10/29/2016: Pandapas Pond, Jefferson National Forest

“Brush Mountain Breakdown” 7-mile race on the Poverty Creek Trail System in Pandapas Pond Day Use Area, Jefferson National Forest (the course was closer to 6.5 miles). This is more or less my backyard, and the course covered one of the exact routes that I run regularly: From the upper parking lot, Horse Nettle to Snake Root to Poverty Creek, back to the parking lot (56 minutes, third place).

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8/8/2015: Smoky Mountains: Newfound Gap to Clingmans Dome via AT

From Newfound Gap near the Tennessee / North Carolina border, ran roughly eight miles along the Appalachian Trail to Clingmans Dome (6,643′) and back for a total of 16 miles.

Looking out from Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee, the Smokies, and on the Appalachian Trail.

Looking out from Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee, the Smokies, and on the Appalachian Trail.

Appalachian Trail heading south from Newfound Gap to Clingmans Dome

Appalachian Trail heading south from Newfound Gap to Clingmans Dome

Along the Alum Cave Trail with Melissa on 8/14/2015.

Along the Alum Cave Trail with Melissa on 8/14/2015.

7/17/2015: Sugar Hollow – Turk Branch – Blackrock Summit

Basically a 20-mile loop with a detour up Blackrock Summit.  Beginning at the Sugar Hollow parking area, headed up to Blue Hole and onto the Turk Branch Trail; then hit the Appalachian Trail north for several miles, all the way to Blackrock Summit.  After backtracking down the summit, hit the N.F. Moormans River Trail to complete the loop back to the parking area.  Around 4 miles in (on the Turk Branch Trail), I saw two (large) bears.

Just above Blue Hole.

Just above Blue Hole.

Lunch on Blackrock Summit.

Lunch on Blackrock Summit.