APPALACHIAN TRAIL ADVENTURE RUN

   
       
Jim, Sue, Cody, and Tater at Springer Mtn., start of the Appalachian Trail Adventure Run

 

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Runtrails' 2005 AT Journal
 
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DAY 101:  MONDAY, AUGUST 8
 
Start: Prospect Lake CG/Egremont, MA                 
End:  Same (rest day)
Today's Miles:                       -0-
Cumulative Miles:         1,502.7
Miles to go:                      672.2
   
 
1st young male thru-hiker: "When I get off the Trail,
I need to find a new hobby besides walking."
2nd young male thru-hiker: "You mean something like mountain biking?"
1st hiker: "No, I mean something like hot-tubbing."
 
- overheard on the AT recently
 


The Great Falls at Falls Village, CT

Great view from Race Mountain in MA. Trail is right near the edge of a looong drop.   From 8-7-05

I can relate to the conversation above. I'm curious after I've summitted Katahdin if I'll need months of rest from running or if I'll be itching to get out on the trails near home again.

Time will tell. Right now I'm enjoying being out there every day.

Well, most days. After logging 149 miles in the last seven days, I decided it would be a good idea to take today off. My knees were both sore yesterday morning. By afternoon I guess the endorphins had kicked in because they weren't sore. But they hurt last night in bed - a good indication they need at least one day's rest.

We moved this morning to a nice campground in SW Mass. When the Trail goes in a mostly linear direction (as opposed to winding all around) we have to move the camper every day or two. It takes Jim an hour or more to prepare to move, then the time to drive to the new location, and another hour to get all set up again. Yesterday he figured out a way to make the move more interesting - he watched a movie on cable TV and got ready to go during the commercials!

Besides just being off my feet as much as possible today, my main task has been to determine the next week's trail sections and find campgrounds as near as possible to the points where I'll be starting and stopping. This is usually pretty time-consuming because I have to consider where there is decent road access, the topography of the section, and other factors.

We had to laugh at a letter we got a day or two ago. An ultra runner who has hiked the Trail and is following along in the journal wrote, "I've been wondering what you and Jim are going to do in Maine?  It's a long way between roads, with true wilderness in between.  I'm sure you two have a plan figured out."

What we thought humorous was the part about a plan. Most of this trek has been "planned" by the seat of our pants. Remember my Rule #3 for this adventure?

"Be flexible and adaptable."

Never at any time have I tried to come up with a long-term plan, other than determining that if I averaged 18 miles a day, including rest days, I'd finish in about 121 days - near the end of August. The longest I plan out is for a week to ten days.

Why? Because stuff happens.

I've had to cut my run short only three times so far (for falling or running out of water), but sometimes the short-term plan changes because of an injury, a nasty storm, changing my mind a dozen times about whether to run VT100, needing a break, family emergency when Jim's sister about died, etc.

I felt bad about this until I read in Horton's book about his 1991 speed record on the AT that his plan fell apart at some point fairly early into his epic run. He originally had every day planned, but life on the Trail just isn't that simple. I know both he and Andrew Thompson had to make new plans on the fly during this summer's record runs on the PCT and AT, respectively. (David is due to finish in a day or two and will have made a significant improvement on the PCT record; Andrew recently improved on the tougher AT record by a day.)

Yes, I know there may be a problem in Maine. I know I need to contact the AT club for that area and learn the drill. I've heard there are adequate logging roads for access every 20-30 miles, but we may need to contact the logging companies for permission to use the roads. They also may be gated at certain hours. We just haven't researched this in any detail yet. I might discover I have to do a couple of very long days there.

If anyone has specific information regarding road access in The Hundred-Mile Wilderness in Maine, please let us know. Thanks!

CONNECTICUT IS COOL

I really liked running on the Trail in Connecticut. One reason is that I could actually run more there than any of the last three states. Most of the Trail was in excellent condition, with fewer overgrown areas than in other states this summer (of course, that wasn't a problem earlier in the spring, farther south, before growth became rampant). The Appalachian Mountain Club had some of the road crossings marked (I wish every road was marked so I could be sure where I am!) and had classy sage-colored signs at significant points, like viewpoints (most clubs don't do that), intersecting trails, shelters, and water.

We loved the surrounding countryside and quaint little villages, too. The area around Kent is popular with celebrities, so housing and land costs are probably out of sight there. Driving to and from trailheads we seldom saw any trashy-looking properties in western CT. It appears to be a great place to vacation or live if you can afford it.

One night we had fun with town names. I think some other New England states do this, too - naming close villages nearly the same name: Woodstock, S.Woodstock, W.Woodstock, Woodstock Valley (sounds like Vermont!); or Windsor, S. Windsor, E. Windsor, Windsor Locks, Windsorville, and E. Windsor Hill. The only other place outside of New England that I've seen this is the Amana Colony area in Iowa.

Jim, who retired from the US Postal Service, thinks the close names probably drive the Post Office nuts!

CONNECTICUT AND MASSACHUSETTS ROCK, TOO

Jim had a funny comment recently when I pointed out all the stacked stone walls near our campgrounds in CT. I'd already mentioned several times about the numerous old rock walls along the AT since New York:

"With all these stone fences around here, I can't imagine there are any rocks left on the AT."

HA!

We are happy to be in New England. It signifies the beginning of the end. I can almost "smell the barn" now. (I thought everyone had heard that comment, but when I mentioned it to a nice CT section-hiker a couple days ago, he had no clue what I meant until I explained it to him. It means, I can "see the light at the end of the tunnel now." Got it?)

I also know there are many wonders to be found along the Trail up here. Every day brings surprises, most of them pleasant. We're hoping the weather gets a bit cooler as we go north and into the fall season. I've been seeing whole tree branches covered in red or orange leaves since PA, while the rest of the tree is green. The branch below is one I saw two days ago in CT. I'm not sure what's going on, but it reminds me that autumn is coming soon.

And so is the end of this particular journey. Less than one-third of the Trail remains.

Sue
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and Tater

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2005 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil