Doing the East Bay Parks Challenge

Here’s a 26.2-mile marathon that almost anyone should be able to race, because you have over nine months to complete the feat.  If you cover those miles through the East Bay Regional Parks, then you will be duly rewarded with swag.

We just received the East Bay Regional Park District activity guide today, wrapped neatly into the Montclarion.  After thumbing through all the activities, the Trails Challenge 2009 caught my eye and I decided to sign up.

Typically I head to the ridge trails right in our backyard, which means walking at Chabot, Redwood, Huckleberry, Sibley, Tilden or Wildcat.  However this Trails Challenge lures you to other places, by describing specific and seasonal routes throughout the East Bay.

Morgan Territory

Thus, I have decided to head East tomorrow and officially begin the challenge.  My first hike will be a 9.75 miler through the Morgan Territory (trail map, location).  This territory is in the hinterlands, technically in Livermore and looking west to Mt. Diablo.  While it will probably be quite muddy, I’m game for the exploration and postcard view.

The Trails Challenge doesn’t require you to slog that far, though.  Between now and December 1st, you only need to walk that marathon distance or tackle five hikes.  Actually you are free to hike, run, skate, bike or otherwise operate under your own horsepower.  The Parks District has provided a complete handbook (download here) which identifies 20 routes rated as easy, moderate or challenging.

What’s the real draw?  If you return your forms correctly, then the Parks District rewards you too – with a cool 75th anniversary commemorative pin and t-shirt.  Not a bad excuse to get moving and to breathe a little fresh air.

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