Net Gain: 9,000 feet
Time on feet: 9:00:33
This past Sunday I joined the Grand Kurk on another one of his SB6K recon adventures. I would intercept him in the middle of his 65 mile training run. I arrived at Jarretts Creek forest service road at Curtis Creek for a "50K" run up to Mt. Gibbs and back. I brought along some calories and caffeine for Matt as he was about 16 miles into his day where I would intercept him. He gobbled up what I had to offer and we were off just after 8am.
I took the lead for the first few hours while my fresh legs allowed me to move at a comfortable pace. We climbed thru the green lush and blooming mountain flowers, and I remember thinking how I missed being in the mountains for the past few weeks.
My travels took me to New Orleans, flat and hot, and to Charleston, flat and hot. Although a nice change of scenery, nothing comes close to the fresh mountain air I was breathing as we approached the parkway. I knew I would be back soon.
I carried two bottles, one in my pack, and one handheld, and for the entire day. I kept filling water from the fresh streams that flowed from the mountain and rehydrated my body. Although recently we have had some warm weather in North Carolina, today was comfortably cooler which made for a perfect day.
Matt and I reached the parkway and ran to the Mountains to Sea trail where we hung a left. A few miles later we bushwhacked to the top Potato Knob and around Clingman’s Peak. By 1:30 PM, we were eating turkey croissant sandwiches on the summit of Mt. Gibbes. The views just before reaching the summit were spectacular. We realized that this 50k would turn into a 50k++++ and we were in for a longer day than anticipated.
We descended down to Steppes Gap ranger station and refilled our bottles. We then ran a mile or so down 128 on the asphalt to connect back to the Buncombe Horse Range Trail to the South Toe River which neither of us have ever been on. From there we connected to the Newberry Creek Trail and descended back all the way to Curtis Creek, where I took a quick dip in the freezing water to rinse off.
Matt continued his journey back to Marion on foot for what I calculated to be about a 67 mile day! I took off in the batmobile back to the Queen city for some fancy Mothers Day eats. Awesome adventure.