Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nasen Ridge Trail Run

Nasen Ridge - Heat, Mosquitos, Dust, Snow

Now that the bug bites have finally gone away, it's time to share a bit of last weekend's trail run that Luke and I did on Nasen Ridge.  We got to Nasen Ridge via the Merritt Lake trail, about 10 miles east of Stevens Pass.  The trails we travelled were on the Green Trails Maps Stevens Pass Map 176S.  A couple miles up a dry, dusty dirt road brought us to a dry, dusty trailhead (yes, there is a theme forming):

After climbing to Merritt Lake, we headed west on the Nansen Ridge trail to Crescent Lake, scrambled up some steep climbs, turned around and headed back east, beyond the Merritt Lake trail up to the Alpine Lookout, before turning back around and returning to the trailhead.

Long, dry day.  Good hydration training, with plenty of climbing.  Most of the trail was in the 5,000 to 6,000 foot range.

Some of the Sights

The first signs of snow on the trail.

Luke identifying the weak points in the snowfield.

Crescent Lake

Above Crescent Lake

Did I mention the mosquitoes?

Approaching Alpine Lookout

At the Lookout (6200')

The Route

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Balboa Park / Florida Canyon Trails

Running the Trails in Downtown San Diego

Two of my favorite pastimes are running and travelling. Whenever possible, I like to make the two intersect.  This typically results in urban exploration run, which I find is a great way to orient yourself and get to know a new city.  In San Diego, I decided to try and get a decent trail run in, without leaving the core of the city.  I'd read a bit about the trails in Balboa Park, so I figured this would be my destination.  I was encouraged by the park's claim of "65 miles of trails", but prepared for mostly sidewalks and other paved routes.  I was pleasantly surprised!

Florida Canyon

I spent the majority of my time running around Florida Canyon, which is easily accessible from the Rose Garden in the main strip of Balboa Park (near the zoo).  It was a dusty run through a desert canyon - not what I was expecting to run when I set out that morning.

There is a long paved road along the bottom of the canyon, with a pretty complex network of singletrack and doubletrack trails spider-webbing along either side.  Especially, with a few side trips out of Florida canyon to other parts of Balboa Park, it's easy to get a moderately long (mostly) trail run in without getting bored.

Provided Routes

Probably my only complaint about this run is the "provided" routes offered by Balboa Park.  There are a large number of marked routes all over the park.  I decided to start following one, once I got to the park, but had to give up pretty quickly.  The route signs sometime point towards areas with no trails (or too many trails without offering clear direction), send you running on the narrow shoulder of roads into oncoming traffic (around blind corners!), are sitting in fields with nothing around them, or simply seem to disappear.  I found I was having a better time once I gave up on the "routes" and simply ran on the trails that looked fun.

The Strava