Thursday, April 8, 2010

Denali grows closer, the trails get longer

   As the prospect of summiting Denali grows closer, so does my pursuit of extreme fitness grow stronger.  It has been intriguing to consider the commitment level of this type of training. In consideration of my desire to live a life that honors God, I found my self doing more stretching than just my muscles.  Maintaining a strong love and devotion to my wife and my children, fulfilling and hopefully exceeding the expectations of my career in heart surgery as a PA, and maintaining the duties on all other fronts has been quite a challenge.  This week marks a period of time to shift my workout focus into a slightly more endurance and cardio- oriented training regimen all the while maintaining the strength and power accumulated with my former weights and core-body routines.
My awesome brother in Christ, and personal trainer- George Reid, has been incredibly helpful in this regard.  He is so knowledgeable and able to reconcile my workout schedule to the demands of life for a husband -father -career he finds a great way to make efficient use of my gym time.
    This weekend, I will be pursuing a prolonged trail run of 26 miles and although I have been slowly pursuing similar maneuvers, this one shall truly prove to be a challenge.  May God bless the efforts as I am sure there will be both mental, physical, and spiritual challenges over such a pursuit.  Here is some information about the Wild Oak Loop Trail near Stokesville, VA.

The Wild Oak Trail was designated a National Recreation Trail by the Secretary of Agriculture in 1979. Much of the land surrounding the trail and the North River was cleared for farming, which continued through the 1930s. It was during this time that portions of the trail was cleared by the Civilian Conservation Corps to help in providing access for fighting Forest Fires.Loggers, farmers and cattlemen lived in the area about the trail before the land was purchased by the Forest Service between 1915 and 1935. Much of the land along the North River had been cleared for farming, and the area now forested was used for cattle grazing. Grazing continued on portions of this land until the mid-1930s.

Camp Todd was the site of a herdsmen’s cabin, and later was used as a fire guard station. Much of the forest in this area was logged for local mills around Stokesville. Evidence of the old logging railroad can be seen at North River Gorge. The railroad tramway ended a few miles west of Camp Todd. Nearby is the Shifflett Plantation, a reforestation project featuring white pine planted in old fields in 1935.
Portions of the existing trail were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s to provide access for forest fire control. Now the primary use of the trail is recreational. The original trails were combined as the Wild Oak Trail, which was designated a National Recreation Trail by the Secretary of Agriculture in 1979.
The Wild Oak Trail forms a 25.6-mile loop – mostly favoring ridge tops – beginning at the headwaters of the North River in Augusta County, Virginia.
Elevations along the trail vary, from a low of 1,600 feet where the trail begins at North River Gap, to a high point of 4,351 feet on Little Bald Knob.  Thats a lot of change in elevation!!

Below is a great map with the topographic appearance and real-time changes in elevation
This Chart shows the rough changes in elevation across much of the distance, my route was slightly longer than this 

May I rise, fall, trip, stumble, succeed or summit, walking, crawling, or running, may it all be to the glory of the One who sent me!!

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