Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My Favorite Trail

Some great entries for our favorite trail contest.


My favorite trail is Chester Bowl in Duluth, MN.  I used to run it every day in the Spring and Fall when I went to UMD.



There are a lot of "destination" trails upon which anyone would love to ski, hike, etc. However, the CCCP trail has to be my favorite, because it is on my property and I can be on it every day of the week! I call it CCCP for Cannon Cross Country Program - I live half-way between Cannon Falls and Red Wing. From here I don't use the Twin Cities trails very often - I especially avoid the long trip to the 2K loop at Elm Creek. So its nice to have CCCP so handy! There is ~100 feet of topographic relief and I have a half-dozen tricky downhills that remind me, and prepare me, for Bobblehead Hill on the Birkie trail. I own 40 acres so there is a fair amount of looping around, but its a good place to fit in an hour of skiing on a busy day. Belle Creek runs through the property, so if the temperature cooperates (below zero for a couple of days) the creek is ski-able too. Deer, turkeys, eagles, and many other birds and wildlife keep me company on the CCCP trail. Right now the wildflowers are keeping my honeybees happy.



The most amazing views!



My favorite trail is the Appalachian Trail. I hiked this end-to-end in 2006, taking 5 months and 4 days to complete its then 2,176-mile length. I hiked it solo and turned 54 on the trail. About 3000 people attempt to "thru-hike" the trail every year. Only about a third finish. It was a huge accomplishment for me, as many can imagine.

The AT is the nation's first designated National Scenic Trail. Because of its location up the spine of the Appalachian Range in the eastern US, millions of people step on the trail every year to day hike, or backpack for a weekend or, like me, several months. For that reason, it is sometimes referred to as "The People's Path."

The AT is a unit of the National Park Service, but it crosses many land managed by the Forest Service, as well as crosses state and local park units, as well as some private lands. It starts at Springer Mountain about an hour north of Atlanta, GA and winds its way through 14 states to Mt. Kathadin in Baxter State Park in central Maine. It's highest point is at Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (6643') with its lowest point at the Trailside Museum and Zoo at Bear Mountain, NY (124'). The AT is maintained along its length through a volunteer network of 31 trail clubs.

I live in Asheville, NC now and volunteer for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and my local AT trail club. The AT is nearby and people travel from all over the world to especially hike up to the southern balds - denuded areas on mountain tops that afford one a 360 view of the Appalachian Range. There is no firm reason why these anomalous balds exist.

Thanks for letting me share my brief story and a picture. Gear up some folks and send them east so they can enjoy the AT!



My favorite trail ... is the Blue Lake Trail in the Rawah Wilderness of north-central Colorado!

Starting out around 9,500ft and winding up to over 11,000ft, it's an exhausting run but definitely worth the view once you make it to Blue Lake (photographed last fall)! Don't forget to ice your legs in the glacial waters before heading back down! We help maintain the trail through our graduate school program to make sure it stays accessible to all.



This trail has it all! From the quiet beauty of it's trickling streams and rare mountain flowers that grow only at 14,000 feet, to the ruggedness of the rocks and the unforgiving boulders on mountaineer's route, to the physical challenge of the endless scree scramble to the base of the notch and lastly to the technical climb on the final push to the summit of the highest peak in the lower 48.  This trail will test your will and leave you breathless but forever changed!



1 comment:

May Munro said...

I just checked your post and liked it too much. I also like your favorite trail.

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