Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mid-Week Treat

Since the days have grown longer and Spring was in the air in the high country, I thought I'd go take a trip to one of my favorite areas in the world to explore some new trail and old in the Roan Highlands.  By looking at an old AT map and reading some trip reports, it looked that the Overmountain Victory Trail (OVT) to Yellow Mtn Gap would be a sweet trip.  From here I could take the Appalachian Trail up to Little Hump Mtn to catch some 360 degree views before I headed back to the car.  The run looked to be right around 11 miles.  Perfect for a midweek run.
Start of the run

View from OVT on the way up
So I drove to the OVT trail head near Roan Mountain, TN and began my journey.  The trail begins and climbs on a farm road and meanders through pastoral pastures with horses grazing on the hill sides.  Along the way I had to go through several gates until the old farm road (after about 2.5-3 miles) finally surrendered itself to wooded single track trail.  The single track continued to gradually climb and then took a sudden steep turn downhill.  I was beginning to wonder if I was still on the right trail and then it turned right back up hill.  I can definitely tell that my fitness level is currently not that great after my injury hiatus from vigorous running, such as this run.  I was finding myself winded and walking on numerous occasions.
OVT singe track

After following the single track up along a stream bed, the trail took a right and I was soon back on double track.  I knew that I must be getting close to Yellow Mtn Gap because the top of the ridge line was close in sight.  After pushing through the climbing I finally made it, but then had to immediately take a left straight up the AT to Little Hump Mtn.  The steepness in this initial climb out of Yellow Mtn Gap is quite severe and one where running does you no good.  I grunted it out until the trail returned to a more tolerable grade.  After about a mile of ascent up the AT, I finally reached the open balds that lay before Little Hump Mtn and a string of beaten out dirt path winds its way to the summit.  It is a beautiful sight and one, in my opinion, everyone should experience.
View from the AT

The AT on the way up to Little Hump
I had finally made it to the top and began to soak in the views and felt overwhelmed by the immensity of  the great expanse that laid before my eyes.  I had to sit down a while and enjoy it before I made the return journey back to the car.  Which was equally as beautiful as on the way up.

The OVT on the way down
I made a video of the run and have also dubbed it the Little Hump Fitness Challenge.  Go here to check out the details and post your times! Little Hump Fitness Challenge.  Also check out the other fitness challenges on this page.  WNC Trail Runner Fitness Test.  Enjoy!!!


  1. I'll have to get up there again soon!!

  2. Make sure you post you time up on the page if you get around to doing it Sean. You've got to get out and do it soon though. I'll probably head back out there in a couple of weeks to beat my time since I don't have to worry about filming.