Ed and I decided to continue with our trend of one trail a week (for me) by heading out to Russian Ridge today for a 3-5 mile run (though we'd end up doing 5.25!). Last year, we were blown away by the wildflowers here, so, though it was a little too early, we were looking forward to seeing what was out already.
The weather contrasted pretty strongly with our last visit, when I remember it being very hot and bright. Today, it was cool, with a misty wind blowing on us pretty constantly, keeping it damp. Still, it made for fairly pleasant running conditions.
The mountains and the distant looked beautiful, especially as they became more encased with fog throughout the run.
The run begins with rolling uphill that I was only too happy to walk (Ed, perhaps, was not so happy, but he was a good sport about it). There were plenty of others out enjoying the day, but we still got some short stretches of alone time.
After climbing for a while, we broke out on a side trail that treated us with some nice downhill and then, some slightly uphill gorgeous singletrack. This was one of my favorite parts of the run; I think that sometimes I just can't resist a beautiful singletrack trail - they just seem very special.
The singletrack became progressively more downhill, and that was the direction we headed for probably at least a half mile. We had a brief section where we headed through a forest, but most of it was the wide open space that I love so much about the Skyline Ridge area.
Finally, we hit another uphill section that took us to a familiar junction (The Vista Parking Lot).
From here, we climbed a bit further until we got to the ridge of the hill.
And, finally, the views that I remembered well
Stanford looked small below us, and we could also see Moffet to our right (by where my old school was located)
A bit past here, we passed a group of trail workers on a lunch break, and then had one more up and down before we hit 3 miles, our turn around point. On our way out, Ed saw a way to make this a loop instead of an out and back. Since the back would be almost a mile shorter, our turn around point was actually at 3 miles, instead of 2.5.
In the far right of the picture below, you can just barely make out the platform where we had a picnic break on our twelve miler last year. Hard to believe I was in such good shape just a year ago...
On our way back, I took a moment to capture these beautiful purple flowers that were stealing the show on the side of the trail. They certainly stood out, with most of the other flowers not yet on display.
Taking the new trail back, we had some much more serious uphill, but after a half mile or so, we reached the "peak."
And then it was all downhill, all the way back to the car :).