North Fork Mountain Trail Run

This is a club event of the West Virginia Trail Runners. It is a run on the North Fork Mountain Trail, down in southern West Viriginia. It’s actually on the mountaintop behind Seneca Rocks.
The biggest problem with running on top of a mountain is there is no water supply. The plan this year was to drive a bunch of cars to the top of the mountain (driven part the second half runners) for the first half runners to drive back to the campground.

I arrived in the early afternoon at the campground, set up the tent, and retired to the shade. The talk was of the heat of the next day..I was quickly waffling on whether to run the full 24 miles, or start at the half-way point, since I had run the first 12 miles the year theyear before. I actally went over to Seneca Rocks this year, and hiked the 1.5 miles to the overlook. Great view, but stil a hot hazy afternoon. I decided to run with Siobhan, who runs about my pace, and we would run the second half.

We all drove up to the starting point, to drop off the full and first half runners, and to take the obligatory starting line pics. Siobhan and I did not plan this before!

Once we did the scary drive to the top of the mountain, to the halfway point, Siobhan and I took off. The first mile is actually back down the same road, and then we were off on the trail. I actually preferred the second half of the trail, but this time I was ready for the rocks. It’s very rocky, pretty technical, but with some good sections of smoother single track. There was also some sections with overgrown mountain laurels, where you had to bring up your hands up to your face to kind of protect it.
The first lead runners (who had already run twelve miles) caught up to us about 20 minutes after we started. A few more people passed us, including some who yelled at us to climb up to a senic overlook.

It was a very hot day out there and we were glad we had only 12 miles to run. The trail gets more rocky. Dan, our fearless leader had cautioned us on two forks in the trail-luckily I was paying attention on a good downhill stretch, and we managed to make the fork. A little distance further, the trail was not marked with the blue blazes, and I had just turned to reconnioter, I was afraid we had taken the wrong fork, when Siobhan’s father, Charlie arrived. Charlie was an old veteran on the trail and we were going the correct way. Charlie would run with us the rest of the way, which was good, since we were all getting tired by this point. The last two miles were downhill, but very rocky, and full of loose shale. It was hard to keep the feet under you.

It was good to get back to the campground for cool showers, lots and lots of food, with lots and lots of beer and wine (but that’s a whole separate post in itself!!)

I got up way early Sunday, I had been dreaming of a bottle of water–yes I was dehydrated. Once up, I decided to strike the tent and get home earlier than planned. I was home, after my four hour drive, around noon. I was a little stiff after the drive, but I hope to be back next year for the run-next year, really, the full 24 miles!

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