Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Running the Cohos Trail to benefit the Cohos Trail Association

Hello all!  Temperatures are soaring, the snowfields are melting out and the rivers are flowing rich and heavy with the waters of a changing season.  It's time to start looking forward to summer and autumn projects.  As such, I'm VERY excited to announce Humanity Running's next fund-raising and awareness effort:

In late July of this year, I (Rob Rives) will attempt a fast-packing style thru-run of the 165-mile Cohos Trail in northern New Hampshire.  This effort will be to benefit The Cohos Trail Association (TCTA), the fine folks who dreamed up this ambitious trail and continue to improve, build and maintain it (and all the shelters and campsites along it) to this day.  The trip will likely take four to five days, and will be supported through personal food/gear caches as well as occasional aid at road crossings.  If this current plan is successful, I will set a new FKT (fastest known time) for the Cohos Trail and a benchmark for future trail-running and fast-packing enthusiasts to shoot for.  In running the Cohos Trail I aim to raise awareness of the stunning beauty and value of the Great North Woods, the rural region of New Hampshire that lies north of the well-traveled White Mountains.

Near the beginning of the Cohos Trail, looking south from the southern flank of the Presidential Range.  From here, the trail heads north to the Canadian border and passes very little human habitation along the way.
We have chosen this particular journey, and TCTA as the benefactor of the effort, because it is deeply connected with the core principle of Humanity Running - to take on unique endurance challenges that will both inspire and directly help the community and environment in a certain place.  The Cohos Trail is not simply another American long-distance trail; it is a pathway through a region that lies far from urban sprawl and influence, and it endures through its ability to humbly sustain itself via natural resources, farming and tourism.  The Great North Woods, as the region is known in its broader range across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, is the largest area of unspoiled land in the Eastern US that is also used by humans in sustainable manners.  Many argue that outside pressures are being felt that could potentially alter the region permanently (see this article on understanding the implications of the Northern Pass Project), and we feel that this is a time to do our part and highlight the natural wonders and importance of these areas, so that they may remain that way.  The Cohos Trail is a regional attraction that will help bring more outdoors enthusiasts to the northern reaches of New Hampshire, and by documenting a thru-run of this trail we hope to aid in this inspiration.

If you are interested in supporting this journey and The Cohos Trail Association, here are some ways you can do so:
  • Visit the "How You Can Help" section of TCTA's website.  If you are lucky enough to be a resident of the Great North Woods, this is where you will find information on how to directly help in sustaining and improving the Cohos Trail through volunteering and TCTA membership.
  • Donate directly to TCTA.  Funds, building materials, trail-work equipment - if it seems like it might help the trail in any way, it probably can!  All of the above (and more) are thankfully accepted as donations to The Cohos Trail Association.
  • Volunteer with Humanity Running at Cohos Trail work days.  Shortly, TCTA will announce its summer maintenance and building projects for the trail and its structures.  We will be participating in a few of these work days throughout the summer and highlighting the amazing work of TCTA volunteers, so come join us!  Dates to come.
  • Join the Friends of the Cohos Trail Facebook page for news on trail updates and frequent photographic inspiration from areas located on the trail.
  • Sharing information about this effort and The Cohos Trail Association with friends and family and through your own social media.  

Stay tuned for updates!  We will hopefully have more stickers for sale soon (or as gifts for donors to The Cohos Trail Association), and more news concerning Rob's training for the run and dates that we'll be volunteering with TCTA.  Run happy!

-- Rob Rives, May 6th 2015