A long and awesome article about the Self-Transcendence 3100, a 3100-mile race run on a half-mile loop. In Queens, of all places.

Here was a kind of living koan, a race of invisible miles across a phantom plain wider than the continental United States. For fifty days, breathing miasmal exhaust from the Grand Central Parkway, the runner traversed a wilderness of knapsack-toting teenagers, beat cops, and ladies piloting strollers. Temperatures spiked. Power grids crashed. Cars also crashed—into the chain-link fence around Joe Austin park or into other cars. There was occasional street crime. One summer a student was knifed in the head. The runner endured. He crossed the finish line changed.

And I’m back

I’m back from hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Go look at my photos from the past 2 months and 1000 miles. I’ll be easing back into regular duty here over the next couple weeks, as I mull over what new directions I’d like to take the website and my life in general. It’s good to be home.

And I’m gone…

Like I mentioned, this summer I will be thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, which runs from north Georgia to central Maine along the crest of the Appalachian Mountains. After a minor post-ponement I’ll be starting Sunday morning, April 22—things will be mighty slow around these parts until I get back.
I had a mostly incredible time back in 2005, and I’ve got a pretty wild mix of emotions about my trip this summer. I’ll probably be hiking around the same daily distance I did last time, aiming to finish in about 100 days, give or take a week. And like last time, this year I’ll be hiking under my trail name of “Whistler.” (Trail names are little nicknames that thru-hikers often assume.)

This year I’m leaving about a month earlier than I did in 2005. This should be interesting in a couple ways. For one, most thru-hikers start in March or April, so this time I’ll be starting with the crowd rather than catching up to them, for better or worse. The weather will also be a good bit colder at the beginning–I’ve even heard of freak snow in the Virginia mountains in May. It could happen. At least it looks like the weather for my first week will be pretty good. An April start will also let me see more of the peak of wildflower season that I missed last time.

Anyway. Tomorrow morning in about 10 hours my parents will drop me off at Amicalola Falls State Park and from there I’ll walk a 9-mile approach trail to Springer Mountain, where the AT officially starts. After that… a 2200-mile summer.

See y’all in August.