Ever get the feeling you belong? You belong someplace, doing something, or with a particular group? Good! Wow I thought I was the only one. Many years ago I visited my first official National Park. The Smoky National Park and along with my family, fell in love with the park, the woods, the bears, the idea of that National Parks and felt that belonging to the outdoors that I once had as a scout and to hiking.
Hiking Forward – Home.
The Maine Appalachian Trail is a tough, tough place to hike. There are lots of mountains and mud and rocks and roots, but the weather is just so unpredictable and nasty!
I got a taste of that (again) when I backpacked from Stratton to Rangely for 4 nights and 3 days, last week. This is a very tough section of the trail with a lot of above treeline exposure and steep climbs up North and South Crocker, Spaulding Mountain, The Horn and Saddleback Mountains.
I’d hoped to go even farther than Rangeley on this hike and finish all of the remaining 79 miles of the AT I have in Maine, but I got off the trail after 32 miles due to violent thunderstorms, hail, high winds, rain, and a possible tornado. Being a section hiker, I had a hard deadline (my wife’s birthday) to finish this hike by and there was no way I was going to make it with a 2 day bad weather delay. That’s basically what it boiled down too.
Rangeley turned out to be a good town – basically the only town – to get off the trail and get a ride back to my car down in Grafton Notch, something that only happened because of a little trail magic.
Section Hike: Stratton to Rangeley on the Maine Appalachian Trail | Section Hikers Backpacking Blog.
Here are the links to my radio interview with WSRadio.com a few days before I left on my PCT FKT Attempt June 7.
Eric B. Fuller, Hundy
wsRadio.com | 06/04/14 Is There Nutrition in Your Food? and Hiking from Mexico to Canada in World Record Time – wsRadio.com.
For the record.. when I trained for my PCT FKT attempt I subscribed to a drink system using cytomax, mct oil, endure and pounding 10 miles per liter with a catch up liter at water stops.. supplementing calories with goo bags made of peanut butter, coconut oil, rolled oats, raisins, craisins or both.. quisinarted… While training at 17 min per mile pace for 20, 30, 40, and a 46 mile hike of black mtn.. with focus on uphill gain this worked great… not many hills around here so I would go up every one I could find… carrying 30 – 40 pounds gear… Even better on marathons and 30+ mile runs… But I applied this training system to the PCT last week with a 25lb pack packed for a 210 mile hike to my first box.. 15 lbs food and powder.. I had my butt handed to me from heat exhaustion… not from fatigue brought on by lack of training.. But by not drinking enough water hiking 40 mile days in the heat under this system on the Pacific Crest Trail…
What no body knows is that I doubled down on my resolve, picked up my training pace and added more running to my training after a training hike in Mtn Laguna this year where I was kicked off the mountain for carrying a 38 lb pack with old gear that with my winter hiking experience I would have been bomber in during a snow storm pending in San Jacinto where I have hiked during white out on more than several occasions.. I ran and climbed more hills, I stopped using mapmyrun and just trained my butt off till my miles were reduced to 80 per week the last 2 weeks because I had to take a side job.. I think the reduction from 100 per week was good for me because I gained some fat around my stomach during that period… I am lucky I lived through this incident and I would highly recommend that anyone subscribing to this system take more time at water spots and drink at least 3 liters of premix and not 2 before moving on with premix ready to go during the next leg of the trip… It was my training that saved my life!