From left: Dan Hartley, Chad Henderson, Jim Cobb, Charles Raffesnperger, myself and Jason Sullivan
Months in the making, this epic adventure run was set for Saturday morning at 4:00 a.m. So all the logistics went down on Friday, and it got complicated.
Jason practicing mug shot face (in case BMF Park Ranger wins Round 2).
It goes without saying that 4:00 a.m. arrived too soon. We gathered and nervously began our walk to the Foothills Trail head. Unspoken, but in the back of all of our minds, was the fear the Park Ranger would show up and ruin any chance we had at this run. As we walked quietly through the darkness on the road which leads to the trail head, we suddenly saw a car slowly approach us. It slowed, then pulled over, and my heart dropped into my stomach. I was sure we were done.
Luckily, it turned out to be Scott Hodukavich. He was there to introduce himself and let us know he would be providing us support and aid (and HOW!). Scott drove on down to the trail head and snapped a group photo of us at the start. He also said I had just missed Denise Martin, who drove down for the "start". I was really disappointed I didn't get to connect with Denise after all she did to make the trip.
Laurel Valley has 34 miles of the most beautiful section of the Foothills Trail. It is somehow beautiful, simple and mysterious all at the same time. Adding to its allure (and danger): there is no bail out point through here. Once in, you have to get to the end at White Water Falls or turn around and head back to the parking lot. Or do what I did. But seriously...don't.
What I definitely underestimated was the mental toll fatigue was taking on me. It was subtle at first, then more and more pronounced. I missed a double white now and then, but always turned back within a short time and got back on course.
* And possibly Wood Nymphs.
**** Scott Hodukavich is also a rock star, and I will be forever paying him back by coming out and supporting him in adventures.
Note: Thanks to Scott Hodukavich and Jason Sullivan for all the great pics!