Most of us probably have a favorite run, a trail that seems to take away the stress. A place we can’t wait to show some running buddies or maybe a place we sometimes like to run alone. I have a couple of these trails that always seem to breathe new life into me and remind me life is outside. Today I found my new favorite. Just under 15 miles, you can take the Pacific Crest Trail from Sugar Bowl to Squaw Valley and see some of the best sites the Sierra Nevada has to offer. If you have some extra time on your hands, the PCT runs from Canada to Mexico for 2,650 miles. The problem is most of the year this trail is buried under snow so you have to wait for summer. There are no bikes on the trail and I only came across a couple of backpackers and a group of 3 female runners coming down from Tinker Knob.
At a very slow pace and stopping for lots of pictures, it took me just over 3 hours to cover the distance. The views will not disappoint. I kept thinking about coming back and hiking and running these trails with Dylan when he is older. From Sugar Bowl to Tinker Knob it’s a pretty steady climb for 7 miles, then some ups and downs before reaching the Granite Chief Trail leading down to Squaw Valley. Next time, I would probably try following the PCT around Shirley Lake and intersect the Western States Trail at the top of Squaw Valley and take that trail (fire road) down to Squaw Valley as it should be much more runnable than the Granite Chief Trail. It might be a little longer mileage but it might be faster and easier on the knees.
So after years of thinking about it, I spent a few hours on a perfect Sunday morning and did it. And in doing it, I discovered something new. I was happy before but during the week when I’m working at the computer, I’ll look back at these pictures and think about the minutes running along the ridges as I kept telling myself, “This is unbelievable”. The memory will definitely bring a smile to my face. In October I’ll be running the Sunday marathons, through the big cities and enjoying the time on the city streets but give me an hour or two above the city, along a narrow trail where the air is thin and the clouds off your shoulder and I’ll find a place that will be hard to forget. Don’t be afraid to go out and find a new favorite trail.