Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » AT Speed Record Attempt


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Chad Mason
(porch13) - M

Locale: Arizona
AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/06/2008 22:34:05 MDT Print View

Is anyone else watching this guy? He's trying to do a SOBO hike of the AT in 47 days. His site is tracking his daily progress. It's at: http://www.whereskarl.com/

Elizabeth Rothman
(erothman2) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
AT Speed attempt on 08/06/2008 23:23:54 MDT Print View

I'm sorry to be a party pooper, but I just don't see the point of these trips, and they offend something I haven't yet put my finger on in me. I know, I know, "Hike your own hike," but hell's bells! If you're not going to look around, EVER, just look at your chronometer and your GPS and walk walk walk walk walk walk walk

then just stay the hell home and go around the track! You're not experiencing nature, appreciating ANYTHING about being there, how could you? Every stream, every rise, everything is an obstacle to your goal.

To get out away from work and the city and stoplights and sirens and alarm clocks and to just follow the tick tock tick tock for 47 days....

Big Deal.

just my opinion, of course.

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/06/2008 23:43:47 MDT Print View

He has a Where's Karl billboard-emblazoned support RV, already a notable first in the long trails record attempt Biz. (Never mistake business for pleasure, of course.)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/27983616@N03/2699125489/

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
yep. on 08/07/2008 00:03:35 MDT Print View

it would be much more interesting if he did it without a web page and blah blah blah.

i'm sure there must be people out there who do extraordinary things without the need to lean on their own airhorn.

Max Hoagland
(maxhoagland) - F
Re: AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/07/2008 00:48:00 MDT Print View

Come on guys, if you were going to do something you are passionate about, that WOULD be able to have the ability to be "marketable," wouldn't you do it and make a little money while you where at it.
If I had a passion like running the AT, I would try to live my passion and make a living at the same time. You really think there's something wrong with that?

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/07/2008 04:08:28 MDT Print View

I don't see how different it is than folks riding bikes across America in the fastest time possible. Some get sponsors, some don't. I say good for him! Someone will be next to beat his time. Besides, if he's running, isn't that considered trail running? Is that so bad? I find it fun.

Edited by leadfoot on 08/07/2008 04:14:23 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/07/2008 07:25:08 MDT Print View

This was brought up a couple days ago in the other activities forum.

I find it odd that nobody really complained about the JMT speed record attempts last year or this year, but now that someone wants to do the AT, some are hoping the hikers/runners will break their legs...

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Re: AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/07/2008 07:52:40 MDT Print View

It is somthing interesting to peak at while you are at work and nothing more.

Edited by Jkrew81 on 08/07/2008 07:54:13 MDT.

Elizabeth Rothman
(erothman2) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Speed hiking on 08/07/2008 09:35:46 MDT Print View

Let me be clear since I started the rant, I did not know this guy was hiking for dollars and was not picking on him specifically. I was reacting to the whole notion of speed hiking and other similar things that use the backcountry as something to get through rather than something to be in.

JMT, AT, I don't care. Though to speed hike with blinders on at night or whatever on a trail named after JOHN MUIR- well, that's the height of disrespect. I think he'd definitely agree with me about speed-hiking. :-)

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Please. . . on 08/07/2008 10:02:17 MDT Print View

Disrespect, please.

If anyone would appreciate that individuals experience nature differently it would have been John Mur.

Just because someone likes to hike faster than you and write about it doesn’t mean they are being disrespectful or not properly experiencing nature.

As far as someone having an issue with this particular hiker writing about his experiences, well you all are contributing members to various online forums dealing with backpacking. You write about hiking almost every day.

I think some of you people are just a bit too tightly bound if you have ethical issues with someone walking fast. Yes you have an ethical issue with this if you think walking fast is disrespectful.

Chad

Edited by chadnsc on 08/07/2008 10:08:15 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Please. . . on 08/07/2008 11:08:04 MDT Print View

Chad has a point. Different strokes for different folks.

I'll admit though that I sometimes feel "disdain" towards speed hikers. But I try to remind myself that there are countless different ways to enjoy life... So HYOH is a pretty good mantra after all.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/07/2008 11:24:35 MDT Print View

Well, if I were the one hiking, I'd be approaching it the same way Elizabeth is advocating; stopping to smell the roses.

I once hiked to the bottom of Grand Canyon and back in one day and amazingly, it took me the same amount of time on the descent as on the ascent! I realized that this was due to the fact that I stopped every 10' to take a picture and ogle at the scenery on the way down but, I ran out of memory on my camera as I approached the river. With no pictures to take, and the fact that I retraced the same trail on the return, my times were equal.

But, if someone wanted to break a speed record on that same trip, and do it at night to avoid the mule trains, :-) more power to them!

