August 22, 2011 by Matt Hart
The Millwood Project
the entire slope around me was alive, buzzing. the pollination process seemed to be a thriving business as i walked into the wildflowers on the east side of kessler peak. i was in full bushwhack up to my waste and the cuts my legs had sustained in the previous days were getting constantly scraped. however the sun shining on my face and my surroundings overwhelmed the pain with a feeling of connection and well being. everyone should experience this. few actually do.
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“everyday i’m shufflin” was my mantra for this project. i needed a final week of hard training applicable to my next adventure. so i donned a 25lb backpack and set out to hike up/run down this 100 mile course through my back yard that no one has been able to complete. this course, of course has seen a handful of attempts. last year chad and i tried to do it in four days and bailed after i aggravated an injury from my run on the colorado trail. jared campbell (it’s creator) and ty draney tried to get ‘er done in two days, unsuccessfully. and on my second to last day friend jay aldous made a bold attempt at a single push. 30 hours was his goal. although jay is an amazing runner, that is a time i don’t think is possible on this course. he bailed after 25 miles. there is just too much overgrown trail, bushwhacking, climbing (44,000ft of uphill) and for me a bit of navigation since some of the trails i’d never been on before. that was the exciting part of doing the millwood as my last push before the long trail. this course took me to places i may never have gone. on one of my many hitchhikes back to my car a young man who grew up here said “by the sounds of that course, in one week you’ve summited every peak i’ve ever climbed in my entire life here”.
it was a solid week of training by any measure. my pack was heavy and i went very slow. i will at some point attempt to complete this route faster. it can certainly be done in one push… however you’ll need some thick skin, a good support crew and two months to recover.
i took some video.