CURWENSVILLE – While the inaugural endurance trail challenge welcomes both hikers and runners, the Curwensville Dam Scramble will not be “the average walk in the woods” for its participants on Saturday, Sept. 11 at the lake and recreation area.
“You’re not just walking,” said Donna Carnahan, co-director of the event. “But you’re walking over tree roots and logs, and there are rocky sections. It’s not Rails to Trails.”
Over the last few years, Carnahan took part in various trail challenges in the central Pennsylvania region with “good friends” and her event co-directors Rachel Kester and Carl Undercofler. They were inspired by those challenges and thought it’d be “neat” to offer the same at the lake, Carnahan said.
Kester said the scramble will present its challenges while showcasing the natural beauty of the Curwensville Dam. She said they wanted residents and visitors to congregate there and enjoy the area and its assets.
“We want people to observe the different habitats and our variation of resources,” Kester said. She said they’ll not only take in the hillside, but also many different, picturesque views of the lake.
Carnahan said participants will have the opportunity to complete one loop around the lake, which is approximately 9.5 miles (15K), or two loops at approximately 19 miles (30K). She said the trails are mostly “single-track” through the woods.
When selecting the course for the race, Kester said they looked to utilize the existing trails as much as possible. However, she said they needed more course mileage and both improved and added to the existing trails.
Kester estimated that they added approximately four new sections of trails. She credited volunteers Joe Kendrick and Matt Rowles, both of whom she said were “instrumental” to the repair and development of trails for the course.
Carnahan said the scramble begins and ends at the bottom of Lake Drive near Pavilion No. 4. She said it will feature a “nice mix” of flat areas, where participants will pick up their pace, and other sections that will bring them to a walk.
According to her, participants will run into at least five, steep hill climbs throughout the course. She pointed to a section referred to as “the Spine,” indicating it is likely to pose the greatest obstacle for most participants.
On Traverse Trail along the river, she said participants will catch a glimpse of the upcoming challenge through openings to their right. She said participants will have a flat area for which to rest their legs before tackling “the Spine.”
But Carnahan admitted the participants will not catch a break at the top. Instead, they will take the course down a steep hill to a dirt access road. From there, they will proceed up another hill on a dirt surface to a tram road.
“It’s not going to give their legs much of a break,” Carnahan said. She, too, believed the quarter-mile “Rock Garden,” which was formerly a drainage ditch, would pose another obstacle due to its terrain.
Carnahan said it will be difficult for participants to run on the rocky surface. She said they will have to “carefully hike” through, as they’ll be on a surface of “basically softball-sized” rocks.
Due to the posed challenges, she suggests the endurance trail for those who are “sufficiently trained.” She said participants should at least walk hills daily and have knowledge of the forest’s terrain.
“It’s not going to be good for someone who is just coming off the couch. It’s not going to be a stroll (through the woods),” she said.
Carnahan said potential participants can still pre-register online through Sept. 9.
She said same-day registration will also be available at the lake during packet pick-up from 7 – 8:15 a.m. Registration is set at $45. The race is set to begin at 8:30 a.m., she said.
Carnahan said aid stations equipped with food and drinks will be located at approximately three and six miles into the course. She indicated those who choose to continue for a second loop will be able to re-fuel at the start/finish line.
Kester said they encourage everyone to camp out at the lake and recreation area the night before. She said they will have a “Paddle at the Lake” event at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10. She said interested patrons are encouraged to bring their canoe or kayak to explore the lake.
The next day, she said the Curwensville Dam Scramble will be held in conjunction with the Conservation Celebration. She said events will be ongoing throughout the day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on race day.
Kester said they will have “a ton” of free activities, which are for both adults and children. She said they, however, have been geared toward the younger attendees. She said they will have live animals, canoe and kayak demonstrations, crafts, games and more.
She said all proceeds from the Curwensville Dam Scramble will directly benefit the Conservation Education Fund. She said it will allow the Clearfield County Conservation District to continue its educational programs that are held throughout the year.
For additional information about the event, visit the CCCD Web site. Select “Dam Scramble” from the site’s navigation menu.