Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mitchell Canyon: Black Point Trail

Post Diablo Challenge, I am getting back to a normal running and cycling routine and looking forward to the next major event on July 6th, a twelve hour timed event. This meant that last week I was able to get in 23 miles of running, including exploring a new trail out of Mitchell Canyon: the Black Point Trail.
My wife headed out early on Sunday for what ended up as a 6.6 mile run with close to 2,000 feet of elevation gain.  Our ran began through the single track grasslands on the north side of Mount Diablo, past the frog pond we discovered last month on our Eagle Peak run in April, and up to Mitchell Canyon Road.  About a mile and a half up the canyon, we made a left up White Canyon to connect with Black Point Trail.  
Black Point Trail is all single track and loops back from White Canyon back to Mitchell Canyon Trail with a serious climb up Black Point.  The south side of the trail is more creek bed than trail, with plenty of loose rock.  The climb continues up through scrub brush with views of the Diablo Valley, and overlooks much of the trails in Castle Rock we normally run.  Once we summit, I was looking forward to some serious downhill; however, the first half mile of this part of the trail was not groomed, which meant climbing through a serious jungle before we could really start running.
Once past the jungle, it was a nice run downhill with pretty well groomed switchback.  The views of Mitchell Canyon were spectacular.  Two thirds down we stopped for a little break and my wife commented that she wondered if we had picked up any ticks.  At that moment I saw one climbing up my running shorts, which I quickly flicked off, followed by another running across my shin, and a third embedded in my gaiter.   Now, since experiencing ticks is new things to our family, my fear of these terrible pests is starting to wane.   However, while I have respect for these creatures, they show up in the most peculiar places, like at this point in the run we were standing in a wide open space and I am not sure if I had picked them up while we were in the jungle or just standing in the wide open.  They clearly liked me over my wife.

Once down, we ran back the way we came, through the grasslands and back to the car, again checking each other for ticks (queue Brad Paisley).
We probably won’t be trying that route again, even though it has some nice single-track in some areas.  But it was nice just to get out and run a bit in the hills.

For more photos of the run and the trail, check out my wife's blog here.

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