We know you have questions (oh, and we do, too!!) and we want to give you answers!  Here are a few for starters, more to come as we brainstorm (OK, maybe more at braindrizzle) the realities of what lies ahead.

What’s included with Trail Explore Series Registration?

You mean, besides the thrill of roaming dirt?  Your $75 buys you opportunity to run in all 8 Series hikes/runs/wanders in both NH’s PRKR Mtn and Regional Trails and VT’s Kingdom Trails locations; a ShoeFly logo screened Patagonia T (diff colors across genders, even!!); a chance to earn some nifty trinkets ‘n prizes (see FAQ “What can I win?” below); and snacky stuff to keep your energy up while roaming.

The $75 registration fee is for the series. If you’re visiting the area or only in town for one Swarm (that’s what we call our gatherings), we offer a one time only option for $45 (which will include a T if our supply isn’t already exhausted).

Since the Series Swarms are at day’s end, should we plan to bring our own post-hike/run dinner?

We plan to offer up something akin to what you’d get at the end of a longer, organized event supported by various merchants, tho here on a smaller scale.  Generally, snacky stuff plus fluids.  That said, tho a portion of each entry is dedicated to post-roam recovery, any one Swarm may have supplemental nourishment provided by local merchants.  Before each gathering, each Swarm’s host will give hint of what to expect, and if the menu is slightly more extensive than simple replenishment snacks, we may ask for donations to keep our expenses w/in budget.

So, who’s in charge, then?

In charge of what, more specifically.  This FlyWriter has the distinct thrill of pre-season organization and overall website content, but each Swarm will be planned and produced by either HostFly Blake Roberts for our NH gatherings or HostFly Joe Fox for VT gatherings.  If we play our keyboards wisely, we’ll surely find ways to confuse more than a few Flys and still keep ’em excited to show up for the next Swarm!

How do I know where to go for any particular Series run? 

The HostFly will likely use both the ShoeFly News page, plus our FB pages as portal for all “near on the calendar” activities.  E.g., for the May 20th run on PRKR Mtn Trails, Blake might post to the News page not later than 3 days prior with details about where we meet, general description of planned routes, what food we intended to provide, etc.  And if weather threatens comfort on the dirt, we’ll post promptly to the News page any change in plans.  The ShoeFly News page and FB pages will share in being dynamic to enhance word getting out thru more than one medium for all interests on the Swarms.  Visit often – maybe that page will help put you to sleep at night!!

What can I win?

A bunch of stuff!! (didn’t I just say that somewhere else?)  The series intends more emphasis on the thrill of dirt and finding miles out there, than on an experience that rewards the best of competitors over the self-recognized sense of accomplishment. In that vein, prizes and trinkets (some with real value, some maybe tongue-in-cheek oriented) will land in the hands of those both slow and not so slow, maybe some fast and not so fast; those adding to the camaraderie of the experience; those with prominently artistic/colorful costumes; those luckily finding the special treasures/chits found out on the trails; those appreciative of our energetic entertainers and (likely to be maligned) Volunteers.  Bottom line:  play well (whether solo or in the crowd) and ye shall be rewarded… if not materially, surely from the festive feel of your miles on the dirt in the atmosphere we hope to create for you!!

How do I train for trails?

By first just visiting them, if your shoes til now have only traveled pavement.  The uneven surfaces command attention, else the chance of falling down, go boom! can be high, so best to start out somewhat gingerly, eyes scanning the surface in front of you much more intently than if running roads.  And that’s a challenge, since most trail motion invites viewing the scenery around you — training your eyes to capture both will enhance your appreciation for a great dirt experience!  Once this “eye-foot coordination” skill gains competence, how to train for a particular distance compares reasonably to most training regimens in the popular press, with one notable exception:  pace on the trail tends toward slower, even more so if the terrain is particularly rugged.  It’s not uncommon to have a trail pace double what one experiences on road surfaces.  Heck, I snowshoe in the White Mountains, and these codger legs are lucky to move at 1 mph; yet, I love the visuals that roaming the mountains afford these foggy eyes…  And if this short introduction doesn’t sufficiently feed your curiosity, well, send us a separate note and we’ll e-chat…

Wuddya mean, “fall down, go boom!”?

Nature and her terrain have a sense of humor, slapstick in many ways.  Might your shoes catch on a root/rock/stick/mystery-object and fulcrum your body to the ground?  You can bet on it.  Most times, one just mutters words of frustration, gets back up, and motors along (who’s going to come find you to help you home, huh?), and somewhere down the trail chides one’s self for one’s clumsiness and laughs it off as s/he continues to enjoy the dirt.  More opportunity to practice that “eye-foot coordination” thingie from above, as you’ll surely persist with as you soak in the splendor of your woodsy environment.

I’m anxious I’ll be too slow to join your fun.  How much does speed account in deciding to participate?

The thrill of dirt includes a high disregard for speed.  For any ShoeFly Swarm offered, of course, you’ll want to finish in time to enjoy post-run/hike food and camaraderie, but that is your calculation for time on your feet and distance to cover, not something imposed by the venue itself.  “Fast” runners cover more territory, but don’t get any more enjoyment from the dirt than those who cover a third the distance in the same time.

Perspective: when Scott Jurek, the first person to win 7 consecutive Western States 100 Mile races, established a new speed record on the 2,100+ mile Appalachian Trail, he bested HIKER Jennifer Pharr Davis’ 4 year old record time by a mere 3 hours!!  Hence, move at your own “speed” and enjoy the dirt…