Well, I did it – I registered for the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge this year. So now I've paid my money, I'm committed to get ready for the Challenge! It's on June 20, the Saturday nearest the solstice, so you have as much daylight as possible to complete the 34 "brutal" miles.
Notes from the website:
The Challenge has two dimensions: the first is to endure 34 miles of tortuous hill climbing and descent in unpredictable weather conditions; the second is to stay on the trail without getting lost. Obviously, those who have hiked the trail before will have some advantage in maintaining the proper route. (Training hikes covering various sections and the entire trail are held beforehand).
The Rachel Carson Trail is a "primitive" trail in the sense that no special grading or surfacing materials are used. While the trail is blazed with yellow blazes, there will be an occasional missing blaze where a tree has fallen or when you are following a logging road, a power line or gas line; there will be blow downs, washouts, poison ivy, nettles, bugs, loose gravel and rocks, gullies, and wet stream crossings. There are no switchbacks on the trail; all hills — some are quite steep — are traversed directly up and down. You must be prepared to expect the unexpected and think the unthinkable. The better hiker you are, the better you will do on the Challenge.
I can hardly wait! I'll definitely have to try to make it to some of the training hikes, and also generally keep working on getting in better shape.