July 17: Crappy night sleep. Weird dreams. Woke up late today at 7:25. Wow, that's strange to say. Breakfast was oatmeal with raisins and peanut m&ms plus some pretzels with nutella. I needed to fuel up for day. I started with cleaning out sites #10-15. I chatted with the couple from site #24 while I retrieved some water from the river. John drove up do some patrolling. We touched base and he have me the lowdown for the rest of the weekend. I needed to figure out the Valley View's itinerary, finish up the GPS coordinates for all the sites (since last time was not a complete success), and work on the tent pad fill to show it off in the morning to the district. After John departed, I wheelbarrowed some loads into the tent pad until about 12:15pm. Took a break to hit th trail running. I was feeling good from the start so I worked it to my advantage. Cruised through the whole run and came back in a course record for the final 2.7 miles. Saw a guy along the way with a Fleet Feet Orlando jersey. Once I reached Franconia Falls (aka party central), I got to witness it in full swing. Woowee (that's how I spell it)! People everywhere, old and young. I only soaked my feet for about 30 seconds and split. As soon as I stopped running, I began pouring sweat. Jogged to the ranger pool with my lunch. Sat in the water for a while because it just felt perfect for the legs. Got back to work on the tent pad for another 2 hours or so. I stopped to plot the points of the tent sites, but the GPS wasn't even turning on. It gave me a red light as the status of the unit, which either meant low battery or it's messed. John did mention it wasn't allowing him to put it in standby mode and kept shutting off. So I couldn't plot the points. I used the downtime to organize my tent before I got dinner rollin. I decided to spice it up a bit with some of the lo mien noodles with teriyaki sauce. I felt like I wasn't gonna be fully satisfied so I decided to try out the freeze-dried buffalo style chicken for tortillas. It was alright. Nothing to write home about. The addition of cheese helped in the taste, but it didn't hit the spot like I thought it was. I only had one tortilla left (I just realized I was calling them quesadillas before and I have no idea why) so I had extra filling with no cheese left over. Unfortunately I had to toss the rest in the garbage. I have been really good about finishing off my food at each meal, but this time I just couldn't cut it. The lo mean noodles was a hit and I might grab those for the future. I finished off the sleeve of Oreos (7 of them) with a cup of hot chocolate. The dinner as a whole was a pleasant change from the norm, but I would only give it maybe a 6.5 out of 10. I don't mind the simple bean and cheese wraps. Though, tonight at dinner the horse flies were beyond tolerable. They were nonstop buzzing on the back of my head. I managed to stun/kill 3 or 4 of them. My technique was to swipe them around with hat to the front of me. My bait was my Nalgene bottle. They eventually would land on the top and zing! I whipped my hat at em to instantly stun them. It probably doesn't help that my hair hasn't been thoroughly washed in almost a week and I smell in general. Oh well! They are only a nuisance when I am sitting at my picnic table. Running and moving around the campsite, I am fine. The Valley View School finally made it the campsite at about 8pm. A little late, but no worries. I showed them to sites #1-3 and got them situated. I spoke briefly with one of the staff members, Brendan, and he asked me for a wakeup call at 7:30am in order to be up when John would come to talk to thematic 8am. I retreated back to my tent and the weather channel (on my radio) said it was only gonna get down to the low 70s. Yesssss! Sleeping outside the sleeping bag tonight.
Summary: Best run in the trails so far. Course record of 16:50 from the bridge back to my campsite and an overall time of 77:40 for the 12 mile run. It wasn't definitely humid, but I was hydrated enough to not let it affect me. Monday is the bridge pack out with the district at about 9am, then back to Plymouth.
July 18th: Woke up at 6:45am. I made the normal breakfast before heading down to the end of the campsite to wake up Brendan. I cleaned the bathrooms at about 7:20 to make some noise to indirectly wake up Valley View guys and to make the bathrooms look extra presentable for the district. My wakeup call was basically standing over Brendan somewhat creepily until he creaked open his eyes to see me smiling at him. The rest of the guys emerged from the tents and I waited for John at my tent site. The rest of the district arrived around 9:30am for the big bridge pack out. It was funny to hear the banter between the employees. They usually are "professional" around me, but they knocked it down a notch. Someone was joking to John about whether they could bring a cooler past The Wilderness gate if they took off the wheels (there are no wheeled vehicles in The Wilderness). Another employee responded with only if the wheels are square. Once everyone was situated with packs, we dispersed into a couple groups and I hiked up to our destination with Ryan Toomey. We talked the whole way up about running including the road race the upcoming weekend in Plymouth. It made the hike go by super fast. Once we trekked the 2.6 miles, I loaded up with about 30-35 pounds of various pieces of metal such as rusty bolts and others. Ow! My shoulders and lower back were definitely feeling it by the time I got back to the trucks. I destroyed food once I got back. Twirlers, homemade chocolate chip and pecan cookies, shortbread cookies, and watermelon. Mm mm good! The return hike was accompanied with Ryan and Josh from the trail crew. Ryan is 29 and I would of never guessed. I thought he was maybe 24 or 25. He is real nice. After stuffing my face, I drove down with John and some other employees. I stopped off at LaHout's to see if they had any trail shoes. The salesgirl showed me some Underarmour shoes and some other non-trail shoes. She then told me that any running shoe would work with "less of a smooth bottom." i was polite and listened to my options before peacing out immediately aafterward. Quick drive back to Plymouth with a stop at HQ to retrieve my birth certificate. Finished up the paperwork for my landscaping (horticulturist) job at PSU. Stopped in town to try another store for trail shoes. This guy was a little more educated with the trail shoe world, but still giving me the salesman BS. He showed me some more legit options, but still not even close what I was looking for. The brands included New Balance, The North Face, Vasque and Merrell. I tried making some real conversation and explain to him that my foot is sorta picky. I mentioned that I am pretty loyal to Nike and he steered me towards the New Balance. He stated that the New Balance would be similar fit to the Nikes. Ha! Wide and bulky. That's exactly what I want. I tried the pair of Vasques on and wasn't happy. I went on my way to Cicerio's to use the wifi. FaceTimed with Tim and relaxed the rest of night with a ridiculously easy run or jog. Pasta and canned chicken for dinner. Prepared my lunch for my first day of work tomorrow. Double decker PBJ and an apple sauce. I froze half the Nalgene bottles, one with water and the other Gatorade.
Summary: Mapped out my run because I just went out and back down Reservoir Road without a watch on my wrist. Ended up being 4.5 miles and at a easy pace. I wanted to get in as many runs into before my race on Saturday, the 23rd. This week will be tough with work 7-3:30. I plan on waking up Tuesday to get in a couple miles before work and run again after.