Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snow on the Mountain!

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, we don't typically get much snow. In fact, the last time it snowed in my town of San Jose was umm... Feb 5, 1976, at least according to local legend. However, once or twice a year (if we are really lucky) we get a couple inches of snowfall up in the surrounding mountains (Mt. Hamilton, Mt. Umunhum, Black Mountain).

The snow usually ony sticks around for a day or two before it warms up and melts, so it's always a special treat to throw on shorts and tee shirt and head up into the mountains to celebrate. It's not uncommon to see grown adults doing snow angels and having snowball fights.

So it was with great excitement that I headed out on Sunday afternoon with my camera in hand to see if I could get up into the mountains before all the precious snow melted. I'd heard from my wife Amy that Sierra Azul had quite a bit of snow on it when she ran her 14 mile loop earlier in the morning. But now it was mid afternoon and already warming up a bit. I'd better hurry! I quickly grabbed my gear. Running shoes? Check! Shorts? Check! Tee shirt? Nah, let's get go topless. Woo hoo!

I decided to drive up to the Wood's Road entrance of Sierra Azul (adjacent to Quicksilver Park) in order to run up the back side of the mountain. This route contains the very steep and rocky section of trail that I'd had to walk up the previous weekend during the Los Gatos Overgrown Fat Ass 50K. I wanted to see if I could actually run the entire 6.5 mile climb on fresh legs, as opposed to last week when I began the climb after already running 18 miles of tough hilly trails. Hopefully the snowline would be up near the 3,000 ft summit, and not on the lower steep, rocky section. The only thing harder than trying to run up a super steep incline with loose gravel and rock footing is trying to run up a super steep incline with loose gave and rock footing in the snow.

Luckily for me, the steep section was indeed snow free and I was able to run the whole thing relatively easily. The snow didn't really start to make it's appearance until the last mile or so. It started off rather dusty but it quickly became ankle deep. I'd worn my Gortex Salomon SpeedCross shoes, which did a good job of keeping my feet and warm and dry. Now, if only I had brought a shirt...

As I was running through the snow, grinning like an idiot and laughing out loud, I couldn't remember the last time I'd had so much fun running. It was a nice reminder to remember to enjoy each run -- and to enjoy each day. Of course, that's easy to say living in California where it stays sunny and warm all winter long, with the occasional rainy afternoon. And yes, I would probably be clinically depressed and heavily medicated if I still lived in Michigan (or anyplace else) where Winter means months of cold, ice, snow, and gray skies. But then again, that's exactly why I moved to California. So suck it ;)

Here is a short video clip that I shot with pocket camera showing some highlights of the run. I hope you enjoy it. And in case you were gonna ask -- no I wasn't cold, and the name of song playing in the background is Jackie Greene - Gone Wanderin'.

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