Hellgate 100K Wildflower Report
There were NO wildflowers in bloom at the 2003 Hellgate 100K. The Hellgate courses up, across, and down some tough but beautiful mountainous terrain in Rockbridge, Bedford, and Botetourt Counties of Virginia. Even though the habitat was ideal for higher elevation wildflowers, they were smarter than the runners in waiting for another season. Several times I was within sight or sound of two lovely "daisies" in Hilliary Goode and Amy Thompson who survived the entire distance together. But, like the wildflowers, they were long gone and just a fantasy by daylight Saturday morning.
The Hellgate, I believe, lived up to its name. I expect the memories are still too vivid for any of the participants to say for sure if they will be back in December, 2004. I have much gratitude, respect, and appreciation for Dave and his wonderful volunteers and aid station crews who made it possible for the run to be staged. They endured the cold, wind, and sleepless night and day just as the runners did. I'm not sure that a thank you to Dave for my experience is in order, however.
I can say that I am thankful that Keith didn't leave me when I caught up to him at Aid Station #6, and that we were darn glad to see that finish chute at Camp Bethel right at dark Saturday evening.
Gary Knipling (#33)