Why aren’t there more folks out here enjoying these incredible trails just 15 minutes from most Ashevillians’ doorsteps?
That's what Trish Brown, elite Asheville trail runner, asked. Maybe people just don't know where to go. So she designed, planned, and wrote Asheville Trail Running: Taking Bent Creek and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in Stride. But this book is not just for runners - With 25 loops in Bent Creek and seven on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, it's a major resource for hikers as well.
Consider the Lake Loop; it's 1.72 miles, a perfect loop if you have friends who say that "they don't hike." If you want to take nonhiking friends on a real hike, you can walk the 5.4 miles of the Cherokee Loop. I'll speed walk it and say I've exercised for the day.
But if you are a trail runner, try the Anne Riddle Lundblad Loop - 19.5 miles. Lundblad with two other women ran the CMC SB6K last year and is the toughest runner in the area. This run could be good training for the Shut-In Race.
In college Trish majored in mathematics and went on to receive a Masters in Statistics. And her book reflects this desire for accuracy. She used a Garmin GPS, then biked the trails with a pedometer and then rehiked the loops with a calibrated wheel - the last also used by Walt Weber on his MST book. Every loop was “beta tested” by a runner unfamiliar with that particular trail so that directions could be checked.
The book is spiral bound so you can lay it down and photocopy a run before you go out. But the best part is Trish's Carry Cards in the back of the book. These are basic "turn left, turn right" directions that you can cut out, laminate, and carry on the run.
Check out the book at the usual local places or on her website.