Day 22: “Stompin’ Grounds”

Day 22, Saturday, October 10th
Buford to North Fork Campground


Dedicated to:

Ava Grace Dresback, Hunt Valley, Maryland

Britney Dipley, Victorville, CA

A fairly uneventful day today. I awoke feeling like I had run a hard marathon yesterday…because I had. My knees were sore, my feet felt like hot pokers were stabbing my toes, my low back was tight, and in general my body was just feeling the 300+ miles. But the fact that I was with good friends and family in one of my favorite places in the world, meant the day was going to be great.

I started at the Buford store with hugs and “I love you’s” from everyone and limped my way into the start of the run. Like I’ve said before, it takes a bit for my toes to go numb and to be able to get whatever part of a normal gait I have left going. The 13 miles ahead today were going a nice break on the body from the 20+ milers that have become the norm. However, the continuous gradual uphill grade was going to make those 13 miles feel a bit longer. I headed up North Fork Road, a paved road without much of a shoulder. My dad and Stephan were right behind me in dad’s truck with Art and LaVonne just behind them with their truck and trailer. All hazards going, I felt safe.


The view was spectacular. On the run I was thinking about how much the terrain has changed everyday of the run for the most part. I’ve been on everything from the side of highways in the high desert to mountain passes in the aspens and pines to trails full of rocky shale slides above treeline. Today was some of my favorite. Expanses of fall colored aspens and oak brush intertwined with spruces and pines lining the edges of golden meadows. The sun had crested the hills, spilling raise of sunshine on the day.

As I ran along, taking in my surroundings and trying so hard to distract myself from the fatigue in my legs and the pain in my feet, my heart skipped a beat and then began to race with joy. Maybe 50 yards in front of me, 3 deer crossed the road. Their agility and grace is astounding. They climbed the steep hill on the other side of the road and disappeared in the oak brush. With a smile on my face, I continued up the road and memories of my childhood in these woods ran through my head all day.


I hit dirt at about 11 miles in and new that I was getting close to North Fork Campground, where we would call home for the night. My legs were feeling heavy, but I knew if I stopped to walk, I wouldn’t start running again. So in what Climbing Ivy would call the winning shuffle, I scooted my body along until I saw Big Blue on the left with a big yellow and brown sign in front of it. Knowing that was North Fork and that tomorrow was going to be a big day, I put my eyes forward and passed the truck yelling, “2 more miles”. Dad followed me those last two miles and was there for a big hug when I finally stopped and ended he day with a seat in the dirt. Marcus and Tory showed up minutes later and we all headed back to camp.


I devoured a gluten free muffin and a Reyhdrate from True Nature Kitchen, before laying down on the couch in Big Blue and surprised myself by waking up from what seemed like a 3 hour nap just 20 minutes later. It was the first nap I had taken since we had been on the road. I am not a good nap taker, so when it happens I know sleep deprivation has set in. Tory and Vaughn had taken the pups to the river, but were back shortly after I awoke.   While my dad, Vaughn and LaVonne sat and chatted with us, Tory again brought my lower half back to life. I literally couldn’t be doing this without her.

The afternoon and evening were consumed by playing in the river with the dogs, Marcus taking a FREEZING bath in the river, sitting around the campfire chatting and just enjoying each others company in the midst of nature. It was the first of many nights we were going to be out of service complete and sleeping under the stars. I’d been looking forward to this portion of the run since the day I planned it.


Lessons Learned:

– I had the most amazing childhood… Thank you mom and dad for making Luke and I appreciate the simple things in life.

3 thoughts on “Day 22: “Stompin’ Grounds”

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