Letters from Challengers

The 2005 Rachel Carson Trail Challenge
Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that I had a phenomenal experience yesterday in the Rachel Carson Trail challenge. This was my first time in the challenge and it kicked my butt, but I had the satisfaction of finishing within the allotted time. I want to thank all of the wonderful people associated with this event. It was very very well run and organized. The people that manned the rest stops were very friendly and encouraging. The food and drink was good and plentiful. The pinic at the end was a real joy. It was neat to hang out with other people who had just gone through the same experience and share stories. You somehow even got the weather to be perfect. All-in-all I would rate the event a 10 out of 10.

Thank-You all for a great experience!


Jim Holliday
Hi this was my first hike and I am just amazed at how difficult and challenging it was. Being from Texas, I was definitely spanked by Pennsylvania on this one.

Sherryl Nash
I have to say that we couldn't have any better conditions on Saturday. Mud was to a minimum and The temperature and humidity were just right.

This was my first year doing the challenge. I made it to the 3rd checkpoint and that was a acheivement for me. Can wait to do it next year and hopefully finish!

Thanks to all of the volunteers who make this possible.

I just want to second what Stacey had to say. This was an incredibly organized event. Registration was a snap, which was especially wonderful at 5AM. The check point volunteers have my enthusiastic thank you for the supplies and the encouragement ( although it was so nice at Egan Park I didn't want to leave ). Without the excellent support team, I could never have completed the challenge on my first attempt. But I did and I have the blisters to prove it. Thank you for a great experience.

Bob Charlton
I met some great people during the quiet walk in the woods. I want to thank everyone for their encouragement, especially when those hills got to me at the end and I had to sit down and rest in the middle. The kind thoughts as you passed me by made a difference.

Agan Park was a real highlight. Good humor and great warnings about the section ahead.

The burgers at the end were a TREAT! Of course when I can walk again I will think about next year.

(The guy in the orange shirt)
I just wanted to take some time to say THANK YOU to all of the volunteers that spent the entire day helping out on Saturday for the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge. This was my first time and I absolutely enjoyed every moment of it (from crossing streams, climbing insanely steep and long hills, being lost in the wilderness trying to navigate through woods and high brush, maneuvering around and through debris from the microburst the week prior, seeing snakes, struggling on loose gravel on step grades down, trying to avoid poison ivy to meeting a lot of terrific people on the way and more)! The volunteers were all very encouraging and well prepared at every check point. They had everything under the sun for us - granola bars, fruit, beverages, nuts, pb&j;, and tons more! It was 10 hours of pure physical challenge and fun! The event was so well organized and volunteers made it even better! Thanks a million for a great day!

~Lee Anne Davison
I want to thank all the volunteers who gave all there time and energy to make this possible for us. You people are the greatest.

Two people I would really like to thank are Merry and Mark Brumbaugh. Two of the best of the best. Last year they went way out of there way to help me after my shoes broke and my legs gave out. I don't know what I would have done without these great people. This year I was able to finish. Next year I hope to volunteer with Mark and Merry.

Thanks to everyone
I just wanted to add my note of appreciation to all of the people that put this together. This was the first time I had tried any event like this, let alone the challenge itself, so I was quite nervous before starting. However, everything was so well organized, and the volunteers and other participants were so encouraging, that my fears were quickly allayed. I know there was a lot of last-minute fine tuning done on the trail itself, and it was really appreciated. I was glad to see the reroute in Crouse Run Valley taking us away from the erosional hazard. There were a number of temporary markings (ribbons, paint on dirt, etc) that must have just been added recently, but which made things much easier. Whoever spilled the paint on (I think) Middle Road and labeled it "oops" gave me a much- needed chuckle. The people working the checkpoints all did an amazing job. Thanks also to everyone that I ran into along the way - we all worked together in finding the trail, and I got a pointer in the right direction on more than one occasion. I was glad I was able to reciprocate.

To everyone that made this happen, thanks! I'm already looking forward to next year. I'm sure that I'll either participate again or volunteer, but I wouldn't miss it for the world.

- Mike Marcus
(the guy in the orange geocaching hat and Rosie the Riveter "We Can Do It" T-Shirt)
When I volunteered last year I committed myself to getting in shape to do the challenge this year. (Looking back, I should have just commited myself -period).

Well, I completed the 34 miles in 13 hrs and change. It was the most physically demanding and exhausting challenge I can ever imagine doing - past, present, and future. The last 1.2 miles within Harrison Hills park when you are ohh soooo close to finishing but have to walk around, down, up and through the park is like when you set a dog biscuit on your dog Rover and make it sit there for the longest time - you know the dog is going to get the biscuit yet you are cruel and unusal to make the dog wait so long to get the goods!!

Thanks to everyone who made this event run so smoothly, especially the volunteers at the checkpoints. Special thanks to the work crew from Indiana Twp. who must have worked fast and furiously the few days prior to the event to get the two sides of Deer Creek connected in Emmerling Park.

See ya next year, although I won't commit myself just yet

Tom Loebig
My thanks to the volunteers and the organizers of this special event.

You are the people that make it easier on us (the hikers) to complete our goals. Thanks again and see you next year!!
Many thanks to the SkyView Radio Society for their generous assistance in providing communications for the Challenge this year. In the past we used donated cell phones, but service was problematic in some areas. This year we asked the ham radio folks at SkyView for their help, and they came through for us. Read about their efforts on the Public Service page of their web site www.skyviewradio.net.

Steve Mentzer
Executive Director
Rachel Carson Trail Challenge