Day 110: The Ultra Marathon Runners And The Thru-hiker

Started: Shelter Cove Resort (1906.6)

Ended: Brahma Lake Tentsite (1933.3)

Total Miles: 26.7

Achievements: Marathon (4)

Shelter Cove was really nice. I successfully escaped it’s vortex by 8:00 a.m. after a delicious breakfast. Despite the late start, I was making good time. This part of the hike reminds me of the Ice Age Trail. It is flat, green, and passes by beautiful small lakes and ponds.

I had a pretty good climb up the ridge that I powered through. At the top, I was surprised by tables and an emergency crew. They yelled “Hiker!”, and made a path for me. I went up to the table to ask what was going on. They told me that there was an ultra marathon here, but not to worry. The runners are instructed that backpackers still have the right of way.

I took out my earphones. I needed to pay attention.

As I walked, I would cheer the runners on. I was surprised at the response I received. Instead of me cheering on them, it was more like them cheering on me!

“Don’t cheer for me. You’re my hero!”

“I’m going to guess you’ve gone farther than me.”

“There isn’t one of us who wishes we could do what you are doing.”

Eventually I reached one of the check points. They would cheer the runners when they got there and would resupply them with water and snacks. When I got there, even though I was going the opposite direction, I received the same response. They cheered. I tipped my cap. The crew refilled my water. The doctor asked how my feet were and offered to tape any blisters. I thanked them as I walked by, nibbling on a popsicle.

I eventually ran into some trail magic. I enjoyed some watermelon and an orange soda. Gust asked me my plan. We agreed to hike another eight miles. We pounded that out. We had some interesting discussions as she will be starting law school in January, and has been working for some non-profit organizations since college. The sunset and mosquitoes ended the conversation early, but we’ll talk about it tomorrow.

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