The scent of woodsmoke on your clothes. The hush of an evening breeze in the treetops above. The glow of your friends’ faces in the warm light that only a campfire can throw. Even a maddening mosquito in your tent, whining in your ear, eluding every attempt you make to destroy it. Oh, and being awake, blood invigorated by fresh air, for the first notes of birdsong that gradually build to a chorus of thousands. All of these things and many more make Maine camping unforgettable. If you haven’t been yet, heads up, this may be one of the last weekends comfortable enough for outdoor sleeping, for all but the hardiest.
If you feel a pang of obligation toward that camping gear in your garage, and you’re also a runner with a group of like-minded friends, you’re gonna like this: The Pumpkinhead Trail Relay at Pineland Farms (25 Campus Dr, New Gloucester) combines overnight camping on idyllic Maine acres with the passion of competitive trail running. The Relay takes places starting on Friday, September 8 at 8 a.m. and goes on into Saturday. Entry fees are steep at $504 or $1008 (after processing) depending on the type of team registering, but the memories you make with your mates will be priceless.
Here’s how it works: As a member of an Ultra Team of four or a Standard Team of five to eight, each contestant must complete three independent trail loops multiple times to contribute to their team’s total time. The three loops, Campus (2.71 mi), Oak Hill (5.22 mi), and River (8.18 mi), all begin and end at The Grove, a hub that will feature a bonfire, music, games, and the transition tent for runners to pass the bib to teammates. Probably not as quick a transfer as it would be with a baton on a track, but the same idea. For assigned camping spots, each team will be allowed a 300-square-foot area, measured on the honor system. Neither dogs nor non-competing campers will be allowed.
Think you and your buds can take home a top prize? Start texting, and then dig out that tent!
Event website: http://pumpkinheadtrailrelay.com/