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/07/2008 12:03:19 MDT Print View

I'm a strong believer in Hike Your Own Hike. At the same time, I feel that the speed record phenomenon - while of human nature - has a unique capacity to depreciate the experiences of other long distance users who share the trail corridor, mostly in ways that are intangible yet real, and on some level for certain users are difficult to fully surmount.

This sense of depreciation, over time, also extends to the trail corridor itself, not in any physical sense, but by somehow reducing the stature and mystique of the long trail in proportion to the self-aggrandizement the phenomenon derives from it. Setting and promoting speed records, far from its naive beginnings, now presents itself as something of a business model, something antithetical to the traditional intent of the long distance trail. A historical truth is now in harm's way: the ability of the humble long path through the woods, by appearing to be infinite, insurmountable, unknowable, to stir the souls of average folks to achieve something extraordinary. This newfound competition for the title of "most extraordinary" has the capacity to leave the traditional majority who wish only to compete introspectively with a diminished sense of purpose and accomplishment. And "just getting over it" is not as simple a directive as it may seem.

I don't wish to heap all the trouble onto the speed record camp, since the information age surely plays its role as well, as does perhaps the natural evolution of the long trails experience, still unfolding. I do, however, like to believe that the problem, as it exacerbates, will be self-correcting over time, as those who find themselves repelled by the "new reality" seek personally meaningful experiences elsewhere in nature than on the neo-superhighways of the long-distance hiking world. I also like entertaining the notion that munificence may one day replace ego as the catalyst to finding self-worth through achievement in nature.

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Fast hiking leads to less appreciation...huh on 08/07/2008 12:17:55 MDT Print View

Wow. I run, walk and do every thing in between speed wise on trails and I have never felt like my speed had any impact on my appreciation of my surroundings nor that of those on the trail with me. If you want solitude go somewhere without other people. If you accept the fact that there will be other people on the trail with you, also allow for them to enjoy the trail at their own speed. Running or fast packing a trail has it's own rewards. I may not glimpse every bug nor petal on the route but I will see more of the big picturet in a short period of time while challenging myself physically. I don't complain about how slow some of you seem to be going and the ganging up on fast hikers I am reading here is frankly a bit nauseating.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Hypocritical multi syllable ramblings on 08/07/2008 13:19:35 MDT Print View

Well Brett I believe in your long, multi syllable ramblings you missed one important aspect of hiking a long trail; personal enjoyment.

It is rather hypocritical of you to look with distain at someone’s hiking speed and determine that they are ”somehow reducing the stature and mystique of the long trail in proportion to the self-aggrandizement the phenomenon derives from it” If someone gains enjoyment hiking fast, so be it. It is rather egotistical of you to think that only your way of hiking is the only way to enjoy the trial.

You go on to say that:

“A historical truth is now in harm's way: the ability of the humble long path through the woods, by appearing to be infinite, insurmountable, unknowable, to stir the souls of average folks to achieve something extraordinary.”

Again how self centered dose one need to be to think that there is only one way to view the experience of a long distance trail? Is it possible to fathom that the man running the AT is doing so to test his personal limits, stir his soul, and achieve something extraordinary for him? It is possible that heading our for a three month hike doesn’t give him the same level of enjoyment, sense of accomplishment, and inner reward as trying to run the trail?

I dare say that you Brett are in danger of becoming a backpacking bigot.

Edited by chadnsc on 08/07/2008 13:22:09 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Hiking Fast or Slow on 08/07/2008 13:34:57 MDT Print View

Brett and Chad:

Reading your posts reveals something that probably all of us know all along: there is no single way of hiking (or anything else) that is superior in all respect.

I actually agree with Brett that a hiker on a whirlwind will miss out on a lot. But really, the same can be said of the slow hiker who has to snap a picture at every corner -- sure he'll see and feel a lot, but he will also miss out on the "rush" that comes with speed and breaking records.

Maybe one way is to vary one's hike. Speeders might want to take it slow on some hikes. And slow walkers might want to speed things up and turn a hobby into a sport once in a while -- to experience it differently.

So in lieu of attacks and counterattacks -- I say just HYOH, and maybe vary it a bit from one to the next -- unless a hiker just happens to like being in his rut. Nothing wrong with that either, of course.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/07/2008 14:02:24 MDT Print View

Exactly.

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: Hypocritical multi syllable ramblings on 08/07/2008 14:11:22 MDT Print View

A backpacking bigot...

