So, Saturday I took the dog out to Pisgah for a quick run. It was snowing lightly but didn't look like the weather would get too bad and Duma needed exercise so away we went. I'd planned on going to Turkey Pen but at the last moment headed for North Mills River instead. We drove up to Laurel Mtn. trail because it is fairly flat and makes for a good out and back run. I didn't really have any plans other than to run for an hour or so and we just cruised along enjoying getting fresh tracks on foot on this classic Pisgah trail. It took longer than expected to reach Rich Gap I thought about turning around then but decided to go on to the crack rock.
It came faster than expected so I changed the plan again to go to Sassafras Gap and then down Cairns trail to Slate Rock Creek and then up 1206 back to the truck to make the run a loop instead of an out and back. By then we had gained some elevation and the weather as we passed though the gaps got very wintery. The wind was very strong and the snow was blowing hard and horizontally. Visibility dropped to almost nothing and as we watched the snow rapidly accumulate around us I got a little concerned about my light weight rear wheel drive truck sitting at Yellow Gap. I reminded myself that a thousand feet lower there probably were blue skies and not a hint of snow on the ground so we pushed on.
We hit the final gap 1:10 into the run and headed down Cairns. It was nice to be on this old trail without a silly bicycle and in perfect compliance with all regulations. Cairns was downhill from here, and very sketchy on foot and in the snow but the further down the trail we went the quicker the weather cleared and by the time we hit Slate Rock Creek there were blue skies and only a dusting of snow on the ground.
Slate Rock Creek took longer than anticipated and my quick run quickly turned into my longest run in a long time. We enjoyed the scenic stream side trail but weren't sad when it finally ended and we hit Yellow Gap Rd. The final stretch on the road really took a lot longer than I thought it would on foot and after two hours of continuous running I finally had to relent and walk for a few short stretches on the final climb back up to the truck. We finished the 10 miles in 2:15, two and a quarter of the hardest hours I have spent in Pisgah in a long time.
Best run in a long time. I hope I can stay healthy and keep on running!
Sunday I was up early but not meeting Dennis until 9:30 and with the temperature at 10 but felt like 0 it sounded like perfect horrible training weather so I loaded up and headed to North Mills River for a warm up loop. I did 5050 > Yellow Gap but took one look at the river and decided an out and back was much better than hypothermia and headed right back the way I came.
Dennis arrived and we headed out for a fun 30 miles that peaked with crossing Big Creek. Normally you can do all the crossings with dry feet but this year has not been normal and the creek was very high so keeping our feet dry took a lot of work, time and creativity.
I got home and did nothing but relax for a few hours for the first time in months until the sun started to set which signaled time for me to take Duma out on our backyard trails for our daily sunset run. I still haven't managed to explore all that is on our hill - nothing beats a new place to discover!