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.

3/14/2015: Francis Marion National Forest

Approximately 55 miles running, kayaking, mountain biking, and orienteering with my brother and dad in the Swamp Fox Adventure Race (in the Francis Marion National Forest) to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday.  We were a bit inefficient in terms of navigation (some of the triangulation was particularly tricky for us) because it was our first shot at this sort of thing, but it was a ton of fun.

Plotting UTM coordinates pre-race, just before getting dumped in the middle of a swamp with a map and compass.

Plotting UTM coordinates pre-race, just before getting dumped in the middle of a swamp with a map and compass.

2/21/2015: St. Mary’s River State Park

Short drive to southern Maryland to run the Frozen Heart 50K, which took place on the trails in St. Mary’s River State Park.  This appeared to be a fast course, but that was before it got dumped with snow earlier in the week (six plus inches on the trails; I was lucky to finish only an hour after my original goal time).

Approaching the lake's levee.

The view approaching the lake’s levee.

FrozenHeart50K

All in all, a pretty nice way to spend the morning.