Skip navigation

Category Archives: Camping

Location: Middletown, California

Length: 7 miles

Directions: Middletown is in Lake County CA is on Highway 29 between Calistoga and Clearlake. The run is on the property of Harbin Hot Springs Retreat Center.

Trail Description: From the retreat’s office take the Spiritual Path (1.10 miles) to the Ridge Trail Trail head (@1625 ft.elevation).

Ridge Trail is a fire road with many dips and ascents (2.5 miles).

Connect to Dancing Deer Trail (1.20 miles) and take the cut off to the right bearing SE, it is very narrow. If you miss it you are off property.

You will be scrambling down scree at first and then be on a deer track. The trail is marked with multicolored neon ribbons at regular intervals so it is good track training. You will come to a shady copse with a canopy of stunted oak and mossy covered volcanic rock then eventually ascend to Boggs Mountain Trail (0.5 miles).

Then down onto Harbin Springs Road (1.5 miles) and cutting across the meadow to pick up the Village Paths in the camping area (0.6 miles).

Finish your run with a soak in the legendary pools of Harbin.

Added to by polynesian_metal on 7/9/10


This week after getting back from Harbin I’ve really minimized the activities by foregoing yoga at the gym and only doing the low mileage runs with my activity partner.  After some arduous trail running and scouting on the trails up at the naked hippie hot spring resort and a little yoga and lots of relaxation and hot tubbing there, coming back to the city and checking in with myself I felt like I really needed to catch up on my sleep and my neglected flat.  Just a little more focus needs to be spent on my environment and I feel like I’m coming to a state of balance.  I’ve also reached a weight goal of under 156 lbs. so I’m feeling *hench, which is British slang for big, strong and muscular.

So completed Wednesday and Friday runs with Cameron at Lands End.  We’ll finish the trail on Sunday then begin some hill work by running the switchback at Battery Chamberlin to the Golden Gate Bridge and back.  Meanwhile, I’ll hit Aquatic Park to Fort Point after training with Cameron on Sunday, or totally forgo it in favor of spending more time at the flat.  In any event, I will definitely go to Redwood Regional to rehearse the course after 7am yoga on Monday.

Surprisingly, there was still some Vodka in the freezer that survived the aftermath of the ENSLAVED show on Thursday night and forgotten over a weekend of camping in the Redwoods with Bob, the dregs of which I am honestly enjoying right now. Just got back from a new run on an old trail, dropped off my concert photographs to be developed at Walgreens and am decamping right about now.

I ran what I fondly call the Bunny Trail, which is really the Grey Whale Cove Trail connecting to Old San Pedro Mountain Trail which will actually wend its way over a summit and down behind the Safeway in Pacifica.  I must have been killing it when I was running it last year, but I have to say that my run today was completed, not hella strong, but I made it up and down the mountain.  My stats are all in the link, but roughly, what I did was a 4.15 mile run with a 773 ft climb on switchbacks and then back all the way down in just under an hour.  Hill work, lets call it, after the monotonous flats of the Great Highway.  I park in the lot above the beach, run up the hill, run back down.  Prettty much what a trail runner does.

On the drive there I was wondering if I dressed appropriately in my shorts, a dri-fit tank and my North Face T.  All high tech fabrics.  Daunted a bit by the fog swooping into Daly City, but by the time I rounded the coast on Highway 1, Pacifica was clear.  Got out and decided a Taco Bell burrito was in order and ate the grilled chicken one and still have the bean.  It was windy, but its the elements, part of what I deal with.  Drove up to Gray Whale Cove above Devils slide, and the fog had licked in again.  Points and promontories and heat from the land mass directing the coastal flow.

The verdant switchbacks and lush late spring growth protected the trails from any direct wind, but where the bluffs were exposed the wind was blustery, yet still not too intense to deal with.  As it were, as I got to the switchbacks of the Old San Pedro Mountain Trail I started to overheat, so stripped down one layer to the tank.  Taking it slowly uphill, this is really my first hill challenge in the new training regime, so just being conscious of my limits and making sure I get the work out done safely and without hurting myself.  It seemed a long time to get up to the overlook, where the Gray Whale Cove Trail heads straight down the side of the mountain.  It really is a bit to steep and intense to run safely, you are running in a rain gully and there is no packed trail, I’ve tried it before.  On the way down I passed a horse, its rider and an accompanying dog, making sure that I slowed down enough not to shy the horse.  Coming down is a breeze and I managed that strongly.  Happy to report no aching in the calfs, just a hint of a little strain in the knees and shins, but slowing down, adjusting got me through it.

I’m not sure how I am going to work the trail in sequence.  I liked doing 4 straight, but the hillwork may be pretty intense although it is the same mileage.  I think I’m hitting it tomorrow before work, then we’ll see what happens.  I do intend to take this mountain down.  I recall eating it for breakfast, but that was a while back.

After the run, I dropped off my 2 rolls of film that I shot at the ENSLAVED concert on Thursday 14 May 2009.  The tour manager, Tonje Peersen hooked me up with a photo credential, so I was able to get my camera from coatcheck and shoot the show.  I met her and the band earlier that day at Rasputin Records for the autograph signing.  I was the first one there.  Tonje shot 2 pics of me with the band and I presented Grutle Kjellson with the photograph I shot of him in Oakland, a version of which is the photograph of my previous blog post.  He likewise signed the same print for me, the band signed my Vertebrae CD, their latest release on the front cover and also the disc.  I took advantage of being the first one there and also had them sign my Vertebrae t-shirt and a poster that the record store was giving away.  Ivar Bjornson was all, “would you like us to sign this too?” indicating the vinyl tablecloth that the store crew had put over the signing tables.  I told him, “Yes, and I’ll eat off of it later.”  Psycho fan.  What can I say?

I had the other fan that showed up take a picture of me and Ivar together.  I look like a beatific geek/tourist in it.  Well, how many people get to meet their favorite artists in a lifetime more than once?  I did.  Hell to the fucking METAL!

So needless to say, when I showed up at the concert and they patted down my power purse and found a professional film camera inside, they weren’t letting me in with it.  I protested that nowhere on the tickets did it say that photography was banned, and ENSLAVED is good with their fans, most of their band pics are posted by fans.  So security insisted I check it, so I went up and tried to just check the purse and slip Bob my camera, but the security guard smelled it so I had to check the camera with the purse.  And now for the beauty of the power of intention.  I knew I could take photographs and I knew that Tonje would make it right.  I went down to the merch booth and explained what it was that I wanted:  to take photographs of ENSLAVED.  They radioed Tonje, she came down and presently hooked me up with a photo credential.  I was so utterly grateful.  A total validation of my loyalty and the bands recognition of me.  See being a geeked out fan can really pay off, as embarassing and as retarded as it made me feel, I was rewarded.  I think I got some good shots.  We’ll just have to wait to get back the proofs.

ENSLAVED was phenomenal.  I was out of film by the 3rd song of their set.  The second roll I managed to switch to a zoom lens and got some closeups.  Really nice people at the front of the pit, allowing me to get in and take pictures right from the center.  I could have gone behind the barricade with my photo credential, but I was just fine where I was.  In the PIT!  I’m a fan and this is where I belong.  Up front, close and personal.  The rest of the show, was like a trance for me, camera safeley stowed in my red leather purse.  Missed the signing at 9 with the band at the merch counter in favor of getting more Vodka, but like the entry from the last post said:  METAL WILL PREVAIL.

Saw probably about 2 and a half songs by OPETH, and could see why people like them, but really, can’t hold a candle to my band, but I’m sure they are good in their own right.  I had enough, was glazed, coated in Metal and was ready to bust.

Bob and I hiked from the Regency down O’Farrel because I wanted to see my old studio flat.  Stopped in at the Nitecap and ran into the bartendress Universe Walker that I met and hung out with at the Gold Dust Lounge because I showed up at the signing 3 hours (I exagerate here!) early and she was the one who showed me how to set up my ephemera for ENSLAVED to sign, so you see how it comes full circle.  She’s also in beauty school and loves the Barber Lounge, ironically enough.  $3 well happy hour all day is gonna make Nitecap my new little TL hangout.

So Friday, Bob and I got my shit together, loaded up the truck, got more booze and food, his shit from his place in Belmont and hit the road to Paul M Dimmick campground in the Anderson Valley.  Highway 101 to 128 towards the coast and its all good.  They call it Dramamine Drive, and it is a little sickening.  You pass by the most established Californian wineries:  Scharfenberger, Roederer, Husch, Navarro.  128 wends its way along the Navarro River to the Coast dumping out at Point Arena.  Paul M. Dimmick campground is about 6 miles from the coast.  Medocino is yet another 20 miles up Highway 1 from the junction with 128.  Bob and I found a great spot surrounded by Redwood, Oak and a dense undergrowth of foliage from Blackberry Bushes, Nettles and Vinca Major.  Set up our camp, lit the fire had some cocktails and it really wasn’t about elaborate food that night.  Frankfurters and Polish Sausages.

Bob can laze in his tent a good long while.  Thats cool, he can do as he pleases, he’s my best friend.  But I got up early and dicked around the campsite until he was coherrent enough to give me the keys so we could get the coffee started.  Breakfast of scallops and omelets followed a leisurely time after.  Restless, I decided to explore a little and hiked down 128 looking for some possible trails to run or access to the river.   I found neither and realized that 128 is a pretty dangerous highway to be a pedestrian on.  Bob was quite comfortable reading his book in the shade at the campsite and had no desire for adventure but he offered me the keys to his pick-up and I went on a Vodka run to the coastal city of Albion.  The Vodka had been well picked over, busy weekend, the shopclerk said, so I settled on Skyy and also got a bottle of Crane Lake Zinfandel which at $4 was surprisingly good (wish I had picked up another appelation).  I stopped at Point Arena and explored it a little shot some pics on my phone but didn’t wander into the water cos I was afraid of getting the phone wet and also my allergy to cold moisture.  Was really hoping I could find a beach to go nude at, but thats a different quest, one which I will do.  I wanna road trip up the Northern Californian Coast, trail running and skinny dipping.  I see that maybe happening this summer.  Pulled off at a turnout where I saw a huge felled Redwood that had ferns and clover growing on the side of it and a tunnel running through it and just could not resist crawling through that hole.

Got back to camp, Bob was asleep, so I drank a whole bottle of the other Chard I brought with us.  Bob woke up and it was all gourmet steaks and Vodka all night long.  Next morning I could tell that Bob was still enjoying the slow pace and we didn’t decamp until almost 8.

So I’m back in the City, missed a heatwave, but the whole weekend starting on Thursday has been totally hot.  Looking forward to conquering my new trails, getting a paycheck and dealing with my foolishness.