On Friday evening, Lily, Uwharrie and I made our way up to La Casa Hill in Asheville for the night. Many thanks to Annie, Asa, Suzanne and Adam for their hospitality! Come morning, it was time for us to mobilize for Adam’s May Mountain Marathon. Sultan arrived and we carpooled to join ten other runners at the start along the North Fork of the Mills River.
Hayley, me, Toby, Jeremy, Terry, Damian, Wendy, Jim, Adam, Dave, Andrew, Mohammed, Mike
It’s been a while since I’ve been along the North Fork of the Mills River and I was amazed to see how lush it is in the springtime. We enjoyed many a creek crossing (with occasional full body immersion) as we made our way up the Big Creek Trail above the Hendersonville reservoir. Even as the going got steep up to the parkway, our jovial pack stuck together.
Adam’s fun runs continue to get better and better. This one may have been the best yet with an excellent aid station at the Mt. Pisgah parking lot courtesy of Terry’s family. We got to enjoy the goodies before and after a three-mile obligatory roundtrip summit of Pisgah. The views vanished in the mist, which came as a welcome treat given the heat and humidity.
Half a marathon in, back at the parking lot aid station, our pack split up with most folks venturing down the Laurel Mountain Trail to loop back to the start. Mo, Uwharrie and I chose to venture down the well-loved 18-mile Shut-In Ridge to check on conditions for the upcoming SB6K trek. The skies darkened to the west and a light rain began to fall as we set off. Soon, lightning and thunder erupted all around us.
We were climbing to the top of a peak when a simultaneous flash-boom had us crouching with eyes wide open. All in all, the thunderstorm came as a great relief for cooling us down and delaying dehydration. We ran on through a forest awash in wildflower bouquets: trilliums, bluets, azaleas, rhododendron, laurel and lousewort (among many others). The canopy, on the other hand, seemed lifeless in certain places where severe ice and snow had taken their toll. For this reason, I was pleasantly surprised by how few blow downs we encountered.
At Hardtimes Hollow, we rehydrated at a piped spring oasis. All three of us were low on fluids. Soon after, Adam rang on the cell and informed us he was en route to pick us up at Sandy Bottoms along the French Broad River two miles away. This worked out for a 50K option and afforded us the great opportunity after seven hours of slogging to join the rest of the crew at Marco’s Pizza for an honorary pint of French Broad brew followed by shot of wheat grass! Thanks everyone for the good times!