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!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Real Black Mountain Marathon

 "Long after Pangaea divided, periodic episodes of folding and uplift continued to push ancient rock formations to the surface. About 65 million years ago one such geologic event exposed a jagged mass of gneiss and schist that had been buried since the earliest phases of continental movement. Between 39°5’ and 39°7’ north latitude (just northeast of the modern city of Asheville), some of the new mountains formed a fifteen-mile-long semicircle that vaguely resembled a fishhook. The odd formation did not conform to the general southwest-northeast sweep of the Appalachians. Instead, the peaks emerged as a cross range, extending at a sharp angle north and slightly west from the Blue Ridge.

"For tens of millions of years, while nearby mountains on the Appalachian Plateau weathered into rounded hills, the compressed, superhardened rocks in this cross range proved highly resistant to wind and erosion. By the time humans got around to charting the region, it still contained eighteen peaks over 6,300 feet in elevation. Six of those were (and are) among the ten tallest mountains in the Appalachian chain. Just slightly south of the cross range’s midpoint, one especially durable chunk of mica gneiss stood as the highest spot of ground east of the Mississippi River. Because the peaks were covered with thick, dark forests, early white settlers called them the Black Mountains, or simply, the Blacks."

Excerpt from: Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountains: An Environmental History of the Highest Peaks in Eastern America by Timothy Silver

This weekend, a few brave soles made the trek from Bowlens Creek to Cane River Gap, and 27 mile adventure on the fishhook crest called the Black Mountain Crest. An adventure worth documenting!