|The family @ Mountain Farm on Thursday (Celo Knob beyond)|
The "Farewell Marionthon" was one last tour around some of my favorite local haunts before our move. With weekend temperatures projected to soar above 100 degrees in town, I felt compelled to return to the highest Appalachian ridge for the third time this week... This time on foot. Besides, a porch-to-porch round-trip trek was still a bit of unfinished business for me.
|Map generated from 59 GPS waypoints. View Farewell Marionthon in a larger map|
I got a late start on Friday morning (10AM), but made quick progress along the roads following the Mt. Gibbes 100K route out of town. I was pouring sweat and worried about my water supply until I came upon a church's spigot. A full-body immersion in Curtis Creek preceded the beginning of the trail journey (~70% of the circuit).
Delicious raspberries and blackberries grew in abundance along the trail. Another full-body immersion in Jarrett Creek preceded the long hot climb up Heartbreak Ridge. Near the top, I spooked a large bear and began thinking about how to secure my food overnight. By 7PM, I made it to the same campsite below Potato Knob that Lily, Uwharrie and I enjoyed back in January. Although not quite as cold as back then, I knew this spot would be a good place to test out the latest fastpack gear revisions:
After a pleasant night and relatively leisurely morning (by fastpacking standards), I got going up over Potato Knob and Clingmans Peak, taking a far better line than what Brandon and I chose on Monday. By 8:30AM, I was at the Mt. Mitchell Restaurant having a luxurious hot breakfast before the obligatory summit push.
As expected, the return to Marion via the original Marionthon route was very challenging due to another record-breaking hot day. I took full advantage of every water source that I could. If a source was big enough to submerge my overheated body, I didn't think twice! The notoriously dry latter half of section 9 and first half of section 10 along the MST proved difficult, but I was able to persevere and finish the porch-to-porch round-trip "Farewell Marionthon" before 7PM! No fossil fuels were consumed during this $10 self-supported 100K+ journey.
|"I think I'll mow the lawn tomorrow."|