I'm traveling on business in the San Jose area. I was at the mercy of my bosses scheduling so I did not know where I would be staying making it difficult to plan my runs. Last night when I discovered that we would be staying in Newark CA. I quickly went on line and searched mapquest for trails or parks in the area. I found Coyote Hills Regional Park was just 1.5 miles from our Hotel.
I started my run in the dark at 6:00 AM. The sky was clear and the temperature was hovering at 28-30 degrees. When I made it to the park I was surprised at the immediate transition from business centers and manufacturing to a very remote landscape filled with ponds and wildlife. About a mile and a half into the park entrance I came to a parking lot that split off into some gravel roads and trails. I ran up a gravel road and turned up another called Hoot Holler. I didn't go too far when I came to the end of the road and as I stopped to turn around I was serenaded by a great horned owl sitting in a tree. Another owl in a distant tree answered back. I listened to a couple of more exchanges between the owls and then headed back down to gravel road I had turned off of and continued into the park.
I turned on a dirt trail to my right and started heading up to the top of one of the hills for a view. It was still quite dark out but with my headlamp I could see some eyes and a dark spot in the middle of the trail. I slowed down and then came to a stop about 25 feet from two very large skunks. They ended up walking away from me side by side with their tails up in the air as I continued in the same direction. These were "super sized" skunks and I swear that their tails were three feet up in the air. After thinking about it I decided my customers would probably rather not meet me smelling like skunk spray so I stopped. The skunks stopped as soon as I did and then started wrestling around like a couple of puppies. They were growling at each other and bopping around tumbling down the hill toward me as they played like I was non-existent. I turned around and "high tailed" it.
I circled around the hill and found myself running the hillside along San Fransisco Bay. The sun was just coming up creating an orange sky on the eastern horizon. The Bay was teaming with water foul with what looked like Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Sandpipers, and some smaller Herons. My only other running partners on this run were a couple of Jack Rabbits that couldn't decide where to turn off the trail after I scared them so they just ran along in front of me for a few hundred yards before turning off trail. My Garmin beeped 5 miles so I turned around and backtracked back to my Hotel for a nice 10 mile run.
I expect to head back to Coyote Hills again in the morning. I'm finally feeling strong again after a fairly long recovery from the FAT ASS Tiger MT. 50K. This gives me confidence for this coming weekends Capital City FAT ASS 50K.