Walking to West Virginia

Mission success!
Almost 37 miles walked between 7 AM and 1 AM… we were limping and hurting by the time we got done, but god damn, we walked to West Virginia (from Oakland, Pittsburgh)! :D

Greg will likely be posting a long, detailed description of the trip eventually, and I’ll link that when it’s done, but until then, I guess I can put out a few key points.
Also, I will be posting pictures from the trip soon (likely within a couple hours; I just need to batch them).
Greg has a map of the route we took (kinda… we took a trail for most of the middle instead) here.

The day started a little before 7 AM (around 6:50) when Greg, 8, Chris, Zack, and I left Newell-Simon, heading toward the South Side. I made the trip across the Birmingham again (see previous entry) and everyone was feeling good most of the morning.
Eventually, we hit a trail that was pure bliss to walk on. It used to be railroad tracks that had been converted, so the gradient at any one part was never more than 1%, and the gravelly dirt was nice to walk on.
We were able to make McDonald (the town) for lunch around 3, and continued on the trail from there to Burgesstown. By that point, everyone was hurting a lot, but still feeling relatively good about things.
On the last 2 mile stretch before Burgesstown, I broke down and really, really felt like I needed to stop, despite being about 7 miles away from the border. Now I know how you felt last year, being forced to stop so close from your goal. In any case, after a lengthy ~45 minute stop, I was able to walk again, and if anything, felt better than I had for most of the trip.
The next 4-5 miles were okay, except Chris started to have a lot of pain. How she managed to keep going, I don’t know. We stopped for about 20 minutes before the final leg, which was almost 3 miles. At this point, both Chris and 8 were having problems (and the rest of us were pretty bad off). How they managed to force themselves another 3 miles, I don’t know, and I’m really amazed at how strong they are.
During the final 1 mile stretch, I was basically completely sick of the trip, and seriously felt like giving up then (one mile from the border… I would have killed myself later if I had though, because we’d already come almost 36 miles). Greg was amazing and supportive and got me through the last stretch. The last 3 miles took almost 2 hours, but we made it and stumbled across the border into West Virginia at about 12:52. The amazing Mark Tomczak picked us up and drove us home. It put things into perspective when it takes less than 45 minutes for a car to undo the entire day’s worth of work. Wheee machines?

Overall, I’d say it was a very, very rewarding experience, and I would do it again, but I will never do it again (if that makes any sense).
You guys are amazing! Congrats on the (very) impressive accomplishment. After all, it’s not everyone who can say they walked 37 miles from Pittsburgh to West Virginia! :D

Edit: Actually it was almost 40 miles. Route here.

6 thoughts on “Walking to West Virginia

  1. For the past week or so, I’ve been using a pedometer to track my steps. On average, my days have had about 8 or 9 miles worth of steps. You guys pulled off 37 miles, and that’s frickin crazy.

    Good job!

  2. Whoa, I didn’t know there were rail trails running all the way to West Virginia. That would be awesome for biking.

    You know, when they close the final gaps in the Pittsburgh-Washington DC trail, you guys’ll have to do that one :-D

  3. I believe the Pittsburgh–D.C. route is complete now, at least once you get out of Pittsburgh city stuff. There was an article in the paper about a year ago saying they’d opened a long tunnel near the Maryland border that connected everything together. But it’s been a year since I saw the news, so perhaps I’m wrong.

    And I really don’t want to think of 10 days like Saturday in a row… my legs would amputate themselves in protest, I expect.

  4. Hm… also, Alan, your text-processing script collapsed my two hyphens to a single one? Next time I’ll use the HTML sequence for an en dash :-)

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