This year I wanted to do the same thing but decided to save myself the LONG drive down to that part of California and instead headed to Humboldt County where my sister,Karen, lives. We would together build our own running camp on trails through the redwood forests. It was a grand success.
On day number one I did close to 30 miles on day #1 and about 7K climbing. It was a beautiful mountain bike trail in the King Range on which I ran two loops. Karen's friend and coach Bill and her dog ran with me the first time around and Karen ran with me the second.
We had some great views of the ocean from top of the ridges. There was a fair amount of shade and lots of wild flowers. Most of the climbing was gradual enough that it was runnable and the downhill sections were a lot of fun. We ran into a collection of mountain bikers and played leap frog with them along the trail. At one point they stopped to photograph each other going over some jumps in the trail and graciously let us run through. We took the jumps too and got our photos taken as well!
I have a new ultra food I'm fond of now: Turkey and cheese sandwich with avocado. Yum, yum. It was fairly warm (mid 70s by the end of the day) and sunny but most of the trail was shaded by oak and fir trees. We crossed the Bear Creek twice (shin deep) and actually laid down in it on the last crossing of the second trip for cooling purposes. The trail ran along ridges, down to the creek, back up to the ridge then back down to the creek then back up to the ridge. It wasn't usually too steep and most of the uphill was runnable. On the second loop I found my ice bandanna very refreshing. It was a great day!
The return trip was a lot more fun! It was beautiful, that's for sure, but cooler and mostly foggy, just like the pictures.
Karen and Bill both ran with me that day but we split up for some of it. Karen turned back a few miles short and Bill ran ahead to catch up with her and I caught up with them a mile from the end. It was fun, retrospectively, but the climbing for the first half was not so much fun as it entailed lots of walking/hiking. I found that frustrating. We were also on a bit of a time crunch to get back for a memorial service for Karen's friend who died last year, but we made it in plenty of time.
It ends at the beach then connects to the Coastal trail and Ossagon which, after the beach, is on flat prairie areas next to bluffs near the beach.
It was very pretty and the weather was perfect - started overcast then got sunny but never too warm. We finished the whole thing together except the last few miles and Karen was less than 5 minutes behind me.
I was really proud of her for doing her 15/17.5/20 combo! She's never done back-to-backs that lengthy.