Hiking Windy Hill

How do we talk about running in the current climate? It pales into insignificance against the backdrop of Park Rangers leading the Resistance, scientists marching , climate change being deleted, affordable healthcare for the most vulnerable being dismantled and funding being cut from international aid programmes. I’m struggling with the human desire to talk about the everyday stuff we love against such a background. But life goes on whilst we figure this out, and because the world is still beautiful and we all need some light relief, here goes. 

For the past week or so, it has been raining bigly in the Bay Area. Days and days of solid rain. Thunder. Muddy puddles. Preschoolers in rain boots and waterproof coats. Skipping wet runs for sweaty sessions on the bike in front of Gilmore Girls. So when, on Saturday, we had a break in the rain for a few hours, I grabbed the opportunity and dragged my boys out to hike.

We hiked at Windy Hill, an open space preserve slightly south along Skyline. We started at the car park off Portola Road and set off up Betsy Crowder trail to join up with Spring Ridge trail. The first few miles were solidly uphill in grey, cool weather – we needed warm clothes and hats – but the views were increasingly lovely despite the cloud. And climbing warmed us up!


At the top, we turned left along the gorgeous Anniversary Trail. It skirted two little hillocks (which look a bit like boobs) with a couple of perfectly positioned benches for snacks. We sat at the top, drank hot tea and ate snacks and were grateful.



Further along Anniversary Trail, we hit Lost Trail and things got beautiful. We entered woodland – gorgeous live oaks covered in lush green moss. Recent storms had scattered broken branches on the trails so the whole world was green and lush. Lost Trail turned into Hamm Gulch which dropped steeply in hairpin bends through green trees.


The Dude turned into a mini Kilian Jornet and hurtled down the trail, pretending to be a racing car. I know I’m biased as his mother but seriously, that kid is an amazing downhill runner. He has such sharp eye-brain-foot coordination, he flew down rocky, roots trails like crazy. I shudder to think what would happen if he tripped but as he plummeted like a stone, his middle-aged parents plodded along behind him.


At the bottom, we turned left along Spring Ridge Trail. The little stream had turned into a raging torrent, so the gentle stream crossing looked actually a little treacherous. The Husband turned into Gallant Gentleman mode and helped us all across before helping a woman and her dog across too. Sexy 🙂

We got lost at the end (be very wary at the junction where it looks like you should go right, you should go left) and ended up wandering along a residential road for a bit, but we got back to the car park with 8.5 miles under our belts. This was the Dude’s longest ever hike, we were super proud of him especially as he’s been ill this week. It was a little humbling for us to have our arses handed to us on the uphills…but that’s life, eh?

This was a lovely hike – hugely recommended as both a hike and a run. If you run it, I’d suggest doing it clockwise instead of anti clockwise as we did it – the hills are more runnable in the other direction. There’s good coffee and snacks afterwards at Robert’s Market at the junction of Alpine and Portola!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Nic J says:

    Sometimes it’s good to just get back to basics and go for a walk, enjoy company and admire the view. Even ‘they’ can’t legislate against that! Xx

    1. Cathryn says:

      No but I’m concerned about the environment. Got to enjoy it whilst we can.

  2. Amy says:

    Great idea! Hiking is always so much fun. And, bringing hot tea. That was brilliant! I don’t know why I’ve never done that. Next time!

    1. Cathryn says:

      It was definitely nice in the cold weather!

    1. Cathryn says:


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