Was wondering how I would do on my first 30+ miler in a day, as before I hadn't gone past 21-something in a day. Not for the faint of heart, even with little elevation, but we all managed ok. This was in part to us blessed with one of the best hiking days we could've asked for. Not too hot/humid, clouds around for most of the day, no precip. Plus we all saw some sort of hawk or raptor above us, and I had a couple of elk herd spottings.
FAIR WARNING: On this trail there are areas where cairns and AZT signs are everywhere, and then there are places where it is blatantly obvious that they are needed yet missing. A good percentage of this trail is 4wd roads, yet the trail will suddenly snake off the road and you won't even realize it until you think to look down at your GPS and realize, "hey, the trail left us about a half mile ago"
I was leading for a good bit of the middle stretch and by that time, every time one of them would shout from behind, "Hey Dave, I haven't seen any trail signs lately" my body would instantly clench .. they were the only ones to find this amusing.
Denny and I spotted a few of these that the rest of us that any hiker would have easily missed; by the end we all felt that adding on any more to this adventure would have required
As the day drug on, Bruce & Joe were doing fine job of making a song out of everything anybody said to distract from the pain; even Denny eventually started chiming in, quite a hoot ... ("Hello mother, hello father, greetings from Camp Hiawatha"). By the 26-mile mark, even that wasn't cutting it to get my mind off the pain and the blisters. Joe had taken in his energy shot, and I needed one of my own, so I turned on some of my wife's Latin Zumba dance music. That was all I needed, and I took off like a shot past Joe. Heading down the final stretch, I ran up upon a nice bull elk and his female. They could hear Shakira coming out of my iPhone, and the male naturally took off a little bit farther away and watched, puzzled. The female however started dancing around in circles (no kidding), and stayed there watching Joe and I while doing her pacing, jumping dance until I shut off the music, then she just took off to be with her guy. I guess males and females are the same in America, no matter what the species.
Thanks guys, for a great hike that won't be soon forgotten!!!