With your help, Jason & Kelly will hike 100 miles in one weekend—and raise $5,000 for Shenandoah National Park!

Archive for July, 2011

Heavenly Bodies Clinic 7/28/11

Close to home in Arlington is one of the best kept secrets I know.  Heavenly Bodies Clinic.


I saw Kathe Ana last night for acupuncture for my joints.  No real pain, just as a preventive measure considering the walking & the hiking.  Keeping the chi moving.  My treatment was relaxing as it put me into a near sleep for what felt like hours but in reality could not have been more than 15 minutes.  I left energized & happy – an easy mood to recognize after spending any amount of time with Kathe Ana!

She has taught me the wonderful practice of gua sha which has helped me tremendously.  I carry my own gua sha kit with me in my day pack whenever I hike.  I work on my knees when they feel inflamed; last night Kathe Ana helped me with an Achilles treatment to add to my repertoire.  Jason had a great “what in the hell?” look on his face when I did a little gua sha on a break during our last big hike, & continued munching on his granola.  Who knows?  Maybe he will become a fan.

Billy Goat Trail 7/25/11

Jason is away this week so today’s hike was a short & sweet one along the Billy Goat Trail in Great Falls, Maryland.   A brief walk downstream along the towpath leads to the Billy Goat Trail “A” section.  This rocky trail commands your attention as you are hiking & climbing over roots & rocks.  The large rock with the diagonal crack is very fun to climb, especially with little lizards scampering all over the path.

Before climbing that big rock… (self portraits can be 0h-so-flattering!?)

Once off the trail, I enjoyed watching a blue heron come up from the canal, saunter across the towpath, & continue on into the woods after we stared at each other for a few minutes.  I lost count of the turtles & the fish in the canal.  It’s nice to see so much life.  The fish were big & as I watched them feed, I got the sense they were grateful that I did not have my fly rod with me.

Next time will be worth extending the length to hike more of the trail towards Angler’s Inn.  Today’s heat & humidity kept it brief.

Sunset Beach 7/18-23/11

I spent the week with my family in North Carolina, at our longtime favorite beach.  We caught up with family, built sand castles & steamed crabs daily.  This week’s training came in the form of beachcombing, biking, body surfing, crabbing, fishing, & walking around the island.    My Charlotte called one of our walks her very own paradise.  Imagine that.

This image is of me & the kids on our dock.  I am sneaking in a little fishing before heading out for dinner with my cousins.  My bluefish got away.

Mt. Marshall/Bluff Trail Loop 7/11/11

Mt. Marshall Trail to Appalachain Trail to Bluff Trail, back to Mt. Marshall trail to Route 622
18.6 miles, 6-1/2 hours
Today’s weather was sunny, hot , & quite humid.  The shady trails were awesome!
We began today’s adventure with Jason picking me up in Arlington at 5.30; by 7 this morning we were on the trail.  The first couple of miles were a steady uphill climb – a little unexpected but doable for sure.  We shared the feeling that we would see a bear today.  A bittersweet experience – fear, anticipation, excitement, & nerves all in one.  After seeing a few deer on the drive to Washington, we were ready!

We trekked onward & upward, appreciating the well shaded trail &  the green environs.  We’ve set a pattern to keep a swift pace & hydrate as we go.  This morning’s snack break came about 8 miles in.  Jason made some awesome bars & I made some granola that was quite tasty as well.  I’m happy to share the recipe!  Already sent it to Jason.
Back on the trail & our next nature experience was a large low-flying bird that we’ve seen on past hikes & are guessing is a pheasant?  A ruffed grouse?  It startled easily & seems to need a few attempts at flight to get going.  Anyone?  What was undoubtedly clear to us was the big 6′ black bear that rambled across the trail in front of us!  My heart stopped for a moment & I told Jason I had the urge to hold his hand but settled on his backpack for a moment.  After we cheered for ourselves & the bear sighting, we quickly recognized how humbling it is to see such a creature in his own environment.  WOW.  We saw our bear!

Not sure which was more of a challenge – walking up the Mt. Marshall trail first thing or walking down it at the end.  Thanks to my friend Tara for the hiking poles.  They were a big help.  The mutual feeling of accomplishment coupled with “Yes, I could do another 10 miles” was encouraging!
Today’s hike overall was great – up the mountain, down the mountain, rocks, streams, grasses, dirt, sand… loved it.  Ticks & all.  One each, not so bad, really.  We were back in Arlington to pick up Liam by 3:45 at Potomac Overlook, & then Sophie at 4 at Long Branch.  Nice.

(I got a new backpack – Osprey Talon 11 – & tested it today.  Awesome.  Loved it.  Thanks to the nice guy at REI, Andreas.  He was patient & helpful & offered much information.  I had a full 3 liter Platypus bladder packed in there – perfect amount of water – along with my trusty first aid kit, snacks & a couple other random smalls.  Jason wears the Osprey Talon 22 & is pretty keen on his as well.)

Looking forward to figuring out what’s next!


Hi. Welcome to our Crooked Trail 100 blog.  We will be using this forum to talk about all things related to our big hike the weekend of September 17-18-19, 2011.

So, here is a little background information as to why we are putting our rapidly aging bodies through this physical and mental test….As a general fan of the outdoors, I had spent time in the SNP at various points throughout my life. Be it an overnight backcountry trip with friends back in college, fly-fishing on one of the streams, or just a short hike with friends and family on one of the many trails. I always loved the fact that we had a prominent National Park so close to my home in Northern Virginia .  Up until about 18 months ago, the Shenandoah Nat’l Park was merely an acquaintance, a friend that I would visit a couple times a year at most.  However, in December 0f 2009 ( as I was quickly approaching my 40th birthday), I made the commitment to climb Mt Rainier (something I had wanted to try for a long time!) and needed a  training ground for my big climb.  I started using the park on a very regular basis, more or less hitting the various trails every Monday as I prepared my legs and lungs for the Rainier climb. Well, that acquaintance turned quickly into a close friend as I explored hundreds of miles of park trails, hollows, and mountaintops.

However, there was one training hike in particular that gave me the idea for the Crooked Trail 100. Last June, I decided to hike the entire length of the Northern section of the AT (27 miles) in one day. Starting in Chester Gap, I hiked to Thornton Gap in about 12 hours . After completing that hike, I felt pretty good and said that I would someday try and do the 101 miles (from Rockfish Gap to Chester Gap) in a short period of time.  I also knew I wanted to somehow give back to the park, as it is such a great resource and so close to the DC Metro area.  I contacted the great folks at the SNP Trust and it just so happened that they were starting the 100 Mile Club this year.  We thought this would make a great kick start to the program and give me chance to try the 100 mile hike and raise money for the park at the same time.

So….I mentioned the idea to my good friend Kelly and she was on board from the get-go. She is an avid walker and we had hiked together in the past a couple times.  She has also expressed interest in doing something challenging as this year she too becomes a member of the (gulp!) quadragenarian club.  We plan on doing training hikes together when we can, and of course on our own.  Hopefully, by the time September 17th rolls around, we will be  good to go.

Please check back on our blog as we post about our training hikes, logistics, gear, and more or less anything related to our challenging hike in September.  Feel free to leave comments and we will respond as best we can. And finally, please, please help us reach our fundraising goal by donating to the Crooked Trail 100!

Oh, one other thing–where did we we come up with the name Crooked Trail 100? Well, it comes from this quote I read by the author (and controversial environmentalist) Edward Abbey:

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds…”

Whether you agree or disagree with Mr. Abbey’s philosophy, you have to admit it is a great quote…..

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