FKT: Jason McVey - Nantahala Adventure Run (NC) - 2023-04-29

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
13h 27m 5s

Had a great day in the mountains! Started at the Bartram Trail parking lot above the duke energy plant with a pack full of basic supplies and all of the nutrition I would need for a long day. There would be many water sources to filter from, and I planned to not carry any more than a liter at a time. Once I was ready, I tagged the yellow blaze on the kiosk, said something like “here goes something”, let out a maniacal laugh, and took off way too fast down the hill heading out in the clockwise direction. My plan was to get all of the nastiest climbs out of the way while my legs were still relatively fresh. The climb up Cheoah went great, although I slipped and fell in one of the creek crossings. Had to act fast and grab my poles before they washed over a cascade and disappeared! 

After I hit the AT, I began to see many thru hikers with lots of smiling faces. Good vibes! Had so much fun on the descent to the NOC. After that, I felt like the work was starting. The climb back out of the NOC is no joke, and felt I had to relax my pace a bit to keep it together. As a side note: the views during much of this climb were spectacular. 

Coincidentally, my lowest moment during the run was on the highest point (Wayah bald) at a little past the 50k mark. I checked my watch at the foot of the tower, and I had already climbed 10,000 of the 13,500 ft total for the entire run. My legs felt shredded from all of the climbing. Also, my stomach was starting to work against me, making it a battle to take in any nutrition and to keep it down. I had to just stand there and take a few deep breaths before continuing. 

It was a bit of a shock after leaving the AT to see how little foot traffic there is on the Bartram. The trail was easy to follow and very well blazed, but there were some overgrown sections, and far more blowdowns to work around. I missed 1 turn around the Nantahala lake area but didn’t get too far before realizing my error and backtracked. I was even telling myself out loud stuff like “pay attention here”, “there are weird turns here, don’t miss them”. Go figure…

By the time I made it to the final descent, I finally had to get my headlamp out. Eventually, I hit the water tower and it was smooth sailing all the way down on gravel road. I startled a bear about a mile from the car. It ran straight up the mountain crashing through everything and dislodged rocks the size of bowling balls that fell back onto the road. I felt obligated and let out a loud “HEY BEAR” and didn’t even break stride. I got very excited when I finally saw my car, and a few seconds later I was back at the kiosk and tagged the yellow blaze again, stopping my watch.