Adventures in Pisgah

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cedar Rock Mountain

 Longer isn't always better when it comes to trail running for me. One of my all time favorite routes comes in at an easy eight miles or so. Starting from the Fish Hatchery:

Cat Gap > Butter Gap > Cedar Rock Mtn. > Art Loeb > Cat Gap > John Rock > Cat Gap

cedar rock

Once you get to the Butter Gap/Art Loeb intersection take the unmarked trail 90 degrees to your left. This trail takes you over the top of Cedar Rock Mtn. Along the way there are two separate pitches that are full on scrambles where caution must really be exercised. The views, of course, are outstanding.

Yuri and I managed to get together for this run the Sunday after Thanksgiving while the whole world was on fire and it was just what we needed. We traversed Cedar Rock just as the sun was setting and then stopped on top of John Rock in the dark to look down on the Hatchery and out passed Looking Glass Rock up to the Parkway and beyond and I couldn't help but state aloud just how lucky we are.

Just eight miles and a lot steeper than it looks.



Sunday, November 27, 2016

The crest of a trail

Getting a  band back together is easier said than done. People drift apart, habits and interests change, things get complicated. But sometimes it just a matter of calling up a couple of friends and saying, Hey, let's get together and jam sometime and then seeing who all shows up. Last weekend it was just a duo as Jon and I managed to get together for a short but rather spectacular run. First we were going to head to Grandfather Mtn. but then veered off course and went to Bowlen's Creek to run the first section of the Black Mtn. Crest trail up to Ceilo Knob.

At the trail head we met a couple of backpackers who reported having had to flee from the mountain top at 3am that morning due to ripping winds and freezing temperatures. It was almost 50 degrees down at the start  so how cold and windy could it really be up there? Well, as soon as we approached the 6000' mark the world changed and we were faced with exactly the conditions that had been reported to us. The wind must have let up for a little while as a layer of rime ice had formed and was being blown from the vegetation. Although I was under dressed and not wanting to linger too long up high the unexpected conditions were exactly what we had come in search of.





Sunday, November 20, 2016

Panthertown Valley

Panthertown Valley is a tangle of trails that lead to some rather unique and interesting places. I have been trying to piece together a route that hits the highlights in a logical way and did a fun half marathon route last weekend that comes close to reaching that goal. Starting from Cold Mountain Gap:

Panthertown Valley Trail > Devil's Elbow > Riding Ford > Powerline > BlackRock > Panthertown Valley > Wilderness Falls > Deep Gap > Great Wall > Big Green > Macs Gap > Little Green > Panthertown Valley

While no 13 mile route is going to have it all this one had a lot. Everything from rolling double track to tight and twisty single track, waterfalls and rock plutons.










Saturday, November 12, 2016

four seconds it seems

I was in Virginia last week for a wedding and being just mere miles from Shenandoah National Park I had no choice but to sneak away for a quick run. Of course the maps I ordered hadn't come in time and I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing when I left the hotel. Less than thirty minutes later and I was at Swift Run Gap and faced with a twenty dollar entrance fee for the park. With only a couple of hours to play I said no thank you and just kept driving.  A little bit later I found a roadside pullout and what looked like a trail with what looked like a sign and decided it had to hit the AT a thousand vertical feet later and started running from there.


Unfortunately, what I had thought was a trail quickly became nothing more than a bushwhack and the few hours I had to run were rapidly vanishing in a slow slog up an unknown mountain. Right when I was ready to give up I intersected a trail and a white blaze on a nearby tree confirmed I had hit the AT. I ran out and back on the AT for several miles before running down the highway instead of the bushwhack back to the car.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Big Creek Beatdown

I guess I was thinking that since I had run Laurel > Pilot a few times recently I might as well just do the Laurel Mtn. > Big Creek route.  What I wasn't thinking is that it is a lot easier to ride that route on a bike than it is to run it. I guess I had also forgotten just how far it is to the top of Mount Pisgah from Buck Spring.  By the time I was crawling my way across the last half of Big Creek I remembered everything I had forgotten.





Thursday, October 13, 2016

From the Top

A few weeks ago I went to the top of Bonas Defeat. I paddled across the lake and then ran and hiked my way to the top of the namesake rock. It was not necessarily easy going and I have a feeling Doe Branch Path gets its name because a doe is all that can fit down it. When I finally made it to the top of the rock I was unwilling to risk approaching the cliff face and instead stayed in the trees.





Saturday, September 17, 2016

Dismal Falls

In the end we had no choice but go back the way we had come. It was another challenging adventure in Pisgah!