Day 10: Amy’s Version

The end of the road! I will let these 2 videos speak for themselves:

After this 10 day experience, there’s a few things left to be said in closing. First and foremost, is how proud I am of Kevin, and how much I respect him for being able to see this through. It made it easy to do whatever it took to support Kev when I saw how much he was willing to endure to meet his goal.

Second, thank you to friends and especially family for all of your support. It was so encouraging and rejuvenating to know that you were there with us, there in spirit, or reading along as we went mile by mile through Vermont. You kept us both going, and that is more important than you can know.

And lastly, thank you to everyone who donated to the dental clinics that Kev is supporting with this run. You’ve made a difference in a LOT of people’s lives. They may never thank you, but we do. From the bottom of our hearts.

And so, stay tuned, because I have no doubt that there are more, bigger and better adventures to come.

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Day 9: Amy’s Version

Today, Kev had to run a 22 mile stretch, and there was no way for me to get to him. The biggest concern this morning was that he have enough food and drink with him for what could potentially be an 8 hour run. He filled up his camelback, which holds a little over a gallon, with his pink carb drink, as well as an extra plastic water bottle to use during the first hour or two and then get rid of. Here’s what the food looked like:

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Vanessa and I had a relatively uneventful day…had breakfast with Kev’s parents, did a little painting, and checked out the salamanders in the pond by our campsite. Since the pickup point was just down the road from where we were staying, we were able to spend most of the day “home”.

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Kev was hurting pretty bad when we got him. We’ve been nursing him back to health, and hopefully he’ll be able to rally for the final 17 tomorrow. It’s been an incredible experience to be here and to be a part of such a challenging endeavor, but I know that we are both looking forward to eating normal dinners, seeing our dog, and sleeping on a level surface.

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Day 8: Amy’s Version

Today started with our typical routine, with one addition. Kev’s parents came up and brought Vanessa so that she could see her dad finish the trail she’s been hearing about for a year. She stayed with us in the RV last night, and together we dropped him off at the trail this morning.

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When he returned, Kev had decided he had had enough of the blisters on his heels and was ready to take action. Armed with scissors and a utility knife, he instructed me to perform surgery on his sneakers.

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I was worried that this would ultimately be a bad idea, especially since Kev was going out for a 17 mile stretch where I wouldn’t see him. I had visions of the sneakers flying off his feet and him tumbling down the mountain head over heels, but he declares the idea the best one he’s ever had and doesn’t know why we didn’t do it sooner. In fact, he came back from his second leg an hour faster than we expected.

A good portion of my afternoon was spent with Kev’s dad. He wanted to go for a hike on the trail to get an idea of what it was like, so I joined him. After hiking for about a half hour, Dad mentioned how he would love to see a moose in the woods. We discussed how dangerous moose can be, which led to the topic of “what to do if you see a bear”. Apparently, Dad had just watched a video on the topic and was relaying some of the tips to me:

• If you have bear pepper spray (we didn’t), and the bear is still a good distance away, spray the spray at the ground and make a break for it. Spray again, and you might have a chance to put enough distance between yourself and the bear.

• If it’s a Grizzly (none of those in VT), climb a tree. If it’s a black bear (LOTS of those in VT), that won’t work.

• If you have a pack on your back (we didn’t), and the bear isn’t being aggressive towards you, put your pack and your arms up and make yourself look as big as possible. Talk in a low, calm voice, and slowly back away.

• If the bear puts it’s ears back and looks at you with lust in it’s eyes, you might as well pray to whomever you choose and sprint your final sprint, because the end is probably near. And try not to scream while you’re getting mauled.

Thanks, Dad! You really know how to put a girl at ease in the woods!!

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Day 7: Amy’s Version

I think it’s safe to say that Kev was feeling better this morning.

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After dropping him off, as usual I headed to the next spot. There were more people at this point than there have been so far, mainly because this stretch of trail is where the Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail join together for awhile. I explored the area on my bike until I came to an area of apple orchards that the Green Mountain Society maintains to naturally support wildlife. I thought that was cool until I read the fine print and understood that Wildlife = Bears, at which point I got back on my bike and went back to the RV. The experience also was the tipping point that resulted in my filming this:

The morning run for Kev went incredibly well…he came back almost an hour faster than I expected and said he had the run of his life. We talked about it over lunch, and then he set out again for another 12. I drove for a long time, and waited for him here:

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To add to the list of weird things I’ve accomplished on this trip, I also sort of parallel-parked the RV!

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Kev returned with the same swollen toes and funny walk, but he was in good spirits and happy about the day. Keep your fingers crossed that tomorrow is more of the same!!

Day 6: Amy’s Version

Today was great, because Kev got his shoes on and did a lot of running, but was relatively uneventful for me, at least as far as “Adventurous Things That Happen When Amy’s Alone” are concerned.

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I dropped Kev off, met him and the second point (easy to get to, easy to find), started him off again, and went to the last pick-up. That one took forever to get to, and was really out in the middle of nowhere, but had incredible cell reception for some mysterious reason, so my waiting time passed quickly.

