Picking splinters out of my thighs...

So with the weather making it too wet to climb outside, but not enough snow yet to ski, I've been pushed into the rock gym and back to trail running. My legs really aren't up to the pounding, so I've been starting slow, with shorter runs and a lot of time off in between to let my feet and knees get re-acquainted to the work.

So on the 24th I checked out Lynch Canyon for the first time. This is the open space I stumbled across during a run on what I thought was some ranchers property. Well, it is some ranchers property, as all the cows will demonstrate, but its become open space and is accessible for hikers, bikers, and horses. Not to shabby.
Photo: Looking up North Lynch Canyon. The Middle Canyon turns left at the trees.

I ended up running for 40 minutes instead of the 30 I had planned, but I ran up the Middle fork along dirt road before turning right on cow-paths-turned-trails to cross the ridge and drop along the South Canyon back toward the interstate before crossing back to the car park. There were a lot of cows with calves, making them a little more aggressive and less likely to run off as I approached. So I just worked on avoided the calves as much as I could and didn't have any trouble.

A few days later I returned to Lake Herman, the site of my last post. I hoped that I'd discover a use trail circumnavigating the lake when I left my car and started running counter-clockwise. All sorts of water birds were in a constant panic as I ran along the shore. In less than 10 minutes I ran into a bramble and turned away from the water - trying to outflank it by running inland. No luck - I stopped when I reached the road and turned back. When I reached the car flocks of Canada geese and turkeys had mingled together on the grass - with three of the turkeys puffing up and strutting to try to impress the hens. Pretty neat. To make my time I continued on around the lake clockwise and ran up the hill that makes the north end of the dam. After stopping at a small sunset shack I headed down the other side of Colima Herman and headed back to the car.
Photo: The view across Lake Herman from the top of Herman Hill. I was able to follow a common use/deer trail along the shore until I reached the grove of trees in the photo. From there I tried to run inland but stopped when I reached the road and turned back.

When I got home I looked at the wreckage that were my legs. There are a lot of sharp prickly things in California's grasslands, and brush ups against my thighs left welts all over. More surprising were the splinters I found right above me knees. I had to scare up a pair of tweezers to remove them, and have no idea where they came from!

Lake Herman probably has one or two more interesting runs left, and will always be a fun way to add distance to the Vallejo-Benicia Ridge trail system (it connects). Lynch Canyon, on the other hand, so much bigger, and has at least 6 more loops that could last over an hour and four ridges good for some real cross country.