There are dayhikes and then, boy oh boy, there are dayhikes on steroids.
Four Carolina Mountain Club members are participating in the 2014 Make-a-Wish Trailblaze Challenge: Billie Green, Sherry Griffith, Donna Lanning, and Maggie Marshall. Each have committed to raise thousands of dollars for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the non-profit that grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition.
The dayhike that they’re undertaking is a real challenge. The four women are walking 24.1 miles on the in one day, Saturday May 31.
“Sherry, Donna and I scouted just over half the trail this past Saturday, in the rain, and I think it’s the hardest hike I’ve ever done – 13.3 miles, 3700 ft. ascent,” Maggie reports.
They started from Appletree Campground in Nantahala National Forest. They climbed to Wayah Bald and climbed and climbed some more. These are not the well-maintained and switched-back trails of the Smokies and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
The Bartram Trail has some areas that are very rough with heavy erosion that caused the trail to fall off the hillside at times, and lots of downed trees to go around.
“When we at last made it to Wayah Bald 7 hours later we were pretty beat and cold,” Maggie says. “Sherry and I got there about 45 minutes ahead of the other three hikers who had the car keys, so we propped open the door to one of the outhouses and stood in there to stay warm and out of the wind!”
They wondered how they’d manage the rest of the trail, but that will be for another day, probably the day of the event. The remaining 10.9 miles is steeply downhill, then a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs, and finally another steep descent until they reach their goal at Wallace Branch.
Plans for the day
On the day of the hike, they’ll be getting up at 3am and starting at the trailhead at 5:15am with headlamps on.
But Maggie reminds us that “this challenge is nothing compared to what the Make-A-Wish kids face every day as they battle life-threatening medical conditions, so I think we can make it – and with a smile on our faces!”
Go to the website, 2014 Trail Blaze Challenge. Click on “Donate to a hiker”, (on the left), them choose a hiker and the amount to give. You’ll be helping a child with a grave condition, a hiker doing her all and the hiking cause.
Thank you to Ashok Kudva for working on the picture above.