Sunday, July 24, 2011

Headlands hike: Rodeo Beach loop overlapping with Coastal Trail Runs Golden Gate Trail Run

Yesterday, I joined Dan at the Coastal Trail Run's Golden Gate Trail Run. He was running the 30k race, while I planned to hike the 5 mile course, aka, the Rodeo Beach loop that I do fairly frequently. I watched the start of Dan's race, then started up the Coastal Trail, periodically taking photos of the runners.

The marathon/half marathon field gathers at the start at Rodeo Beach. Wouldn't this picture be great if the parking lot was removed?

View of the runners coming up the Coastal Trail. Leader is at the left side of the picture (white shirt; click on photo to enlarge).

The leaders and first chasers passed me in a tunnel cut into the hill. The headlands are littered with abandoned military features, including a missile site. This is one of several tunnels.

Continuing up the Coastal Trail from the tunnel... encounters a set of steep stone stairs. I had been worried that I'd slow down the runners while climbing the stairs, but not to worry-- the stairs were a major choke point and everyone was walking slowly up the stairs.

Above the tunnel, the fog thickened and the runners just disappeared into the fog. By this point, over 100 runners had passed me. I continued on the Coastal Trail to the Wolf Ridge Trail, reaching the highest point at hill 88, the former Mark missile site (which I did not walk out to). The 5 mile race leaders caught me at this point, despite starting 30 minutes after I did (I am slow; they are fast!)

The trail descends sharply, and after some ups and downs, connects to the Miwok Trail. Here the racers went left; I went right to head back to Rodeo Beach. The wildflowers were really nice on this side of the hill, and the view was not bad considering that it was quite foggy.

Hillside covered with yellow flowers, on the Miwok Trail.

I completed the hike a bit faster than I had expected--fastest time since my knee injury, in fact. After my hike, I hung around the finishing area of the trail run race waiting for Dan to finish the 30k. What a nice morning!

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