Life has been a whirlwind since I did the Trailblaze Challenge on Oct 10th for Make A Wish but I want this to be in my blog so I can someday reflect.
Sam and I were awake by 2:30am listening to a thunderstorm outside the hotel room window. We had to assemble at 3:30 to get on the bus to the trailhead. There were about 80 hikers and it was a rain or shine event. I am so glad Mike insisted that I go buy a new rain jacket!
28.3 miles is a formidable challenge on a trail. Roots, rocks, starting in the dark…were all made that more difficult with the wet conditions. At times the rain eased up but we were basically wet all day. Ironically it had been sunny on Friday and was sunny on Sunday. The van ride to the trailhead was dismal.
The trail followed the Oconee river part of the way, but we were not really able to enjoy much scenery…heads down watching every step and trying to keep the water off your face was what most of the day was like. We began at 5:15 and at the second aide station knew we would have to keep a good pace if we were to make the time cut off.
On this leg I got stung by a yellow jacket and as I stepped off a bridge onto a stump to make sure he wasn't in my pants I slipped and crashed down on my tail hard. Thankfully not my head!
It wasn't meant to be...we had been hiking about 12 hours when we arrived at the last station thirty minutes too late. We had to take the van back to to the finish line. I was disappointed but knew at least we didn’t give up (like some other’s did). Of the 80 hikers about 20 didn't get all the mileage in that day. Hats off to those who did! Including our new friend Shari who was in one of the fastest groups.
Wade and Mike had hiked almost two miles from the finish line hoping to meet us…and several hikers told me the next morning how much they had enjoyed seeing Wade’s enthusiastic smile on the trail as they were finishing that last leg.
What is important is that we raised over $6,000, which is about the cost of the average wish. There are 200 kids on the waiting list just in the Western part of NC.
Could we have completed the trail if it had been dry? I don’t know for sure…but I think so. So I settle for about a 24 mile day instead of the full 28.3 and know that I probably won’t take the time away from my guys to train for something like this again….and pray we never need Make A Wish in our family.
Needless to say a big Thank You goes out to all who supported us and to Mike who spent a lot of Saturday's alone with Wade so I could train. I hope to look back more fondly on this day as time passes