Subscribe

Trail runners greet the day on Taylor Mountain in Santa Rosa

The 2.6-mile trip to the summit is a relatively easy hike to accomplish before taking on the rest of your day.|

Want to join the TMT fun?

Visit

"Taylor Mountain Tuesdays" on Facebook, or meet Borton and the crew at 6:30 a.m. any Tuesday at the Taylor Mountain entrance and parking lot on Kawana Terrace Drive, off Kawana Springs Road in Santa Rosa.

Visit

parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov for a map and more information about Taylor Mountain Regional Park.

It’s 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, and Justin Borton is ready to hit the mountain.

As in Taylor Mountain, the namesake of a county regional park opened in 2013, known for steep trails and scenic views of Santa Rosa. Borton and a small group of local runners have run to the peak each Tuesday morning for the past year and a half.

“I actually learned about Taylor from my daughter, who went for a hike with her class up there,” said Borton, 39, of Sebastopol. “I went to check it out, and I was kind of enchanted by the run and how hard core it was.”

A newcomer to trail running, Borton liked the relatively brief trip to the top - about 2.6 miles on the Western Route - which allowed him and others to summit within 30 minutes. In February 2015, he convinced friend and fellow runner Shawn Sullivan to commit to a weekly run on the mountain.

“The run was very charming to me, and I felt like no one knew about it,” said Borton. “I told him, let’s commit to a weekly thing and get other people involved.”

Borton, a hot tub salesman who describes himself as a middle-of-the-pack runner, figured the speedy Sullivan could take the front and he could take the back so together they could jointly usher people to the top. After a few weekly runs, Sullivan named it “Taylor Mountain Tuesdays,” or TMT for short, and a tradition was birthed. Gradually, word got around, and more runners began to show up.

“My favorite thing about TMT is the camaraderie among the varying levels of the runners,” said Ryan Wilber, a Santa Rosa attorney who runs with the group. “It is a very spiritual experience. The grueling hill we (call) ‘old doozy’ creates such a low level of oxygen in your system, and when you summit, you (get) an ethereal view of Santa Rosa.”

While Borton agrees the landscape and the “wake-up view” of Santa Rosa are a draw, he also notes the presence of cows. Taylor Mountain visitors are likely stumble upon cows on the hillside, calmly chomping grass or lying in the field. Their presence inspired Borton to bring a cowbell to the summit.

“Every time we get up there, we ring this big cowbell,” said Borton. “The people still struggling up the mountain hear it and sort of get inspired.”

The group always waits at the top for the last runner, partly out of courtesy and partly to snap a group “Summit Selfie” for the group’s Facebook page. The occasional hiker also may get roped into the Summit Selfie.

“What’s wonderful about Taylor Mountain is that it really appeals to a lot of different folks,” said Borton.

Beyond Tuesday mornings, TMT members formed a team to compete in the Ragnar Tahoe Trail relay race in July, which they finished fifth overall and second in their category. Borton also hosts what he hopes will become an annual barbecue with a run called the “Hare Raiser,” which involves chasing bunny tails and taking tequila shots.

Those are just the extras, though. The simplicity of Tuesday mornings remains the draw.

“The exhilarating freshness of starting the day with a run in the cool morning gives you a sense of accomplishment to start the day with,” said Mike Saunders, another occasional participant. “It’s different than running on a weekend morning.”

For Wilber, the explanation is simple: “It’s church for me.”

Want to join the TMT fun?

Visit

"Taylor Mountain Tuesdays" on Facebook, or meet Borton and the crew at 6:30 a.m. any Tuesday at the Taylor Mountain entrance and parking lot on Kawana Terrace Drive, off Kawana Springs Road in Santa Rosa.

Visit

parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov for a map and more information about Taylor Mountain Regional Park.

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.
Send a letter to the editor

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Sonoma County Gazette