Oct 9, 2012 at 8:12 am #1294821
I'm planning to make a four state challenge trip the weekend of October 28th. For those unfamiliar, it's essentially 45 miles in less than 24 hours continuously. I plan to start at the border of Pennsylvania at 0000 (midnight) Saturday morning and the hope is to reach Virginia before 2359 (11:59pm) Saturday night – at which point I'll get some sleep before leaving the trail. This won't be a solo trip; as of right now I have one partner (with the potential for at least one more). The terrain isn't that bad. Expected temperatures for the weekend average from 40-60 (F), but I'll be paying attention to weather forecasts as we get closer to that weekend. I'm not planning on cooking.
To those who have already done this, any advice is greatly appreciated! I'm not new to this section of trail, but I haven't tried the challenge before. The furthest I've hiked in a day is 32 miles (I could have gone further, but had no need, and the terrain was tougher.)Oct 9, 2012 at 9:08 am #1919504
Is there a definitive rule that says you have to do the challenge on the same calendar day or just touch all four states in a 24-hour period?
If it's just a 24-hour period I'll suggest that you get some sleep and start hiking at 5:00 am rather than at midnight. At least that way you're not starting off exhausted.Oct 9, 2012 at 9:23 am #1919510
I did this trip back to back in under 48 hours. If it were me on a single trip I would not start at midnight. I would get up early, maybe 4am and hit the trail. This will allow you to get a good nights sleep prior to the trip. Legal camping is a challenge near the pa border. You could crash in your car at the last road north of the border, there is a small area that holds a few cars. This would allow you to go essentially gear free since you could leave your gear in the car.
This trip is actually fairly easy for its length. There are a few rocky sections but there are many runnable sections. Have fun.Oct 9, 2012 at 9:29 am #1919512
That's a good point. I don't think there's a definitive rule. I assumed.Oct 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm #1919550
Greg, thanks for the input. The guy(s) I'm going with aren't fond of running much, so we'll be hiking quickly. Going 90 miles in 48 hours is really impressive. I don't think I'm going to try that. Do you run marathons/ultras?Oct 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm #1919616
Hey, I run almost every day!
I'd be down for 100 miles in 48 hours.Oct 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm #1919984
Some things seem like super overkill for a 24 hr trip, I don't think I've understood the itinerary. You are carrying a full sleeping/shelter set-up because you need to sleep at the very end? How far is the end of the hike from the nearest trailhead? You have to have someone picking you up anyhow I would assume. Either way, I would personally be fine nixing the quilt. Especially with the 8oz (!) baselayer, t-shirt, fleece combo. If you absolutely must bring the quilt, at least ditch the baselayer.
The bag seems massive for your needs, have a smaller daypack? A too-large pack bashing around for 45 miles would drive me nuts.
do you need a bladder and a platy? is it that dry out? Also, if you are moving fast and using aqua-mira, I would suggest a couple of recycled spring water bottles for ease of access/ease of filling, also saving a couple oz.
Do you need a groundsheet for one (almost) night out? Don't get me wrong, that bivy sounds expensive.
First aid kit- 4oz. If this is mostly foot care stuff, ok. If not, what is in it?
Firesteel- Carry a mini bic and some vaselene soaked cottonballs/an esbit tab for a no-brainer fire at zero weight penalty.
If you are buying a brand new petzl, and you make sure it works, carrying a "backup" light seems like overkill for one night, and certainly so if you are hiking with a partner or two.
I don't know if you have done this sort of thing before, but you put "going to buy" for the boxers, and I wouldn't hike that kind of mileage in brand new undies.Oct 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm #1920015
Thank you for your concerns (and I'm not dismissing them!). I reread my OP and what you've written makes perfect sense. I wasn't completely clear on the details of the trip.
I'm not fortunate enough to have someone pick me up at the end of the trail. We have two cars, so we'll drop one at the finish and pile into the other to reach the start. It ends up being a lot of driving so it's easiest to sleep in the woods Friday night. Likewise, Saturday night will be spent sleeping in the woods as well. That explains the full sleeping/shelter thing. The trip isn't meant to be a 24 hour thing – the "challenge" of making the 45 miles merely has to be done in under 24 hours.
I don't have my scale with me currently and I high-ball estimations on weights when I have to make them. I don't think the base layer or the FA kit weigh as much as is written down (but I'm unsure). (As far as other weights go, those were verified with the scale I referred to.) I may end up leaving the base layer after all though.
Regarding the bag, I don't have anything lighter honestly. It says it's been modified; it compresses nicely into a much smaller size. It doesn't end up being cumbersome. Maybe that's hard to imagine though. This list isn't too far from my go-to kit for hiking trips (with the length of the trip dependent only upon how much food I bring.)
About the firesteel, good call. I've been needing to adjust that. While I can make fire without matches, I shouldn't force myself into that every time.
The lights: I didn't intend to carry a back up. I modified my typical hiking list into this one and forgot to take the smaller light off. You're right; it's unnecessary.
Ahhh, the boxers. For the past several years I've used new balance compression shorts which aren't as comfortable as they should be. I haven't taken the plunge on the Ex Officio ones yet; but the reason I've chosen them falls back on their reputation (which is startlingly superb). Taking them on a trip like this is risky – but I could always take them off. I've gone without undies on a hiking trip before and it didn't bother me (granted having them is a tad more comfortable).
I've saved the toothbrush/toothpaste for last. You're right I ought not bring them, maybe even if this were a list for a week long trip. I'll give the long answer at the bottom of the post.
Your comments are solid and much appreciated. I'm sorry I skimped on the itinerary – I ought to have been more clear.
Teeth stuff – I'm a junior at the US Naval Academy. I signed a contract to get braces (yes, technically a government contract). I get to keep them contingent upon superb oral hygiene; otherwise they take them off before the job is done and my pain will have been for nothing.Oct 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm #1920025
@ken_bennettLocale: southeastern usa
If you are planning to sleep near your car, can you leave all the sleeping stuff in that car at the end? If I recall that section correctly, you can cross into Virginia, then cross back to WV to your car (I assume you are parking in Harper's Ferry.) Of course, if you don't make it and need to hole up somewhere, some sort of emergency shelter would be useful.
I've always heard the Maryland Challenge as being 24 hours, not a single calendar day. If you start at 0500, you might make the logistics a little easier.Oct 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm #1920044
good luck, have fun!Oct 10, 2012 at 9:10 pm #1920114
So, if I understand your amendment, you will be spending a night in the woods before, and after, your hike. I'd take the quilt then… but I would still leave the baselayer at home. To hot to hike (quickly) in, redundant with the fleece.
Teeth- hey man, go at it. its only an ounce and a half, but you know how those bpl people are…. Really though, your situation is understandable.
And what do you mean you own gear you haven't weighed!?!? The heaviest thing you are carrying must be shame! Just kidding.
My thoughts on the boxers stand. At least go for a good run in them beforehand to test them out. I may be beating this to death, but ball-chafe, man…. that's no laughing matter!
Have fun. I'm jealous.Oct 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm #1920380
Just noticed that Backpacker magazine has a blurb on doing the Four State Challenge on pg 35 of the latest issue, which also describes a method for getting to your car the same day.Oct 18, 2012 at 5:06 am #1922437
@alzellmanLocale: Mendocino County
Man, I can't believe you're doing this trip without me.Oct 22, 2012 at 10:01 am #1923649
Andrew! I did not expect to find you here. When you return from Chile we will find another trip.
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