Biking and Running Tecolote Canyon

I need adventure.  I haven’t been able to do any large adventures recently, so for now, small, one-day explorations will have to do.  These aren’t necessarily always about exploring new stuff, but more like exploring new ways of doing the familiar.

Today’s little exploration was to run Tecolote Canyon.  I’ve done this run several times now, but I haven’t gotten to the trailhead by bike.  I don’t know that I have ever started a run with a four-mile bike ride, but today was that day.

From our home in Crown Point, I rode around the northeast corner of mission bay.  It’s a pretty pleasant ride, the streets aren’t too busy and riding a long the bay is super nice.  There is actually a great path through the string of parks, but navigating walkers and Sunday bike riders was a bit rough, so I hopped off and just rode the street.  I’ve got business to take care of!

I rode to the southern terminus of the parks near the Tecolote overpass.  I was originally going to ride all the way to the trailhead, but the last little bit by bike seemed to be a bit of work.  I don’t care for riding busy, convoluted traffic, which is what the Tecolote overpass is, so I decided to lock up the bike, and begin the run portion of my day from there. 

It didn’t take too long to run over I-5 and to the trailhead, and soon I was running on dirt!  The (mostly) unused dirt road stays pretty level for the first mile or so, which is good, because it can be pretty brutal in places after that.  The trail has some extremely steep portions.  They’re short, but at least for me, necessitate carefully walking (on both the ups and downs).  When building a road such as this, you have a couple of options.  Usually, when one encounters a small canyon, the road builder will pick a constant elevation, and follow that as they wind around the canyon, mostly maintaining a nice grade.  The builders of this road took a different option, they just went straight down, and straight back up.  My hats off though, I wouldn’t want to be the one driving a tractor, or any other vehicle at that grade.

The other thing about Tecolote canyon (and maybe it’s common here in San Diego), but there are a maze of trails, all of which are in pretty poor condition.  They divert from the dirt road, and reconnect here and there.  Generally when I’m running or walking here, I’ll stay on the lower portion of trails, since they seem to be the most well graded and in the best condition.  Eventually, the trail, which has been following a golf course, hits a side canyon and turns to a more easterly direction.  The trail also drops down to the creek.  This section of trail is pretty beautiful, with trees and fairly lush (for southern California) plants surrounding small pools.  Running and walking through this section of trail is a joy.  It makes for a great destination, so I soaked in the surroundings before turning around and retracing my steps back home.

It was a pretty good little adventure.  It looks like it was about 7.75 miles on bike, and 8 miles of mostly running (and some walking here and there).  A good day!