Seen on the run (March 30, 2019)

Sugar hollow to Blackrock plus the Trayfoot/Payne run loop with the CAT 50k training group

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Photo credit: David Carl Smith

David kept telling the people on the ends to squish in. That’s why I look like I’m hiding behind the guy next to me. I always look like such a dork in these group photos.

It started out chilly. By the time we got up to Blackrock it was raining and cold. That was NOT in the forecast! We all stopped to put our coats on.

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Half an hour later the sun came out and it got hot.

The Trayfoot/Payne run loop was really nice with no leaves on the trees. I had only done it in the summer. There’s a lot of ridge running with beautiful views that you can’t see in the summertime.

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It was uncomfortably warm, but I was loving it after all the cold wet weather we’ve had this winter!

The water crossings on the way back actually felt good. I stopped and rinsed my salt-crusted face at each one.

On the way back, the trail was lined with purple flowers that must have opened with the sun.

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Spring!! It’s finally here!

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Seen on the run (March 2, 2019)

Sugar Hollow to just beyond Blackrock and back with the CAT 50k training group.

The temperature didn’t feel too bad when we started out, but that first river crossing was so cold it hurt.

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Photo credit: Pete O’Shea

The trees became more and more ice-covered as we climbed to Skyline Drive.

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IMG_20190302_090121331_HDR.jpgOnce we were on the AT and climbing toward Blackrock, the ice was so thick and heavy that the trees were bent over and blocking the trail.

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We got on a forest service road that paralleled the AT, which was more passable.

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The icy trees were so beautiful.

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IMG_20190302_092843555_HDRThe rocks on Blackrock summit were coated with ice, which made descending the other side towards Trayfoot mountain rather treacherous. Luckily it was only for a short stretch.

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Photo credit: Brian Hapeman

But the trail once again became just a bushwhack through heavy branches, so we decided to turn around a little early.

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On our way back down, the ice was melting and raining down on us. Some of the bigger chunks of ice really hurt! Particularly when they hit you in the face. The fallen ice was several inches deep on the trail in some places.

We ended up a little short of our 16 mile goal, but it was a fun adventure.

Another long run at Sugar Hollow

I ran the same loop that I’ve been running, but added an out and back up Turk Mountain. I also did a lot more walking.

The river crossings were not as deep. Somebody had moved several large boulders to be used as stepping-stones across the first one. It must have been a lot of work. I was very appreciative.

The tall grasses along the trail had also been trimmed, which was nice.

I saw a wild turkey and about a million mushrooms.

PhotoGrid_1405193035244IMG_20140712_130522This little guy was my favorite.

I also saw a lot of pretty flowers, of course.

IMG_20140712_130348IMG_20140712_092454_798Something about the way these ones appeared to hover above the ground seemed magical to me (like dancing fairies, or orbs of light.)

IMG_20140712_092332_326The well-endowed tree:

IMG_20140712_093626_776No?

There is a rocky outcropping at the top of Turk Mountain that offers unobstructed views to the west and north.

IMG_20140712_100139_987IMG_20140712_100221_256On the way back down, I wasn’t paying attention and almost stepped on a snake. I screamed and did some fancy footwork. I don’t know what kind of snake it was, but it was fat (maybe 3.5-4 inches in diameter.) It may have been a Rattlesnake.

Since I did so much more walking, I felt a lot better during the final stretch than I did last time.

The only thing that bothered me was my chafed skin. I got the chub rub!

I was surprised that I had Blue Hole all to myself. The cold water felt SO good. It was hot out there today.

I passed a steady stream of people heading up to the swimming hole as I was making my way back to my car. If I had been ten minutes slower, I would have had a lot of company for my swim. I’m kind of happy that I’m so speedy 🙂