Before I start…Wordpress has recently changed how it lets you show photos. Beforehand I was able to select the size quite specifically. Now I either get to choose miniature or enormous. Clearly, I’m the kind of girl who will always pick enormous. I am sorry about this – you’ll just have to forgive me.
As you drive north on the Peninsula towards San Francisco, you pass by this enormous hulk of mountain rising out of nowhere. It looks a bit like a sleeping giant. This is San Bruno Mountain. There’s a trail that runs across the long ridge at the top. We hiked up there once when the Dude was just a baby, and the views were spectacular. You can see San Francisco to the north, the Bay and the airport to the east, the ocean to the west and the peninsula stretching out to the south, all at the same time. It’s amazing up there.
Since I got into trail running, I’ve wanted to run there – along that trail specifically. And the idea has nagged and nagged away at me. Every time I drive past on my way to the city, I look up at the mountain and wish I was up there running. And on Saturday, I finally got to do it!
I met up with Jen and her friend Jess at the park in Brisbane. The Dude had been poorly all week (he is fine now, I didn’t abandon a sick child) so I’d had plenty of time inside to plan the route. However pretty quickly we discovered that a route on Google Maps bears very little relation to what it looks like on the ground. We got a little lost climbing out of Brisbane but with Jess’s smartphone map, we soon found ourselves at the base of the trail, Siskyou ‘Avenue’. It was basically a rough, steep hiking trail up. So up we hiked. It was almost vertical and awash with poppies. Soon enough, we emerged at the top onto the ridge trail and the views were spectacular!
We set off westwards along Ridge Trail. It was a steady climb up to the radio towers at the top, but the trail was a total roller-coaster of steep little uphills and downhills. The views were amazing though and the weather was perfect.
At the radio towers, we switched onto Summit Loop Trail which we took in a clockwise direction. We ran into a hiking group and did some mountain goat scampering to get past them, which was fun, and then Jess took a dramatic tumble from which she bounced up declaring ‘I’m okay, I’m okay’ and we ran on! The trail descended steadily down to a little creek with a very lopsided, rickety plank-bridge.
Back along Ridge Trail in the way we had come.
From there, we were all looking forward to our well-earned descent. But alas no. The trail we took down was as ridiculously steep as the one we’d initially climbed up, but was covered in large stones which made it somewhat treacherous. I ended up on my bottom at one point. Eventually it became a little less steep and easier to run.
From there, it was an easy run back into Brisbane to the car, and then up to Madhouse Coffee for coffee and sandwiches. I’d been excited about my sandwich for a few miles now but alas they don’t do sandwiches at the weekend so I had to make do with a bagel. Sob.
If you’re interested in the logistics of the run, here is the route we took, minus the initial getting lost in Brisbane. I’d initially wanted to do this route but couldn’t find any online details about picking up the trail at the end of Harold Road so we opted for a different route. I believe the Harold Road route is do-able but am not sure.
All in all, we ran 10.44 miles in 2.16 at a 13.01 pace – not that that is important at all. The best thing about this run was the sense of adventure and exploration that we had. There’s something kind of cool about running up a mountain, around it and back down and an amazing sense of achievement. It was pretty brilliant, to be honest. Thanks Jen and Jess for the company and the entertaining conversations. What goes on the trail stays on the trail, eh??
BTW…on Wednesday, this week’s Running The World interview is with the amazing Preeti from India. I am honestly beside myself with excitement about it!