Friday, October 14, 2011

Alonzo Stagg Hike 5.0

I did the 50 mile Alonzo Stagg Hike again... for the 5th time. I don't know too many people crazy enough to try it once, let alone 5 times.

As a recap, the Alonzo Stagg Hike is held every year in October along the C&O Canal. It starts at 9pm Friday night and you hike all through the night into the day Saturday. No breaks, no sleeping, no wimps. You have 18 hours to finish all 50 miles and if you do, you get a small medal and a lot of pain. You also feel a huge sense of accomplishment and earn a lot of respect from those who know. I've seen it provide certain teens with a confidence building ego boost when they most desperately need it at that difficult age. There are checkpoints setup along the hike every 3 or 4 miles (like the picture above) where you top up on fluids and food and where you can drop out if you don't make the full 50.

I hadn't done the hike since 2008. The bad weather forced the hike to be cancelled in 2009, and in 2010 I was training for the Marine Corps Marathon and didn't want to jeopardize that effort. The weather this year was absolutely perfect. The night was cool, the moon almost full, and no rain in sight.

I hiked by myself this year for the first time and listened to my iPod during the whole thing to keep myself somewhat entertained. I also brought a camera for the first time and stopped throughout the night to get some pictures in the dark. Click through the main picture above to see the rest of them. It really is beautiful walking under moon light. Your eyes get so adjusted to the night that I could see the ground light up from the blinking lights on airplane wings flying overhead. The conditions were so perfect this year that I didn't have to use my flashlight once for the entire hike.

There was a field of about 70 hikers at the start and as far as I know only 5 finished. Quite the dropout rate! I was first to finish this year which is kind of cool, but doesn't mean anything other than I got to go home earlier than the rest. I finished it in 15.5 hours which isn't my best time but anytime you finish is good enough (which means I hiked from 9pm Friday till 12:30pm Saturday...yikes.) I was wiped out the rest of the weekend but at this point I know what that feels like and how to deal with it as best as possible. I have to thank Tiffany for 1) letting me go in the first place, and 2) for dealing with me being a cripple for a couple days afterwards. Who knows if I'll do it again, but if you're crazy too, I'm always looking for more suckers to bring along with me next year!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spontaneous "Lucky" Duet

We finally bought a new camera and were experimenting with the HD video when I recorded this gem. I never thought any of what I was recording would see the light of day so we were just acting a bit goofy. It's a bit embarrassing, but Tiffany gets such a kick out of watching us sing "our" song that I'm posting it for her. Here's to you babe!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Old Rag Hike

I went with the boy scouts on a hike up Old Rag Mountain, which I've heard so much about but have never had the chance to hike before. It was both more difficult than I expected and more beautiful than I expected. The views really were incredible at the top and the rock crawl section was quite challenging in a few spots. I can see why it is such a popular hike.

Saturday, October 1, 2011