Bon Tempe

Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 8-9, 2001

Contact: Penny DeMoss, 510-658-4327

What could be more fun on a winter's day than running through the Marin County hills surrounding beautiful Bon Tempe Lake? Then top it off with hot chocolate, treats, and crack (that's Cumbrian for interesting chatter, not the other stuff). Always a favorite area of mine, it's even more fun since we updated the map in recent years. Plus, it's become much more runnable since the rangers have embarked upon the serious removal of non-native plants. (Fortunately, poison oak burns just as well as scottish broom!)

All spots on both days are filled, so if I haven't confirmed your reservation, you cannot attend (we are limited to 20 people per day).

Starts are 10:00am-12:30pm and all courses close at 2:00pm. Don't forget to check in even if you don't finish, so we don't have to do search-and-rescue.

Starts and finishes will be at the parking lot. Traditional manual punch cards will be featured, no e-punching. The maps will be preprinted and are at 1:10000 scale with 40-foot contours (about 12 meters). There will be water available on all courses.

If you can stick around after the event on Sunday and help with control pickup, we would greatly appreciate it. (It's a great way to improve your skills!) Bring a backpack if you can help out. We will start picking up promptly at 2:00 pm and, as always, the more help we get the quicker it goes.

Course Setter's Notes

For those who have run here in the past, extensive controlled burns, sudden oak death, the recent storms, and the ever-growing scotch broom have created enough changes to keep things interesting. Unfortunately, the map, which had been getting downright decent, hasn't managed to keep up this year. In the burned areas, this will mean for generally (but not universally) easier running conditions than the map indicates. In some cases, much easier. Conversely, the occasional unmapped patch of broom may appear elsewhere to slow you down, but it shouldn't stop you. You'll be glad to know, however, that the "Hill of Death" is mostly unchanged and remains as mysterious as ever.

In addition to the physical changes, there is also a large out-of-bounds area and several smaller ones mandated by the rangers. These areas are marked on the maps and are for meadow restoration or trail removal. Please observe these closures so that we keep in good standing with the rangers, fellow park users, and Mother Nature. I will have a map at the start that indicates both the burned and closed areas.

The many changes and restrictions made course setting a challenge, but you'll still find a wide variety of terrain and vegetation, the usual Bon Tempe climb (don't forget those contours are 40 feet), and the occasional view.

Course stats:

Orange              3.75k     195m climb    12 controls
Short advanced      4.225k    230m climb    12 controls
Medium advanced     5.525m    300m climb    14 controls
Long advanced       6.425k    400m climb    17 controls
Note that the solid circle symbol on the control sheet is used to indicate a redwood circle. The ruined tree symbol is used for a standing tree stump (versus the rootstock symbol for upturned roots). And, since I always forget, a triangle with an X inside it indicates a copse (a small group of trees or bushes). The clearing on the intermediate course is unmapped (sorry), but is located at the center of the control circle.

The usual dangers are present. The poison oak is just sticks now and soaking wet anyway, ticks usually come with the rainy season, and footing is more slippery than usual. Courses do cross roads, so look out for bikes and cars. I strongly recommend cleated shoes, as you can expect wet and muddy conditions and some steep hills.

For those nature lovers, I saw several dozen turkeys, a similar number of deer, a few rabbits, and thousands of beautiful oyster mushrooms during my Bon Tempe forays. In addition, the Lagunitas and Bon Tempe spillways are both flowing hard.

Finally, as this is my course-setting debut, I'd like to hear feedback after your run.


From Highway 101 in San Rafael (Marin County), take the Sir Francis Drake Blvd. exit and go west for 5.5 miles to the town of Fairfax. Turn left at Claus Dr. (Rino gas station), then immediately take another left on Broadway, then a right on Bolinas Rd. Stay on Bolinas Rd. for about 1.5 miles until you reach a side road on the left with a large wooden sign that says Lake Lagunitas. Turn left onto Sky Oaks Road and stay on it until you reach the ranger kiosk.

Pay the entrance fee, then proceed to the parking lot at the end of the paved road. We try to keep a low profile at this venue, so there will not be any of the usual orienteering signs to guide you, and don't ask the ranger when you drive in, "Where's the orienteering, dude?"