Sunday, March 02, 2014

Armstrong Redwoods

PL and I set out for a quiet weekend, not having much of an agenda.  Which usually means hiking, cooking, reading, sipping coffee, watching movies, and other active and inactive things.  The main point is to get out of the house and the myriad parts of life we manage from home.   On these trips, I also like to get in a run or two in new places.  

We went to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve for the afternoon and took a short hike on the valley floor.  With all the rain, it was quite humid, quite green, and filled with redwoods, with the oldest at 1400 years old.  Reading up on it later in the day, the valley is classified as rain forest.  

After the hike, I ran a loop up and out of the valley, around and back down.  The climb was long and steady, very humid, and steeper than I expected.  But quite runnable today—the forced time off during the week worked in my favor.  

Climbing out of the valley, the East Ridge trail eventually leaves the redwood forest and climbs though grassy hills and other forest types (I’m not the best at identifying most trees).  The views up here were amazing.

After the climb, I ran a long steady downhill stretch on the Pool trail.  Returning to redwood valley, it crossed a handful of streams before returning to the central redwood grove of the park.  This was one of my most fun downhill runs ever, with others having been in Huddert county park and on the Coastal View trail.  Getting back to the main redwood grove, I explored parts that I missed on the hike.

I also used this run to break in a new pair of Altra Olympus shoes.  I picked these up to add in some high cushion trail shoes to the mix.  Everyone seems to love Hokas right now, but the other Altras I’ve been running in have done such a good job at getting rid of unnecessary foot pain/injury that I went for these instead.  They have this interesting design that makes you want to run instead if you happen to be walking.  Especially uphill.  As a result, I was able to push a little harder than usual when running uphill.

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