A Mini Mudfest

The 2017 Rachel Carson Trail Challenge

Tropical storm Cindy made landfall two days before the Challenge, accompanied by an ominous forecast of torrential downpours throughout our region. Contingency plans were considered for detouring hikers around the Rocky Dell Run and Crouse Run. Fortunately by dawn on Saturday, our dedicated trail managers reported swollen but navigable streams and a muddy trail reminiscent of the 2015 Mudfest for the Ages. Leave your extra dry socks in the drawer.

Moderate temperatures in the high 70s, low humidity and refreshing breezes offset trail sections that resembled deep chocolate pudding. Descending a slippery Myers Hill into the Deer Creek Valley may have deposed the infamous Murray Hill for excitement. As in 2015, the trail along Deer Creek appeared to have been recently submerged. There were some very muddy stetches elsewhere, including the horse farm and isolated swamps within Harrison Hills Park.

—Tom Armstrong

For the Full Challenge, we had 567 participants scan out at North Park, and 431 or 76% made it to Harrison Hills Park within the official time of 15 hours, 4 minutes.

For the 17-mile Homestead Challenge, we had 277 participants scan out at Springdale High School, and 183 or 94.6% reached Harrison Hills Park. Of those, 183 (66%) made it within the official time of 7 hours, 22 minutes.

For the 7-mile Friends & Family Challenge, 31 groups set out from Tarentum, heading to Harrison Hills Park.

Many thanks to our wonderful volunteer crew: Joyce Appel, John Armstrong, Alex Baker, Joan Baker, Robert Bastone, Mary Bates, Thomas Bates, Colin Beckwitt, Joan Blaney, Cheryl Boyle, Dick Boyle, Jon Bradley, Jennifer Braun, Maryann Brendel, David Brooke, Becky Brown, Patty Brunner, Robert Buchwald, John Cancro, Tomas Castillo, Deonna Celtnieks, Linda Connors, Adrienne Cook, Richard Cook, Greg Countouris, Jim Crist, Mike Dailey, Carrie D'Andrea, Nicole Dengler, Gabriel Diamond, Bill Dietrich, Michael Ewing, David Fair, Hope Feldman, Tim Flaherty, Ralph Flaugher, Anne Flynn Schlicht, Dwight Fox, Janet Fox, Mark Frey, Barbara Gaertner, Kathleen Ganster, Bob Graham, Lincoln Griffin, Tirzah Griffin, Aaron Gschwendtner, Brianne Guist, Robert Habegger, Deanna Hanna, David Helwig, Paul Henry, Sarah Heppenstall, Daniel Herr, Jerry Hoffman, Jim Holloway, John Italiano, Brian Joseph, Chris Kaminski, Andrew Karnavas, Nathaniel Kern, Ryan Knecht, Jason Kodat, Mardelle Kopnicky, Patrick Kopnicky, Jay Kuntz, Rhett Landry, Jeff Lang, Elaine Laymon, Jessie Lehosky, Joe Leighton, Sandy Letterle, phil light, Michael Lotze, Margie Lynch, Carol MacPhail, Debra Maeder, Joanne Maeder, Ximena Marinero, Ken Matthews, Dave McConahy, Joyce McConahy, Jaime Miller, Andy Mowrey, Karen Muirhead, Bob Mulshine, Nikki Naim, Tom Neff, Patrick Pagano, Jim Painter, Ben Pilcher, Jay Rajgopal, Bob Reiland, Bill Ringle, Karen Rivetti, Deb Sagan, Jeff Sarabok, Jen Sarabok, Paul Sauers, Sarah Scherer, Susie Shages, Shane Shin, Andrea Shymatta, Laura Silverman, Melissa Simonetti, Kelly Sottile, John Stephen, Anastasia Stolz, Donna Stolz, Ezra Stolz, John Stolz, Matthew Sudak, David Syiek, Cathy Nader-Syiek, Gregory Syiek, Dorothy Tatrn, Laura Taylor, Deb Tayor, Jackie Thomas, Christine Vensel, Nicole Ward, Heather Waring, Jennifer Watts, Justin Weaver, Olivia Wiesner, Ashley Williams, Meghann Wygonik, Carol Zellars, and Judy Ann Ziegler.

And our sponsors & supporters:

  • Peoples Natural Gas
  • Charles R. Burke Foundation
  • REI
  • MacPhail-Soonthornchai Family
  • UPMC
  • William & Gay Stewart
  • Seneca Resources
  • Williams Coulson LLC
  • Hefren-Tillotson
  • Bob Mulshine
  • Charlie & Paula Brethauer
  • Attorney Hal English
  • John & Tom Armstrong, Trail Stewards
  • Skyview Radio Society