I'm definitely spoiled when I go visit family. Take for example the setting in which my sister, Jessica, and her family live. Located halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe on Route 50 you can find the small town of Pollock Pines, California. It's a great location for trail runners, hikers, boaters, cyclists, fishermen and the like. Diversity is the name of the game when I visit: a loop around a lake, an out & back on a bike trail and a loop in the California high country.
From my sister's front door you can find yourself quickly on a trail headed for a loop around this lake. The lake is the setting for several ultras, like Run On The Sly and the Jenkinson Lake Trail Runs.
Typical shoreline for which the trail around the lake hugs.
The El Dorado Trail
Down the road from Pollock Pines one can find the historic town of Placerville, CA. A runner looking for a less-challenging trail can head east on the smooth surfaced El Dorado Trail, a multi-use trail that is both paved and unpaved.
A typical dirt section of the El Dorado Trail.
Closer to Placerville one can find the harder surface and spot vineyards on the hillsides.
Into the High Country
Less than an hour's drive from my sister's place up what the locals call the MET (or Morman Emigrant Trail), its a paved 30-mile road, you can find yourself high above the trees and surrounded by granite rock mountains and alpine lakes. I headed up with my brother-in-law, Duane, and the dogs (Bruce, Rose and Zoroaster).
Entering the Mokelumne Wilderness in the El Dorado National Forest.
Running up from Woods Lake to Round Top Lake. Happily following my brother-in-law Duane Miller.
Round Top and its namesake lake.
Fourth of July Lake sits in a granite bowl between Round Top and Melissa Coray Peak
Typical high-country trail. Emblazoned with many wildflowers.
Summit City Basin
My typical view of the day. I wish I had three dogs pushing me up the hill.
Headed north on the Pacific Crest Trail at the Forestdale Divide.
Duane climbing out of the Summit City Drainage.
Crossing the Shoulder of Elephant's Back on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Winnemucca Lake. The final stop on our loop run.
Coaching Tip: When over-heated from a long, strenuous climb use what nature's made available. Snow fields are excellent ways to cool your core temperature.