Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One-up, Suffer-fests

Rainy days in this business are dangerous. Not because of the water or mud, but because of the imposed relative inactivity. 
I suppose a little explanation is in order.. The nature of this job inherently requires a pretty high level of strength and stamina .. and energy...without it you don't last very long, much less, enjoy it.

Since long before Teamlink was even dreamed of..(much less Shenandoah Mountain Guides) we were participants in very long running challenges, swimming challenges (across the Chesapeake Bay) orienteering, triathlons and even summer biathlon (another name for running up and down mountains, really fast, and then trying to calm your heart rate enough to shoot straight ... ) So it was not an accident that the staff has developed into a culture of competition founded in personal suffering.

Actually, it was more of an evolutionary act... seeing who could endure the most, let's just call it self-induced, willfully engaged, mindless pain, without really training for it.. just letting our work be our conditioning medium.
Long days in the mountains and on the rivers really DO count for something besides a great job and an ok tan..

Our location does not hurt... within minutes of long trails and rivers, with 4 states within 15 miles in 3 directions .. our location actually taunts us to do stupid endurance stunts.

When this all first started becoming a recognized corporate malady was with the 4-State... ("popular" with AT thru-hikers, the goal is to start in VA or PA (depending whether you are north or southbound) and cross the full span of WV and MD on the Appalachian Trail, ending in either PA or VA. A total of about 45 miles, to be accomplished in 24 hours)
It is a pretty brainless way to spend a summer day... At the end of the day, you KNOW you've been hiking/running.

That was a great and worthy pursuit with almost all staff having completed this major "qual."

And then it was the 4-state plus.. Complete the traditional 4-state, but then hop on a bicycle and ride on the C&O Canal into the District of Columbia, 60+ miles distant.(The first attempt, by Chad, almost ended in disaster as it was a subzero day... and, well, you need to read his narrative in his Shenandoah Mountain Guides blog. Ultimately he met with success earlier this spring completing the feat in about 14 hours..

There have been many discussions of worthy "one-ups"- because simply matching a feat no longer counts for much: long-distance, 24-hour paddling trips (to include both rivers and the Chesapeake) long, painful swims, and extreme runs... i.e. the AT in Shenandoah National Park 106 miles, the "Old Rag Marathon +"
(The Old Rag Marathon, 3 complete circuit runs on Old Rag is a relatively minor feat, having been done several times, even  by our summer staff)

So with the solstice upon us and a rainy day at hand (meaning favorable water levels), The GRAND CIRCUIT began taking shape... (quick, someone talk me down!)
-Starting at PenMar park, located appropriately on the state line between PA and MD.. bike west approx 20 miles to where Antietam Creek becomes navigable...
-Paddle 38 miles south to the Potomac River and C&O Canal..
- Bike 15 miles SE,  on the C& O Canal past Harpers Ferry to the junction with the AT. (tag VA along the way)
- Hike, run, stumble, crawl, north about 41 miles to PenMar park... all in 24 hours.

I can feel the pain already..
Hiking thru the night has it's own pleasures!
Stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Late Spring 2012

So, just like that life has sped from late winter to early summer... My opportunity to keep updated on this blog has been painfully limited..Work with Teamlink has kept me traveling from place to place, working with all sorts of clientele , and our own work here with Shenandoah Mountain Guides has kept us hopping, laying the groundwork for good opportunities to come! 
In March, we were in Boston meeting with the Appalachian Mountain Club.. developing some really great outdoor leadership training for college and university outing clubs throughout the East.

In April, we were in the Delaware Water Gap region of PA and NJ (beautiful) helping to teach the Basic Technical Rescue class for the National Park Service, May found us on the rivers and in the mountains of VA, WV and MD finishing up our college classes in whitewater paddling, backpacking and rock climbing ... and throughout, thanks to our mild weather, we hosted guests from around the world  in their mountain,  river and rock adventures!