Ah, the cruelest month is here. Just a few weeks ago I had been wishing that the groundhog had seen his shadow and that winter would be extended a little. I wasn't quite ready for the cold to leave yet. But then last weekend I decided I was actually finally ready for spring. Duma doesn't do well in the heat so our running adventures will have to be modified and there will be times he cannot join me but he will be alright.
Yesterday, with winter weather once again amongst us I found myself with several free hours and had to go down to Pisgah Forest so I took Duma with me and we met Joe and went for a run. The weather - pouring rain down low and freezing rain and sleet up high - was a little nasty so we naturally ran our little nasty route. We started up Bennett at a conversational pace that we kept for the entire run. It was warm as we started up but by the time we hit Black the warmth was gone and high winds bombarded us with a cold freezing rain. When we hit Buckhorn Gap Joe remarked that it had been rather easy up until that point and with only a single climb remaining and without bicycles to push we would be back down to the bottom in no time. The weather turned from a little nasty to really nasty as we worked our way up Clawhammer Mtn. and when we stopped I had to get Joe to open my zippers and gel as my hands had frozen solid and lacked the dexterity to perform those simple, but necessary, tasks. Everything was covered in ice. Stepping on a rock or water bar would spell disaster so we picked our way carefully across the ridge and then back down.
By the time we passed Turkey Pen Gap the weather had let up a little and we had lost enough elevation that the ice was gone and we could run again. That stretch of Black is a blown out mess (that forest users, especially mountain bikers, should be ashamed of) and we took it slow. Pressley Cove is in great shape and we took it fast with our stomachs rumbling and lunch calling. We made it back to the truck in good time, well under three hours including multiple breaks, which makes me think my previous attempts at timing the loop were erroneous. Not that it matters and not that I care. It was an excellent adventure in Pisgah that gave us one last taste of winter.
Up nesxt: The Big Nasty?