Saturday July 11th, I met up with Steve Chaffee and we drove down and picked up Michele Fanton and Ayda (not sure about the spelling) the dog. It took us about 2.5 hours, with the last 1/2 hour being a 10 mile drive down Pleasant Stream Road to drop a cooler (our aid station) and drive the 3.5 miles to the parking area. We got ready to go, and had a little hangup getting the 100 yards to the trailhead, when some guys Weimarhanar decides to hold Ayda at point until his owner showed up with his other two dogs to state "jeesh, I didn't think there would be so many people around". Fortunately, that was the last unleashed dog we saw all day.
The trailhead going Clockwise from the Masten parking lot starts off uphill from the road, with a fairly reasonable climb.
We had known there was a possibility of nettles from this guy's posts and youtube video - http://youtu.be/7AaQ00wBUxE, but didn't expect to hit them within the first 1/4 mile. No way around them, and they had pretty well overgrown the trail so we just bull through them and keep going. Irritation only lasted about 5-10 minutes, and wasn't really that bad. Steve and Michele who was leashed to Ayda pulled away and went right up the climb. I knew it would be a super long day if I pushed myself too hard, especially right off the bat, so I kept myself in my zone and bulled uphill.
Not too far into the run things flattened out and it was nice.
We continued on across a creek and through some absolutely stunning woods. On the side of a ridge with huge pines, which would have made a great photo op, but I was busy trying to catch up on the flats and downhills when I could.
Around 5 miles in we could hear Yellow Dog Run, the creek that flowed into Rock Run which Steve had told us was a beautiful place to stop and take a rest and enjoy the views. It wasn't long until we came up on the creek.
About a mile fruther along we came to the junction, and took a break and a couple of photo's, and soaked our feet. The holes looked deep enough to jump into without touching the bottom, and Steve contemplated it, but decided against it.
After leaving this little haven, we climbed uphill for about 1.3 miles, climbing about 600 feet. Then things flatten out and you go through another real pretty set of pines and ferns around mile 8.
After 3 more miles of comfortable trail you turn off to climb Sullivan Mountain which offers some great views. We stopped a couple of times along this portion for photo ops also, and to enjoy the views.
After Sullivan you start to descend towards the road where we left the cooler. We still had about 3.5 miles till the road, but it's a nice route down. It can be technical at sections, and one segment had the creek you run along re-route itself to go right down the Loggers Path, but it was refreshing on the feet, and no-one complained.
We got to the road around mile 16.5 and stopped for some food and drink before making the trip back to the car. Steve said this is the spot he leaves the cooler, and if you decide to go on from here you have two more pretty good climbs. One within the first few miles after crossing the road and Pleasant Stream. We spent 10 minutes enjoying our food and ice cold water and got back on the road heading for our big cooler and a soak in the stream. You can just see Steve's back to the right of the big tree when he grabbed the cooler in this spot. We wanted to make sure it was hidden so we didn't come back to an empty cooler.
One of the best finish line aid stations I have been to.
Strava of our run https://www.strava.com/activities/344046115