This evening my brother and I headed over to the Happy Days Lodge to listen to a presentation by Andrew Skurka, a 28 year old outdoor adventurer who since 2002 has trekked over 23,000 miles. His recent projects have been intense, off-trail endeavors through premier wilderness in Alaska, Iceland, the Colorado Plateau, and California. His earlier achievements include two monumental long-distance hiking firsts - the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop and the 7,778-mile Sea-to-Sea Route. Skurka has been recognized as "Adventurer of the Year" by National Geographic Adventure Magazine and "Person of the Year" by Backpacker Magazine.
I attended his presentation last year when he came to the Cuyahoga Valley and this year was just as good. He always has a good story to tell and always makes me just want to drop everything in life and go out into the wilderness. Tonight, he informed everyone of his most recent plan - a 4,000 to 4,500 mile loop around the state of Alaska and the Canadian territory of Yukon. This trek is not an official trail or route, and has never been completed, attempted, and possibly even conceived until now. It is almost entirely off-trail and crosses only about 10 roads for its entire length. Click Here to read more about it.
Following his presentation, Jeff and I headed out onto the Ledges Trail and ran to the Pine Grove Trail, did a loop and came back for 5 miles. It was a beautiful clear cold night to be out on the trails and the finely packed down snow felt great to run on. Afterwards, we stopped by the Winking Lizard for a couple beers and some trail talk with a few of our friends and Andrew Skurka. It was a lot of fun!