The 2003 Rachel Carson Trail Challenge
Please thank all of the people who donated their time and effort to make the Rachel Carson Challenge such a great event. I have never done the hike before, but was convinced by a friend of mine, who had tried twice before and succeeded once, that it would be a good time.

He was right, even though we had to drop out at 21 partly because we got to the check point just before the cut-off and partly because the mud had taken its toll on my hiking buddy. I haven't slogged through so much mud since the monsoons in Vietnam.

I will be back next year. I have a plan to travel lighter and faster and to finish. And if for some reason I cannot hike, I will plan to join the great group of volunteers and man an aid station.

Thank you,

John Armstrong
On Saturday I made the most of the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge by walking the 34 mile trail to benefit Sojourner House. Thank you for the opportunity. This was my first time on the trail. I'm very impressed with how well it was marked and how well stocked the check points were! The volunteers were great, friendly, helpful. The hikers although strangers were like family as we conquered each section of the trail.

The Rachel Carson Trail Challenge was quite the event! An awesome 14.5 hours of walking. Knowing that so many people supported me was wonderful. Some of the highlights include:

Mud and more mud Feeling safe with strangers Getting to eat all I wanted all day long A gentle rain to keep it cool Wildflowers of yellow, pink, purple, blue, red, white Fresh raspberries off the vine Learning the Swiss Walk to get up the hill while keeping a steady heartbeat (Just call me Heidi) Generousity of Sheetz with free slushies Care and concern from the gracious volunteers at the checkpoints including Norma and Richard Raiff The Detour to avoid an 18" high stream with a running current Going down a hill while holding onto a cable to keep me steady but wishing I just had sled Singing all the verses of Amazing Grace in the midst of God's untouched creation Going through a Horse Pasture and having a colt come over to say Hello then gallop off Loosing my balance just 3 times and falling (Just call me Grace) The comments from carrying J.J.'s backpack with Anakin of Star Wars fame and having the Force with me A phone call from Joe when I was at checkpoint 3, 21 miles, and knowing I was more than halfway to my goal Conquering every hill both up and down

I'm very grateful that I could participate in this event and help the women of Sojourner House.

Carol Petti
thanks so much for the event, all your help and your commitment to trail maintenance. we had a great time - even those who didn't finish. one question though: where and when will the splits be posted??? again, thanks a lot and i for one will make this an annual event!

Thomas Brown
Thank you very much for your hard work on this year's Rachel Carson Challenge. It was my first year attempting the feat, and I must tell you, I was thoroughly impressed at every turn. The trail was a challenge unlike anything I've ever experienced before, and I'm VERY proud to say I finished!

Before the big day came, I read every page of the rachelcarsontrail.com webpage, trying to suck any possible advantage from its pages. The website was chock full of every piece of information I could possibly ask for, and I arrived Saturday morning without having to wonder where I was going or what I would find when I got there.

And then the trail!! It was very clearly marked and even though I had done two practice hikes in preparation for the event (thanks, Babs!), I still was unsure I could find my way on the two sections I hadn't completed. The heavy traffic made the trail easy to follow, but the blazes were bright and visible every step of the way. Anyone who got lost surely wasn't paying attention and deserves 100% of the blame!

The checkpoints were shocking. For $25, I was expecting to find a couple of folding chairs, a few buckets of warm potable water, and few boxes of Power Bars donated by local establishments. What I found instead completely added to my success. When I told my friends and family about the PB&J; sandwiches, oranges, apples, grapes, bananas, crackers, trail mix, granola bars, water, Gatorade, etc, etc, they were also amazed.

It's amazing how little things that add to your morale during an event like that contribute to your success. The COLD water and FRESH sandwiches and CUT oranges and FRIENDLY volunteers are something that I would take for granted, even expect, during the course of a regular day. But sucking cold water through a bite valve is ten-fold better than warm water, and the little things added up to complete my successful day. (Denise, at Checkpoint 4, was playing Bad Company on her radio and made me a cup of iced tea. These two things made powering up Ridge Road a little easier!)

Again, thank you and congratulations on a wonderful event. My knees, feet, and right groin might never heal, but my heart is strong because I completed such a formidable challenge, and your team did a terrific job ensuring that it was POSSIBLE for everyone!


Craig M. Tumas
I really enjoyed the event and have told everyone about it. It ranks up there as a first class event. The volunteers were priceless. I look forward to next year.


William D. Lese (Billy)