Bearmagathon Tribute Hike - Black Forest Trail Dayhike Attempt

Page Type
Trip Report
Pennsylvania, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jun 7, 2008
2507 Hits
74.01% Score
Log in
to vote
Bearmagathon Tribute Hike - Black Forest Trail Dayhike Attempt
Created On: Jun 9, 2008
Last Edited On: Jun 12, 2008

Bearmagnet's (Phil's) Story

I "met" Phil on the Backpacker dot com forums
We found out that we had been in Potsdam together... he at State, and I at Clarkson
Other than a love of scotch, we were polar opposites
Our nickname for each other was Bizzaro
I slowly realized that he had battled cancer, and was in remission
I could easily tell that he loved his wife (then girlfriend), Dani
Last year, he started showing symptoms of the cancer returning
It turned out to be true
Just before Christmas, his battle ended
He kept a blog of his battles, which can be viewed here.

The Tribute

A group of 8 would attempt the 42-mile (8,500' vertical) Black Forest Trail as a dayhike.
A group of about 15 would provide support at one checkpoint and 4 aid stations
Drink Scotch and beer at camp... as this is what Phil would be doing, instead of attempting some crazy dayhike
Spread some of Phil's ashes in Pine Creek

Arriving at Camp

Early Friday AM, thunderstorm knocks out power at home
I leave late
Cortland and Ithaca... the road of a 1,000 traffic lights
Slowpokes to Elmira
Yea, a highway!
Highway ends
Traffic backed up at border
Yea, a highway again!
Rte 414: a road, or a paved trail?
Arrive at camp parking lot
Amazed at the scenery
Is that a hill, or a wall of trees?
Talk to fishermen
A group is walking toward the parking lot
They look crazy, must be them
No car access to campsites
Haul everything in my sleeping bag
A man in a kilt, this must be the spot
1camper's killer tuna steak and shrimp
Sit around the fire
Obsessed about my supplies
The Connemara is soooo smooth
Early to bed

The Hike

Early to rise
Start hiking at 4:30 am
Already hot
Them are some very steep hills
First person bails
I toast to Phil at first check point
The hills got steeper
Second person bails
I toast to Phil at second check point
It's hotter
Started to bonk
I'm all alone
A trail of stinging nettles
A bear!
I really bonked
It's hotter still
Damn bugs
Finally, the hard part is behind me
Third and forth people bail
I feel refreshed
A rattlesnake strike, but I'm too quick
Fifth person bails
Others on the trail are far behind
I hear someone is quite angry
I toast to Phil at third check point
It's downright oppressive
I continue on
Chowda decides to join me
A very pleasant trail
Chowda: I couldn't let a Yankees fan best me
I live in NY, but I'm a Red Sox fan
Aren't the Red Sox great?
Yes they are.
The Blackberry trail intersection
Need to take blue-blazed Deshea trail in about 1/2 mile
Did we pass the Deshea turnoff?
Getting hot spots on my feet
Why are ALL the trees blazed in blue?
Where is the Deshea turnoff?
Why are ALL the trees blazed in blue?
Where is the Deshea turnoff?
Why are ALL the trees blazed in blue?
Where is the Deshea turnoff?
Are we "accidentally" on Deshea?
There's the Deshea turnoff
Is this the Deshea turnoff?
That can't be the Deshea turnoff
Look here, this IS the Deshea turnoff
It can't be the Deshea turnoff
Why did 1/2 mile take 40 minutes?
Decision: 1/2 mile to Rte 44 bail-out, or continue?
The 1/2 mile to Rte 44 takes 2 minutes
I toast to Phil
Bugs are horrible
Let's walk down road to next checkpoint
Salvation in the form of a rescue vehicle

Apres Hike

Back at camp
Relaxed in Pine Creek
Perfectly comfortable
NoGranola is quite fashionable
Changed clothes
1camper fears for his life
Why do I have a hangover?
Phil's ashes in Pine Creek
Eat JackStraw's delicious stir fry
Watch Spindle spin
Why are ALL the trees blazed in blue?
Sit by fire
Macallans 12 year scotch... mmmmm
Fall asleep in camp chair
Crawl into tent
Macallans, it's what's for breakfast
A great time had by all.
A special thanks to the support crew.
RIP Phil

Links to Photos

I didn't take any photos, but here are some links to photos from others in our group:

Spindle's Photos
Jackstraws's Photos
Spikehiker's Photos
1campers's Photos



Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-2 of 2

tioga - Jun 11, 2008 12:17 pm - Hasn't voted


I love that trail and area. Why did you choose to do the memorial hike on the Black Forest Trail?


WalksWithBlackflies - Jun 12, 2008 9:43 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Interesting

Members of TheBackpacker dot com had conceived and planned the hike. I think the location was chosen since it was centrally located in the NE/Mid-Atlantic. Wonderful area.

Viewing: 1-2 of 2

Bearmagathon Tribute Hike - Black Forest Trail Dayhike Attempt

Trip Report
1 Images 2 Comments


Trip Reports in Pennsylvania


Northern Allegheny PlateauTrip Reports