Warning: the following words and images will allow you to vicariously see the world with the eyes of Sultan. Read at your own risk. The name Sultan has many meanings, but derives from the peak Sultan Mountain in Silverton, CO!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

7th Art Loeb Trail Adventure Run

Every year the ALTAR is ran on or around the winter solstice. The idea is to start when the sun comes up, and finish before if comes down. Due to a late departure, I arrived at the Vance Lodge in Camp Daniel Boone at 1:30am. The guys left the back door open, and I just threw a sleeping bag onto an empty couch and crashed. I woke up at 4:45 and got my things in order.

17 people lined up at the start. Unlike last year, this year the run was self supported, you carried everything you needed all the time. You can’t really drop out, you can just turn around. The temperature this year was in the 40’s which is a bit warm, but the wind, rain, and fog made if feel a little colder. The first half of the run tackles 80% of the gain which needs to be done in a controlled pace in order to finish.

After reaching the Blue Ridge Parkway you enter into an alpine forest which looks like it belongs in Canada. The site is truly amazing and it is one of the reasons I like these types of adventures. Then you reach the Black Balsam Balds, some of the few balds in NC that are above 6,000 feet. The visibility up there was 20-40 feet, and the wind gusts easily could have been 40-50 mph. The wind felt good, and instantly dried my wet shorts for me. The fog on the other had was a bit frustrating because you couldn’t see where you were going. I relied on my instinct, and the foot prints in the mud to lead me back into the protection of the forest.

Towards the end of the run I felt a little fatigued, but I kept my sight on another runner in front of me and hung in the entire distance, finishing in 9:19.

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