From Swamp to Summit is back! There’s been a long hiatus, not because I haven’t been thinking about you, dear readers, but the flotsam and jetsam of ordinary life has simply gotten in the way. But now I’m close to pulling back the curtain on our plans for 2023 – which begin Independence Day – and no, that’s not a coincidence.
But for immediate purposes – this past Saturday, April 29, was the scene of the Mammoth March. I signed us up, over J’s protestations, in January, telling him that was all I really wanted for my 62nd birthday.
Mammoth March is a sponsored 20 mile hike that you are supposed to finish in 8 hours. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? A 20 minute mile pace? But you have to consider the terrain. It’s Florida jungle, out there in the Charles Bronson forest (see Lost in Florida – Staring Down Charles Bronson); it had rained last week and about two miles were nothing but mud.
Not only that, the night before the event, the sponsors announced it was really 21 miles, and by the way, everyone with a fitness tracker was convinced it was more like 22. The last couple of miles were on an asphalt road, and it was brutal. Shin split city. Not to mention the fact the wind had whipped up, was blowing in our faces, and it was clear the heavens were about to open – which they did, about 10 minutes after I crossed the finish line.
I was going to do the entire damn thing in 8 hours if it killed me. We had met some great folks out there – PAC man and Ken (turns out PAC man and I had a friend in common) and multiple other people who were equally pleasant and fun. There was every age group, gender, body type – pretty hard to be more diverse unless you were a cellular phone ad. And everyone was pulling for everyone else.
Until next time. We could all do a lot worse than model ourselves after folks who just decide they want to walk 21 miles cooperatively with fellow hikers. Ready for the 2024 event.