Well, this year's Spring Break from work at school was most excellent! I felt that I really capitalized on the time afforded to us to wind down from a hard 2nd semester of teaching. I won't really go into much detail about each of my adventures, but will let pictures give you a glimpse of what I got into.
I started off with an phenomenal retreat to the Black Mountains to hang in a cabin with a great friend and my new brothers, then leave the comfy confines of the rustic cabin to run up to the crest of the highest mountain range east of the Mississippi and traverse it all the way to Mt. Mitchell and back down. A few other looney WNC Trail Runners joined us on what I dubbed the Green Woody Crest Traverse, although no one took up the option to climb up to Green Knob at the end of the run. Let's just say the weather didn't really cooperate, but we still had a great time!
After returning home to visit the families over Easter, Hannah and I headed out for some camping on Table Rock in the Linville Gorge on Monday and Tuesday. We set up on the summit of Little Tablerock and enjoyed the sunset and sunrise from it's bigger brother. Jody met up with us Tuesday morning for some trail running out over the Chimneys and to Shortoff and back. It was just another majestic trip to the gorge!
And a little time lapse footage recorded from Table Rock during sunset and sunrise for your viewing pleasure.
Table Rock Time Lapse Spring 2014 from Brandon Thrower on Vimeo.
Wednesday featured a good run out at Hickory City Park with the Catawba Valley Trail Runner crew and then I formed a plan for a nice loop out on Grandfather Mountain for Thursday. I woke up early Thursday and drove up to Blowing Rock for the lone adventure. Spring wildflowers were popping up all over the Tanawha Trail, I was mightily humbled by the difficulty and lunacy of one of the most amazing and scenic trails in east (Grandfather Trail), and even bumped into some Gorge Rats while bounding down the Daniel Boone and Cragway Trails. It was a glorious outing on a perfect day on Grandfather!
Next up for Hannah and I was a two day trip out to Merlefest! The lineup this year was outstanding and we witnessed some great musical moments during our attendance. Some outstanding acts that we saw this year included: Scythian, Red June, The Duhks, Mandolin Orange, Steep Canyon Rangers, Tim O'brian and Derryll Scott, The Waybacks, Todd Snider, Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Sam Bush, and Old Crow Medicine Show! We returned to the site of my previous 50 miler, Leatherwood Mountains Resort, which my legs are still feeling by the way, and camped out beside Elk Creek between the two days we were there. Great place, even if you aren't running.
To cap off our Spring Break, Hannah and I took a little trip back up to the Linville Gorge, except this time just for a nice run along Jonas Ridge to Hawksbill and back. Both of these were trails and summits Hannah had yet to be on, so it was nice to take her out to these iconic peaks in the Gorge. It was definitely a great way to end our Spring Break. Also bumped into another Gorge Rat, Mike Jones, while on the run. Mike has done a ton for the Gorge community in the past few years, and it was great to finally meet him. A stop into Fonta Flora Brewery afterward was a must as well. Can't wait for the Brutus!