This trail is what it's all about when it comes to southern trail running. Steep terrain, wilderness, and great mountain views. When planning for the double and thinking about my time on the single, I forgot how truly rugged this thing really is. You cross through the Shining Rock Wilderness where the trail is poorly marked and sometimes nothing more than a game trail. Gaia was a huge help here. I knew that I would have to run through the night so I chose to start in the afternoon so I could finish in the morning.
I did it totally unsupported carrying everything with me in an 8 liter pack and filtering water along the way. Water is sparse on this trail, so planning out water stops in summer is important. Filtering water ate up quite a bit of time. Most of the water spots I found were just a small trickle from a spring. My friends gave me some good beta on water and told me not to drink the water at Butter Gap shelter. I had cool temps the entire time with no rain, and only saw one bear and a small rattlesnake. I took a wrong turn once on the way back and got a bonus .4.
Black Balsam at 2 am was the highlight. A full moon and steady mountain breeze made for a pleasant evening.
I started at the Davidson River Campground and turned around at the Boy Scout Camp. I was very very happy to see that gate at the end!
Admin Note: This FKT is flagged because Jason went off route between Ivestor Rock Gap and Shining Rock Gap, ~2 miles in each direction. Jason took the Ivestor Gap Trail in this section. Don't do this!