Next month, August 17th, Run 4 a Reason has a new event called “Little Tybee Conquest”. The event is a 10.6 beach run that encompasses the entire eastern, sandy coastline of Little Tybee, starting from the northern section by the Back River to the southern tip where the beach ends and the turn-around happens.
There are three distinct channel crossings. Of those three, one is very challenging, Jack’s Cut (3). The other channel crossings are somewhat challenging but Jack’s Cut is definitely tough as the current is pretty darn strong during an outgoing or incoming tide.
This past weekend I did a test run of the course with several friends, Karen H., Greg G. and Bren T. We kayaked to Little Tybee from regular old Tybee, reaching the northern shore of Little Tybee that’s on the Back River. After locking and stashing our kayaks to a large driftwood tree that’s firmly entrenched on the beach we headed off running down the coastline of Little Tybee.
The first leg of the quest was through the mystical, surreal and very beautiful, Tree Beach. This area has huge dead trees strewn about the beach reaching into the ocean. You have to work your way through the beach around the trees, over trees, under the trees, -sort of like a maze. It’s totally cool. After leaving Tree Beach behind we had an open, unspoiled beach all to ourselves.
A little after one mile we hit the first channel crossing. This crossing was about a third of a mile span. I spanned this channel with the help of my trusty old body board that I bought the day before at Walmart. It has a shark on it! It’s mean like me!
Body board in front of me, I kicked hard and made it to the other side of the channel behind the rest of my peeps which chose to swim instead. The stretch of beach beyond the first channel crossing was nothing short of heaven like. It was white sandy beaches with sand dollars and really cool shells scattered all around. Pelicans by the dozens hung out on the beach. There were many small warm salt water pools that seemed so incredibly inviting. I wanted to sit down in them and soak in the day. I was constantly mesmerized by all of the cool shells I came across and, the sand dollars. Up until this run, I had never come across a sand dollar in the wild (the beach). They are so brittle! I picked up one sand dollar and accidentally dropped it and upon hitting the sandy beach it shattered into dozens of pieces. Crazy.
The second channel crossing came along the 2.5 mile mark. The second crossing was truly a piece of cake. I was able to wade through waist deep water to the other side.
With the second crossing comfortably behind me the next span of beach was equally as beautiful as the beach I had left behind when I crossed this small channel. The beach was also very pristine and void of people. The only footprints there were the ones we were making as we pressed southward toward Jack’s Cut.
Then, we reached Jack’s Cut.
Jack’s Cut might as well be called Hell’s Hole for it was hell crossing this channel! It quickly got deep upon entering the water and the current moved fast! I kicked hard and used my arms to propel me forward but felt like I wasn’t moving at all! Spanning Jack’s Cut was a tiring ordeal but, I made it to the other end as did everyone else.
After crossing Jack’s Cut we had about another mile of running in order to reach the end of the southern tip of the island and the turn around. It was on this stretch of beach that I discovered that the key to the locked kayaks at the other end of the Little Tybee was missing! I had the key (plus my house key) in a zippered pocket on my running shorts. Apparently, the zipper came undone somewhere along the way and the keys fell out. I blame Karen that I lost my keys! Why, you ask? Because it’s impossible for me to accept responsibility for any screw up of mine. It’s just impossible. Sorry.
So, what do we do now that we have no key to unlock the chain linking all of the kayaks together to that one big tree on the beach at the other end of Little Tybee? I don’t know but we had gotten this far. We figured we might as well run to the end of the island to see what the turn around was all about. So, we ran to the end and lo and behold a fisherman on a small boat was there, just off the beach. Before any thoughts crossed my mind Bren was running fast toward the fisherman. I figured he was going to ask the dude for a beer but instead Bren explained our predicament to the fisherman. Amazingly, the incredibly kind fisherman offered to give Bren a ride back to regular Tybee Island so that Bren could fetch a bolt cutter from his truck and then gave him a boat ride back to Little Tybee.
Bren tried to pay the fisherman for the favor but he refused payment. Some people are just awesome! This fisherman disrupted his fishing day to help out total strangers in need! Had he not helped us out we may very well have been stuck on Little Tybee to this day as castaways drinking coconut water and catching fish with our hands for food! Had that happened I would of blamed Karen for our plight…because that’s just what I do – blame others.
So, as Bren got his little boat ride back to civilization and retrieved his bolt cutters, Karen, Gregg and I had to endure the 5.3 miles back to our kayaks. And, we had to cross Hell’s Hole again (I mean, Jack’s Cut). One might think that the second time around Jack’s Cut would of been easier but no such luck. It was harder! Jack’s Cut, Jack’s Cut 3, that is, is very, very tough. Jack’s Cut 3??? Yeah, apparently, according to Bren, every time we came to a channel crossing he would say, “actually, this is Jack’s Cut!” So, we’ve decided to name the three channel crossings as follows:
- Jack’s Cut 1: wide channel, approximately 1/3 of a mile long. Not too bad to cross.
- Jack’s Cut 2: very easy crossing!
- Jack’s Cut 3: This was the black hole of hell! This was a tough one to cross!
By the time Karen, Gregg and I had made it back to where the kayaks were, Bren had already cut the chain and actually had dragged the boats closer to the water for us.
Despite having broken my brand new chain that held all of our kayaks together Bren did save the day! He definitely deserved a cold beer after that day and hope he had one or twelve of them.
Well, the test run went well. I’ve gotten the okay from the DNR and I got the insurance for the run on Little Tybee. In a few days, I will open registration for the 25 slots for this race. Ten of those spots have already been promised to some runners. So, that will leave 15 spots to be fought over. The registration for the race will be $50 each. All of the profit from this race will go to the Nature Conservancy.
I’ll keep you all posted as to when the registration is open!
Thanks for stopping by.