First look: Wunderlich County Park

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Usually I do my long runs at Rancho San Antonio (PG&E Trail or Black Mountain) but the past few weeks it's been incredibly crowded to the point that I had to park on the road leading up to the park and then run in. I thought it might be worth changing things up so this weekend I tried a different route, the Alambique Trail in Wunderlich County Park. At the entrance to the park is a free dirt parking lot with a portajohn. From there the trail goes from about 400 feet 5.5 miles up to Skyline (this is with the Skyline trail at the top rather than the Alambique trail all the way). It's basically one continuous climb to the top and then you turn around and come back down (there are also extensions along the Skyline Ridge Trail to Huddart park.) The trail is quite well marked--there was one place where I got off course because I saw a path that was well trodden but unmarked. Should have stuck to the signs.

Compared to Rancho, the footing is generally worse, with a lot more foliage, rocks and roots, as well as a fair amount of horse manure you have to dodge. The trail is a pretty good workout, but I don't really like the up then down format. The climb to the top is unrelenting and then you really pound your quads and your knees coming down that 5 mile descent. The PG&E Trail, for instance has about the same amount of climbing and even some long up or down stretches, but a fair amount of it is rolling. Today it was raining (pouring, really) and while footing was good, thanks to my Inov-8 Roclite 295s, a significant fraction of the trail was puddles, streams, and mud, with the results you see above. This actually understates the situation a bit, since I'm wearing green socks and so you can't see that my shoes and socks are covered in dirt, leaves, sticks, etc.

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