Sunday, October 20, 2013

Running with the Army Reserves in Ft. Hunter-Ligget

There are many qualities by which Soldiers judge their post. In my active duty days I prefered posts that were near interesting towns and had good units. Now that I am in the reserves, these factors are less important. Instead, when I think about whether I like a post or not, I tend to think about the running it offers. By this measure, Ft. Hunter-Liggett out in California is actually a pretty good post.

By most other standards, Ft. Hunter-Liggett is not that impressive. You may have seen it yourself without knowing – it is where the Vietnam scenes of We Were Soldiers were shot (which is rather comical that this dry climate was chosen to shot scenes from a country that I think of as having rain forests). It is only slightly less remote than another California base, Ft. Irwin – but with less to do on-post.

However, it is one of the largest posts in the Army by area and it has miles of empty dirt roads that go up great ridges and hills and through old (although not dense) forests. The first step before running is to talk to the range control. These folks manage the training areas on post and will keep you from running through some training or a live fire (aka, an unplanned tempo run). They never officially gave me cart blanch to run wherever I wanted, but they also did not seem too perturbed by it. This was probably because they did not realize that when I said run I meant for an hour or more up-and-over some of the nearby ridgelines.

Most of my routes started on the Sulfur Springs Road just off the main post. I generally had to run early in the morning and so I ran up the paved road on the until it was light enough and then would break into the dirt roads. There was nothing very technical, but there were some fun climbs and great views.

Here is a longer run I came to like just northeast of the main post area.

Just on the other side of the Sulfer Springs Road from that run, there is another nice ridgeline. While it may not have the starting elevation of a Boulder run, it has some decent gain and a screaming (but non-technical) downhill.


Then I tried one trail along the Mission Road just off of post to the north. This one goes along the road for a while before going up a steep climb to a transmission station. From there I randomly chose one route down which was a little steep for my skills.

Finally, if you can make it out to Basecamp Ward, there is a fun and challenging run up Bald Mountain. While there is nothing challenging about this run. It is a fun incline and has some rewarding views at the top.

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