Every now and then on the internet runners will ask, "So what's the difference between cross country and short trail races, *really*?," and as far as I can tell, the answer is: nothing. If you like running trails but aren't always up for 10-20-50+ miles, there is a wonderful world available to you in the fall (and maybe other times? But definitely in the fall) and it is adult XC. Like trail races, they are usually tiny and super-chill and friendly and low-pressure. No, you won't get a medal or T-shirt, but let's be honest, that's not why people like YOU do this kind of thing. If you just want to have some fun in the dirt and hills and rocks without the pressure of being out there for multiple hours, I can't recommend it enough.
This was not my first cross country race (I ran XC very mediocre-ly in middle school and high school, often less than mediocre-ly, actually, because this was before I had my exercise-induced asthma under control and some days I could get through the whole two-mile affair without an attack and other days I'd have to drop out at half a mile), and actually not even my first cross country race as an adult (I ran this same race three years ago, and another in Santa Rosa at the end of August). But I am definitely still very new to my local world of adult cross country and still working on getting a good feel for it. It's super fun to try something different and low pressure!