Ian Anderson 11 a.m., Dec. 9
If you've gone north on the I-15 in order to get to what used to be called The Wild Animal Park, then you may have noticed a cool looking bridge that crosses Lake Hodges just west of the freeway.
According to the monument stone, this is The David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge. It is a "stress ribbon" bridge and was opened in May of 2009.
Every time I've driven by this bridge, I've thought it would be cool to run on but I kept forgetting about it when deciding on a run. I remembered it the other day and was rewarded by a fascinating run.
Access to the bridge is via the 15 and exit Pomerado/West Bernardo Dr. There is parking on the west side of the road or you can park at Rancho Bernardo Community Park.
I started tracking the distance from the south foot of the bridge. The run I chose was the Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail. To get to the trail, I headed west after crossing the bridge.
A small creek meanders down from the hills and creates a shock of green in the predominately brown, yellow and red landscape. Just past this creek is the Bernardo Mountain trail head.
This is a technical and often narrow trail. This is not a trail for people who are just starting to run off the paved way. This trail has plenty of opportunities to roll an ankle or take a nasty spill. With that in mind, running with a companion is recommended. However, there was cell coverage all the way to the top of the mountain so running it solo is an option.
While the main trail around Lake Hodges was humming with packs of mountain bikers, the Bernardo Mountain trail was isolated and empty. I like the isolation but some might be spooked by the remoteness of the trail.
The trail breaks off to the north before heading west and switching back and forth up the west slope of the mountain. The views of Lake Hodges are phenomenal. It is only three miles to the summit from the bridge but they are steeply uphill most of the time.
For anyone who is considering an ultra-marathon event, this trail is a great training option.