WHAT: On Saturday, August 15th I’ll be attempting a solo, self-supported run of the Cranberry Lake 50 Mile trail loop through the Five Ponds Wilderness Area in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Many have thru hiked and fast packed the trail since its completion in 2009, but, to the very best of my knowledge, no one has run the whole thing in daylight. So, if all goes well on Saturday it will be a ‘First Known Time.’ (Image: Cranberry Lake, and the Five Ponds Wilderness beyond, as seen from the top of Bear Mountain.)
WHERE: The CL50 loop is a remote 50 mile trail loop around the Adirondack’s third largest body of water. Apart from the start/finish along Route 3 in the town of Cranberry Lake, there is only one other road crossing (town of Wanakena at mile 38ish) in that entire 50 miles. It’s remote. The majority of the trail is singletrack through deeply wooded wilderness, across numerous streams, and along beautiful shorelines. While there are not major mountains in the route, it snakes in between multiple peaks, giving it somewhere around +/-7,000′ of rolling elevation change. (Image of the Five Ponds Wilderness Area from atop Arab Mountain, below. I’ll be running through the heart of that.)
WHEN: The plan (if all goes well) is to start early Saturday and wrap up less than 12 hours later.
WHY: There are a few races here and there (like Manitou’s) that I’m attracted to, but for the most part I train and race as preparation for these types of challenging backcountry excursions. Why? Two simple reasons:
1.) To Push Myself: This is what I love. These types of challenges have shaped who I am. And spending this sort of time outdoors alone and self-sufficient gives me much-needed perspective on life.
2.) To Inspire Others: Stop waiting for life’s stars to align. Whatever “it” is for you? Go get it. If I can do this? You can do whatever you set your mind to.
(And, don’t worry about me. Although this is a solo run, I have backup crew coming with me to the Adirondacks just in case something goes wrong. I may be running solo, but this kind of thing is not a solo undertaking.)
HOW [TO HELP]: Please Give Back by Making a Donation to 5 Ponds Partners, the entity who maintains this beautiful trail system. Click through the link below to donate! Any amount, whether $5 or $500 (I’d love us to break $1,000!) will make a huge difference and allows these beautiful wilderness areas – something we need more of in today’s busy, plugged-in, modern culture – to be enjoyed by everyone. How to give:
– Mail A Check: Donations can be sent to Clifton-Fine Economic Development Corp, PO Box 115 Wanakena, NY 13695. Mark the check ‘5 Ponds Partners’. All donations are tax deductible.
– Donate Online: I’ve setup an easy-to-use online donation portal here. YouCaring.com/CL50RUN
(Cranberry Lake 50 trail loop map below. Source; CNYHiking.com)