Saturday, January 23, 2010

2 weekends of high adventure in the mtns: Iron mtn 16 miler and grayson highlands massie gap 12 mile loop

 Hey everyone!! Last weekend I met up with JJ and Beth in Damascus we decided to run a somewhat distorted version of the Iron Mtn 16 mile race course. We altered the course by starting at straight branch and running on the Iron Mtn trail to FS90, then we ran a 4 mile loop above FS90 that is a connection of trails and spurs that can connect you up with wrights hollow and buzzards den but we bypassed those and looped around to run back towards beech grove and on down mock hollow to finish at sundog outfitters parking lot.

We experienced ALL kinds of weather during the course of this run. It was sunny at the start and 50F which compared to what I had been used to running in, seemed VERY hot. Then we got to the snow ( and saw bear tracks around the shelter)  THEN CAME THE RAIN.. and the sky opened up and the temperature dropped and it POURED on us the rest of the run. but I had an awesome time!! :o)  here are some pictures from that escapade:

Then 1/23/10: JJ and I embarked upon a journey to Grayson Highlands State Park to run a 12 mile loop starting at Massie Gap going to scales, rhododendron gap, and following the AT back to massie gap via wilburn ridge. We meet Joey Licata( trail running friend /ultra runner from damascus: who I may add has impeccable taste in music) , and Doug and Martha (  trail running friends from Todd, NC) at the Massie Gap parking lot and off we went.. It was about 34F foggy and we were running in snow pretty much from the beginning of the run. However upon about 5k of our ascent. I began to notice VAST amounts of ice. Not only on the trail but on the trees and flying around in the wind! :o)  It was muddy... it was icy.. it was icy.. it was muddy.. and such was the trail..
 There were rocks... big rocks, and small rocks. Rocks you stumbled over.. Rocks you climbed in between( fat man's squeeze on the AT) and rocks I was pretty much sliding down on my butt because it was so icy on them.  I felt like the howling winds really made it SOO cold. I told JJ this was more frozen sasquatch than frozen sasquatch!!  it was an epic day but I sure felt humbled by the time I made it back to the FJ. My butt was kicked. Mt Rogers schooled me in humility today.
 I felt like I definitely gained so  much from this run. 1. precious time on my feet 2. grit and determination  by running in harsh conditions. 3 the much needed technical prep for black mtn trail marathon ( feb 27th)

 I hated that the sun never burned off the fog and I never got to see the amazing view mt rogers has to offer. BUT I did get to see ponies:o) and spend some quality trail time with my friends. :o)


Triple F said...

I envy the trail runner's heaven you get to run in! I miss the mountains so much! Even those "kicked my butt" days are better when you've got heaven all around you!

By the way . . . Great pictures . . especially from Greyson Highlands! I always love seeing the ponies!

By the way . . . are you doing Annette's New River Trail 50k this fall??

Keep having fun!

jenn said...

thanks frank! i agree.. the scenery and beauty of SWVA/NETN/Western NC really makes me count my blessings I have the mtns for my playground!

I am going to try to run new river 50k. I am trying to organize my race schedule I think it will work out where I can go! :o)

Rick Gray said...

Jenny, Another great set of weekends. Sunday's run at Grayson was epic. Tough day for some tough trail runners. Rick

The Sean said...

Mt. Rogers is great because it often forces the runner to experience the journey. With its "blind" summit, you are reminded that the idea to glimpse something visually pales in comparison to being transformed by a series of small steps.

Great Job, Jenn!!