All the Plants on the 2002 LHT Course*

by Chris Scott

Photo: Chris Scott at Laurel HighlandsThe LHT experience is not just from 5:30 Saturday morning until early Sunday morning. It starts as soon as cars start rolling into Johnstown's G-Man restaurant carrying runners from all over the Universe. After the briefing and dinner Friday evening, Gordy, Bryon and I thought about absorbing a few brew as Nature closed her night shade in the western sky. Because of spots before our eyes, we were only able to see two of the Pabst in the sixpack. Who of us will see all six Bud Lights when we finish at 2240 the next evening? Bryon pointed out some Black Crud on the trees across the finish line and I made a mental note to be sure to document it on Saturday night, assuming I finish…I forgot! While running along the paved road section in the park Saturday morning I was saddened to see only two brown sparrows doing the dirty in that 0.24 mile section. Even in the past several years, it had been a continuous floor show where one pair stopped doing it, another pair took over. Where have they gone?

Overall, I saw fewer numbers and species of green things this year along the LHT course ("dainbread" is an evolutionary state). The most concentrated area for plant-like thingies I saw was while lost in the reverie of the moment from Miles 29 to 54 (and every friggin' milepost in between). Imagine that! I was looking for Dodd's favorite flower, the Bastard Toadflakjacket, near Jack Did between the tree with the moss and that other tree with more moss, but the only beauty in that stretch was a spontaneous embrace by some out-of-control dude pinging off a tree on a downhill curve.

At Roseveld, the aid station was completely stacked (aka nubile young cheerleaders), with "poop" under the table. Without previous arrangement, I had hoped that a certain Libber would be there so I could take a "hit." She was there!! I was joined by one other chauvinist oinker, a likable one at that, to deliver an "obnoxious bolt." I wonder if she discussed this early run gyration with Dave "Hari Krishna" Horton? Word of our antics at Roseveld must have moved along the trail faster than the runners, because we were targeted as wheezy leches at each subsequent station. I am still regretful that Sherry, Cherry and Terry slaved to keep their wraps on despite the Cookie Monster's gap-teethed requests to disrobe – both times.

For fear of disclosing a literary affinity with John Updike, I will get on with a topic I've learned mountains about, through my Nature Mentor, Gary Knipling: flora (the green stuff, not what'shername from California). And with the saving caveat of "as best as I can wing it," the list of flora I saw on the LHT course in 2002:

Photo: Chris Scott at Laurel HighlandsTwo special notes of interest were the Ritulinsnake Weed blooming beautifully amid the boulders that some idiot presumed were necessary to wind through rather than just going around the damn things, and the Speeeeeeeeed-Wellllllllllll Salad I had at mile 46 aid station that wasn't there in years past. This was also observed by my trail pal, Dwarf Iris (she got cuter as the day got longer…).

Each LHT is different for runners, crews and pacers. But one constant for the LHT is those friggin' mile posts every friggin' mile all friggin' day and into the friggin' night. Anstr claims he ain't never agin gonna count no more of them friggin' mile posts…

Happy Trails,
Chris (#59)

* Any resemblance to Gary Knipling's report "Wildflowers on the 2002 MMT Course" is purely accidental and/or unintentional. Besides, the wiimp wouldn't take any of our selectively-offered Tequila at Gap Creek. NOT EVERYONE HAD THAT CHANCE, BUDDY!!! JUST SEE IF WE OFFER IT TO YOU EVER AGAIN!!!!

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