(Click on the picture for a larger view)
The boys built a massive, and one of the best, fire rings I've seen. We were in for quite a blaze.
An interesting story began to emerge late in the day. We were in the middle of no where, roughing it, with no water source. Everything we had we brought with us. We were all patting ourselves on the back for our 3-4 mile up hill journey. Around 4 pm a man with a camel back, trail shoes, and bib number on his shorts came racing through our campsite. Later another man, and another. Then some women. It didn't take us long to figure out we were on a major artery for an endurance race taking part that very day. These folks were participating in the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run and we were sitting at about the 70 mile mark!
All afternoon and late into the night these folks came very quietly up and over the crest where we camped. Every time one came through, the boys would pause to clap and cheer and wish the runners luck. You can see the smiles on their faces below as they ran into this unanticipated welcoming party. It was a hoot and a very positive inspiration for all of us. All night long we saw little LED lights come quietly through our camp. It was humbling and (almost) made us feel guilty for curling up in our warm sleeping bags and snoozing the night away.
(If you are curious about this event please see this race summary by race sponsor Virginia Happy Trails Running Club. I contacted their webmaster and they included a link to this blogpost. Make sure you read the comments below this post.)
As we broke camp and headed down the mountain we were still occasionally passed by the ultra runner who had literally been up all night running through the forest. Many appeared to be in their 50s and 60s. Every time they passed, the Troop would part like Moses parting the sea and cheer the runners on. I hope they all reached their personal goals and got home safely.