Friday, August 26, 2011

Dupont Forest Waterfall Bonanza 2011

This weekend was the 7th running of Adam Hill's Dupont Waterfall Bonanza. This year, Charles was here to run with me and as a bonus, we got a little Pitchell training run in the night before.

...Because like you, the first thing we think after signing up for a 22-mile adventure run is, "What would Carl Laniak do?" “Man, how can we make this even MORE adventure-y?”

OK, I admit, you might not actually think that way. But I know at least 8 people who DO, and that makes me a very lucky girl.

PART I: Friday Night Pitchell Preview/ Reverse Shut In Night Run

For those of you who don't know what the Pitchell is, it's yet another awesome annual run hosted by Mad A, usually in October, whereby you start at midnight on the summit of Mt. Pisgah and run, hike, and crawl 67 miles to the finish on the summit of Mt. Mitchell.

It's a fire breathing B....E.....A...S....T.

Having run about 50 miles of the 67 mile course last year, I've made the Pitchell one of 2011's very few focused race attempts. To say I am STOKED about this run is a complete understatement.

Now, if you don't know what the Shut In Trail is, then you shouldn't be reading this blog go here.

On Friday night, 8 of us met at the French Broad River Bridge, and discussed various scenarios of shuttling cars up and down the trail. Charles and I decided to run from the Pisgah parking lot to Beaver Dam Gap with Dave Pryor and his dog, Pepper, while everyone else was in for the full 18, and Mohammed was in for additional bonus miles (and bonus POINTS for driving up from Charlotte just for Pitchell training).

For Charles, a Reverse Shut In run would serve as both his first (is that right?) look at the Pitchell course and his first time on the Shut In Trail. What a cool introduction, huh? On the way up the BRP to Mt. Pisgah, I really enjoyed watching him take in the beauty of the Parkway and the mountains. I feel so lucky to live in such a special place.

This was a really cool night training run (but then, any run that includes good friends, dogs, and moonshine is bound to be cool).

PART II : Waterfall Bonanza 2011

Fresh from both hours of sleep, we arrived at the Hooker Falls parking lot the next morning in plenty of time to catch up with old friends, even if just for a minute. It was fantastic to see Jon and Melissa Harrison again- and their awesome dog Luna. They have had an amazing summer, and I was really looking forward to catching up on their adventures in Spain.

Adam arrived about 9 a.m., passed out maps of the route to everyone, and after a couple of group pictures, we all took off from the parking lot and ran up the paved road for the first mile or so.

I do remember hating the first paved mile or so of this run from last year, and I decided to walk some of it with Gail Leedy. What I failed to remember from last year was how much of the early miles are uphill, and how it seems like you will never arrive at the first falls.

We ran with Lily and Jon and Melissa for most of this first part, diligently retrieving the pretty pink trail flags and giving them to Luna.

About 8 very long miles later, we arrived at Bridal Veils Falls. Awesome!

After Bridal Veil Falls, we followed the trail for about 1/2 mile to the spot where the 10-mile folks turned in a different direction to head back. We were following the 22-mile route, so we ran another 10 miles before we finally hit Wintergreen Falls.

This section was tough. The humidity was getting to me, and I was starving, and after a while I was just done. But I have to admit, this section was quite beautiful, and included a very cool lake (of which I did not get a picture) and a very, very unusual tree.

The remainder of the run was a death march, and I couldn't wait for it to end so we could go to the post run get together at the Foxworth's. We een by-passed a couple of the last waterfalls since we had just visited them a month or so ago.

In summary, this is a really lame race report this is a really cool run and a great way to see all 6 waterfalls in Dupont State Forest. If you're in it for the waterfalls, I recommend the 10-mile loop. Last year, I ran the 10-mile loop twice. With less mileage and more waterfalls, it was the way to go.

I hate that I just was not feeling it out there, but we had an absolute blast at the Foxworth's house afterward. I'm still laughing at the impromptu "calf off"shenanigans!!

Thanks for the awesome run, Adam, and thanks for a great post-run gathering Terry and Nicole. See ya next year!


  1. That sounds like an awesome race. I love waterfalls.

  2. wish i had made it. Looks like a lot of fun. Nice report Psyche. Enjoyed reading it. May be next year.

  3. What a cool run that was! This is one to put on my to do list!