Less than three weeks until the big event. I guess you could say we are entering the “home stretch.” I have completed two long training hikes since my last dispatch; Latta Plantation Park on April 21st and Crowders Mountain State Park on April 28th. The Latta hike was about 17 miles, and while there is not much elevation change on those trails, portions are very rocky and require concentration and footwork. To get 17 miles, I hiked virtually the entire trail system, including the Hill, Split Rock, Catawba and Piedmont Prairie trails. I even hiked one section of horse trail, connecting the Gar Creek Access back to the Welcome Center, that I had never been on before. It was also the first training hike which raised an ugly blister! I have been experiencing my fair share of foot pain, but hadn’t blistered until that hike.On the 28th, I hiked 18 miles along the Pinnacle and Ridgeline trails at Crowders Mountain State Park. I decided to try an afternoon/evening hike for a change of pace. The Pinnacle trail is fairly strenuous, with a steep grade and lots of rock fields, and starting later in the day I had difficulty finding my stride. It was also a cool and humid day which created a chill until I was completely warmed up. That footwork I had practiced the week before at Latta was certaily put to good use. The Ridgeline trail is an out-and-back, and since I knew the park closed at 8:00 PM, I had a strict turn-around time of 4:00 PM. I was actually hoping to get a bit closer to 20 miles, but made the turn just shy of the nine mile mark.
To get acclimated to the 5:00 AM Ultimate Hike start time I am going to do my last two short hikes in the morning, starting this week. I have a long group training hike on May 5th at Crowders Mountain and one last long training hike at Latta on the 12th. Once that hike is completed, I will take the entire week of the 12th off to rest up for the Ultimate Hike on the 19th.
I did get a little more good press over the past couple of weeks, with a short mention in the Lake Norman Citizen, which you can read here.
One last round of support emails will go out this week. I still have about $800 to go to achieve my goal of $2,500, so time is getting just a little short.
Ultimate Hike 2012: Entering the Home Stretch