POST board member Sean Dempsey, at 6:15 AM before his 32-mile run through South Bay open spaces.

“You’re kidding me”, I said to myself.

It’s 6:15 AM on a Saturday and after many weeks of preparation I had just begun a 32-mile run from Blair Ranch in Coyote Valley to Lexington Reservoir in Los Gatos. And less than 15 minutes into my trek, I spot a mountain lion up the trail.

My first thought was to keep going. After all the anticipation and logistical planning, as well as gracious assistance from POST partners in making this adventure possible, I couldn’t miss this opportunity to cross through Blair Ranch. But realizing that sticking with my intended path could be the last decision I make, I reluctantly turned back and found an alternate route along Uvas Road and into Calero County Park where leg 2 of the journey was to begin.

Blair Ranch would have to wait.

Looking northeast toward the Diablo Range, the eastern boundary of Silicon Valley.

I had chosen Blair as the starting point given its proximity to Coyote Valley, which is an area of particular interest to me. The valley is the key connection point between the Santa Cruz and Diablo mountain ranges, proving critical passage for wildlife. It is also a prominent agricultural area that is under threat of development. Given the importance of this area to the Bay Area ecosystem, it seemed fitting to start my journey here and play a very small part in bringing awareness to the region.

32 miles later, the finish line comes into site at Lexington Reservoir.

While running through POST-protected (and now Santa Clara County Open Space Authority – owned) Blair Ranch didn’t work out, my south-to-north route allowed me to experience several other parks and open spaces: Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve, Calero County Park, Rancho San Vicente (also POST-protected), Almaden Quicksilver County Park and Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve.

Made it! Sean enjoys the view at Lexington Reservoir, the end point of his 32-mile adventure.

These trails offer some of the most beautiful views in the Bay Area, topping out just shy of 3,000 feet. But those views don’t come without effort – after some long climbs on the mostly exposed trails, I was reminded of how tough this route could be in the summer heat. With temperatures reaching 100 degrees and water in my pack running dangerously low, I was more than a little happy to see Lexington Reservoir below me after 7 hours of running and hiking.

With a run like this and the ability to link together many miles of trails, I was once again reminded of how special the Bay Area is and grateful for the critical roles that POST and other regional partners play in protecting our open space. The mountain lions are thankful too.


Inspired by Sean’s adventure? Read about another one of his trail running adventures here.

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Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 87,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more

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