15 Favorite Trail Runs Near Stanford

It’s amazing how much great running there is so close to Stanford! I honestly cannot think of anywhere else where there is so many miles and so much variety in the trail running opportunities. In addition, the moderate marine climate here is almost perfect for running. Here is my list of favorite spots I have checked out so far. All of these places are within 25 minutes driving from my studio on the Stanford Campus, and most are under 15 minutes.

  1. Huddart Park: Gorgeous single-track trails in cool redwoods that are graded perfectly for pleasurable running
  2. Windy Hill OSP: The Razorback Ridge-Hamms Gulch Loop is one of the best and views from the top of Windy Hill are amazing!
  3. Los Altos Hills: Miles of cinder pathways in a nice setting of mini-ranches
  4. El Corte de Madera Creek OSP: Tons of trails in deep forest providing a wilderness feeling
  5. Wunderlich Park: Great trails with a super nice stretch along the Skyline Ridge to Huddart Park.
  6. Portola Valley Ranch: Great paths in oak and madrone forest
  7. Monte Bello OSP & Upper Stevens Creek Park: Great mix of fire roads and single track through meadows and forest.
  8. Skyline Ridge – Russian Ridge – Long Ridge: Great running through meadows and forest with spectacular vistas.
  9. Rancho San Antonio – Black Mountain: Fantastic trail running, especially beyond the popular trails in Rancho.
  10. Hidden Villa: Tucked away off Moody Road with some great trails connecting to Rancho San Anontio and Black Mountain.
  11. Arastradero Park: Open grasslands and spectacular views
  12. Phleger Estate: Access via Huddart Park with some nice, but steep trails
  13. Foothills Park: The Los Trancos trail is a fun loop
  14. Baylands Park: Totally flat along the salt marshes of the SF Bay
  15. Edgewood Park & Pulgas Ridge OSP: Grasslands and oak forest with some great trails

Whistler, Baby!

Yesterday I returned from a four-day ski vacation in beautiful Whistler, Canada. We had three superb days of skiing, two at Whistler and one at Blackcomb. We hardly encountered any lines the entire time, weather conditions were gorgeous, and snow conditions were fantastic. From six foot cornice jumps to moguls to steep and deep, we had it all! It was one of my best three days of skiing ever with some great friends! I return to Whistler every year and this trip gives me reason to go twice a year ;)

Here is a list of some of my ten favorite runs we hit:

  • Couloir Extreme
  • Blow Hole
  • Spanky’s Ladder – Diamond Bowl
  • Pakalolo
  • Harmony Horseshoe Cornice Jumps
  • The Couloir
  • Big Bang
  • The Cirque
  • Whistler Bowl
  • Cockalorum

We covered most of the famous expert runs on the mountain at least once – what a sweet trip!

High Sierra

While I visited the “valley” at Yosemite and the big trees in Sequoia Park, I have never climbed the high Sierra. By working in Palo Alto this summer, I hope to change this. I plan on heading into the mountains on the weekends to explore the range. I’ve been reading up on the opportunities and here are some peaks and scenic areas that have caught my eye (from North to South):

1. Matterhorn Peak and Sawtooth Ridge

2. Mount Lyell and Mount Maclure

3. Mount Ritter, Banner Peak, and the Minarets

4. Sabrina Basin: Mount Haeckel, Mount Wallace, and Picture Peak

5. The Palisades

6. Arrow Peak and Bench Lake

7. Dragon Peak, Rae Lakes

8. University Peak and Kearsarge Pinnacles

9. Mount Whitney Area

10. Kaweah Peaks

This list will keep me busy for awhile and I’m sure more mountains/regions will be added.

Tomorrow is the dinner and movie event I am organizing for the law and business society. I am excited!

Exercise: I ran the usual Oak Creek 48 minute loop yesterday and today and felt pretty good both days. Such great running weather recently!

