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Monday, January 18, 2010

Springtime (?) in Sugar Grove

After the arctic start to the year, this weekend welcomed us in the NC/TN Appalachians with spring like temps and feel. We had some rain, some sun and a little warm breeze too! I am still taking 'er easy after the recent marathon but on Saturday I did go out for a jaunt. No expectations or plans except to get in an easy 30 minutes minimum.

So in short shorts I took a few steps down the driveway, the first steps of a daily adventure! On I went down to the Watauga and back up the other side. Onto face the sketchy traffic of HWY321 and then over into Beech Mtn. community where a choice was waiting.

At 25 minutes in I could turn and head for the shed... or... there is this hill, this big steep hill, that goes on for about 2 miles. The grade pushes 25% in places and when you wind your way to the top after15 or 18 or however many inconsequential minutes has passed... you get the full lay of the Watauga River valley from below Beech Mountain.

Well, I knew before I put on my shoes I suppose that something like this was the order of the day for this run. So up I went, passing little trailers and old homes with permanent, out-of-business yard sales on the front stoops... out would run dogs, ushering me through their domain, some playing in the lingering snow, some just running frantically and barking.

I just greet them saying, "hey, pup! don't mind me... just passing through..." and the dog allows my passage up the steep hillside.

Soon enough I reach the apex around 45 minutes into the run. Being winter time, post marathon and a gorgeous day, I stopped and took in the scene. Chimneys smoking in the distance, white washed fields and grid plots of Frasier Fir covering the round mounds of Watauga County below the high ridge designating Cherokee National Forest land and beginning the state we call Tennessee.

After 2 1/2 miles of descent completing the loop I found that I had an easy 10 miler under my belt for the day. Of to study Calculus and complete the reading of Huck Finn. Not a bad day for January.


  1. Sounds like a great day, especially with finishing a good book.

  2. 25% grade? Did you take your climbing gear? That is a hill my friend. Love your posts...

  3. 25%!?!?? Wow, that would be fun and a nightmare at the same time. The view sounds awesome.


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