Tues - 60min/ 7m/ 1000' - Hickory City Park - Just went out for an easy run on the local trail.
Wed - 64min/ 7.6m/ 1600' - SOMO - Had a nice tempo run out at SOMO today. Route was High Shoals loop, Upper Falls, Shinny, HQ, River. Took it easy up High Shoals loop to Upper Falls and started the tempo effort there. Ran strong to Shinny and then really turned on the speed. Made it back to the car from the too of Shinny in 26:30!
|caught this deer while driving into the park|
Thurs - 58min/ 6m/ 500' - Lake James State Park - Decided to try out these trails at last since my legs took a nice beating yesterday. The trails were very well made, but very easy with little views. These trails would be great if I lived closer by for easy recovery runs like today, but 45 min from home is a bit of a stretch to get to on a normal basis. And the gorge is only 45 min away as well, so what would you choose?
|Looking at SOMO from Lake James|
Fri - off
Sat - 5hrs/ 21m/ 5000' - Montreat to Swannonoa Rim - While perusing the internet a couple weeks ago about Pinnacle, I noticed a post about a trail that traveled from Graybeard to Pinnacle called the Swannonoa Rim Trail. I had to get on it, as it offered up some great views. I got a couple of friends and the bro-in-law to come join me on this adventure out of Montreat. Our first summit goal was Rock Knob along the East Ridge Trail. There was a bit of snow up there which was quite fun. From Rock Knob we caught our first glance of the mountain we would hit next, the mighty Graybeard. We continued along the excellent switchbacks of the Graybeard trail, stopping to take some photos at Graybeard Falls. We pushed ever higher into the snow until we finally reached the top. The views were great as always but the wind was making things quite chilly. It was time to push on using the Swannanoa Rim Trail! This trail was very steep at first as I was grabbing every thing I could to keep my feet as I slid down the mountain. Soon enough the trail got tamer and we could open up our stride. Soon we were on the summit of Rocky Knob. We missed the scramble that we were supposed to use, but still made it to the top using a faint trail. While standing on Rocky Knob, the view of our next summit looked intimidating. Pinnacle was towering well above us and it looked extremely steep. We lost the trail a couple of times on our ascent until I finally just made the call to bushwhack up to the top. In no time we made it to the top. It was a good call. Tom and I searched for some Civil War era graffiti among the rocks at the summit and think we found some, but not completely sure. We didn't last up there long as the wind was making things unbearably cold. Plus, Dave was in a time crunch and needed to get down the mountain quickly. We hit the toll rd and were finally able to open up our stride. We then made the turn onto Graybeard trail once more so we could make it to cars quickly. At the end of Graybeard trail, Tom and I left Dave so he could head down the road to the car. Tom and I then took Lower Piney trail to get in just a few extra miles and views before we called it a day. It was a remarkably great run.
|Group shot at Graybeard Falls|
|Tom climbing Graybeard in the snow|
|Dave and Tom at the summit of Pinnacle|
Sun - 2hrs/ 10.5m/ 2400' - Chestnut Mtn - Got a late start to check out a trail that ascends up to Chestnut Mtn in the Wilson Creek Area. Got a bit confused at the beginning, but eventually found the trail and began the steep and rocky climb up the ridge. I could tell this trail was getting some heavy use by mountain bikers, so I knew I was on the right path. Most of the unmapped trails in this area are predominantly used and maintained by them. The trail was great in my opinion, although it definitely isn't a sustainable path for the future. I soon hit FS 198, and then headed straight across to the summit trail to Chestnut. This old road bed used to lead to the old summit tower, which no longer exist, but remnants can still be seen at the summit. There really aren't any views at the top, due to a good shielding of pine trees that have taken over the top of this summit. After the summit I headed down FS 198 to Craig Creek Rd to finish the loop in the dark. The stars were out in abundance tonight, which made a great ending to a great run.
|Abandoned fire tower work room|
|View through the trees of Table Rock from Chestnut|
Time - 10hrs2min
Miles - 52.1
Vert - 10,500 ft