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, June 28, 2009

Seven Sisters Summits x2 - 32 Miles

I left Charlotte by 5am, and met up with David at 5:30 in Belmont. We both drove up and picked up Matt by 7am in Marion, and then met up with Brian at the Dripolator at 7:30am. Brian came up with this run which is a 16 mile speed hike/mountain run in the mountains surrounding Montreat on the Montreat trail system. It has 13 miles of single track, 3 miles of rail trail and a short portion of pavement. Its steep on some sections, and can be very technical (rocky, rooty, and overgrown).

David, Matt, and I started our adventure just past 8am. We began ascending immediately, and the heat and humidity was abundant. Within the first hour my shoes were soaking in sweat and I waited anxiously for the first creek crossing.We went up and down Rainbow Mountain, and then Lookout Mountain for an amazing view of the Montreat College Campus. After tagging Boggs Bunion we headed North thru Buck Gap, Brushy Mountain, and Rocky Head on the East Ridge Trail. From there we continued North on the Old Trestle Road. Then we turned left onto the Greybeard Trail and hiked up to the top of Greybeard Mountain 5,364 feet (1,635 M). I have run a few times on the Mountains to Sea Trail and always remember seeing the Greybeard Mountain overlook where the MST and the Blue Ridge Parkway intersect. Now I will stand on the summit of Greybeard. From there we descended down the West Ridge Trail going over Big Slaty and Little Slaty and 4 unnamed peaks. We then popped out in front of a Montreal cabin and continued South on Louisiana Rd. all the way back to our cars for a full 16 mile loop. My watch altimeter read approximately 4,000 feet of elevation gain for the first loop.

David unfortunately hand a large thorn go thru his had, and opted out of the second loop. Hope the hand recovers quickly! Me and Matt pushed on for a second loop, this time in reverse (clockwise). We Ascended up the West Ridge Trail. The heat was getting to me, so I was taking in as much liquid as I could. It took forever to get tot the summit of Greybeard, but I was coasting there on out back to the cars. Initially my plan was to do three loops, but decided to stop at two loops and save the energy for Hardrock!

Distance: 32 miles
Elevation Gain: 8,000 feet
Time of first loop: 4:00 hrs
Time of second loop: 4:20 hrs
Total time on the trail: 8:40 hrs
Good times on a new trail: Priceless

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