But our thru-hikes also helped us realize that we don’t want to think of our adventures as all-or-nothing propositions. (I.e. Either we drop everything and hike for five months, or we live, work and sleep in the city.) We’ve resolved to incorporate the outdoors into our weekend jaunts, to get outside for shorter stints, and to savor it.
On Memorial Day, we finally made good on our resolution. We dusted off our gear and drove up to Acadia National Park in Maine. We spent the weekend taking on some lovely day hikes – into the woods and along the shore. We set up our loyal tent at a designated spot in the park, and enjoyed the cushy amenities of car camping (something we’d never done, believe it or not!).
Acadia is a favorite spot of Square’s; in college, he and his friends would drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic. He had taken many trips to the park through the years, but I (Veggie) had never gone. I was eager to cross it off my exploration bucket list.
It was the park’s opening weekend, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of the national park system, so it was teeming with people. It certainly wasn’t a secluded wilderness experience, but it was great to see so many people exploring.
A few weeks later, we took on a different sort of adventure. Back in November, fresh off the PCT and with our formidable “trail legs” still in fine condition, we confidently signed up for our first ultramarathon. (An “ultramarathon” is any race longer than 26.2 miles.) We felt invincible and were certain that – even though the race was eight months away – we would still be in tip-top shape and able to take on anything.
Alas, “trail shape” is truly unsustainable, especially through the winter and with any sort of routine that doesn’t have you hiking 10 hours a day. We did our best to keep up our running legs, but the race that seemed forever in the distance snuck up on us quickly.
The Vegan Power 50K is a 31-mile race held in Pittsfield State Forest. The course is beautiful and shaded (much appreciated on a day that reached 85 degrees) with friendly volunteers manning aid stations with plant-based treats.
The course was also rocky and rooty, and we each took our fair share of full-on and near tumbles. (We also each have a few blue toes to show for it.) Zack was sure he had finished his 31 miles only to find out that he had only run 26 and had 5 more to go. I was pretty sure on lap 3 of 6 that I had made a huge mistake in signing up for this morning of torture…
But! We each finished the race and, for the most part, had a great time. Trail running is much harder and slower than road running, but, as you might expect, it kind of felt like home, being back on a trail again.
We met some wonderful folks, ate delicious food at the finish, and all in all were glad that we signed ourselves up for the ridiculous undertaking.
Thank you for following our adventures, big and small!