“HOT HOOOOOOTTTT!! Holy HOOOTTT!” I curse at myself as I spill hot coffee on my crotch for the second time and it’s only 5:15am. I slide my dented Stanley Thermos into the passenger side cup holder of my new-to-me, Toyota Tacoma my wife and I have named Baloo. As with all new cars, it takes time to figure out the quarks. Quarks like, if I put my piping hot thermos of coffee in the driver’s side cup holder, I will inevitably knock it onto my crotch every time I shift into second gear. Yay! I blame the early hour for my stupidity. I still love Baloo.
Bugs peppered my windshield as I rolled down the country back roads of Germantown Ohio, making my way to the Twin Valley Welcome Center where the actual adventure, the TVT Challenge, will start. The Twin Valley Trail Challenge (TVT Challenge) is a 27.5-mile hike along the Twin Valley Trail, Dayton Ohio’s one real local backpacking trail. The challenge is to do the whole trail in a day.
When I was hiking along the Appalachian Trail for a month I would regularly hike close to 20 miles a day. Over 25 miles in a day was uncharted territory and I really didn’t know how my legs and feet would react to the pounding. Also it has been two years since the AT. Now I do run and stay in shape, but as any long distance hiker knows, there’s no simulating big miles. You just have to hike big miles. I had not been hiking big miles. Or really miles. I mean I walk my dog a few times a day, but I don’t walk her 27.5 miles. She would die. I was however, confidently underprepared.
The challenge was set up in a kind of start-when-you-want sort of way. I ended up starting around 6am. There were a few other people when I started but, having a pretty quick pace, I was almost immediately alone and stayed that way the rest of the day. Now the TVT challenge is not a race, but being alone, I didn’t really stop and smell the roses. My pace tends to be around 3.5 miles an hour. Not bad for a walk., but man do the miles still creep on by.
The Twin Valley Trail system is quite cleverly put together. Connecting the Twin Creek and Germantown Metro parks was no small feat and I’m impressed by how little road walking there is. Yeah there’s a mile or so on road and then another couple on a bike path, but it’s not that bad and the roads seem to be low traffic. Some of the connector trails are interesting hiking. Trails you would never take unless you were connecting this big loop together.
All in all, I can’t see myself doing this repeatedly. That is not the fault of this great trail though, there just aren’t really any points of interest. There’s nothing to look forward too if you’re hiking the trail in one go and not backpacking it. There are no real vistas or overlooks. No caves or summits. But that doesn’t make this trail a great place to hike. It would be a fantastic first backpacking experience for a person that is new to the outdoor world. And it is honestly really fun for the one day challenge event. It just doesn’t have the repeatability of a trail with a goal or summit of some kind.
The event was great and I would do it again. Next time though I will bring a friend.