Overview : The Upchuck 50K is a wilderness trail run/race on the Cumberland Trail just outside of Chattanooga based on the experience of 2 local ... more »
The Upchuck 50K is a wilderness trail run/race on the Cumberland Trail just outside of Chattanooga based on the experience of 2 local ... more »runners. The guys were on a weekend training run and stopped at a convenience store about halfway through the 31 mile route. Runner A ate lightly while runner B ate heavily. Soon thereafter runner B proceeded to disgorge his meal on the trail while runner A looked on in disgust.
This is a no frills trail race limited to 75 runners with very little support. The views are spectacular, the trail is technical and demanding, and the race has become a classic each November as part of the Salomon/Rock Creek Trail Series. The runners park in Soddy Daisy, Tn, and are bused to the start at Lower Leggett Road in Sale Creek. The rule of thumb is to add 45 minutes to your StumpJump time. less «
This is not a beginner's race. Do not attempt unless you are experienced and prepared.
Pay attention to course markings especially... more » at roads and intersections. The CT is well marked with white blazes.
This is a remote area trail. We lose runners every year at this race even though the course is marked and you are on the Cumberland Trail. The course will not be heavily marked. It is on you to stay on CT until directed off. Follow the white blazes of the CT. Double blaze means a turn or deviation. You will be crossing creeks which may be deep after a heavy rain. Food and water are mandatory no matter the time of year. In summer bring more water than you will need. In winter, take that extra layer of clothing or rain gear just in case. Tell someone you are heading out in the woods. You can do an out and back on sections or use 2 cars. This is a great section of the CT, but be prepared. less «
The CT has signs and markers all over the place so pay attention. Many turns have arrows with or without a Main Trail sign. I ran the course for first time and had only one confusing intersection at beginning. Entire course is signed and very well marked. Pay attention at intersections and then confirm you are on trail by use of white blazes.
The first section of trail is 1.2 miles long and is called the Rock Creek Access Trail. There are blue blazes on this section. You will cross a couple of small bridges while following the course of Rock Creek. There are some side trails leading to creek and this area is well-used so look for blazes. It is flat at the start and then gets into some ... Moresmaller hills as you approach the CT.Less
We only saw 1 deer all day. Granted it was August and 90 degrees, but we also saw a few lizards and toads and plantlife and trees and more trees and even more trees. Lots of mushrooms and fungus and stuff like that. Under many of the cliffs there were lots of spider traps in the loose dirt.More Less
Your first large bridge of the day spans Rock Creek. This 80-foot fiberglass bridge has a nice swimming hole down to left. On the day I ran it we did course in reverse and cooled off in creek below.
You've got a nice climb out of this gorge, there's even a ladder.
There is a sharp downhill that drops you onto an ATV trail. Turn right to Little Possum Creek crossing, no bridge. Cross over and pick back up the trail. There are some intersecting trails here so confirm where you are going with signs and blazes. There is a small CT sign with arrow on far side of creek.
You pop out on a dirt road. Turn left downhill towards creek. Cross concrete road over culverts and keep right around corner. Look for trail on right just 50 yards or so up road after turn. This turn is easy to miss if you are not paying attention. You will soon be running along creek so if you are not back in woods and following blazes, you... More missed the turn. A guy in the 2010 race missed this turn and ran out to the paved road. When he got back the sweep had passed and taken course markings. So he ran back to the start and hitchhiked to finish. Yeah, good times. Don't be that guy!Less
This section of trail has several unique features. First, is an old mining road from a strip mining operation in the 1950's. Second, there are some dangerous and remote rapids in the creek to your right for expert kayakers only. And finally, some interesting climbs and descents along the way including stone steps and water running across the trail... More and a feature called Stack Rock.LessMore Less
Not long after concrete bridge you will pass Imodium Falls. I know you have a long way to go, but this is what makes this trail superb. Stop and have a look at this C chaped waterfall. For the majority of runners a minute or two of rest and scenery will do more good. Expert kayakers give this a go when the water is right.
The CTC trail guide mentions this waterfall. It is not easy to find, but is worth the little bit of bushwacking if you like waterfalls. Just as you come around the corner of the point you begin to hear the creek on your left below. I could see the golden or brown rocks below (iron runoff from mining). The falls are tiered and the final drop or... More cascade is about 50-60' and worth a look. On raceday just keep going. If you go that far off course, we'll never find you.Less
How often are you directed to run along a highway. Well, this is your lucky day because there's no other way to get back on the trail. Take a right down off ramp and follow 111 until past the Jones Gap 1/2 mile exit sign. Then a left up into grass right where concrete culvert begins. It's easy to find, I promise.
Out of the woods and onto pavement. You are now leaving the CT. You come down a very steep hill. Do not cross road. Turn left. All street from here on in. A guy missed this turn last year and kept going down CT. The search centered on course. He was off course and was found, luckily, by hikers early in evening. Watch for course markings at all... More crossings.Less
Just in case you are making it official...Hotwater to Back Valley Rd, right turn, to next intersection, Durham St and left. Follow Durham to left into park after Depot St. If lost, you are looking for Senior Center near Ball Park. Food and beer await you. Congratulations.