Tuscarora Trail Stage Run - 252 Miles
(TT 252)
March 17-22, 2003

(More Pictures on Peter Bakwin's Site)

The Low Water BridgeFinal Update: Joe summed it up by saying that the only thing they didn't throw at us was the locusts. It was a wild final two days. They started Friday at about 5 am in order to finish in the daylight. It didn't work for most runners. The big problem on Friday was that everyone was wasted from the day before. There was a lot of walking. Jeff Washburn found the wrong turn that Joe and Jim Moore had used a couple of years ago when Joe did the trail solo. Jeff was "lost" for about five hours. He had a cell phone, but there was, apparently, a misunderstanding and it didn't help much. A lot of people got lost that day. Tim Lee and Ryan Henry came in at 9:30 pm!

Friday also included a huge thunderstorm with M&M size hail. This was the next-to-last thing before the locust. But wait, there was more. The end of this day was the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. They could see that they were not going to cross the river on the bridge because they could not see the bridge under the water. They went to Woodstock and contemplated their fates.

Winner Peter BakwinThe last day started at 8 am so that people could sleep in. The group drove to Powell's Fort Camp and ran up the orange-blazed Massanutten Trail to the Tuscarora. Unfortunately, in doing this, they just missed Scott Mills who had run back along the trail from Elizabeth Furnace. They ran to the low water bridge on Route 613, then got a 45 minute car ride to the other side, and then finished the last 11 miles to Hogback Mountain. The car shuttle had the advantage of forcing people into groups over the last part.

The park was filled with tame deer who didn't even want to move for the tired runners. They finished between about 5 and 8 pm. But they were finished. As Joe said, he hurt "down to the molecular level."

What a great adventure these people had! I am sure that all of us who stayed home wish we had been there, too. Right!

Joe gave me the numbers for the last two days. Six tough people finished the whole thing. Here is Ed Demoney's report:

"Both low water bridges were under water. [Today's trail portion crosses both forks of the Shenandoah River.] They started late this morning after driving to Mudhole Gap to go up to the TT at that point. They will need to be driven from Veach Gap to the other side of the low water bridge [that crosses the South Fork of the Shenandoah River]. At least I wouldn't try to cross it. Six runners finished all five days. Bethany said she didn't finish until around 9:00 pm on Friday and I believe there were others as well. Most but not all of the group started today. Those that didn't were happy they didn't start.
"I ran from Elizabeth Furnace backwards and met them at about the junction with the Doll Ridge Trail. Scotty was out there and had gone on ahead of me. He must have gone down the trail to the west and missed the group. I never saw him again and his car was still at Elizabeth Furnace when I left."

Day Five (Friday) Update: No call from Joe. Probably won't get a report until Saturday night. In the meantime, let's hope that they can cross each branch of the Shenandoah River, especially the low water bridge on Route 613.

Day Four (Thursday) Update: "If you don't try, you can't DNF!" Joe reports that today was his most unpleasant day in his running career. It was cold and wet. The drop out rate was very high, due primarily to the cold. The day started on a bad foot when there as a rerouting of the trail that added 4.2 miles. Then Ryan Henry was bitten by a West Virginia rotweiler. There was ice on the pinnacles over Gore. The group learned the meaning of the term "small stream flooding." There were eight bridges with the water flowing over them.

The group is again in Martinsburg tonight and will start at 4:30 AM tomorrow so that all will be able to finish. On Saturday, they will start at 6 AM.

On Saturday, there are several people going out to meet what, by then, will be a weary crew. Those people include Tom Corris and Bill VanAntwerp.

Day Three (Wednesday) Update: Our heros are in Martinsburg, West Virginia tonight. Today was less eventful and Joe had a more mundane report. The first story was a complaint about those who put signs on the trails. On two occasions, the north/south signs pointed the wrong way. At a stream crossing, beavers had blocked the stream and caused very high water. Joe found shallow water downstream, but John DeWalt went through chest high water. Finally, the group was awed by some "West Virginia Stained Glass." A house just off the trail had a beer can wreath on the door and Rolling Rock bottles stacked in the windows so has to filter the sun into beautiful green light. Oh, and in the run, Peter Bakwin blitzed the course but is still behind Jeff Wilbur overall.

