With Leona Divide only two weeks out, I wanted to get one more long run with elevation in my legs before I drop the volume and prepare for my first 50 mile run.

In the last few weeks, I've been exploring the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness which is a lesser known park in the area. It recently popped up on my radar when I wandered into a kids park which had arrows referencing its trails.

 The Las Trampas Trail, which on the signs is labeled the "Las Trampas to Mt. Diablo Trail" is what caught my attention because it implies there is a trail which leads from one to the other.

In my mind, I was having a hard time picturing how that worked given that Diablo and Las Trampas are on opposites sides of a very large interstate (680).

But you know how it goes when you're in the middle of a long run, you just sometimes store information away and you're not really processing it in the moment. So it got stored.

A week or so later, I'm exploring another area and I come upon the Las Trampas Trail again. But this time my mind is fresh and I start mapping out the location of the kids park which seems to be far away but I like the idea and I begin exploring.

Unfortunately, by the time I figured out where I needed to go, I was already too far into my run to get lost.  But knowing the route, or at least a good portion of it, I went back out yesterday to put the pieces together.

Starting from my house, I made my way onto the road which is a gradual four mile ascent to the park's entrance. As I ran up the road, I saw cows....

This is probably going to sound a little stupid but the last few times I've been running on open range, I've encountered some cows which seem like they might want to kick my ass.

Cows with attitude.



Prior to encountering the mean cows, I just thought... well... they are cows... you just make some noise and they go away. But they don't. What they do is stand in the middle of the path, blocking your access and then you are reminded of how little you are in comparison to them.

Back at the house after my first encounter, I did a search for: "Are cows dangerous" or something along those lines. Turns out more people are killed by cows than shark attacks.

Sharks scare the crap out of me and so now do cows. Turns out they are everywhere too!

I'm slowly taking the battle to them -- I've increased my red meat intake.

Furry bastards. Blocking my trail, scaring me for no good reason. Turn your ass into a ribeye!

Anyway.

Once you get through the initial parking lot area, you can immediately get onto some really cool trails which wind you through the woods but then you quickly start your ascent...

According to wiki, the park is known as the "Tough Guy" of the Easy Bay Parks probably due to the quick elevation gains which most definitely get your attention.

But as soon as you get up on top, you quickly forget how much effort it took to get there because the views make it worth it...

Once you're up on top, if you head east, you make your way across to the Diablo side.

Along the way, I found this bluebonnet... uh... tree. This is odd to me for several reasons --

1. It's not blue. Those of you who live in Texas will think this is odd as well since I think this is your state flower but in a blue.

2. It's a freaking tree. Holy smokes. These things typically sit about 8" off the ground.

Whatever, still cool to look at, just weird. 



Making my way to the eastern side with an open view, I see Diablo off in the distance and another purple tree...



When I found the trail for the descent, I found this very odd sign which looks like maybe there's a dragon that I should be worried about???  WTF??? ...



I did not spot any dragons nor did I smell sulphur so I was not concerned.  Cows remain the number one threat in these parts. 

Well, that and sketchy steps which really don't look all that sketchy from this photo but the dropoff made me not like where I was headed.  I was off of them quickly and much happier. 



Working my way down, I popped out of the woods to find this trail which appeared to be just for me.  I know this trail looks well used but given my location, very few people were spotted.



When I finally made it back to civilization, I dropped into a local grocery store to pickup my precious...



Not my exact brand but they worked just as well.  NOM NOM!