The Allegheny National Forest Chapter of the North Country Trail held the third annual Allegheny 100 Challenge. With the enormous success of past years event, the expectations of this year to be even larger and it did not disappoint. The Allegheny 100 challenge promoting awareness of the North Country Trail, Allegheny National Forest and McKean, Warren and Forest Counties.
The Allegheny 100 Challenge is the ultimate hiking challenge. This is a decisive endurance challenge, thru hiking not biking. Set at an individual pace, not a race with others but test of one's stamina, determination and resilience. Remembering this is an unsupported hike, no first aid stations and no watering stations. The adventure took place on a 100-mile stretch of the North Country National Scenic Trail that meanders through the rolling hills and stream valleys of the Allegheny National Forest. This year, the hikers traveled south to north. The Challenge will rotate every two years, giving the hiker a chance to complete the 100 miles of trail. The prior two years they traveled north to south.
The Challenge is hiking a 100 miles in two days, actually 50 hours. If the hiker cannot commit to the 100-mile challenge, then they can still participate in a 25-mile or 50-mile, offered that weekend along the same trail. Next year they will be additional 75-mile stop, offered. This is for anyone, of any skill level who wants to test him or herself against the trail on their hiking ability and pace, remembering to "hike their own hike". The course for the challenge will extend from just south of Marienville, at Vowinckel, Pennsylvania to a point just before the New York border, Willow Bay. For those who participated received membership in the North Country Trail Association to support the trail shuttle service, via buses and those who pre-registrated received a sponsored tee shirt, by Shell Appalachia. Hikers' backgrounds are diverse, many are doctors, lawyers, teachers, some retired and some students. Even couples, fathers and sons, best friends and in the end many no longer strangers.
First female, first couple
The set up of the event consisted of 11 volunteers two canopies and a large hikers canopy with two extra large picnic tables with two large map exhibits; were many hikers and spectators discussed the conditions of the trail and places-route of the trail; along with 6 tables for registration; wavier forms; t-shirt distribution; information; maps and displays. A member was parking and traffic control supervisor, assisting the buses for a safe unloading of hikers along with a safe departure. Prior to the kick-off ceremonies, a member shuttled three hikers to Kellettville to drop off their vehicle (they made their mistake of bring their vehicle to the starting point instead of Kellettville
their end point) and wait for the shuttle bus. Also, two people from Canada had missed the shuttle bus from Henry's Mill. They explain they were detain at the boarder. So to get their car back to Henry's Mill, two members drove their vehicle to Henry's Mill and dropped it off. After the arrival of all the hikers, the event kick-off began with giving a weather report, stressing the fact of be careful and reiterated the limited cell reception. A member explained the "Leave No Trace" with display. An introduction and thank you to all sponsors and donators was made. The raffle winners were announced and hikers were released at 6 pm.
The total registered online hikers was 84. Of those, 77 participated and we had 5 walk-in's. With the grand totaled that participated on this challenge was 82. This a 381.82 percent increase since the conception in 2010. Of this, 33 attempted the 100 miles, 31 choose the 50 miles and 18 opted for the 25 mile hike.
Of the 33 100milers, six completed. The first to arrive was Michael Merry, from Newburgh Heights, Ohio; a Fire Claims Reinspector completed the 100 miles in 45 hours. This was his third time participating in this event. Second time he has completed it. Eric Chapman also third time participating, with last year completing 73-mile mark. This year he completes the 100-mile challenge in little over 45 hours. Amanda Debar and Kevin Skilskyj participated in 2011, however were unable to complete it. With this year have successfully completed in a little less then 46 hours. Amanda is the first female to complete the challenge. Amanda and Kevin also being first couple to complete it. Jennifer Aradi is the only hiker of the six that completed to not have participated in any prior years. She had completed it in a little more than 46 hours and in addition the first solo female. John Schmitt from Scottsville, New York, participated in 2011, completing 80 miles. This year completed the 100 miles in 47 hours, in addition he is the oldest male to complete this challenge.