Hey hey there! As promised I’m doing a recap on the R2R event I did back over Memorial Day Weekend. It’s been a while since then I know, it’s taken a while to decide how I wanted to do this and from what viewpoint I am going for. I’m going to keep it to a play by play (with pictures ) versus my personal opinions/take. Don’t get me wrong I loved the event, I think a replay just sums it up better.
The group met up at Private Quinn’s Pub in Harpers Ferry WV at 19:00. If you’ve never been Harpers Ferry is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been in my life to date, please go if you ever have the opportunity. We made sure everyone was organized with gear, received our t-shirts/hats and had some dinner/drinks. At 21:00 we were off to the Appalachian Trailhead (AT).
S.E.R.E. Performance – check it out and sign up
Ladies before we got going @ Private Quinn’s Pub
Starting from the AT trailhead we were off, nobody knew what was in store for the hours ahead though. It was not easy. If you’ve never been on the AT down in WV it is a technical trail, during daylight it wouldn’t be bad but at night it is very rocky so foot placement and focus is key. Going into the wee hours with headlamps we kept walking single file mostly as our focus was reaching checkpoint #1. This portion of the ruck was somewhere around 20 miles and took us about 12 hours. Allow me to add that there are also huge spiders and flying beetles, especially at night they seemed to be out much more. Plus, with the headlamps I was finding bugs bouncing off my face from about 9pm-4am. If you have a fear of spiders go walk the AT at night, you will quickly get over that fear.
At checkpoint #1 we re-fueled for the next portion. There was breakfast, coffee, water. We were given time to sit down and eat, go to the bathroom (still popping a squat) and take care of any wounds/blisters. I think a few people took short naps and I do not blame them, the over night was physically exhausting.
To get to the start of our next rucking section we were transported via car about 15 miles down the road (as this road is now a interstate and not safe for foot travel).
The W&OD is a paved trail. This trail is used as a bike route so the entire way we were hearing “on your left” as they passed us by. Due to this fact we we single file (0% of this portion, instructors did buddy up somewhat though. The temperature was right around 85/90 degrees and this was a mental break and physical for those who were not used to the upper temps. Every .5 miles flag transitions were made passing it to the person behind and the back of the line would move up front to hold the American.
At our next major break point (not mile 40) we got food. Real food, not protein bars and GU. Everyone ate up, re-filled water bladders, changed socks, bandaged blisters the whole deal. We were here for a little while before heading off to finish the rest of the 20 mile section to reach dinner. I really don’t remember much from the next portion, I know it was still daylight/sunny, the flag swapping it was very much similar to that before our meal break.
At dinner there were a few people (including myself) that stopped and met back up in the morning (midnight-7am break) for the last few miles and final push to Arlington National Cemetery. From what I have heard the portion of ruck I missed was still very tough and it was night time again. Being night time the temperature dropped back down and it was raining for a while so people were able to cool down. The group visited some of the main monuments and walked around them to get miles in.
In the morning we met back up with the group that continued onward from dinner to make the final push. We were graced by the presence of Michael McCabe who enlightened us with some history. If I do say so myself that man as an individual made the event for me. (Thank you, Michael!).
Back together again
Group just before entering Arlington National Cemetery
Overall I enjoyed the event. The whole meaning behind our ruck was truly just phenomenal. I was and am still impressed by the spirits and helpfulness of everyone. All individuals gave it their all and everyone recognized that. It is such a great feeling to know that you are a part of something good. Something that is bigger than yourself. We all did this event for those who couldn’t and took so much positive away from it as well.
Thank you to all the instructors, support crew, fellow participants for making this ruck happen.