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Discussion Starter #21
^^ This isn't a full excursion hike. It's a fundraising event for a veterans group and it's well organized with many volunteers. There are check points every 6-8 miles where we can stock up on food, water, gatorade, etc. That is at least one thing we don't have to worry about. The trail, weather, gear, pace and everything else is worrying enough. Being that the remnants of a tropical storm dumped several inches of rain on us, it got to be beyond treacherous. 58 people started it and only 15 incredibly dedicated people finished it.

Last year, I would average drinking about 1.5 liters between checkpoints. I carried two one-liter hard Nalgene water bottles last year and it was a pain in the butt. I wanted to get a bladder system so it's easier to carry, all in one spot and much easier to consume. Constantly removing, opening, drinking, closing and replacing the water bottles last year got annoying. The drinking hose from the bladder would be MUCH easier. My thought behind getting the 3 liter bladder was to not run out of space. Many 2 liter bladders only actually carry 1.5 liters or so. I'd much rather have the extra space and only carry 2 liters rather than only have the ability to carry 1.5 liters and risk running out before I want to.

The most important strategy in this hike is weight reduction. With water and gear, I carried about 26lbs last year, which was manageable. I want to try to get that to about 22lbs this year and I think I can do it by eliminating a few things that I either didn't use or didn't need. The boots are already bought and taken care of. A few posts up I said I was fitted at REI and went with the recommendation for the Salomon X-Ultra 3 mid. They are fantastic boots and I think they'll really help me this year. I have a shade over 8 months for training. I'll be ready...
 

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The way I take this, it sounds like its kind of a race for a vets charity but a hike none the least. Its all good anyway going to the VETS. Good Luck and happy safe trails... I will be following, thanks Ian.
 

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If I'm reading the hike description correctly, it is a supported hike and you will be staying in shelters with someone else providing food, water and medical. Probably the three wall type shelters similar to the AT shelters, I would guess. If that is the case, you will not need a tent, just a bivy sack (or nothing), a lightweight sleeping bag, sleeping pad, rain/wind gear, the clothes you wear and spare underwear and spare socks (wear & a spare) a lightweight stable pack, footwear, hiking sticks with gloves, maybe some type of headwear (I carry a multiuse Coolmax Buff XL) and your water bladder. If the weather turns cold you can sleep in your rain/wind gear inside your sleeping bag. If you are not hiking at night, you won't need to carry a flashlight or batteries. A good rule of thumb is "if there is anything left in your pack when you make camp, you may have packed too much". I may be wrong but I would think the only things in your pack would be a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, spare underwear, spare socks, rain/wind gear, and water bladder. If you take a smartphone you will have a light, compass, maps, and GPS all in one device. Keep the phone turned off until you need it unless you can get a charge in camp. Good choice on the Solomon's. This advice is worth what you paid for it. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #25
did ya make it? At first I thought you had 3 MONTHS not 3 days! I might make it if I had 3 months....just saying.
Haha! The hike took place in September. Made it throught the first 24 mile day as the weather was cooperative and the trail was dry. I formed some blisters on my feet towards the end of the day, which made things much more difficult. That night, the remnants of a tropical storm started dumping rain and it didn't stop. I only made it 7 more miles on the next day before I was so soaked and miserable that it wasn't safe for me to continue on. I didn't have the right gear nor rain protection, but will be doing the event again this coming September.

If I'm reading the hike description correctly, it is a supported hike and you will be staying in shelters with someone else providing food, water and medical. Probably the three wall type shelters similar to the AT shelters, I would guess. If that is the case, you will not need a tent, just a bivy sack (or nothing), a lightweight sleeping bag, sleeping pad, rain/wind gear, the clothes you wear and spare underwear and spare socks (wear & a spare) a lightweight stable pack, footwear, hiking sticks with gloves, maybe some type of headwear (I carry a multiuse Coolmax Buff XL) and your water bladder. If the weather turns cold you can sleep in your rain/wind gear inside your sleeping bag. If you are not hiking at night, you won't need to carry a flashlight or batteries. A good rule of thumb is "if there is anything left in your pack when you make camp, you may have packed too much". I may be wrong but I would think the only things in your pack would be a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, spare underwear, spare socks, rain/wind gear, and water bladder. If you take a smartphone you will have a light, compass, maps, and GPS all in one device. Keep the phone turned off until you need it unless you can get a charge in camp. Good choice on the Solomon's. This advice is worth what you paid for it. Good luck!
It is what one would call a "supported hike", yes. There are volunteers at the checkpoints to help with food, drinks and medical attention. The trail, however, is a beast. Very rocky and uneven with abrupt elevation changes. It is demanding on even the most experienced and in-shape hikers which is why it's called "The Crucible Hike". The way it works is that all the hikers meet at the base camp on Thursday night. They either set up a tent there or use their vehicles for sleeping/shelter. Very early Friday morning, we are all bussed about 50 miles north to the start of the trail. The first day is 24 miles and the first overnight area is in the middle of the woods. Yes, there are a couple of shelter buildings, but they aren't all the well protected from the weather. A tent is an almost must-have for that first night. The second day is the longest trek at 27 miles which traverses two state parks, one state forest and two ski resorts before ending at the base camp area. There, you can once again sleep in your vehicle and replenish your clothing/supplies. The last day is 19 miles and carries with it the most extreme elevation changes of the entire trail. In just the last 7 miles, you go down 1000', up 700', down 600', up 400' and down 800'. I did not see this myself last year, but I want to be prepared for it.

