Flat Rock & Tuscarora Trail Long Run

I woke up early for a Sunday morning to a sleeping household.   Made 3 pieces of cinnamon sugar French toast with walnuts, finished up breakfast, packed my hydration vest with water and fuel, and drove to North Mountain.  

The plan was to run up to Flat Rock (2.5 miles) and then continue on the Tuscarora another 2.5 and then head back.

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This sign greets you at the trailhead in Colonel Denning State Park.  Getting to Flat Rock is basically all uphill and many parts are very rocky. 

 

 

 

 

There was a family enjoying an early morning campfire as I started up the trail.  Other than them, I didn’t see anyone else until I got up to the wagon wheel where 6 trails meet. It was a group of overnight campers.  Because of the steep elevation, I ran and power hiked where I couldn’t run.  It is a great workout and this run overall was much harder than my half last weekend!

 

 

When I reached Flat Rock, I was alone to enjoy the awesome views of Big Spring.

I ate half a Honey Stinger Waffle I had left from last week’s race and then continued on the Tuscarora Trail.  More rocks and a descent down the other end of the mountain, through Oak groves, rhododendron paths, and then it flattened out and took me through a valley between the mountain on one side and rocky hillside on the other.  I spooked about 6 deer along this stretch and then turned around to face the ascent back up to Flat Rock. I ate a few pretzels along the way to replace my salt.  It was humid this morning!

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Back at Flat Rock.  Are a Shot Blok and then enjoyed the 2.5 miles downhill!
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One of the less rocky sections.
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Part of the downhill back to the car.  I took this pic on the way up.  There was no way I was stopping on the downhill for anything!

Many hikers were out by the time I was running down.  One guy joked and said I was showing off as I ran down.  Another older gentlemen said “good for you running down that hill!”.

So that was my peaceful morning.  I always feel better connecting with nature like this.  Only myself to take care of and only my thoughts to keep my company.

Overall I think I had at least 2500 ft of elevation gain of not more.  Foam rolling and easy cycling on tap for tomorrow!

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