Trip Report: River to River Trail unsupported fkt attempt
Start Thursday Nov. 2, 2017 in Elizabethtown @ 2:16pm central daylight savings time
Finish Monday Nov. 6, 2017 in Grand Tower @ 1:21pm central standard time
Total time 4 days, 0 hours, 5 minutes (one hour added for time change)
Thursday morning, I dropped my Van off at Devil's Backbone Park campground then got a ride to Elizabethtown with my friend's dad.
I started at the Ohio River in Elizabethtown with all supplies for the trip. Weather was warm (nearly 70 degrees and humid) and trail conditions were muddy. Hiked to a little beyond Garden of the Gods, then bivied for a few hours in a pine forest from ~ 10pm to 3am, rode out a thunderstorm wrapped in my poncho. When the rain stopped, I started hiking again. Stopped for a short nap before daylight at the creek crossing just after the road walk out of Herod. When daylight broke continued on through One Horse Gap area and road walk to Lusk Creek Wilderness area. Took about an hour nap around noon at Eastern edge of Lusk Creek Wilderness area. Weather was cooler (60's) but still fairly warm and humid. In the Eastern half of Lusk Creek I followed a blue ribboned route (no trail) which I believe is the future R2R trail before picking up the established trail in the Western half of Lusk Creek area. (There have been a lot of changes to the trails in this area the past several years). Continued on the road walk through Eddyville, getting back in the forest around dark. Continued to first major creek crossing where there is an established horse camp. Bivied under a rock shelter for several hours near creek crossing before continuing on around 4am. Weather on Saturday was similar (~60 and humid) hiking until around noon before taking a short nap and self-massage my legs; I felt like I was starting to burn out my legs. Continued on to Dutchman Creek Lake, where my legs were nearly toast but hiked about another mile to the pine forest South-West of the lake and camped here (sadly making camp before 6pm, hoping I could have hiked until at least 10pm). Started hiking again a few hours before dawn to my legs feeling great! Entered Fern Cliff State Park around sunrise got through the Eastern and Western sides of Fern Cliff, then took a short break before the long rod walk toward Panthers Den. Weather Sunday was similar again (~60 and humid). Continued through Crab Orchard and arrived at Giant City State Park around dark. Continued through the park with about an hour break under a rock shelter to ride out a thunderstorm. Continued on road walk through Makanda back to National Forest then camping for a few hours in a pine forest about a mile before the ford across Cedar Lake. Another pre-dawn start, weather much cooler and windier after the previous thunderstorm. Hiked straight through to the Mississippi River at Devil's Backbone Park in Grand Tower arriving 5 minutes behind my goal time of less than 4 days. I guess I've got to be pretty happy with that. I think I could cut up to 12 hours off this time just by being more disciplined with sleep and think sub-3 days time might be possible for me if everything would go well; someone get out there and crush it!
I did take some GPS tracks with a smartphone and Samsung health app. Drained my 2 batteries in the first 2 days, however and have no data after that.