailhead is a few hundred yards south of the bridge where highway 49 crosses the Yuba River in rural Nevada County, California between Nevada City and North San Juan.  Unlike most trail heads, this one is in the middle of the trail, so you can go east or west.  Both directions are out-and-back runs.

Independence trail trail head copy

As you can see, there are restrooms, one of which is wheelchair accessible.  In fact, the Independence Trail itself is wheelchair accessible!  That’s what makes it really continue reading…

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