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2007 Bald Eagle Mountain Megatransect

Report by Brian McKenna

Bob Dubrowsky's Race Report  |  Brian McKenna's Report  |  Event Photos


Friday was a great day to take off from work. The weather was perfect and it was a good day to travel. I met Susan and Maureen at Maureen's house and we rolled out for Lock Haven, Pa. and the Fifth Annual Bald Eagle Megatransect.

Bucking convention, we had reserved a cabin at Holiday Pines Campground instead if a motel room. As it turned out that wasn't a bad decision. The campground was about twenty minutes from the MT start so it wasn't a bad commute. We arrived at the campground around 6:30 Friday evening and then we were off to find the Castanea Fire Co. Picnic Grounds. The location is a National Security secret and we went by the entrance a couple of times before we found it. Once there we picked up our race packets and went outside to get some 'food'. After determining that we needed to eat something other than the fare that was available at the registration area, we journeyed into the heart of Lock Haven to find a fine dining experience. We ended up having spaghetti at a greasy spoon.

Race day found us getting up at 4:45 (don't ask). We got to the Picnic Grounds with enough time to get a light breakfast prior to the start of the race. We received our timing chip the morning of the race but I think that could have been taken care of the night before. At 7:00 we were off to face the Beast.

The first three miles or so is an easy run from the Picnic Grounds through the town of Castanea. It was a nice warm-up. Finally were at the Beast's lair! We left the road and started up 'The Jump-Up'. This is where the real warm-up begins. It was pretty much a single file march right up the side of Bald Eagle Mountain. Just below the top the path took a hard left and we found ourselves at the start of a section named 'The Link'. After stopping to change from a long sleeve shirt to a short sleeve, much to my delight, we were traveling at an angle back down on. I was able to catch up with a lot of people that had passed me in the course of the Jump up. I caught up and passed Susan, Maureen and eventually, Dennis. I love those negative slopes!

'The Link' leads to the 'Bald Spot' (aptly named) which, when viewed from the Picnic Grounds appears to be a white gash on the side of an otherwise green mountain. Viewed up close, it is a sprawling field of sand stone of varying size ranging from shoebox size to VW Beetle size. Somehow, I started the climb ahead of Crownie and I didn't see any of the gang till they crossed the finish line. The 'Bald Spot' was the first full dose of sunshine that I had seen that morning. Unfortunately, when I looked up the boulder field, the Sun was shining directly into my eyes so, for better or worse, I relied on those in front of me for directional guidance. Upon reaching the top of the 'Bald Spot', there were only a few yards to the top of the mountain. Once I crossed the top and started down the other side I encountered rocky terrain covered by duff which made for poor traveling until I lost some altitude.

Once I was in the valley on the Kammerdiner, my travels were much easier. I was able to cover ground and make up for the steep climb. I even managed to pass a few people. I refilled my water supply and ate some food at checkpoint #2 and rolled on to checkpoint #1. On the way to checkpoint #1 the trail passed a reservoir and I was completely surprised by how low the level was. Definitely need rain...real soon! I arrived at checkpoint #1 and topped off my tank before heading off to the 'Goat Path'.

The 'Goat Path' seemed to be just that. Narrow and steep with a drop-off to one side. It wasn't that long but it was steep. The downhill section of the path was steep enough for me to break out my hiking staff to assist with the descent. There were a couple of ascents and descents to contend with and then I found myself on the 'Lightening Bolt'. We were told that it was named that because of a large tree along the path that had taken a lightening hit. I didn't see the tree so this stretch didn't stick out in my mind.

On through 'The Gorge' and up 'Fleming Way' (another fun climb) then across 'Chestnut Flat' and more negative slopes along 'Dug Road'. It was smooth sailing in this stretch but the Beast was still there! Back down to Kammerdiner, through checkpoint #2 (more food and water) and into checkpoint #3. At checkpoint #3, the nice people told us that we were to proceed down the path, turn left and using the rope, make our way up the steep incline. I was totally unprepared for what was waiting. The rope section was easy. The next part was the belly of the beast! Through another boulder field (though not as technical as the 'Bald Spot', the boulders made the climb miserable) that just wouldn't end. That might have been because the climb was right up the side of the mountain using a power line right-of-way for the path. There was no relief from the beating sun for this seemingly unending climb. I passed a poor soul who was unable to make it out and the buzzards had picked his carcass clean. The boulders were no joke at this point.

After cresting out and starting the descent down the 'Backside', I considered breaking out the staff again but decided to take my chances. The descent tore up my quads but, I didn't realize how much till I got to the bottom and attempted to run on the 'flat'. I got to the other side of the Bald Eagle Creek bridge and my legs cramped and cramped every time that I attempted to do more than a quick walk. Other than my legs, I felt great and it was a pleasant 3 mile walk to the finish where there awaited cold beer.

2 Robert Reynolds 4:14:03 10:10
25 Douglas Dubrosky 5:11:14 12:27
171 Brian McKenna 7:41:37 18:28
257 Susan Hurrey 8:55:31 21:25
260 Sharon Tasman 8:56:10 21:27
261 Megan Boyle 8:56:10 21:27
262 Maureen Mignogna 8:56:11 21:27
295 Dennis Crowne 9:24:34 22:35
448 total finishers

Bob Dubrowsky's Race Report  |  Brian McKenna's Report  |  Event Photos



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