I mapped out this circumnavigating course in Joseph D. Grant park in Santa Clara, half way up Mt. Hamilton Road. The course hits some of the vista points along Dutch Flat Trail in the south and Antler Point in the far north. With the light rain this past weekend and the cooler temperatures, decided to take this one up in the delicate sequencing act of running 50 ultras this year. Here’s my Strava activity:
The Southern Lap
After some scouting and talking to the rangers, showed up at the Grant Lake parking lot around 7:20am. I had two laps planned, a 17-miler on the south side and another 13ish-miler on the north side. Headed out on Mt. Hamilton Road to catch Edwards Loop Trail. The initial part of the trail was very overgrown. Within minutes, I heard the now familiar grunt and saw a wild pig take off up the hill. The “rototiller” signs where everywhere and my adrenalin was up and I went into high alert. In addition to the wild pig, I saw a bobcat, deer, cotton tailed bunnies, hares – happening place!
Crossed Quimby Road and started descending on Heron Trail. I was making periodic coo’ing just to give the wildlife a heads up. I didn’t want to startle a lone wild pig like I did in one of my Henry Coe runs. This section is part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, the signs where everywhere. Dutch Flat Trail was dotted with valley oaks with great views of San Jose. The morning chill was giving away now.
There were fresh signs of wild pig digs towards the end of Dutch Flat trail, but didn’t see any of them. I was definitely nervous in this section since there wasn’t a whole lot of place to run away. Crossed the creek and headed up Cañada de Pala trail. This section was a bit monotonous and plenty of cows grazing right on the trails. Had to give them a wide berth as they looked pretty spooked.
The Foothill Trail was super steep, so mostly just power hiked it until I connected it back to Hostel Trail and headed back to the car.
The Northern Lap
Got back to the car a little past 4 hours, reloaded on Tailwind and headed out on the northern lap (about 13 miles) along Yerba Buena Trail. It connected up to Cañada de Pala trail which was pretty steep. Lots of walking here, but boy the wildflowers. These trails felt so different from the south side of the park. I think I had a grin on my face the entire way along Pala Seca Trail. The black birds with red shoulders were chirping merrily, a nice cool ridge breeze was keeping things very pleasant and the vistas were just magnificient.
I spent a fair bit of time at Antler Pt, just didn’t want to leave, yet. It was incredibly beautiful, remote, peaceful. I know the world is burning (I guess it always has), but just for a moment up there amongst the wildflowers and the vista, everything felt okay. This place looked like someone just ordered one of everything from a wildflower catalog.
Some of the sections of Washburn Trail were super steep and with the sun out now it was warm and it was slow going. When I connected back to Mt. Hamilton Rd and headed back to the car, heard some rustling beyond the fence to my right. Saw a bunch of wild pigs and they all scampered away too quickly for me to take a picture. Made it back to the car in 6:40, tired but very content.
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