Prepping for a race I've got coming up in July, I've been exploring trails with lots and lots of elevation gain. After doing what almost seems like an exhaustive investigation of the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness over the last month or so, I've been looking for other areas to explore.

And then something funny happened, I did the most unusual thing one could imagine, I met someone from social media. I know you're confused -- let me spell it out for you.

While on Twitter, I met someone with a common interest and I befriended him. Much to our surprise, we learned that we are local to each other and we pushed the computers aside and met in person. I know, crazy, right?. But I'm old school like that and not only do I meet real people from the Internet, we do stuff -- like running. I also collect vinyl records. Not familiar? Think of them as a collection of mp3's on an object the size of a Frisbee. Hang on. A Frisbee is a spherical disc you toss to another person, outside...

You know what? Nevermind.


My friend suggests we run a point to point route from north to south, starting at the base of Mission Peak. My plan is to run it both ways which works out well for all of us because now we have vehicles placed at both ends without the need for driving back and forth.

We start just prior to sunrise and one of the guys in our group suggests we park just outside the entrance because the lot might be full. I'm surprised but I haven't been to these parts and I take his advice. We gathered our gear, headed up the hill and passed the parking lot and he was correct, the lot was full. By now, it's dawn and I can already see the trails are populated. Crazy. Where I typically run, I'm lucky to see anyone for hours but down here, possibly due to fewer options, the trails are inhabited as soon as the park opens.

The first three miles are vertical. Not literally but it's pretty steep. The views all the way up the trail to the top are pretty amazing but obviously the view from the very top is the absolute best. It's not surprising why everyone treks up here.

Due to our rate of ascent in comparison to everyone else, we arrive at the top and we had it all to ourselves.

After taking some photos, we continue on.

The trail back to the car was a mixture of fire roads and single track and it was a gradual descent almost the entire way. I kept thinking about the return trip. I would have preferred rolling terrain but I need the climbing and despite my desire to jump in the car and get a ride back, I stuck with my plan to run the route in reverse.

Once we got back to the cars, I refilled my water, said goodbye to my new friends and started the journey back.

Nothing really to report except for a coyote siting which I initially thought might be a mountain lion. It was a large coyote, I have a secret fear of being harmed by animals on my runs and my eyes aren't so good. What can I say?

Somewhere I got slightly off route but given that the trail travels along the eastern side of the city line, I didn't need a compass to figure out where I needed to be.

As I approached Mission Peak once again, I noticed this sign.

"Steep & Hazardous Terrain" - sounds like a perfect training area. Honestly, it was steep but I don't know where they got the 'hazardous' part.

Arriving back at the top of Mission Peak once again, it was completely different than earlier and it reminded me of the rave scene in the Matrix. People were waiting in line to get to the pole.

As I crossed over the top and made my way back down, the trail was covered with people heading up the mountain. Some looked as if they were enjoying the journey while others -- not so much.

Running down the hill for three miles started getting old and at one point, I thought -- is it over yet? But no. It just kept going and going. Eventually I made my way to the bottom and back to my car. By now, the entire neighborhood looked like a parking lot at Disneyland.

It was a good run and I will definitely come back through here. There is another route, much longer which starts up in my area and connects to this system. I think it's close to 30 miles just to the top of Mission Peak. Definitely a point to point run on one of these days.

The most unflattering photo of the day was snapped of me which I will title:  "I've taken up drinking beer and it shows." --

Or maybe it should be titled:  "Guess who is expecting?"

This is the biggest optical illusion EVER.  It was really windy on top and the wind must have come up under my jacket.  While I'm laughing, I'm crying a little on the inside because I've been eating pretty clean and I'm practically at race weight.  Needless to say, this is NOT good for my self image.

Oh and the picture of the pug -- it has nothing to do with anything.  I just saw it later in the day and it made me smile.  How can you not love that face?!?!