Where's the Heat?

The 2022 Rachel Carson Trail Challenge, June 18

Challengers breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing the forecast of brisk temperatures for June 18. The wonderful weather for Challenge Day — a starting temperature of 57F with overcast skies — was sandwiched between two blasts of 90 degree weather bringing to mind the torturous conditions of 2010. Veterans should covet those bright orange 2010 shirts!

Our dedicated trail volunteers under the leadership of Mark Eyerman completed the third major trail shift from roads into our beautiful woods. Hiking on Ridge Rd, Riddle Run Rd, and Yutes Run Rd has now been replaced by magnificent trail sections often with views of the Allegheny River and distant hills. The hard work planning and building these new trails cannot be exaggerated. All hikers are grateful to the volunteers who made this happen, and every serious hiker should have the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge on their bucket list.

The aforementioned reroutes also pulled and stretched the trail making the Full Challenge this year the longest ever at 36.7 miles. The extra distance plus more elevation change increased the difficulty level, which was fortuitously mitigated by the cooler temperatures.

A review of our extensive database reveals that for most of its history no hikers over 70 completed the Challenge. Led by Beverly Jean Yates, 73, in 2015 and recently James Antoniono, 76, we are now in the golden age of septuagenarian hikers. James became the first hiker to complete the Challenge at age 76 followed by Bob Reiland who broke the ice as our first ever 74 year old. A total of six geezers finished at age 70 and over.

For the Full Challenge, we had 586 participants scan out at North Park, and 487 or 83% made it to Harrison Hills Park within the official time of 15 hours, 4 minutes.

For the 18-mile Homestead Challenge, we had 307 participants scan out at Springdale High School, and 288 or 94% reached Harrison Hills Park. Of those, 213 (74%) made it within the official time of 7 hours, 19 minutes.

For the 8-mile Friends & Family Challenge, 46 groups set out from Tarentum toward Harrison Hills Park.

We are grateful to the many volunteers who make this event possible. Our trail stewards spend countless hours preparing for the Challenge, and on Challenge Day many more help, including Tom Alden, Elena Alves, John Armstrong, John Artz, Alexander Baker, Joan Baker, Angel Barkley, Jeff Barnhart, Robert Bastone, Mary Bates, Tom Bates, Dewaine Beard, Sheila Bernardini, Maggie Black, Becky Brown, Greg C., Reanna Buzza, Sheri Buzza, Kevin Cavanaugh, Tony Chick, Heather Cianfrocco, Jim Cibik, Meagan Concannon, Adrienne Cook, Richard Cook, Jim Crist, Mike Dailey, Tom Davis, Brooke Decker, Michelle Dees, Suzanne Dees, Missy Demchak, Pamela Derby, Joe DeSantis, Gineen Dutkovic, David Edmonds, Joshua Eicher, Krista Elston, Steve Fazekas, Tim Flaherty, Laura Fleming, Joseph Fletcher, Laurel Frey, Mark Frey, Marko Frey, Marie Geubtner, Kate Gilson, Scott Gliebe, Jessica Goelz, Dale Gorman, Steven Graham, Mike Griffin, Jamie Grippin, Traci Hanna, Melissa Hickman, Jerry Hoffman, Isabella Hollenbach, Greg Hood, JoAnne Hrehocik, John Italiano, Andrew Karnavas, Tricia Keen, Michael King, Ryan Knecht, Jason Kodat, David Kolodziej, Trish Kosmach, Alynn Kramer, Vera Krekanova, John Krofcheck, Abigail Kyle, James Lambert, Jamie Marshall, Frank Matousek, Alice McCoy, Christopher McCoy, Stef McVeigh, Suzanne Meyer, Christina Montemurro, Kara Mostowy, Karen Mueller, Karen Muirhead, Cathy Nader-Syiek, Amy Nelson, Maria O'Brien, Hannah Obringer, Steven Owens, Patrick Pagano, Jim Painter, Jay Rajgopal, Lloyd Ray, Christine Rial, Lee Rice, Sam Runyon, Timothy Sarver, Patricia Satariano-Hayden, Kevin Schuetz, Greg Shumaker, Jillian Shumaker, Andrea Shymatta, Kimberly Simmons, Debbie Smiga, Mathew Smith, Ann Marie Staniszewski, Anastasia Stolz, Donna Stolz, John Stolz, Larry Stolz, Jason Stutting, Courtney Swadley, David Syiek, Gregory Syiek, Linda Szewczyk, Brianna Tola, Christina Traynor, Rachel Verbanac, Tim Weese, Donna Wisnewski, Carol Zellars, Donald Ziegler, and Judy Ziegler.

And we thank all of our generous sponsors!

—Tom Armstrong