Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Land of Peace and Tranquility

Running in the Land of the Medicine Buddha in Soquel is just serene: few people, a challenging trail that's all uphill at the beginning, all downhill at the end and plenty of room for Callie to romp.

The trails allegedly wend all the way up the hill to The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, which could make an amazing point-to-point long run. But on this particular day, we only ran about 4.5 miles to a nice little lookout where the redwood trees gave way to orchards and green hills.

The property -- open to dogs, closed to bikes -- is part of the Tibetan Buddhist retreat tucked above Soquel.

The trails themselves are bark dust and redwood duff, under a canopy of trees with sporadic benches and small altars. If you drive up the road, there are more altars and a wishing temple (which was closed -- no wishes for us). All together, we saw six people and a standard poodle.

However, the highlight of the run, of course, is finishing. In the Land of the Medicine Buddha, the trailhead is marked with a gong, an ornate bell and many, many wind chimes. We rang and donged all of them!

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