Sunday, March 28, 2010

More trail maintenance, with the Striders

If you read last week's post, this is a continuation of my story about maintaining our huge backyard and the amazing network of hundreds of miles of trails which we are spoiled with. Another day with a perfect Californian Spring weather, sunny, with cool temperatures in the early morning quickly raising in the sixties. And a great company with my other running club, the Stevens Creek Striders, and Greg who joined the group to clock some volunteer hours for his newly appointment to the National Honor Society, following the foot steps of Max and Alex.
The group gathered as usual at the lower parking of Stevens Creek Park at 8:30. I ran from home up there with Greg on his bike. Peter gave the President's briefing while Peggy ran to the end of the REI trail to meet with the Ranger at the Sycamore Group Area. I ran to the parking lot on the road with Greg as I didn't want to leave him by himself on this busy and dangerous Stevens Creek Canyon Road. A road which would be the cycling paradise if it was not for the cars and trucks going up and down and cutting the turns or double yellow lines. See below for more on this topic...
After meeting Ranger Bob and each of us picking one of the many tools he brought in his big truck, we went on the Lookout Trail and started working shortly after 9. It was great to see Tom (Kaisersatt) joining us and walking with us to the bottom of Lookout Trail. With a group of about 18 adults, a few hours were enough to take good care of this trail and leave it really clean by noon. I came this morning thinking that I would avoid any job close to poison oak but I could not refrain from getting in the bushes to cut the long poisonous branches along the nearby trees. Why was I so afraid of poison oak this morning? Because, after last week's episode at Almaden, my body has been covered with itchy eruptions, on the ankles, legs, waist and arms. So annoying that it perturbed my few hours of sleep as I woke up several times over the week scratching these itchy plaques. That was so different from my first encounter with poison oak at Miwok three years ago that I initially thought it was some food poisoning. Until Pierre-Yves contacted me last night and told me the same exact story happened to him... So, I was looking forward to this symptom to disappear after a week but, after all the work in the poison oak again this morning, I may had "signed" for another week...
Please make sure to check my Picasa album with 60 pictures and some comments, to see the whole group at work and in particular how Peter mastered the art of leveling the trail with a McLeod (which Ranger Bob taught us about, as being a tool mainly used by firefighters). Certainly, this is a great tool for trail maintenance as I could experience for 7 hours last week at Almaden. From the top of Lookout, we also had great views over the hills and the Garrod Farms.
Ranger Bob was really happy with the work accomplished this morning and thought the group was really cool. Peter reassured him that we can do it again.

A big thank you to Peggy for organizing this Club activity. It is so great to have the opportunity to help out right in our backyard, instead of driving for more than an hour as I did one day to Mount Diablo (a great trail maintenance memory with Tom actually).
Greg and I left the empty parking shortly after noon. I stopped several times along the way to take pictures of the wonderful views of the full reservoir.
I also stopped at the place of the tragic accident in which a patrolling Sheriff killed 2 cyclists from San Francisco. The two cyclists had just turned 30 and it is sad to think their life ended so soon, because a car missing a turn and driving on the other side of the road. Between Montebello, Mount Eden and Stevens Creek Canyon roads, and the connection with Foothill Expressway, this is a amazing place to bike as you can tell by the many cyclists coming on weekends. They just have to be very careful with the cars because many drivers don't really pay attention and there is a lot of traffic. Ride safely out there. Or enjoy the well maintained trails!
12 miles this Saturday morning, 57 miles during the week after the 29 miles of last Sunday, 23 miles this Sunday morning, a good mileage although some slow miles as the amount of sleep hasn't increased much yet with very long working days (and mornings, and evenings...). Speaking of speed, I attended the last days of Syrous' 12-week boot camp at De Anza College, invited by my friends Bob and Monique. Super intensive session starting at 5:30 am, tough after running 29 hilly miles the previous day. But always good to push out and hard!

Next week the whole family will run the Big Bunny Fun Run in Cupertino, "just" 5K. Alex will be with us indeed, thanks to a 10-day break from his very exciting Congressional Page program in DC, in particular being in the eye of the current health care reform storm.

1 comment:

Gregoire Pommier said...

Merci Papa!
- Greg Big Chef