My pack is a soft 55l pack without structure. It weighs about 14oz on its own. I will have my tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, socks, sock liners, compression shorts, one shirt and one pair of pants (I prefer light pants to shorts). I also use moisture-wicking headbands instead of hats. The only other things I bring are my cell phone (which is off most of the time), a supplemental charging battery, a small first-aid kit with moleskin, a head lamp and a small tactical flashlight. I took food and a few other things last year that I ended up not needing, so I've gotten my pack down to the essentials.

Really looking forward to this thing. If any of you are within a reasonable distance of the Pittsburgh region and want to do this, we'd love to have you!
 
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Discussion Starter #26
Just wanted to update this. The registration for the Crucible Extreme Hike opened about six weeks ago and they have already filled up their capacity enough to have to close open registration. This event has gotten quite a lot of attention for being the extreme physical challenge that it is and a great fundraiser.

I have added a few things to my gear arsenal recently. First and most important, I purchased four pairs of Darn Tough light hiker socks. They were $23 a pair and I nearly had a heart attack spending that much on socks. I haven't had a chance to wear them on a longer hike yet, but I can certainly see why everyone loves them. They're incredibly well made and I'm expecting big things from them. I also bolstered my rain gear with a lightweight poncho that has a large pocket on the back that surrounds a pack of up to 70 liters in size. So, it fully protects you AND your pack without the need for a separate rain coat for me and a rain cover for the pack. I added a pair of slip over waterproof pants and shoe guards, too. I am fully prepped for wet weather now. Lastly, I went with a pair of fingerless bike gloves to ward off any blisters from hiking poles.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
The generosity and genuine goodness of our members here at the ROC never ceases to amaze me. I've had a couple of private messages submitted to me asking how members can donate to my fundraising page for this hike. Whereas I will not violate the site's rules on solicitation, if you'd like to make a donation, please private message me and I can give you the link.

As a quick background, the Crucible Hike is sponsored by the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania. They are a non-profit organization which provides employment services, education assistance, housing aid and general life services to veterans of all branches of the military. It's organizations like this which pick up the slack where government programs fall short. I have met a few of the veterans that the VLPWPA has worked with and they really do amazing things to make sure our vets are supported. Hiking 70 miles in three days pales in comparison to the struggles and hardships many of our vets go through on a daily basis. Doing this hike and raising as much as I can is the least I can do to show my appreciation and support for what these men and women have done to ensure I wake up every day feeling safe and free.

If you would consider a donation, no matter how large or small, please let me know. Thank you, ROC!!
 

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Update: 3.5 months to go before D-Day. Training has been a little slow, but I'm all good to go with my equipment, gear and clothing. I did a "test pack" and I'm at 17.8lbs. of dry weight without water - 4.6lbs less than what I had for last year. I have been breaking in my Salomon X Ultra 3's and testing out a few different socks. I bought three pairs of Danish Endurance merino wool socks that seem to be pretty well made. The only issue is that they're cushioned a little too thick for my licking and are a bit too hot. I will likely keep them as backup socks. I bit the bullet and bought six pairs of Darn Tough light hiker crew socks. They're phenomenal. I'll be coupling them with some sock liners and Hike Goo.

Knowing what happened last year, my rain gear situation is on point. I have boot guard pieces that prevent any water from seeping down through the tongue area, waterproof pants and a giant hiking poncho with a clear hood and a huge area on the back that also covers my pack. My 3-season sleeping bag weighs 1.75lbs and is good down to 40 degrees. My tent (forget that hammock nonsense) is from Alps Mountaineering and weighs in at 3.5lbs. I have a 3 liter capacity water bladder, but will only need to carry 1.5-2 liters at a time.

I've been pretty active in general the last few months. Been building a deck for a neighbor, going on several family walks and working out a few times a week on my ProForm HIIT trainer and Concept D rower. I have several training hikes planned beginning on June 8th at a local state park and am planning to get 3-5 miles in at least three times a week starting after Father's Day weekend.

If anyone would like to help me along this journey by making a donation to my fundraising effort, please PM me! Thanks!
 
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Update: training hikes are going well. I've already done a 10 mile and 12 mile on pretty challenging terrain and have a 15 mile scheduled for this coming Saturday. It's supposed to be 96 degrees with a 106 heat index in the afternoon, so hoping to get it in before 1-2pm. Starting next weekend, the wife and I are taking a much-needed adults-only vacation to Mexico for a week, so training is pretty much going to cease while I eat and drink my way into a relaxed stupor. Nonetheless, I have two more training hikes coming up next month - 18 and 20 miles respectively - before the big event 8 weeks from today.

