The ascent is ever changing. I float up the winding smooth singletrack, but the last mile is humbling, with brutal high stepping rocks and poor footing. I've been reduced to a fumbling power hike. 4mi, 3600' and 1:05 later I summit (avg 20% grade), and I suddenly feel the breeze and taste the air, as if my mind was too consumed to notice it in my wave of adrenaline. From the summit I can see Three Ridges Mtn, 3870', which ascends from the same trailhead, and I am over struck with the desire to simply sit, and stare off into the distant horizon.
I leave with a sense that this place, and I, await my imminent return. Whether my feet grace the tops of these peaks again, or whether my eyes greet them from a far distant peak I cannot say, but what I am sure of is the sense of timeless being this place invokes.
This route's totals: 18mi, 3hr30min, ~6400' (last 4.3mi are all decent), on Appalachian Trail. Knee (IT band) felt surprisingly ok, and actually felt fine the next day, a good sign for a slow coming recovery. Over the next two weeks or so I'll really start to push and see how much I can up the volume in all respects.
Below is the elevation profile for the first half of the run: this was an out and then back.
The ascent of Three Ridges Mtn, is 6miles from the base to the summit. I ran a little past the summit to high rock vista, the pictures should more than show why.
Shape Shifter by Local Natives