Ten Suggestions for Efficient Workouts

Here are some ways to get more out of your workout the next time you go the gym:

1. Shorten recovery time: In the vast majority of instances, you do not need full recovery between exercises. People have a tendency to “dream” or socialize between sets/exercise. We are all busy people, so if you make the gym a social hour, there will inevitably be less time for exercise. Just keep telling yourself why you came to the gym in the first place…

Weightlifter2. Active rest: Do some abs or work a different muscle group while you are resting. Looking at the ceiling between sets or exercises should be minimized.

3. Mix-it-up: Avoid getting stuck in the same routine – throw some variety into your workouts. If you feel like you aren’t quite making your expectations, it may be an indication that your workout regimen has become stale and the muscles aren’t getting as stimulated as before. Try to work in some new exercises or change up your routine to work the muscles from a different angle.

4. Total Body: Don’t just focus the same muscle area every time you go to the gym (for guys, this tends to be bis or chest). If you don’t work all the major muscle groups (at some point during the week), including back, chest, bis, tris, and legs, you are going to end up with some awkward looking results. As Arnold Schwarzenegger says, you have to be a sculptor – when you add muscle to one place, you have add muscle everywhere else to maintain proportionality.

5. Drink Water: During and after your workout. Carry a large water bottle with you and make sure to drink often during you workout. Water is preferable, but if you need a pick-me-up, energy drinks like Zipfizz, Cytomax, Accelerade, etc. are acceptable (try to not make a habit out of taking these energy powders every time).

Water Bottle6. Day of Rest: Take a day off once a week to allow for physical and mental rejuvenation. Every muscle group can get overworked and the worse thing you can do is make going to the gym a chore.

7. Find a partner: If working out solo is getting old, try to find a partner of similar capabilities. Sometimes partnering up can motivate both participants to lift harder, longer, and more efficiently. Of course, avoid the trap of over-socializing.

8. Set a time: If you’ve got a gym workout scheduled for a similar time every day, you are less likely to skip out. For some people this means doing it in the morning, and for others, it means the afternoon/evening. I recommend working out at the time you feel the best or enjoy the most (qualified below).

9: Go when it’s not busy: If possible, try to go the gym at off-peak hours (at Arrillaga gym the packed hours are usually in the afternoon from 4 pm to 6 pm). When too many people are walking around, you waste time waiting for weights/machines and you simply can’t get around to as many exercises.

10: Warm-up: This entails different things for different people and goals, but a warm-up of some kind is important. Essentially don’t start the workout with a one rep max. Instead, begin with some relatively light weight exercises (10+ reps) and then build up to the heavy stuff. Shocking your muscles right off the bat is not productive and can cause injury.

Check out the other top lists on my blog!

Related: Building a Great Exercise Program

Top 10 Photogenic North Cascade Peaks

Yesterday’s post was a list of the best summits FROM which to take photos (see post here), today’s list features the mountains that look best IN the photos. Check it out!

ALL photographs Copyright Leor Pantilat. Please ask for permission prior to any use, thanks.

1. Mount Shuksan: How could I not include the most photographed peak in the United States. Any side is nice except the south, my favorite is from the east looking into Nooksack cirque


2. Mount Goode: view of fabled north face and northeast buttress

3. Mount Challenger: view of northside – immense Challenger Glacier


4. Eldorado Peak: Knife edge ridge, good from any direction


5. Dome Peak: from the north encompassing Chickamin cirque (Sinister Peak and Gunsight Peak) – White Rock Lakes

Dome Peak

6. Glacier Peak: From the north or northeast – Image Lake


7. Forbidden Peak: from any direction, but northside is my favorite


8. Snowfield Peak: From Colonial-Snowfield col


9. Southern Picket Fence: Northside or southside, view from Luna (northeast) is my favorite

10. Liberty Bell & Early Winters Spires: From east and southeast

Liberty Bell

ALL photographs Copyright Leor Pantilat. Please ask for permission prior to any use, thanks.

Top 10 North Cascade Summits for Photos

A list of the my top ten favorite summits in the North Cascades to take amazing photos. Click on the photo for a larger version. All photographs Copyright Leor Pantilat.

