The Upstate New York Mammoth March is coming, and you need to be a part of it. Set in New York's glorious Letchworth State Park, known as the "Grand Canyon of the East," this is the backdrop that you've been looking for as a hiking enthusiast, but don't take it lightly.
This event has everything that any hiker--veteran or beginner--needs to satisfy that urge to walk within a community of like-minded folks that love to get outside and stretch their legs: a great venue at the perfect time of the year, complimentary parking, and their own personalized certificate after crossing the finish line.
Add to that the aid and refreshment stations spotted along the trail route which will provide food, drinks, and lavatory facilities for all of the participants, and you have the makings of a great day. The single-circuit loop covers 20 miles of the best views that Letchworth State Park has to offer, including the Genesee River gorge and all three waterfalls.
And, if you didn't know, Letchworth State Park has three spectacular waterfalls that have to be seen to be believed.
Getting Signed Up
You'll need to know that the route should become available approximately two weeks before the event occurs, but organizers ask participants to please note that the route is preliminary and may be adjusted due to weather issues, official directives, or organizational matters. The hiking trail won't be completely marked until one to two days prior to the event day.
This gives organizers prior notice if parts of the route being inaccessible, extremely wet or muddy conditions on short notice.
Registration can be done by visiting Race Roster and signing up to participate for all those 16 years of age or older. One of the best parts is that you can bring your leashed canine friend with you, as long as your pet is attached to it at all times. In fact, event organizers encourage you to do so saying that "Almost all our events are dog-friendly as long as your furry friend is leashed for the whole duration of the event. However, please check each event individually."
Entrants will each receive a finisher medal, personalized certificate, and wall of fame status. They will also receive refreshments, free parking, a marked route with GPS coordinates for their smartphones, and best of all one tree planted for each contestant.
Finding Letchworth State Park
Located about 35 miles south of Rochester, New York. Park Entrances include those located at Mount Morris, Perry, Castile, Portageville, and the Parade Grounds from Route 436. It is roughly one hour east of Buffalo, New York, under six hours from New York City, under four hours from Cleveland, Ohio, and about four hours from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Letchworth is located in the central part of western New York at the far western edge of the fabled Finger Lakes region. To the west is Lake Erie, and to the north is Lake Ontario, roughly the same distance to each, but its claim to fame is the waterway that runs through it: the Genesee River.
The Genesee River starts in northern Pennsylvania as a pristine trout water and ambles its way north to its final destination on Lake Ontario at the Port of Rochester. The Genesee River is also one of the few major river systems in North America that runs from south to north.
Since this is a hiking event and not a race, organizers would like to remind those participating walking at a pace between two to four mph to keep things from becoming over-competitive saying, "There is also no 'sweeper vehicle' or time cut-off that prevents you from finishing the challenge of your life!"
While event leaders say that anyone can enter, it should be known that the elevation gain during the Mammoth March is some 2,300 feet meaning that you will have some work to do before it is all over. Organizers encourage hikers to listen to their body and especially their feet and muscles while training to make sure that they do not push themselves too hard.
Choosing the right equipment when it comes to footwear, whether it be light running, trail running, trekking shoes, or hiking boots. Maybe one of the most important factors are the socks that you choose which should be well ventilated and moisture wicking. In fact, many veteran hiking enthusiasts insist on wearing two pairs of socks for longer excursions or for all-day hiking.
You should have your ID, ticket, drinking water, (even though it will be provided) a fully charged cell phone, and a light source such as a headlamp or a flashlight in case you are still hiking after the sun goes down. A trail-ready backpack is a great idea to have to carry extra items such as clothing, rain covering, blister pads, (aid stations will be onsite) sunscreen, and insect repellent.
If you have a walking stick, so much the better, but it is not mandatory; even a pair of headphones or earbuds can come in handy for those who want to pass the time! Tickets are non-refundable, but you can transfer your ticket to another person free of charge up to two days before the Mammoth March happens.
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READ MORE: FORSAKE CASCADE TRAIL: THE HIKING SNEAKER WE ALL DESERVE
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