FKT: Stephen Mick - Gerard Hiking Trail (PA) - 2020-08-19

Route variation
Standard loop
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
9h 35m 48s

I decided to attempt an unsupported 30ish mile loop on the Gerard Hiking Trail in Oil Creek State Park.

After feeding a bottle to the 12 month old and driving 1.5 hours to Titusville, I set out at 9:35 am from the Jersey Bridge parking lot at the north end of the park, started my watch and Garmin inReach MINI and took the bike path to the trail head on the east side of Oil Creek. I carried all my food with me as well as water in a 3 liter bladder and two 0.5 liter bottles. My goal was primarily to just finish so I also sported my trekking poles.  No one ran or hiked with me and thankfully after the excursion I had enough energy to drive myself safely home.

The route is similar to that used for the Oil Creek 100 trail races, which I was familiar with, but also includes the Wildcat section at the south of the park, which included about 5 miles I had never been on before.

The day was absolutely gorgeous and I only saw a few others out hiking. A group of three impressive hiking ladies were doing a clockwise loop so we saw each other on sections 1 and 3.

I went counterclockwise (sections 1, 2, wildcat, 3 and 4 in that order). The only time I filled water was at the drinking faucet at the Cow Run shelters, topping off my two bottles. Thankfully that was just enough as I ran out of water when I still had about 3 miles to go. The last mile felt especially sluggish.

I found it ironic that I started at 9:35 am and was on the trail for 9 hours and 35 mins ... obviously I should have started sooner! My time was not as quick as I would have liked but I'm pleased that I finished uninjured and perhaps set what may come to be known as a 'slowest known time'.