For those who want to run with this stalwart group on Saturday, they will start from Mauertown (pronounced "MauRee" by the locals) between 6 and 6:30 AM and run to the finish on Hogback Mountain in the Shenandoah National Park. You might want to go to Elizabeth Furnace, park, and run backward along the Tuscarora to meet them. Remember, the Tuscarora Trail, blazed blue, does not go through Powell's Fort Camp. It is, rather, on the ridge above the camp. Go straight at the "Dick Good Intersection" (where the Tuscarora crosses the MT just north of the Strassburg Reservoir.

Day Two (Tuesday) Update: Joe reports that things were a lot better today. The last few miles were even snow-free. Tomorrow, they will have several road sections and should be able to make time faster. Joe explained that they missed 11 miles yesterday and did not go get them today as there was no time. Tonight, they are in beautiful Hancock, Maryland. (Be sure to read the note from Scott Mills below.)

Day One (Monday) Update: Joe called five minutes after I turned the computer off to go to bed. The first day was long and hard. Snow depths were 8 inches to 2 feet. Very slow going but the finishers were within about an hour and a half of each other. Biggest event of the day was at 2.5 miles into the run. Our heros were crossing a road and a truck hit a deer and sent it flying into Joe, knocking him down. Joe is fine, but the deer is in a better place right now. Honorable mention today goes to Scott Mills and Gary Knipling who ran with the group.

Here is a report by Scott Mills from Day One:

[Monday] on the Tuscarora was something I will never forget....it was unreal. The trail and conditions were the toughest I have ever experienced....including Hardrock. The climbs were even more heinous than I remember from four years ago. Snow up to two feet deep most of the way with blow downs and trees blocking the course at every turn. The lead runner was working twice as hard as the "peleton" and would always come back to the group after total exhaustion. You had to follow the post holes and as the day wore on...the blood in the snow became more and more apparent from the scraping of the ankles and legs. On top of this, the aid was infrequent and temps got up to the high 60's midday. This is one tough group of runners because no one let up all day. It was one of those days that you have to experience because it was just so damn tough. . . It'll be really interesting to see how things progress as the days go on. David and Joe decided (wisely) to cut out 11 miles of the course for today, because no one would have been able to cover the distance in daylight and it is impossible to see the trail at night...there is no trail....just snow and blazes and blow downs. Can't say as I wish I were there to run...but it would be fun to watch !?!?!
Tuscarora Trail RunDay 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Total
Last FirstStateAgeSex42.350.643.739.543.432.6252.1
HunterBethany VA23F12:1409:159:4212:0714:4811:1569:21
MeissnerSean OR29M13:0910:559:419:49DNF 4DNS 
Hayward John VA39M13:4010:2410:5512:07DNF 8DNS 
DeWaltJohn PA65ishM13:4012:1311:34DNF13:2010:45 
HenryRyanVA28M13:2710:46DNF 1712:0715:3010:02 
GarettGraubinsCT30M12:0509:158:34DNFDNF 2908:42 
BahrTracyOR31F13:0910:559:41DNFDNF 2011:15 
LaniakCarlGA21M13:0009:159:27DNFDNSDNF 8 
EhretStaphanieCO40F12:2910:129:42DNFDNF 11DNF 18 
TaverniniRobertTX35MDNF 24.809:1210:17DNFDNSDNS 
VaroneVinceWI43MDNF 24.812:4011:22DNFDNF 38DNF 26 
WashburnJeffMA53MDNF 33.512:39DNF 26.5DNFDNF 2009:57 
Leean-StearnsCarolineVA41FDNF 10.3DNF 15.8DNF 17DNFDNF 8DNF 8 
EvansMarkOHunkM13:40DNF 36.1DNF 7.8DNSDNSDNS 

Event Information

Joe Clapper at Elizabeth Furnace in 2000Start: The northern terminus of the TT is located about 9 miles north east of Carlisle, PA at the intersection of the Appalachian Trail (AT) and the start of the TT on Blue Mountain (1.9 miles north of Donnellytown, PA on the AT.

Finish: The southern terminus is located 0.4 mile south of the Hogback Overlook on the AT in Shenandoah National Park. Hogback Overlook is at milepost 21.1 of the skyline Drive in northern VA.

Stages: There will be six stages varying in length from 32 miles to 51 miles. The TT goes from PA through MD, WV & ends in VA.

Start/Finish Time: We will start at or before daylight each day and hope to finish each day by dark.

Division: There will be two divisions, solo & two person relay. The two person relay division may alternate day by day or alternate during the day at any road crossing.

