I’ll soon be venturing into my longest distance on foot. 6am on Friday 6th, I embark on a 160 mile round trip from Rice Lake, WI to Park Falls, WI. In 2016, I completed the 80 mile distance from Park Falls to Rice Lake. So why not double it? Needless to say, as I continue to pack calories, hydration, required gear, extra clothing, etc. onto my sled, I’m having second thoughts, third thoughts, random weird thoughts, and very few, “This is going to be easy” thoughts. This isn’t unusual for me. I don’t want to underestimate the undeniably difficult nature of such an effort. I want to succeed, yet I know it will take an extreme effort.
If you want to see my preparations and reflections from the 2016 event, these are the links:
A couple of things are different this year. 1st – I have my own sled. It’s a used, fiberglass sled made in Sweden. It’s slightly longer than the one I used last year. My friend and mentor, Rick, has designed a superb pivot system allowing the sled to track and turn with ease. I am mindful of the total weight, as well as weight distribution on the sled. Being minimal in near zero degree conditions means that there is little room for the unforeseen. Double digit miles to a drop bag of extra gear is a long way when the need is immediate. 2nd – I purchased a SPOT tracking device. Last year I used Rick’s tracker. This device will send a signal every 30 minutes which will be represented on Google Maps. The device automatically transmits a signal unless it detects no movement for a period of time. This would indicate that I stopped at a C-Store, Checkpoint, a Tavern for a burger or pizza, or I’m resting/sleeping. When movement resumes the device will begin sending signals. If you want to check my progress on this event use this link: 160 Tuscobia.
These pictures are courtesy of Chad Weberg of Mazomanie, WI. I met Chad last year at Tuscobia. I look forward to having time to reconnect with him again in a couple of days. They were taken this evening and posted on Facebook. They give a sense of what lies ahead in the dark of night.
All I have to do this weekend is pull a sled through the beauty of Wisconsin. I get to meet new people, connect with friends whom I haven’t seen since last year’s event, try out new layers of clothing, drink liquids that are formulated for endurance needs (remaining liquid not a slush), eat a variety of foods with salt, protein, and complex carbs which don’t become frozen bricks, enjoy more hours of darkness than light, and ponder life and my part in it. All I have to do is pull a sled and keep moving forward.