Making Lemonade out of Lemons – No Long Trail
Most things in life don’t work out as you planned them. I never imagined that a hurricane would trash the Long Trail so bad it would be un-runnable. However that is the reality. There are towns in Vermont still cut off from the rest of the world because their roads were removed by water. The fact of the matter is that the Long Trail has been destroyed too. This is not the year to run it fast. I need to accept that.
So, I’m moving on. I trained to run/hike a long unsupported effort. Since my acceptance soaked in, I’ve been trying to figure out an alternative run. A few things came to mind. The 500 miles of PCT through Washington state came to the top of the list. Because of it’s distance it’s not runnable unsupported, so getting a crew together squashed that idea. Running around Mt Rainier unsupported was the next thought, but at 93 miles it’s too short. It would also involve flying to Seattle, but I’m here in New Hampshire.
In 2008 I helped my man Karl Metlzer run the Appalachian Trail (he managed the 5th fastest time – we had horrendous monsoon weather). I took him through Maine, which is the toughest section of the 2,181 mile trail. It was an amazing experience. We covered the 281 miles through Maine faster than anyone had. It took us 7 days and some change. Karl thinks Jenn Pharr-Davis has since broken that time with her recent and amazing record run of the AT.
Anyway it appeals to me to continue the AT where I left off and run my entire home state. I plan to some day run the whole thing in one go. The New Hampshire section is 161 miles, which isn’t as long as i want. It’s just part of the AT, which isn’t as aesthetic as I’d like. But considering the options I feel like I’m making lemonade out of lemons. I’ll still get the ass kickin’ adventure I’m looking for, with a few extra downed trees to climb over.
David (mom’s husband): “How fast do you think you can go?”
Me: “I managed an average of 53 miles a day on the Colorado Trail.”
David: “Yeah, but there will be more shit in the way.”
Of course even this new plan isn’t without issue. There is a flood watch in Gorham, NH through Tuesday, the day I had hoped to start. Mount Washington weather looks apocalyptic, “tornadoes, hail, mud slides, erosion, insanely high winds”. If you know anything about the rugged rocky trails of New England then you know this will make the already tough terrain impossible to run fast… and possibly life threatening (people die on Mt Washington in any season). I’ve got a few more days of a buffer to wait the weather out. Stay tuned.