FKT: Chris Deming - Iron Trail ( CT) - 2021-01-16

Route variation
Stone Mtn, out & back (11 miles)
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
2h 33m 2s

"If you can't be fast, be first!" The route is Beckley Furnace to Stone Man Mountain summit out and back - Furnace to Summit to Furnace - Iron Trail route variation as suggested by Ryan Williams. The trail was a combination of snow, slush, ice and mud. There was a light rain, and it was about 37 degrees Farenheit.  The climb up the old charcoal road to the Iron Trail's plateau was slowed by about an inch of soft snow on the surface. The deep ruts filled with water and mud on the flat section were more challenging as there were plenty of opportunities for slipping or breaking through the thin layer of ice into the puddles.  And the trips up and down the steeper trail on Stone Man Mountain required some crawling where traction couldn't be held.

Near the summit of Stone Man Mountain, I wasted a lot of time searching for the trail (which was otherwise easy to follow).  On a previous run, I had turned around before reaching the actual summit, as I discovered looking at a map afterward.  I got to this point this time, and although I knew the trail continued, but with the snow and the fact that the trail actually descends a good bit before resuming the climb to the summit, I could not find the trail for a while.  (My .gpx file and strava page show some back-tracking and searching at this point.)  But I did find it eventually, and the summit is marked definitively with a five foot tall cairn of large rocks on an even bigger rock outcropping.

The plus side of running in the snow was that I could follow my outbound footsteps  on my return trip without having to look for blazes.  I didn't carry any food or water.