27 Days to go for the Ultimate Hike

27 Days to go for the Ultimate Hike

We are 27 days (but who is counting?) from the Ultimate Hike...28.3 miles on a mountain trail in one day. Serious fund-raisers say that you should never admit this, but I want you to know that I have met the financial requirement ($2,500) and my own goal ($2,830) for the year...my current total is $3,219. Some people wait until near the hike to contribute so I am hopeful more money will come in.

My training is on schedule also. On Saturday, we hiked some 22 miles on the mountain-like trails of Harbison Forest. We began in the dark at 6:00 AM (with headlights) to mimic the 4;30 start on hike-day. We walked despite a drizzle because the Ultimate Hike happens rain or shine.

I believe I could have made it 28 miles Saturday but I would be lying if I said I was not hurting at the end of the day. I plan to train a lot more (numerous hikes 5-6 miles and another over twenty) to be fully prepared. My boots, that I have hiked in for many, many miles are hurting my feet (no blistered but my toes feel jammed at the end of the hike) so I am going to try lacing them differently and try other boots that I own...I have to decide quickly because we are near the point where there would be too little time to break in new boots.

Ultimate Hike Backpacker Quality Gear
Training every two weeks at Harbison Forrest, it has been interesting to watch the forest change with Spring. When we began, the forest was asleep and everything was brown. A few weeks ago, yellow jasmine bloomed brilliantly against a background of brown. The next hike, all of the yellow flowers were on the ground and the dogwoods were in bloom. ribbons of green snaked through the brown forest along the banks of the streams.

This week, the dogwood blossoms formed a white carpet in many areas. All of the trees had fully developed leaves and the forest floor was green with ferns, grasses and other plants. The low/wet areas were covered with a delicate while lily-sort-of-flower.

There were flowering bushes that looked like rhododendron...they were a little different so I am not sure if they were a relative (of the mountain variety) or if our midlands climate takes a toll on them (I was surprised to find them living here). We found an Eastern box turtle lounging in a puddle in the middle of the trail. Washed by the puddle, its yellow markings were bright and beautiful.

As always, thank you for being a part of my team, helping me reach my goal and making this journey with me. Most of all, thank you for helping find a cure for children's cancer...so far, for this year's Foothills Trail Ultimate Hike, over $98,000 has been raised! -James

About the Author

James A. Brannock

James A. Brannock

James Brannock is a Columbia personal property appraiser (furniture, silver, art, antiques, etc.). He began backpacking when his son was in Boy Scouts and spent 10 days backpacking at Philmont Scout Ranch...he continues to backpack once or twice a year with friends from those Scouting days. Brannock and his son, Calder, walked the Coast to Coast Trail across England in 2010 (see the photo from the Lake District). On the Ultimate Hike for CureSearch-Children's Cancer Research, Brannock walked over 30 miles in one day...some eight miles further than any previous single day personal record.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.

Twitter stream

You can't buy love but you can buy local. Shop locally for Patagonia on Nov 25th to support Small Business. fb.me/6PDjPF6Zi
Nov 25th is Small Business Saturday. Gather your family and friends and come shop locally. #SmallBizSat #ShopSmalltwitter.com/i/web/status/9…
The Backpacker
Thanksgiving Sale all week! Smartwool Socks #buy3get1free #gofarfeelgood pbxx.it/utvSof
Come visit us this week for 15% off ALL Smartwool 250 and more for 44th Thanksgiving Sale!! fb.me/1NDGur12c

Columbia, SC

1215 Wayne Street
Columbia, SC 29201
803.799.7571 | p
email Columbia location

Mon - Fri: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Sat: 10:00am - 6:00pm

Our Story

Started in 1973 by Malcolm and Lewis Jones, The Backpacker Quality Gear, Inc. became the first outfitter in South Carolina to bring high quality outdoor gear to South Carolina... continue reading