A few months back Gazelle put out the feelers to see who would be interested in a training trip to the mountains (near Floyd, VA) with families. His grandparents have a house there and we could use it. Quite a bit of interest and camping for some was going to be an option. Gazelle was able to secure a second house. All the M’s were on a Group Text and seems there were constant updates (food, plans, etc). The guys had a Group DM on Slack, but it wasn’t quite as much as the M’s. Rafiki and YHC finished up the #StarsAndStripes Challenge the Day before and opted to just do a mile because of the upcoming trip and then the #Covergence boot camp. It was super tough, but we were headed down to the River and thought something in there might fix that.


The drive there was interesting. Quite a few turns and scenic at times. Gazelle and family arrived on the 4th. Mr. Belding and his M arrived early afternoon. YHC was behind Stretch and his crew, but they took a quicker way (or less traffic) and beat us there. Rafiki had to do an OYO drive to Black Mountain to retrieve his family before heading north. We wall got unpacked and found our rooms. We then headed into Floyd to Gazelle’s grandma’s church for some #2ndF. Stretch’s M supplied some spaghetti plus all the other food that was at the church. We had a good time of Fellowship. 2.0’s played on the playground, basketball (may have been a short dad’s game) and had some races. We headed down for the Jamboree and more playground time. Time was getting short so it was time for…

The Thang

Gazelle was kind enough to setup some loops/out and back runs.

Friday night (9pm) – 5 Miles

Run back to the Blue Ridge Parkway from home base and back. Really only one turn off of home base (Walnut Ridge) onto Walnut Knob. When we took off Gazelle mentioned this as good as we were gonna feel all weekend. YHC quickly responded to quick incline within the first 50 steps. YHC was also without a headlight which wasn’t so bad on the way out. Gazelle, Stretch, and Rafiki made it all the way there and came back for the six. They lost Mr. B and YHC after climbing back over the hills. YHC went off-road, but caught himself. Moments later, wasn’t as fortunate and fell face forward (luckily it wasn’t off the side of a mountain). Expletives were said, but not loud enough because the pack kept pushing. YHC recovered only to go a little bit longer and end up in someone’s yard. IT was really confusing, but YHC figured Mr. B would come trotting along and YHC would join him. Found the way back onto the road and headed back toward home base. Once again the guys in front came back for the six. YHC was a little bloodied up on elbows and knees. Before we went into town early, Durantulla (YHC’s 2.1) did roughly the same thing. Guess we wanted to match. Almost forgot, Gazelle and Stretch had Ice Cream right before. It seemed to have worked for them.

Saturday morning (7am) – 9 Miles

Drive back to the Parkway in Gazelle’s vehicle after his M said to make sure we bring towels. Run down Silverleaf Rd. Gazelle, Stretch, Rafiki, and YHC were together on most of this road, even though they had to come back and get YHC on the hills (specially near the Grave Yard). We turned left onto Smartsview Rd, we turned around and headed back once we ran into Franklin Pike. Rafiki stayed back with YHC as the mountains proved that YHC wasn’t #BRRReady yet. We came up on Mr. B and the 2 studs near the end.

YHC’s M had cooking duties (told her to start, as we might be back later). We enjoyed some awesome Breakfast Pie that YHC usually makes, but the M did just fine!

We took a cool down walk (though it got warm) down Walnut Ridge to Outhouse Hill to pick raspberry’s and visit the pond (near where YHC was just the night before).

Mr. B’s M cooked some awesome BBQ sandwiches for lunch!

We tried to rest in between, but the 2.0’s were always up to something. YHC thought he was dreaming when he heard a certain 2.0 peed on the neighborhood dog (Muffin) and also the house. Come to find out it really did happen.

Saturday afternoon (2pm) – 3.5 Miles

Rafiki found these trails before we went up there and wanted to try it. Drive back to the Parkway in Gazelle’s vehicle and down to the trail off the Parkway, towels included. It was a Overlook with a Hiking trail, not a running trail (lol). It was scenic and very technical. No one fell, but YHC did get re-routed and did the loop backwards near the entrance. Noticed from looking at the map, it actually started right near the end of Silverleaf (from our earlier run).

The M’s were going to take the 2.0’s too the farm down the road, they got there, but scared the animals off.

Rafiki grilled out Hamburgers and Hot Dogs. We were all challenged during the meals with the abundance of food.

Saturday night (8pm) – 5 Miles

Drive back to the Parkway in Gazelle’s vehicle, towels included. Mr. B was wise enough and stayed back due to some pain. Run down Cypress Dr, veer right onto Radford and stay to the left till we get to Cypress (take a left). If you wanted 5 miles (YHC did not), turn right onto Kelley’s Dr to the end (the Dump) and back to the start. YHC got back after the 3 mile loop and was taking in the hill a few times before Gazelle and Stretch said they were going to run back to home base. YHC found Rafiki and he was ready to drive back to home base.

Sunday morning (6am) – 7 Miles

The route was Friday night mixed with Saturday nights. Mr. B stayed this one out. Rafiki made it to the Parkway. YHC turned around at the farm and did some more active walking recovery once returning to home base.

Gazelle’s M had eggs and sausage ready while everyone rolled out of the bed/shower. Then packed up what we could.

An appointment was made with the farmers for the PAX to take the 2.0s down to the farm for another attempt, while the M’s cleaned. Stretch had a huddle before we all road in Rafiki’s new suburban (14 of us). We saw the Jacob’s Sheep moving around and then heading out to pasture when we got there. We could see the goats and llamas in the distance. Then the farmers showed up with their dog (Jake). They let us in back with the goats and llamas. Rafiki’s 2.1 wasn’t close enough, so he went right in and got spit on from one of the llamas. Some of the 2.0’s got to milk one of the goats and fed them as well. Some cows came down and some fed them as well. The 2.0’s did really well, probably due to the PAX though!

We ate left overs from the previous meals, took a pic, and said our see you soons!


What an awesome time, except for the running! The M’s and 2.0’s got along great! We barely outnumbered the kids, thanks to Muggsy staying home. Seven of the 2.0’s were boys, with just 2 girls. All were under age 11.

We all were tested to our limits on the runs. Some more than others. Mr. B is working on getting his mileage up. YHC needs to work on the hills some more. Rafiki was a little gassed, but still went the prescribed distance each time. Gazelle and Stretch made it look all too easy, but YHC knows it wasn’t that easy!

Thanks to Gazelle for making this possible! He mentioned during the Saturday afternoon run that he tried to coax some others into coming. Tonka asked who was coming and he mentioned YHC’s name. Tonka’s response was something like, Cousin IT is down for anything! That’s about right! As long as it is with my brothers and it makes it even better having the families!

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