Thursday, February 27, 2014

North South Trail Trek Preview

The North South Trail (NST) runs the entire length of Rhode Island from the Atlantic Ocean to Douglas State Forest on the Massachusetts border. The 78 mile path passes through eight state-owned wildlife management areas. Between these management areas, the NST travels on quiet, scenic roads through small towns and villages. The terrain varies from flat roads to steep, rocky paths. And I heard there's one heck of a boulder field somewhere on the trail!

North South Trail

I originally planned to hike the NST as part of a 200 mile, three state thru-hike of the Wapack (NH), Mid State (MA) and North South (RI) trails. The more I thought about this plan the less practical it sounded. Work is crazy busy and will continue that way for most of the year and it's unlikely I could take a two week vacation needed to complete the hike. It's possible I could do it in less time but then the hike would feel rushed and not enjoyable. I had to come up with a Plan B. 

The North South Trail Council comes to the rescue!

The NST Council sponsors an annual trek of the NST which consist of six day hikes on alternating weekends. The hikes range in length from 11 to 17 miles. The council provides transportation to the trail head and participants hike back to their vehicles parked further up the trail. This sounds much better than calling for a cab like I often did on my solo hikes on the Bay Circuit Trail! The council also provides water and snacks at the mid-point of the hike. You cant ask for more than that, can you?

I'll be starting "The Trek" in nine days as long as the trails in RI are free of snow and ice. This seems unlikely given the current snowpack and a 10 day forecast of below freezing temperatures and possible snow. I think the start date will probably get pushed out two weeks but I certainly hope it doesn't. I have a severe case of cabin fever.

Damn you, Old Man Winter! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hiking the John Muir Trail In 85 Minutes

The John Muir Trail (JMT) is arguably the most scenic and difficult of our nation's long distance trails. From it's southern terminus at Mt Whitney (the highest peak in the contiguous US at 14,505 feet) to it's northern terminus in Yosemite Valley, the JMT traverses 211 miles though several national parks, forests and wilderness areas and crosses seven mountain passes above 11,000 feet with Forester Pass being the highest at 13,153 feet. If you're like me and can't get a two or three week vacation from work to hike the actual trail, this excellent, high quality video by John Amorosano is the next best thing. I highly recommend watching and it will only take up 85 minutes of your day.


John Muir Trail 2013 - A Journey Through The Range Of Light

Monday, February 10, 2014

Thinking Out Loud

For the first time in over two years I went for a run.

Well, it wasn't really a run. More like a walk interspersed with 12-14 one minute jogs. I didn't plan to run. I was out for my usual walk around town and noticed the track behind the middle school was snow free. I thought, "What the heck?  I'll try jogging."  I jogged the straights and walked the turns and before I knew it I had "wogged" two miles.  It felt great!!

Until I got home.

My lower back tightened up. I had pain in my SI joint and groin. My foot was tingling. Maybe that wasn't such a good idea. On the plus side, my discomfort level was back to baseline when I woke up the next morning. And I'm dumb enough to try jogging again. But not anytime soon. On the down side, I won't be ready to run in the Grand Tree Trail Race Series this spring and that is a huge disappointment. 

I'm not sure if my backpacking plans for the year will happen either.   

My neck problem has worsened over the past two years to the point where wearing a backpack causes a great deal of discomfort. Although 80% of the pack weight is supported by my hips, it seems the 20% supported by my trapezius muscles is enough to send my neck into a tailspin. I've tried a few different packs but the results are always the same. I don't need a new pack. I need a new neck!

This has me thinking about what's left for me.

If I cant run or hike what will I do for exercise? I had some success with biking last summer. Some days a ride would aggravate my back/SI condition and some days it would not. I think that's all I can do safely for now. Which has me thinking about doing a long trip this summer. Maybe add some panniers to my bike so I can carry a tent, a sleeping bag and some other gear. Perhaps travel up the Maine coastline and explore some new places. Stop at some campgrounds along the way or just stealth camp for the night when I get tired of pedaling.

It's just a thought.

Another thought I have is what to do about this blog. At one time I had a pretty loyal following but readership has dropped off considerably over the past two years. That's not unexpected. I haven't been posting any interesting content because I haven't done anything interesting. Even though I use this blog as a place to record my personal experiences, I also enjoy reading your comments and feedback. So, please post a comment to let me know how you feel. Should I continue updating this blog or let it go by way of the dinosaur?  

And if you're too embarrassed to admit you read this rag, you can always post your comment anonymously.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...