Sunday, June 10, 2012

Days on the Highlands

It was a good weekend stacked up on the Laurel Highlands Trail.

Run with Slim Friday, then work aid on Saturday for the race.

After a few changes of who was running what; who needed a ride; who was working aid; it bottomed out rather simply for me: meet Slim at Maple Summit Road Trail Head, mile 11 on t he Laurel Highlands Trail. Run to Ohiopyle (mile zero) , run back to mile 8, then run back to Ohiopyle for dinner with friends.

Overlook Mile 3

Overlook Mile 8

Slim at Mile 8

Of course, that plan was changed on the fly to accommodate what-ever-the-hell we were doing.  I did meet Slim at mile 11, we ran down to Ohiopyle, rather effortlessly, got some food and drink in town. (Slim had arrived on the LH Thursday, and had already done 30 miles when he met up with me.)

We got back to mile six, right where the shelter turnoff is, and right where the climb to mile 8 begins.I pointed to the gasline right-of-way, and suggested we climb it, and then descend down it to the river.

I've ascended this climb once before, with Gombu last year, and it's a good climb.  Almost elevator like, in grade.  Sweat was dripping off the face and arms on this climb.  ( I don't remember it being this steep...)

We finally  hit the summit, and then start the descent.  Honestly, I think the descent is worse, because the grade is very steep in spots, and I am trying now to brake with the quads.  I am trying to turn over, turn over, the feet, so I am not "braking" which can kill the quads.

We cross the LH trail and keep descending to the railroad tracks, where the Yough River lies beyond. We can't spot a quick place to ascend to the river, so Slim wants to find the creek to ascend where the Mile 6 Shelters (and water) are.   We wander down a rough jeep road for about one mile, then return to our starting point..where we find the creek we are looking for.

It's much easier to just climb up the creek bed than bushwhack next to the creek bed, and it's actually cooler.
Plus, it's good Hardrock training to run around with wet feet too..

Sure enough, the creek bed led us to the Shelters at Mile Six, where we refreshed our water supplies.

Slim was pushing me to climb the mile 6 hill and go out to mile 8 again, but I looked at the watch (and my hungry belly) and opted for just the six miles back to Ohiopyle, where a soaking in the Yough  River and food and beer awaited us.

We chat with just one hiker at mile 3. Then we chat with two young kids, with a dog,at mile marker one.  We say good day, and I take one step, and as I set my right foot down, I see


It was very quick. I did not scream like a little bitch, but I did eek something out, as my brain went through-That's  A COPPERHEAD-and I hopped way out of the way.

Everyone stopped;  Slim, the couple with the dog that we had just chatted with, literally one feet away from this snake!

I got the picture, and Slim poked it with a stick (ala Cartman) and it moved off the trail.  Yep, I will quite remember what the markings are on a copperhead from now on!

Slim and I got back to Ohiopyle, and headed to the river, to soak the legs.  The Yough River felt great to sit in. I went in, up to my waist.  The late afternoon sun was hot on the upper body, yet the lower body was chilling in the river. The only thing better would have been if our burgers, fries, and craft brews could have been on the little rock ledge next to us.

We run into Cousin Tim, and Moose (who we were looking for..) on our way to the Falls Pub.

In season, there are many more places to eat/restaurants in Ohiopyle.

But out of season, in  Ohiopyle, there really is only the Falls Pub.

Which is parked at the end of the Laurel Highlands Trail.

How awesome is that, for a pub?  You may not understand how awesome it is, to come off the trail, cold/hot,dirty, to nice hot food, and nice beers.

Tbe Falls Pub is open year round, and always accessible to us, especially in the off season in the Ohiopyle tourist season.  Their food has alway been good, so it's now to patronize them in season, and off season there.

We had burgers, fries, and beer, and walked back over to the Yough Motel in Ohiopyle, where Cousin Tim, and Moose, who were running the 70.5 mile and 50K, respectively.  We had a few more beers courtesy of Moose, then I heard tell that the *overnight* running section was starting one hour earlier than planned, so I wanted to get Slim and I out of Ohiopyle as quickly as possible.

*The overnight running was Cam starting at mile 31, and running to mile zero.  He was then sweeping the 50K course out of Ohiopyle.
Slim was (after his 30 miles on Thursday and Thursday nite) (and 26 miles with me on Friday) was going to accompany Cam from miles 31 back to his vehicle, next to mine, at mile 11.  (Yes, another 20 miles for Slim.)

I slept in my vehicle, at the trailhead, at mile 11.  I knew Slim would be back at his van, next to me, somewhere before sunrise, so I felt pretty safe.  There was also no other vehicles in the parking lot at dusk, so I felt fine with Slim going up north for his run.

The birds woke me at daybreak, and Slim had indeed returned to his van..I didn't hear anything the night before!!

I got busy making trail head breakfast..Starbucks instant coffee via the Jet Boil, and then trail skillets.

Trail Skillet: The day before, cook up potatoes.  Chop up and saute with onions, throw in plastic bag.
With your single propane burner, throw some olive oil into the pan, add the pre-cooked potatoes to warm up. Crack a couple eggs into the potatoes. Add some ham, sprinkle some shredded cheese on top.  It takes about 3 minutes to have a nice hearty breakfast.

At the same time, Rich had arrived with the aid station equipment, and all the runner crews were also arriving very quickly. I got a few of them to help carry my AS stuff down to the trail head.

 Once the first fast guys came through, it got very busy at the AS.  Mile 11 was the first AS for the runners; and they had done the tough first eight miles:

These hills are the only big section of hils on the LHHT; you are then almost on the ridge completely for the rest. Sure, there are a few climbs here and there,  but nothing like miles zero to eight.

It was a great morning. We got to see many many friends, lots of VHTRC runners had come a little north for the race, so it was nice to be able to give back to folks that I've seen on the other side of the AS table.

Too busy to take pictures, which worked out since my phone died and I forgot the card for the camera!

All too soon, the runners were finished, I made more trail skillets for Cam, as he swept through, and the rest of us, and I had no other excuse except to go on home!!

Great two days on the trail, it was greatly needed!!


  1. Great photos, Kimba! Good to see you all had a great time.

  2. You are too kewell :)
    pics are great also.

  3. Kimba,

    Thanks again to you, Jim and the rest of the guys for helping me out on a bad day. Great breakfast, too!!!

    P.S. Great pics...I stopped at the same spots on 3 and 8 to soak it in for a bit.


  4. Thanks so much for being out there. So great to see you!

    Your weekend was amazing! I think I need to find a way to live more like you. What fun!!


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