2021 Ultra #26 – The Shinrin Yoku 50K

I was tentatively planning an ultra in Yosemite this weekend, but with temperatures hitting 100+ degrees near Hetch Hetchy + the fire danger while being out in the wilderness, hmmm. So change of plans, decided to run in Woodside on the classic route of starting at Huddart Park, then along Skyline trail, a lollipop around Wunderlich and back. This is one the best trails to fully experience Shinrin Yoku or forest bathing. Redwoods, oaks, madrones, chaparrals and of course, poison oak. These are such amazing trails, right in our backyard in the Bay Area. Here’s my Strava activity:

Shinrin Yoku

This literally means forest bathing in Japan and originated in the 1980’s to deal with stress. The woodside trails embody this through and through and is one of the best places to forest bathe! I drove up early am to the skyline ridge and dropped off some Tailwind and water at the Bear Gulch intersection, top of Alambique trail. This would be around mile 20 on the run. Drove back to the Roberts market in Woodside and found some street parking there.

Given how early this was, there was nobody out on the trails and I had the entire park to myself. I was in no particular hurry, just soaking up the redwoods and running up towards the fog hovering on the ridge.

It’s been a while since I’ve been on Skyline trail that interconnects Huddart Park and Wunderlich. This is such an amazing single track to run on! Somewhere here I suddenly felt a very sharp pain on my left elbow and might’ve been stung by something. I tried to brush off whatever it was, but it all happened too quickly and could’ve been a bee or a large ant. I was a little worried about allergic reaction, but luckily nothing and the pain slowly subsided over the course of the run.

Every time I summit Alambique Trail from the Wunderlich side, I usually stop and say hello to this beautiful tree. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. There was one time where I saw another hiker/runner do the same!

The mile 20 aid station was much needed as I was almost out of water with the dry heat. Reloaded and made my way back, but I was definitely taking in a lot more Tailwind on this section. By around mile 28 I was running pretty low and there was a lot of walking (aka death march) rest of the way. I guess this is probably my first warm run where I wasn’t doing laps. The Edge of Summer 50K did get warm too, but give it was a lap route, I was always just a few miles away from the car. But all’s well that ends well. Got back the car in 6:45 or so. Ultra 26 done!

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