Parked at the Tompkins Bend trailhead to access the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, which winds along the southern shore of Lake Ouachita. From Tompkins Bend, I ran approximately five miles east to the Joplin trailhead, and then back to Tompkins Bend to re-fuel before heading a few miles west toward Denby Bay. 15 miles total.
From the Lake Sylvia Campground parking lot, Wesley and I ran the Lake Sylvia spur trail for .5 Miles, picking up the Ouachita Trail at Mile 187 heading west up to North Fork Pinnacle (185), then down to Brown Creek (183), back up to Flatside Pinnacle (179), then down to Crystal Prong Creek (177), crossing over and turning around at approximately Mile 175.5. I was done after 18 miles, where we had staged a cooler to re-fuel, and waited for Wesley to pick me up after he ran the last 5 miles back to Lake Sylvia to get the car. But other than the dizziness and dehydration, it was a very nice outing.
Route: This is one of my favorites: Very fun, diverse trails that are technical in spots–but runnable enough so that you don’t get bogged down with a lot of hiking–and just five miles from our place in Arkansas. From the trailhead, I ran the Falls Branch Trail counterclockwise until I got to the waterfall, where I hit the Dam Mountain Trail and ran the entire loop back to the waterfall counterclockwise. I then finished the Falls Branch trail back toward the trailhead, where I hit the Horseshoe Mountain Trail. Ended with another loop on Dam Mountain Trail, clockwise this time. 10 miles total.
Route: From the parking lot, I ran the “Preddy Creek Loop” trail clockwise, which I extended by tacking on the “Advanced Mountain Loop” and the “Meadow Loop” trails (totaling around 4.5 miles). I then ran this same route–except that I added the Creekside Trail–three more times (counterclockwise), before finishing with around two miles on Burnley Station Road (20 miles total).
Stream crossing toward the back of the “Advanced Mountain Bike Loop” trail.
After a quick loop around the farm buildings at the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center, my proper “run” began at Humpback Gap with a one-mile march to Humpback Rocks (around 15 minutes to the base of the rocks). From the rocks, I hit the Appalachian Trail south and stayed there until Reeds Gap, aside from two short detours (going out and coming back) to re-fill water bottles at the Humpback Rocks Picnic Area. This route had me crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway three times: Dripping Rock, Three Ridges Mountain, and Reeds Gap. 22.25 miles total.
Route: Standard route from my house in Mill Creek South subdivision: North on Avon Street Ext., right on Mill Creek Drive, left on Middlebrook Ln. just past Monticello High School, through the clump of trees onto Willow Lake Dr., and then through the gate on Hwy. 20 into the meadow behind the Monticello Trail. From there, a few loops on the singletrack up the flank of Carter Mt. and then back home (11.25 miles total)
The trail near the top of Carter Mt., just under the orchard.
Route: Starting at the first parking lot, I ran a ten-mile loop around the perimeter trails (green > red > blue > orange > grey > back to parking lot), refueled, and then ran another half-loop for a total of 15 miles. On the trails at 6:15 a.m., but cut the run a bit short to attend a wine tasting tour organized by my wife’s work later in the morning.
Route: From Rockfish Gap, ran south on the AT for six or so miles, then back to Rockfish to refuel, followed by several miles north on the AT (into the Shenandoah National Park and crossing Skyline Drive at McCormick Gap). Time on feet: Around 4 hours. Distance: 20 miles.
Bear sightings: 1
Route: From the first parking lot at Sugar Hollow, Wesley and I ran several miles on the trail toward snake hole swimming hole, subsequently entering the Shenandoah National Park and then hitting the Appalachian Trail at Black Rock Gap for a few miles. Time on feet: Less than 3.5 hours. Distance: 18.5 miles. Met up with family for a post-run picnic at snake hole, followed by a post-picnic lunch at Blue Mountain Brewery.