Entry fee: The entry fee for the solo division is $75 & $100 per relay team if received by March 3, 2003; after that the entry fee is &100 for the solo & &125 for the relay. Make checks payable to Joe Clapper & send to Joe at the following address: 8396 Idylwood Road. Vienna, VA 22182.

Entry Limit: The field will be limited to 20 total runners. The event is now full.

Joe Clapper and Roger Allison on Trail in 2000Aid: The TT has limited access with road crossing averaging about every 10 miles. We will be using a van to provide a roving aid station & have food, water & some type of replacement drink. We also hope to make use of the relay teams in providing aid at the road crossings.

Transportation of Runners: We plan on renting a 15-20 passenger van to transport runners. We will meet in Front Royal, VA near the finish of day 6 and pick up the runners who need transportation and drive to Carlisle, PA on Sunday afternoon, March 16. We hope that relay teams will provide their own transportation so that we can get all the runners in one van & so that the relay teams can help us with providing aid to the runners during each stage.

Maps & Guidebooks: The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) has two guidebooks that cover the TT. The north half covers PA & MD and the south half covers WV & VA. The maps that cover the TT are maps J, K, L, F & G. The address for the PATC is 118 Park Street, S.E., Vienna, VA 22180, (703) 242-0693: PATC Website: Home Page | Tuscarora Trail Page
*It is suggested that you purchase these maps & carry the appropriate map with you on each stage.

Adjustments: We reserve the right to change the length of the stages because of closed roads, snow, trail conditions or any other unforeseen circumstance. The entry fee will be used to cover the cost of drinks, foods, van rental, & gas. If our costs are greater than we anticipate we would appreciate runners sharing the additional cost. If there is money left over from the entry fees (after the cost of the event) we will use it to help cover the cost of the post run meals in Front Royal on Saturday March 22.

Lodging/Meals: Hotels were picked as close as possible to the start/finish area each day. The cost for the hotels range from $25 - 60 for a room with 2 double beds, cheaper if you have a AAA or some other discount. If 2-4 runners stay together in a hotel room the total costs for the six nights can be reduced to around $100. These ARE NOT all four star hotels. In many cases they are the ONLY available hotel. It is each runners responsibility to call & make reservations for each night.

Sunday, March 16
Quality Inn, Carlisle, PA; (717) 243-6000, exit 52 on I-81. We will eat on Sunday night at the Eat N Park restaurant which is adjacent to the hotel.
Monday, March 17
Blain Hotel & Restaurant, Blain PA, (717) 536-3322, $25 per room & there are only 5 rooms with one shared bathroom ?!?
Tuesday, March 18
Super 8 Motel, Hancock, MD (301) 678-6101. There is a Pizza Hut nearby.
Wednesday, March 19
Krista Lite Motel, Martinsburg WV, Exit 12 off I 81 on Route 45 East. Restaurant = ?.
Thursday, March 20
Sees Motel, Wardensville WV (304) 874-3666. Eating at KAC-KA-PON Restaurant in Wardensville.
Friday, March 21
Ramada Inn, Woodstock, VA (540) 459-5000. Ponderosa restaurant nearby.
Saturday, March 22
We will have a post run meal together at the Jalisco restaurant in Front Royal.

Stages, starting & finishing locations, & distances.

Day 1:

Start - Intersection of AT & TT on Blue Mountain
Finish - Hemlock Road, which is 4.3 miles east of Big Spring State Park & highway 274.
Distance: 42.3 Miles

Day 2:

Start - Hemlock Road
Finish - Intersection of Furnace Road on H. 456.
Distance: 50.6 Miles

Day 3:

Start - H. 456
Finish - Hampshire Grade Road (WV 7/13)
Distance: 43.7 Miles

Day 4:

Start - Hampshire Grade Road
Finish - Yellow Springs Road & Farm Gate
Distance: 39.5 Miles

Day 5

Start - Yellow Springs Road
Finish - Little River Farm on VA 747
Distance: 43.4 Miles

Day 6

Start - Little River Farm
Finish - AT on Hogback Mountain
Distance: 32.6 Miles

Contact Information:

Run Directors - Joe Clapper and David Horton
Joe Clapper: (202) 885-1610; clapper@american.edu
David Horton: (434) 582-2386; dhorton@liberty.edu
Websites: VHTRC | extremeultrarunning.com | PATC Tuscarora Trail Page

Application: HTML | Word

Information on Joe Clapper's record setting run of the TT in 2000 (3 days, 22 hours, 27 minutes).

Joe Clapper and Derrick Carr at Mile 92 in 2000

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