Since I have no tales to tell or even a remotely interesting video, I will now make a list of things I have learned thus far.

• If a road has the word “Gap” or “Notch” in it’s name, you will definitely pee your pants a little bit at least once while driving on it.

• If you ever rent an RV, check to make sure when you turn on the kitchen sink, water doesn’t leak out all over the floor because some previous idiot broke the plumbing and stuffed towels around it instead of telling anyone, thus forcing you to wash dishes in the grass outside with the garden hose. Not an easy or enjoyable task.

• Always keep quarters in your shower caddy. You never know when someone will charge you $1.25 to turn on the water, and it’s better to be prepared than find this out once you are stripped down to your flip-flops and a quarter-mile from your campsite and wallet.

• Map Time is essential. Each night, we get out 4 different maps and a clean sheet of paper. We look at the trail map, the road map, and a detailed atlas, in which I highlight my route in red and mark the destinations. On the clipboard, I write turn-by-turn directions so I can read them easily while driving. I also write the exact mileage (given by the trail map) from the last turn to the trailhead, and I reset the speedometer when I make that turn. Makes it really easy when you feel like it’s going to be difficult.

• Minimize. You can soak your feet in the trash can. You can eat out of the pot. You can sweep with a paper towel. You can eliminate the cutting board completely by slicing your veggies upward. You get the idea.

That’s all for now. There’s new lessons all the time so this list isn’t conclusive, but tomorrow’s another early day and 8:30 is pretty much bedtime around here.

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Day 4: Amy’s Version

This morning, I dropped Kev off at the base of Camel’s Hump. These drop-off points deserve a brief pondering. Sometimes, the spot will be so beautiful, you feel lucky to have been there to see it. Sometimes, it’s such a challenge to get to it that you feel a sense of accomplishment and pride for having reached it. And then, there’s times like today, when it’s just a weird little parking lot on a street with a few run-down houses and a stray cat, and you think, “something about this is a little creepy!”

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I knew It was going to be at LEAST six hours before I saw him again, so after Kev set out, I went to find some cell service and gas. Here’s how that went:

***disclaimer*** This second video is long, but if you feel like spacing out for awhile, it’s pretty cool to watch all the way through.

After that, I headed to the meeting point, which was just a pullover on the edge of a rocky, super-steep road on the side of the mountain with no tree cover for shade. There were flies buzzing everywhere, just itching to get inside the RV. After a quick bike ride down a side trail, I decided it was best to barricade myself inside against the bugs and just try to stay cool until Kev finally made it back.

And finally, a quick word on campgrounds. What a weird lifestyle!  I would say we are in the 6% of people who don’t stay at these campgrounds permanently. I did not grow up going to RV parks, so this is pretty foreign to me. I understand the appeal of simple living and of being mobile, but the weird permanent porches and other obvious signs that people have no intention of moving is just strange to me. Here’s some of our neighbors tonight: (Please take note: that one guy has 3 satellite dishes!!)

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Day 3: Amy’s Version

***Just a quick note – cell service here is extremely hard to come by sometimes, so if our updates are late, that’s the reason. We are ok!***

Day 3 was much more interesting for Kev than it was for me. He climbed the tallest mountain in Vermont, ran further than he’s ever run, and made a mockery of some extreme conditions. I, on the other hand, emptied the RV toilet, got lost a few times, and was outcast from a high society social club.

After dropping Kev off next to a (pack? gaggle?) of 17 wild turkeys, I made my way to Smuggler’s Notch, our first meeting point. Here’s how that went:

It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, as the trailhead was before the road got too out of hand. I did bike ahead a short way to take some nice pictures. While I waited for Kev, I found a really calm (but frigid!) stream to do a workout by. (Since I know at least one of you cares, it was 50x squats, situps, burpees, lunges, pushups, Russian Twists.) I rinsed off in the stream, and then got some sweet potato soup ready for Kev.

I knew the next stretch would take Kev a long time, but I wanted to get in position early in case I came across any trouble. Little did I know that this time, the trail parking area was shared space with the Lake Mansfield Trout Club, an upscale, members-only party that I, in my camping clothes and dirty hair, was not invited to. I tried to go sit by the lake and take a few pictures, but I got a lot of dirty looks from men in polo shirts and khakis, and in the end had to just wait in the RV.

Right around the time when I thought it was about time for Kev to appear, it started to rain…lightly at first, and then a downpour. Monsoon rain. With huge claps of thunder. I tried to ignore the urge to freak out, and was managing sort of ok when finally Kev showed up in his poncho.

We stayed in a hotel last night. We ate dinner at an Italian restaurant. It seemed like a great idea, the food was delicious (Kev ordered 2 entrees), and it was awesome being right next to the ice machine, but in the end it may have been a mistake. It’s a tough thing to re-enter society when you have to leave it the next morning. From this point on, I think we’ll be roughing it till the end.

**another note: kevs Day 3 post will have to go up later because I can’t figure out how to access it 😦 sorry.

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