Trail running doesn’t always have to be about the workout
Running on Dirt
Finally enough snow has melted up high to safely navigate and find trails. This week I took a hike up the Warren Lake Trail to the Frog Lake overlook with the family. Obviously, I long to be running, but a good hike is really enjoyable, too.
That said, this trail is run-able. It’s in great condition with lots of creek crossings, wildflowers and recently manicured trails.
To get there you have a couple of options. Both require driving up to the Boreal exit. Here choose the official Pacific Crest Trail trailhead or turn right and head to the Castle Peak parking area. We chose the latter. The gate is thankfully still closed at the dirt road entrance.
From there, hike in a quarter mile to the meadow. Cross the meadow to your right and link up to the trail that crosses a creek. You may have to get your feet wet. We did. Once across you’ll head up to the PCT, 400 meters max. Once on the trail, turn right.
You’ll hike on rolling trails about a mile when you reach the Interstate 80 rest stop. There you’ll run into a couple of trails that will veer toward the rest stop, which is still under construction. Stay left.
Soon you’ll hit a junction with a map. Turn left. You’ll start climbing here, just slightly. Another half mile or so and you’ll hit a junction to Summit Lake, Donner Rim Trail and Warren Lake. You go straight to Warren Lake. You’re halfway to the lookout.
Now the trail gets tougher. Running has been easy to this point. From here the trail is a bit more technical and has some steep climbs. Turn down the pace and keep moving. Remember, the whole trail is run-able, just take it slow.
As you get higher the wild flowers really start to pop, the creeks are making noise and grouse are hooting as you briefly intrude.
Just when you wonder where the fricken top is, you pop out into a huge hillside meadow that sits in the foreground of Castle Peak. After a few more steps and a veer off the trail to Warren Lake, we were suddenly looking down on Frog Lake. We ate a quick lunch and were on our way back down.
My wife Heidi and her sister Holly both took this opportunity to run through short sections of the trail, leaving me in the dust. Two women who hate running leaving me in the dust. Great! I’ll remind them they did have fun, even if it was brief.
Running doesn’t always have to be a workout or fitness driven. Sometimes it’s just about laughing and bounding down a trail.
– Peter Fain is a local trail runner who competes regularly in regional trail races and snowshoe runs in the winter. He may be contacted at email@example.com.