Four years ago on a whim, after some plans were ruined, Sheila and I decided to run/hike every single trail in Letchworth State Park. It became known as Run Em’ All Hike Em’ All.
Friends came to visit through that week and we covered about 100 miles on trails. We had a blast, but we learned a lot and figured we could do it with less miles (better planning means adding loops, and removing out and backs). Sheila planned a schedule for 2018 version and we got things moving last week.
I am 15 months removed from a rebuild of my right Achilles and 8 months removed from a rebuild on my left so what I could actually get done would be a mystery as we started the week.
Here is what I learned though
- Friends will join you on crazy adventures, and they will add their own bit of crazy to anything you throw at the wall.In all we had 5 friends join us for portions of our runs and we were so glad to share a week of adventure with them.
- Weather has never stopped us, nor has it been something that is friendly to us during our camp trips. There is a joke around here that when it rains the Eagan’s must be camping. We started with 90 degrees and 100% humidity, that evolved to pouring rain and wet trails, which eventually switched to beautiful sunrises and clear blue skies. If you have the right mindset about the weather, you can make any of those conditions work
- Gear matters – a leaky tent is no fun, thankfully we brought more than 1 tent (back packing and base camping) So we stayed high and dry all week, minus the sweat.
- Trails do not build themselves, nor do the repair themselves from heavy damage. Lean-To’s don’t just grow in the woods either. We ran into a few work crews from the Friends of Letchworth while we were out there. So thankful for the work they do and glad to spread the word on sustainable trail use.
- All camp sites are not equal – Ours had a beacon on it… Like literally a search and rescue light. The rest of the camp ground, no lights – ours was on the sun though. We did have a lot of space, others did not. All cost the same.
- Shme is my favorite adventure partner – Not only does she look cute AF while doing “outdoorsy things” She plans our adventures out and I can usually just show up and mule some gear. Also who else hikes out 32 oz of 4loko to a leanto???
- I needed a week away – It was refreshing and the harder the miles became the better for me they were.
- We came up a bit short this year but I am 100% ok with that. We skipped a few access trails, and the section of the FLT between the lean-to’s. Those were planned for the final day and we decided to hike out and cheer on runners during the Dam Good Trail Race instead. It was the right choice and the much more fun choice for sure.
- There is nothing greater than the will to accomplish something that you really want. My biggest week before this rang in at 13 slow, inflammation filled miles. I set a goal, and with no real pace in mind hammered out almost 60 miles in the week. I have had a lot of “I don’t know if I will run again” moments in the past 3 years as my body was being cut open rebuilt and returned needing a lot of work. The thing is I am putting in the work, and this past week reminded me that it is a pretty amazing body. It can take me places to see things that many people won’t or can’t. From long 2 mile downhills to stunning 20 mile vistas. From creek crossings and wet feet to dusty sand like trails. On a full night sleep, or on just a few minutes of sleep I got up every morning and stepped toward a goal of completing all of the trails in the park.
Letchworth State Park is a place of stunning beauty and one of the goals of this week just like Many On The Genny is to introduce people to more than just the Finger Lakes Trail and the water fall overlooks. We want them to know the park, to experience the vastness and appreciate its biodiversity. We want people to get off the beaten path, feel like you need to bushwhack and come on a view that few people have seen.
We hope this week has shared that beauty to people and our race, which was born out of the week 4 years ago has shown people the beauty of the park. We are planning something fun for a new Run Em All Hike Em All and we will let you know once we figure it out.