Archive for June, 2017

Nine Things I Learned from the 2017 Rachel Carson Trail Challenge

My BFF convinced me that this was the year we would gloriously return to the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge! The timing was perfect, not only was it not near any birthday celebrations, but it was going in the opposite direction from when we first hiked it in 2006. I started training at the beginning of the year. Then managed to sprain my ankle May 19. There was a crazy deluge the week leading up to the challenge. That set the stage for 14 hours 16 minutes and 42 seconds of hiking, slogging, and hauling myself from North Park to Harrison Hills Park. And these are my takeaways… 

  1. At the start of this year’s RCTC I knew two things: There were going to be lots of stream crossings and I was hiking on a still recovering sprained ankle. As I saw it, my footwear options were my high top hiking boots,  which happened to be gortex, or my trail runners and a wrap. I went with the boots thinking the padded ankle would be better support. HUGE mistake. Gortex keeps water in, just as well as out. My boots were super saturated by mile two and thus heavy! The lesson here is, go with the wrap and the trail runners. Your feet are going to get wet either way.
  2. Sewing mesh pockets on my yoga pants was the most brilliant thing I have done in ages! Cargo yoga pants! Hooray!
  3. Back to the water issue…if you know there will be multiple water crossings, bring more than one pair of dry socks. I waited way too long to change into dry socks because I didn’t want to get the dry ones wet. The price of that bad decision was 2 huge blisters on the last two toes of both feet.
  4. Take your reservoir entirely OUT of your backpack to fill it up. I totally hosed that up and did not get the full 2 liters of water twice. And believe me, I needed it desperately.
  5. Carry your own ibuprofen.
  6. There is no effective way to train to climb a power line right of way, except to climb a power line right of way. We did a lot of practice hikes on rough terrain, but none of that was worth much when I faced the straight up power line hills of doom. (I mean, I’m sure there is, but not for me.)
  7. If you are going to the trouble of carrying a GPS, make sure it has fresh batteries. A .gpx of the trail, complete checkpoints, is only helpful when it works. Mine died about halfway through.
  8. Never underestimate the importance of someone who won’t let you quit. Especially when you are crying on a stream bank 4 miles from the finish. Thanks, babe!
  9. Fla-Vor-Ice is the most amazing thing in the universe! The people along the trail that were handing these out were amazing!

chris on June 25th 2017 in Blogroll, News