Date: Monday, July 6, 2015
Course Type: Lollypop
Start/Finish: Gravel parking lot on the right just past the Northstar golf-course on Highway 267/N Shore Rd. Click here for more detailed map of start location.
Distance: 5.5 miles
Elevation: 587 ft
This Trail Teaser was in Waddle Ranch Wednesday territory! After parking in the gravel lot off of Highway 267, just past the Northstar golf-course (if you’re heading southeast), we crossed the highway and were greeted with a sign marking the fire road into the Truckee Tahoe Airport Open Space. The open space is not open vehicular traffic but is open to foot traffic. The first 0.7 miles of this route is flat and non-technical fire road which makes for a great warm-up.
As you can probably tell, the scenery doesn’t disappoint. After only about a tenth of a mile, we came across a lovely stream crossing surrounded by lush meadows, topped with layers of colored sky. This is the only water crossing on the trail, and while you do cross it twice due to the lollypop nature of the course, make sure you’re four-legged running buddies drink up while they have the chance.
At about 0.7 miles in to the run, we broke off to the left and headed north into Waddle Ranch via a single track trail which is land-marked by unobtrusive fence posts to our right. This single track meandered through the trees, overlooking Martis Creek Lake to the west. On this little adventure, our canine running buddies did manage to sprint down the hill to take a quick bath in the lake. This section of trail is still relatively flat with a few little rollers.
We actually entered Waddle Ranch and began climbing at about 1.8 miles in to this course. The lead in was a single track trail, flanking a little meadow with a river of yellow wildflowers. We were too far away, and my eyesight is too bad to identify which wildflowers they were, but they were yellow, plentiful and beautiful!
Roughly 2 miles in to the run or about a quarter of a mile past the Waddle Ranch Preserve sign, pictured above, we turned uphill onto Erika’s Trail which is clearly marked with charming, rustic signs. This little section of trail provided a couple of switchbacks and more technical, fun terrain.
The somewhat technical, rocky single track, climb continued for just over a mile where we reached the summit of our run at just over 6,300 ft above sea-level. The somewhat turbulent weather we’ve had lately really has made for some dramatic cloud formations and breath-taking scenery. On more than one occasion, and from different people this week, I’ve heard “what’s with you and clouds lately?” Sometimes it’s easy to forget to look up while we’re out there on the trail – or even walking through town for that matter.
Descending this lollypop loop was fast and furious along a fire road where you could easily run three abreast. Great for chatting since the downhill isn’t taxing on the lungs! At about 4.8 miles into this run, we met back up with the fire road which we took in to start the course. As the sun continued to sag slowly on the wester horizon, the lighting completely changed the view that we had experienced even an hour before.
The last mile three-quarters of a mile was as great a cool-down as it was a warm up. Take caution crossing the highway back to your cars – especially in the low light of dusk or dawn. Lastly, don’t forget – come check this playground out on Waddle Ranch Wednesdays- every Wednesday and found on our calendar.