Last weekend I successfully completed a "contour transect" of the Monte Sano Plateau where I live. This is a complicated phrase that really just means I trekked all the way around the Monte Sano Plateau trying to stay as close to the same elevation contour as possible. So in theory I should have been able to hike around one of the many benches that ring the plateau and not gain or lose any elevation at all.
However, the route I chose, along the 1480' contour, kept me just below the main bluff or escarpment wall which avoided most trails in both the Land Trust and Monte Sano State Park; so my route was almost entirely off trail! The only exception were in the few instances when a trail happened to fit within the +-50' vertical buffer I allowed myself to help avoid extremely tough going (with mixed results). The route I took ended up measuring at a little over 12 miles and involved over 1600' of climb which took me just less than 6 hours to complete! Yes I could only manage just a hair over 2 mph!! Checkout the pictures after the jump and you'll understand why it was so slow!