Monday, August 27, 2012

Another Pumpkin Holler Fun Run

The TOTs took to the roads to run on some new dirt. The destination? Pumpkin Holler!! 25 peeps made the trip, including a couple of our Arkansas friends.
We met at the Turkey Mountain parking lot, and carpooled and caravaned to Eagle Bluff, then regrouped followed the race route to the Nickel Family Nature Preserve. Some were wanting to run long--20ish, a few ran the whole 27 mile loop, and another group ran 6 miles across the 25K course which crosses the nature preserve.
This area is 17,000 acres of paradise, completely undeveloped, with just a very few gravel and closed jeep trails there. It is home to elk, deer, and probably black bear, mountain lions, and big foot.
I led the shorter distance runners. We were shuttled to the far end of the preserve, and then ran 6 miles back to our cars. There was no way to get lost, so I told the runners to run their own desired pace and not to think they had to follow my pokie pace. You can see from this picture that they readily took to this suggestion.
Atop the preserve. It was a misty overcast day, and in fact rained hard for a few brief periods.
Shorty, Nedra, and Travis are cooking along a long gradual downhill section.
There are no bathrooms anywhere. Or there are bathrooms everywhere. Just depends on how willing you are to get close to nature. Shorty, Nedra, and Mishelle used the shelter of this trail for  rest stop.
Only appropriate that this was the Wetlands Trail. LOL
This run started with almost three miles of climbing, then a couple of flat to slightly downhill running and a mile of super fast decent. Our group made it to the nature center just before the hard rains commenced. The longer runners got a good soaking.
We hung out under the wrap-around porch of the center. This building is a very cool facility, but I havce NEVER seen it open.
K2, Mitch, and I went out for some bonus miles, running on the main course to East of Eden, and then we did the Great Gourd Challenge Hill.
This optional out-and-back in the race is flattish for 2/10 of a mile, and then climbs 250 feet in .3 miles. Runners choosing to take this challenge will add a mile to their race, and will get a pin that states they completed the Great Gourd Challenge. This is a super steep climb--a real character builder.
Upon getting back to the nature center, Stormy and I walked out a half mile to see if a certain jeep trail looked like a good possible run. It does look like there could be a good out-and-back run here. This jeep road crosses some nature trails that I have ran before. They are short trails, and quite ticky during the warmer months. Good winter runs though.
In the back of the maintenance barn, we saw these bear traps, affirming that there ARE bear in this part of the state. I ended up with 11 miles for the day. I felt great--it was nice to have a run that felt good.

About a dozen of the gang staggered into Sam and Ella's Chicken Palace--for pizza. This restaurant server the best pizza around, but no chicken.
I probably would not order the chicken here anyway, but with pizza like this, why would you order anything else?
This was "the Big Sloppy Pie", and if definitely replaced any calories I might have burned while running. Any run in Tahlequah should be rewarded here.

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