I love this trail and this national park. When we drive up there to run it from south Louisiana, we feel like we are in a completely different state with the piney woods, ridge lines, and expansive views. The soft trail and lack of any real roots is always a nice change, too. There are a couple of spots with some loose sand (Sandstone Trail), but those spots are few and short, and are more than made up for with the clear, soft packed spots that are so much fun to run!
This year we are adding a rope to Spa 21 (a water crossing just past the mile 21 marker), just in case we encounter flooding like we had last year. Normally, you can make it across this spot without getting your feet wet, but we have learned with excessive rain, it can get a bit higher. :-) It just adds an element of adventure into your run.
|Measuring a water crossing can be hard work.|
As with Loup Garou, there are no earlier cutoffs for the 50k and 100k. You have the same time cutoff as the 100 milers, so there is plenty of time if you want to hike the loop, or if you are interested in doing your first ultra, but you are worried about your time. If we are going to be out there all night, I don't see any reason to kick you guys off of the trail early.
Once again, we are also bringing Red Dirt Ultra labelled beer along to give out at packet pickup, as well as plenty to have on ice for the finish line, and our friends with Terra Rouge Cafe will be back with all of the hot food you want after the race.
Good luck with your training, and I am looking forward to spending the weekend with all of you in this beautiful National Forest (don't call it a park - they don't like that). :-)