1. Luna Peak: Southern and Northern Picket Range

Luna Peak

2. Sentinel Peak: South to Chickamin Glacier, Dome Peak, Dana Glacier, and Spire Point

3. Austera Peak: West towards the McAllister Glacier, Klawatti Peak, Eldorado Peak, and Dorado Needle


4. Mount Logan: West to the massive Boston Glacier, southeast to the north face of Mount Goode


5. Sahale Peak: South to the Ptarmigan Traverse sea of peaks culminating in Glacier Peak

6. Snowfield Peak: South to the Eldorado Ice Cap and Backbone Ridge

7. Ruth Mountain: South to Icy Peak and Mount Blum; West to Mount Shuksan, Nooksack Glacier, and Price Glacier


8. Eldorado Peak: Southeast to Moraine Lake, Forbidden Peak, Mount Goode, and Boston Peak

Eldorado Peak

9. Mount Redoubt: South to the Picket Range; east to Mount Spickard and Mox Peaks

10. Forbidden Peak: All directions! East across the Boston Glacier, North to Eldorado Ice Cap, West to Mount Torment, and South Johannesburg, Glacier Peak, and Mount Rainier.



- Snowking Mountain: north and east to Cascade River Road peaks, south to Mutchler and Buckindy.

- Mount Triumph: northeast to the Southern Pickets

See the post on the top 10 photogenic North Cascade peaks.

All Photographs Copyright Leor Pantilat

10 Eating Habits that Changed

Wow, my food tastes have changed. Like so many children, I had a sugar tooth. I look back at what I ate and drank as a youngster and think, “How totally foolish!” Fortunately, my parents made me eat many of the foods I used to dislike and limited my intake of the crappy foods. I am proud to say my eating and drinking habits have transformed. Here is list of the changes with the period when I dropped the unhealthy aspect of my diet in parenthesis (in reverse chronological order):

  1. Sugary cereals (Undergrad): This one is huge. I used to eat Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Frosted Flakes; some of the sugariest cereals on the market, and I would eat it at least twice a day! Sometimes I’d eat two bowls in one sitting! This reached its peak the first year of college and then I switched to granola. After a phase of excessive granola consumption, I went to oatmeal packets (still sugary), and now I eat plain oatmeal. Oatmeal is an oversimplification because I mix it up with quick oats, traditional oats, and steal cut oats (all are healthy).Salad

  2. Nuts (Undergrad): My aversion to nuts has moderated considerably and I can now consume and enjoy many varieties.
  3. Pizza (Undergrad): I loved pizza and the grease didn’t bother me. Now, most pizza is too greasy for me.

  4. Sugary Drinks (Undergrad): When I was really young, I drank pop, particularly Minute Maid, Cherry Coke, and Root Beer. Then, I shifted to super sugary juices like Aronia Berry and Grape Juice. Now, I basically only drink water and tea.

  5. Chocolate (Undergrad): I used to have Nutella spread like three times a day and chunks of Belgium milk chocolate. First year of college, I ate like 5 fatty Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookies after dinner. We would hover around the oven waiting for the cookies to come out in the cafeteria. Chocolate is not bad, but I was eating it too much. All that funny business is long over. Believe it or not, I am indifferent to chocolate now. Cookies just don’t do it for me anymore.
  6. Bread (High School): As a child, I refused to eat anything but white bread. Now I eat only whole grain wheat bread with oats, flax seeds, and as many other grains as possible.
  7. Salad (Junior High): I used to dislike eating salad, now I love it. The more different types of vegetables and colorful the salad is, the more I enjoy it! Forget about salad dressing, I actually enjoy the taste of the vegetables.
  8. Cooked vegetables (Junior High): Who knows why I didn’t like cooked vegetables? Now, I devour cooked broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, spinach… the list goes on.
  9. Sugar candy (Junior High): Skittles, licorice, gummy bears = straight sugar. I must be less wired now?
  10. Candy Bars (Elementary): Yea, I enjoyed Kit Kat, Twix, and Three Musketeers. When was the last time I had a candy bar? A long time ago. This was the first sugary item to go.

As you can see, it really took until second year of college to make the major changes in my diet. Three years later, I really don’t miss eating any of those sugary and unhealthy foods.

Check out my other ever-popular “top lists.”