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!

Monday, April 30, 2012

SCAR part duex

SCAR from Fontana to Davenport
Start time: 7:28pm 4.27.12
Finish time: 8:21pm 4.28.12
Total time: 24:53:53
Difficulty: Hard as hell
Elevation Gain: 18,000+
Mileage: 73 Miles

I was dropped of at Davenport Gap on the AT at the Northeastern boundary of the park.  There was daylight left in the day, and I made it about 5 miles before it became pitch black.  The lights of Gatlinburg illuminated the sky. I once again found myself staring at the moon and thinking about the word lunacy while speed-hiking the AT.  I was focused, and wanted to finish the distance of the SCAR, the smokies challenge adventure run in the opposite direction of my first completion of it in 2009.  I passed all the shelters feeling great, and made my way up to Newfound Gap.

As I approached Icewaters Springs Shelter a few miles before the road, I stumbled in a sleepwalking shuffle when my senses alarmed me and I immediately became hyper alert.  I stopped in my tracks when I saw a large animal cross the trail 70 feet from my position, while simultaneously heard a snort.  I wanted to pinch myself to wake up, but I was awake, and my body was sensing danger.  I began to back up when I heard a growl to my rear.  I feared to shine a light at any animal ahead of my or behind me at this 4th hour of the night, so I moved forward on the trail in a fast walk.  As I passed, I saw fresh bear tracks in the mud, they were unmistakable.  My heart pounded, and I kept moving forward hoping that nothing would follow me, and nothing did.  It was 5:15am when I crossed into Newfound Gap.

I pushed on uphill towards Clingmans Dome.  This may have been the hardest part for me, as I was still in a sleeping stooper and was thoroughly exhausted.  I dreamt of my drop bag which was dropped off for me at Clingmans Dome at 5:30am.  It would take me just under 3 hours to reach Clingmans, depleated, hungrey, and in search of more salt I searched for my drop bag.  High and low, looked to the right, and left.  It was intentionally purple, a Phoenician color of choice, and labeled, but alas, no bag in sight. I had a key to a car that was parked at the parking lot half a mile away.  I thought about walking away from this adventure and calling it a day with 38 miles under my belt.  Whence I got to the car, I ate turkey and cheese, and grabbed an entire chips bag.  I made the call to push thru, so I was off again.

I ran downhill and made my way up and down the ridge, past Silers Bald, and from shelter to shelter passing dozens of thru hikers, the likely culprits of my disappearing drop bag. I dreaded Thunderhead Mountain, and sure enough it was challenging to the point of a slow hike/shuffle.  I pushed on, and made my way to Fontana Damn as it was getting dark finishing at 8:21pm in just under 25 hours.  I was especially happy to have put down another SCAR in the opposite direction only 2 weeks after the Grand Canyon double crossing.


Sean said...

I so want to go back and complete a full SCAR. I did about half nearly two years ago (due to sickness a few weeks out)....

Unknown said...

WOW!that makes the GC adventure look like kid stuff.

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