Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Shenandoah National Round 3--Second Day

I'm definitely a bit behind the gun in updating my blog on all of my recent relevant activities.  I plan to chip away at the back log over the next week but with T-day and the whole fam visiting it may take a while.

First up is Monday the 25th (yesterday) and my 7th day down in SNP in this Aconcagua training cycle.   I did the Mathews Arm/Overrall Run Long Circuit.  It was billed as a 7:30 long strenous trek that covered 11.8 miles and featured 2900 vertical feet.

I left the Best Western in Luray at 7 am and hit the local 7-11 for a muffin.  I rolled through Thornton Gap at 7:20 and finished my basic prep at Panorama by 7:30.  I had a half-hour to wait before the Northern Sector gate opened and I occupied myself by reading a summit report of Cho Oyu.  At 8 I was at the entrance gate and talked to a Park Ranger and shared with him my "bear experience" from Sunday--he was not alarmed and said there was a surplus of mother bears with cubs in the park this fall season.

I headed out on my hike by 8:30.  It was about 16 degrees but with no wind it felt a great deal warmer than yesterday.  The first part of the hike was on the AT and I soon found myself at the (closed) Mathews Arm campground where I found this helpful reminder:

The first part of the trek involved a long descent down the Heiskell Hollow Trail.  I think this is a relatively unused trail and with a huge leave fall it was somewhat difficult and slow going:

 Near the bottom of the ravine I descended I made the right turn and traversed North to the Overall Run Valley.  This presented some challenging route finding but with the sun out I was able to orient fairly well even when I lost the actual trail (I never had to break my compass out):

 At just before 6 miles I had successfully completed the traverse and was at the bottom of the Overall Run valley.  I knew I was looking at a nearly 6 mile climb and it was around 11:30 or so and I stopped to eat a lunch.  It was delightful--no wind and the temp had risen to about 25 degrees.  After the events of yesterday (me and the Bear family) I opted to not sit on a tree but just plunked down in the leaves besides the trail and enjoyed the sunlight and silence:

 I stripped down to just a base layer and my soft shell--it was near perfect trekking conditions in my view.  After about 15 minutes--and my only appreciable stop on this day--I started the long ascent.  A mile or so up the trail I passed these inviting (if it was summer) swimming holes:

 The 9th mile was especially arduous, but as I gained altitude I also gained some great perspectives--especially of the 300 ft+ Overall Run Falls, now frozen in all of their glory:

So at the end of the day the real stats were: 11.7 miles that took 6:12 to complete.  I actually climbed over 3400 feet which makes sense to me since I covered a couple of more miles yesterday in about the same time.  There was more climbing and less favorable footing today than the day before.

Great training day and thouroughly enjoyable day in God's great country.  I've now completed 8 major trekking/climbing days in this training cycle and have logged 87 hours in my Aconcagua specific training.  This compares to the 29 hours I logged before I got on the plane to Argentina last year.  Here is the Garmin data from Monday:

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