Even though our website did win a Noble Pullet Surprise for UltraMarathon Websites That Think They Are Funnier Than They Really Are, we have been learning that our content is occasionally heavier on humor than it is on clarity and information. So, for those of you who have been waiting until you knew what was really happening, we now present an entirely humor-free deadly serious attempt at answering all of your questions. It’s non-profit so I’m not trying to recruit you for any reason other than wanting to see you suffer. Just so we cleared that up.
How much route-finding skill do I need?
Enough to avoid getting hopelessly lost. It’s OK to get lost, just not the hopelessly part.
Where is it?
Just south of northern California’s Toxic Hellhole (google it).
Water? Food? Aid Stations?
No aid stations. You can have a drop bag at the re-supply point which will be as centrally located as we can arrange. You can treat or filter the water with whatever method you prefer. In pristine streams, I drink it straight and I’ve never had a problem but if you do so you are proceeding at your own risk. Some of us think we have good reasons to believe that the danger of giardia, etc is overstated, and we act accordingly, but we might be wrong. Educate yourself and take responsibility for your own actions.
Lots of climbing?
Net elevation gain is zero. I don’t know why it takes everyone so long.
Spotty coverage, Verizon seems to be the best. I’d recommend carrying a cell phone just in case but put it in “airplane mode” (or turned off) so the battery doesn’t run down trying to find a tower.
The biggest risks would be weather-related problems including dehydration. There are a few places where a fall could result in serious injury or worse, but not much different than you’d find in most trail races in the mountains. Just be careful when you are in those spots. If it is unusually cool and/or rainy (unlikely but possible) you can get hypothermia pretty quick. I recommend packing either a lightweight poncho or rain jacket or carrying a plastic Hefty trash bag with holes cut for hands and feet. I carry a Hefty bag almost anytime I go out in the wilds, it weighs almost nothing and can keep you somewhat warm and pretty dry all night long if it ever comes to that. Heat: Hopefully it won’t be too hot but it could get up even into the high 90s. A high of 80 would be about average. You might even get to spend a few miles trudging through the snow.
What about lions and tigers and rattlers, oh my?
Cougars and bears and rattlesnakes share this area with us. I’ve never seen a mountain lion but they are there. When I’ve seen bears out there, they’ve always been running away from me. They are afraid of us. You could probably walk up to one of these bears and slap it in the face and … well, you would get what you deserve but really, that kind of stupidity shouldn’t be in the gene pool anyway. No one has ever been attacked by a bear or cougar in the area where we are going to be. As for rattlers, just be careful where you put your hands, especially in rocky areas.
Is no joke. Fortunately there are only a few short sections (off-trail) where you are likely to encounter it . The directions will warn you when you come to these places and you should be able to avoid contact if you are careful. If you are not doing the full Me-Ow! you can just skip those books. If you don’t pay attention, any time you go off trail you are in danger of coming in contact with p.o. and then you’ll really be p.o.’d! A little common sense and you’ll be fine. Wear loose-fitting long pants if you’re worried about it, we’ll provide you with some anti-PO wipes you can carry and we’ll have Technu at the finish.
What should I carry with me?
Everyone is different, but around 2000 calories is a good guideline if you’re going to be out all day. Eat a good breakfast before you start. Include some protein and fat with your carbs. Aim for concentrated calories (lots of calories per weight). Possibilities include: sport drink powder to mix with your water, candy bars or candy, gels, nuts, jerky, cheese, peanut butter, dried fruit, etc. Compass, cell phone, a quart or gallon plastic baggie, a whistle, a bit of duct tape, and a pocket knife… Many will carry: Sun screen, ivy block, chapstick, glide, simple first aid supplies, a bandana. TP, kleenex or wet wipes are good ideas, he added scatologically. Don’t forget your sunglasses and have a flashlight and batteries and whatever clothes you might want in your drop bag. Check the forecast just before you leave home and be prepared for up to fifteen degrees warmer or colder than what it predicts. Plan on carrying 40 – 64 ounces of water (depending on your speed and the weather).
One more time: WHY do I want to do this?
I have no clue.
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