If you'd like to make a donation to my cause for the benefit of our military veterans, visit here: https://www.classy.org/fundraiser/1861065

A big thank you to those who have already donated and please keep the good vibes, prayers, and advice coming. I will take all the help I can get!
 
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One week away. By this time 7 days from now, I should be 10-12 miles in. I feel like I haven't done enough training, but I don't think one could ever really do enough training for this. My gear and clothing are ready to go. My pack is strategically stuffed. My boots are broken in and I have the right tying method down. Now, it's just getting there and keeping my mind on the fact that I CAN DO THIS.

For those members here who have donated to my fundraising efforts, I am forever grateful to you. Your generosity will go a long way in helping some local veterans get the well-deserved help they need. I've been able to amass $1748 so far, but would really love to get to $2000 before next week. If you'd like to help me reach that goal, please consider donating here: https://www.classy.org/fundraiser/1861065

Thank you all so much and please keep me in your prayers next weekend!
 
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You will have that $2000 goal momentarily.

God bless you and your group and may he keep you and your families safe. I hope you are able to share your adventure with this community when you have a moment, upon your return back.
 

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You will have that $2000 goal momentarily.

God bless you and your group and may he keep you and your families safe. I hope you are able to share your adventure with this community when you have a moment, upon your return back.
I am truly blown away by your generosity! I literally teared up when I saw that donation come through. I can't even begin to say thank you enough. Just wow.
 

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I am truly blown away by your generosity! I literally teared up when I saw that donation come through. I can't even begin to say thank you enough. Just wow.
I knew I should have went anonymous on it lol. You guys deserve it and what you are doing is more than may would even think about. I had an opportunity to do the 'Run for Dad' this summer for a Prostate Cancer event, which was a 2 mile walk or a 5K run. I hate both, walking and running, yet gave it a shot. It was humbling to be amidst folks who do this because they 'believe' in a cause. Multitude of age and demography was amazing to see. My 3-yr old had fun in the stroller, and I had a chance to be part of a wonderful experience. The dedication of the organizers and the volunteers was also great. Though I do not have any veterans in my family from the US soil, I know as a naturalized citizen I enjoy many privileges because of folks who defend it.

I hope you have a wonderful time and ROC will be here for ya!
 

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Dang it @smufguy I was going to let him sit on it a few days and see how close he was and just give it the final Push...

OK @IanRTL Looks Like Chevron is matching, unsure what their limit is, how much more can we get you from them & us???
 

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Discussion Starter #36 (Edited)
Dang it @smufguy I was going to let him sit on it a few days and see how close he was and just give it the final Push...

OK @IanRTL Looks Like Chevron is matching, unsure what their limit is, how much more can we get you from them & us???
My company will match any donation that I make personally through our internal giving system. I've been having my local family and friends give me cash donations. I then make a donation on their behalf through the system to apply the match. It's a bit difficult to get on a public forum and say, "mail me some cash/check or Venmo me $XXX.00 so I can match it." If anyone is willing to go through this method, though, I'm certainly not going to turn it down! My company's giving policy is quite simply awesome.

Hi goal went up to $2500. I leave it up to you @Carsmak to get the rest ? ?

Ian, how does this Chevron Matching thingie work?
I have my fundraising page settings configured to automatically raise my goal by $500 when I reach a multiple of $500. So when your unbelievably generous donation went through, the system updated the goal at midnight that night. I didn't want to set a specific amount, reach it, and then become complacent with fundraising. Every single dollar helps yet another vet through difficult and uncertain times in his/her life. I never thought I'd reach $1500 let alone $2000. You guys are truly incredible people. I am told I have a few more donations coming that may put me closer to $2500, which is just unfathomable to me.
 
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As an update, I'm now just shy of $2500, my team broke past $10,000 and the entire event is now well over $70,000! Truly amazing stuff and a huge benefit for our veterans!

Laundry and packing tonight, final gear check and prepping the SUV tomorrow (sleeping in it for two nights), and off to base camp on Thursday afternoon. Crazy how fast this has come up this year. I will be reporting back here probably on Tuesday of next week to let you all know how it went. If you pray, please keep my fellow hikers and me in them. If you don't, good vibes and thoughts are also greatly appreciated. God willing, I'll still be able to walk when I'm done. Thanks to all!
 

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I made it!!! All 70 miles completed in 3 days. I'm relatively unscathed with the exception of a large blister on the back of my right heel, some poison ivy bumps on my arm and general soreness/aches. My preparation seems as though it was enough because my body was up to the challenge. I give credit to my boots, my socks, my sock liners, my Hike Goo foot stuff, and my hiking poles for getting me through this crazy challenge. I crossed the finish line with uncontrollable emotion and instantly chugged a beer. Felt so good to finally do it!

The event raised over $82,000 for local veterans and I, personally, reached $2753.00. I couldn't be more thankful to all who donated, prayed for me, and encouraged me through all of this.
 

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396121
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