The Tanawha Trail is a 13.5 stretch of extremely diverse trail that parallels both the Blue Ridge Parkway and the range of Grandfather Mountain, brilliantly laid out in between the two. The marathon mandated an out-and-back of this trail from the Price Lake Parking Area to the Beacon Heights Overlook. There were about 26 folks in attendance, East Tennessee, part of Virginia, the Triad, Charlotte-area, and WNC were all represented.
Friday evening Adam, Matt and I drove to Brandon's house to enjoy a dinner and to have a jumping-off point leaving us with less driving the day of the endeavor. I really can't thank he and Hannah enough for putting us up and feeding us so well. The next morning we drove up the mountain on 321 with a brilliant sunrise in one direction illuminating every fold and contour of the surrounding valley, but up ahead on the mountain the clouds appeared precariously think and ominous. Fortunately, we staved off the rain for most of the day and enjoyed ideal running conditions with about 50 degree weather, a slight breeze, and occasional bursts of sunshine.
After meeting up in the parking lot of Price Lake and receiving a briefing on the course, we were off! I took off with Tim and Matt and hung with them for the first three miles before deciding to shed a layer and run solo for the next three. Adam met up with me shortly after that and before too long we caught back up to Tim (Matt had turned off to tag the summit of Calloway Mountain, a slew of others followed suit making this a 20 mile or 32 mile venture, depending of if they elected to complete the out-and back on the Tanawha).
Tim, Adam, and I (Kirra was there too, woof!) hung together for sometime. We enjoyed the venerated vistas on Rough Ridge and navigated the fortuitous fields of boulders that followed as we skirted the famed Linn Cove Viaduct before arriving at Beacon Heights to turn around. The first 13.5 too us 2 hours and 28 minutes- not your average half marathon!
|Me, Adam, and Kirra on top of Rough Ridge|
On the way back we continued moving strong, though we were a bit more leisurely about enjoying the views and visiting with passing friends and strangers. We took turns setting the pace, which was always very reasonable, and thoroughly enjoyed the next couple of hours- its hard not to enjoy yourself when your running through stellar scenery with two great friends.
|Appropriately dubbed the Octopus' garden|
We enjoyed some stretching, snacks, and choice beverages while we waited for other finishers to come in and shuttles to arrive from Beacon Heights. We even knocked away some of the ice on Price Lake so we could soak our legs a little! A truly fantastic day all in all, and many congratulations to everyone who was out there for gutting out any distance on such a tremendously technical (yet runnable) trail!
The great photos were taken by Tim, you can see some more on his blog.