Looking for a challenge in 2015? How about hiking 28.3 miles? In one day. Ultimate Hike is the chief fundraiser for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. CureSearch is a nonprofit that traces its roots to 1987. Though its name has changed over the years, its mission has not. The nonprofit funds research efforts to fight children’s cancer. If there’s a more noble effort to support, I’m pressed to think of it. The Ultimate Hike And if there’s a better way to support the cause — hiking to raise money for children’s cancer research — I’m hard-pressed to think of it, either. The 2015 Ultimate Hike season is about to get underway. This year’s hike, on the last 28.3 miles of the 77-mile Foothills Trail straddling North and South Carolina, is May 16. You don’t, however, just show up on May 16 and expect to hike 28.3 miles (at least most of us don’t). As part of the program, there’s a 12-week training program. The key component of the training program is a series of every-other-weekend hikes that will grow increasingly longer. Start with a getting-to-know-you short hike of 2 or 3 miles and build from there. Most hikes are local, but there’s also an elevation training hike at Hanging Rock State Park and and endurance hike of 20 miles in the Uwharrie National Forest. There’ll also be one or two mid-week hikes designed to get hikers used to hiking in the dark. (Why? Because to hike 28.3 miles in one day you have to hit the trail pretty early — 4:30 a.m., to be exact) Want to find out more? Then make plans to attend one or UH’s informational sessions next week, in Cary and Durham:
- Wednesday, Feb. 4, REI in Cary, 7 p.m.
- Thursday, Feb. 5, REI in Durham, 7 p.m.
And if you’re thinking, “I’m not really much of a hiker, this probably isn’t for me,” then cease that line of thinking. This hike and the 12-week training program is exactly for you: that’s what the training is all about. If you’re curious about what hiking 28.3 miles in a day is like, here are some scenes from the first Ultimate Hike on the Foothills Trail, in 2011.