Friday, July 24, 2020

4 States in 1 Day

Like so many things, COVID-19 has delayed the release of our book. I've been wanting to build some excitement leading up to the October release, but wasn't sure what to post. I started thinking about how the book went in alphabetical order instead of sequential order. It seemed like there might be stories to be shared that didn't make it to print if I just changed how I looked at our adventures. While looking at a map of the trails included in the book, I realized our record for most states pushiked in a day was 4.
Kellisa and I were way behind schedule and needed to do some crazy trips with everything working out perfect or at least very close to perfect. We were in danger of leaving some of the New England states without finishing a trail due to rain in Connecticut and two rocky trails in New York. We needed to successfully pushike in Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island on our last day in the region before returning home to California with less than 3 weeks before the completed manuscript was due.

If everything went as planned, I would give us excellent chances to finish the task. But, there was a powerful nor'easter just off the coast with winds between 50 and 60MPH pounding the mainland. At least one of our planned trails was along the coastline. In addition, I didn't have an alternative trail selected for Connecticut and didn't have a solid plan for Massachusetts or Rhode Island. 

After a long day, actually after a week of long days, we woke up early in a beautiful seaside motel. We had already pushiked in Oklahoma, Texas, Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire on this whirlwind trip. We only had four states to go east of the Mississippi and a very early flight home to catch in less than 24 hours.

Our first trail started out along the rocky Maine coast before going through a deep forest in full autumn display of vivid colors. The trail popped out of the trees for a short loop near the water again before returning on the same path back to our rental SUV. The wind and waves reminded me of bringing the girls to the beach to experience tropical storms passing by the Jacksonville, Florida coast.

I had an idea along the Massachusetts coast for a trail, but then I saw a sign for Walden Pond, "THE" Walden Pond. I took a chance and pulled off the highway knowing we couldn't afford to waste even a minute of time. We were relieved to find a suitable trail around one of the most famous ponds in the world. 

Next was Connecticut. I still didn't have a plan and I was trying to decide if our attempted pushike in western Connecticut was enough to include in the book. We were ultimately turned back due to a narrow bridge and deep mud. We didn't mind the rain. 

During a short lunch break, I feverishly researched trails and found Bull Hill with wide ranging summit views, rare for this part of the country. The trail to the top was short, but one of the most difficult in the book. The feeling of being on top of the world made the intense workout worth it 10 fold.

All we had left was Rhode Island and the sun was starting to fall. This would be our 3rd time pushiking in Rhode Island and I was considering repeating a trail. The decision was made to attempt Jerimoth Hill, the highest point in Rhode Island. This would be Kellisa's 3rd time reaching the summit and it would allow me to discuss the fact that Kellisa has summited over 20 states in her pushiking career.  

We finished our marathon day as the last rays of sunshine disappeared. Our drive to the hotel near the airport was uneventful, so was our gas station dinner to save time. I had done most of the packing the previous night, so I was able to get a decent night of sleep before a long travel day across the country that would start way too early the following morning.

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