Chad, my friend, I put out the disclaimer in the very first sentence of that overrought, multi-syllabic rambling that I'm a firm believer in HYOH. What I'm attempting to get at in what follows that disclaimer isn't a matter of personal opinion, but a phenomenon that I, along with others in the long-distance hiking community, may be in a unique position to understand and comment on. This is something that has little to do with how fast or slow one actually hikes - the individual style of hiking is irrelevant. Rather, it's the promotional nature of so many of these record-setting thru-hike attempts that matters to the discussion. In the internet age, this sort of thing increasingly permeates the long-distance trail culture and fundamentally changes it. The more "ultra" the promoted experience, the more "minute" the traditional thru-hike appears by comparison. Again, it's mostly a subconscious thing, but it does come to bear upon aspiring thru-hikers, who may come to hold their aspirations in lower esteem than otherwise. Whereas a 5 month thru-hike was once a pinnacle of personal achievement, something that could catapult the everyman into an exclusive and heady realm of near magic, if you will, increasingly it may feel like something to compare with something else - something farther, faster, higher - because those comparisons have now been actively drawn.

Again I'll reiterate, the speed record phenom may be just one symptom of the problem, for those who see a problem. I suspect we could replace "problem" with "evolution" and call it inevitable. So let's do that instead, and see where evolution leads us. I'm only intending to report what I've seen and what I now see.

Randall Miller
(speyguy) - F

Locale: Cascadia
HYOH on 08/07/2008 14:28:02 MDT Print View

While I would I never seek to break any speed trail records, I respect this persons right and privilege to do so in the vain of HYOH. It seems pretty obvious to me that the trip is not about enjoying the wilderness per se, but in challenging one’s self, both physically and mentally. What I find most ironic, is that the people criticizing this person for doing so, are most likely being criticized themselves for being “ultra lighters” by all the backpackers still carrying the 60lb pack and stopping to camp at that first spot 5 miles from the trailhead. It’s no different, someone does it different, more extreme then us, so we criticize. I say, just get out there and enjoy, whatever that means to you, race, no race, or stopping to camp 4 miles from the trailhead to play with all the latest gadgets you just bought at REI.

Blue _
(lrmblue) - MLife

Locale: Northeast (New England)
AT Speed Record Attempt -- Insane?? on 08/07/2008 14:47:03 MDT Print View

FROM: WWW.WHERESKARL.COM:
“On August 5, 2008, uber ultra-runner Karl Meltzer will set off on the biggest race of his life. His challenge: to run the entire length of the 2,174-mile Appalachian Trail in less than 47 days. Definitely daunting. Absolutely grueling. Probably insane. But when he does it, he’ll rule the AT as the guy who conquered it, all of it, the fastest on two feet. This is going to be Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Self, Man vs. Clock—and it’s going to be good”

My goodness, I almost didn’t check this thread since these kinds of speed record attempts hold almost no interest for me. Personally, I ramble and wander (my mother called it dawdling)—and I am always happy to step to one side of the trail to let the speedsters by, heck, they’re here and gone in the blink of an eye and I am once again alone—it’s as if we inhabit two different dimensions. And I like my way as much as they like their own way—cool.

Still—Karl Meltzer will “rule the AT as the guy who conquered it all, all of it”? What a load of hyperbolic silliness. Granny Gatewood might have had a suitable response for this “uber ultra-runner,” but I think he left me behind long ago. “Probably insane”? Perhaps 'maniacal' would be a better word choice (since his PR brought up the issue). In any case, I know I won’t be building any palaces or setting up any thrones for him on either Katahdin or Springer. Long live the King!

BTW: When we happen to cross paths and linger together for a moment I find speed hikers as interesting and sensitive as most other people I meet on the trail. I would like to hope that if I ever meet Karl we, too, would find some common ground. I just hope that if we ever meet he has left the hype behind—way too much baggage to carry IMHO. Peace.

Edited by lrmblue on 08/07/2008 15:11:39 MDT.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
To Each His Own on 08/07/2008 15:21:51 MDT Print View

I guess you could look at it another way. He'll see way more of the AT than anyone else in a shorter amount of time.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/07/2008 16:17:54 MDT Print View

When the record is publicized it invites comparison to other hike times. There are many ways to discourage the comparison. You can avoid the competive aspects by changing the subject. Instead of giving your time tell the truth "Speed was not a consideration". Or "I enjoyed blue blazing too much to worry about time".

When a record is established it involuntarily draws people into a competion. Good, Bad or Ugly - it is the way of the world.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
If YOU Have to Compare -- Then Don't Blame Others on 08/07/2008 19:03:09 MDT Print View

Brett wrote: "Again, it's mostly a subconscious thing, but it does come to bear upon aspiring thru-hikers, who may come to hold their aspirations in lower esteem than otherwise. Whereas a 5 month thru-hike was once a pinnacle of personal achievement.. increasingly it may feel like something to compare with something else - something farther, faster, higher - because those comparisons have now been actively drawn".


Unless I am missing something... If a person's sense of enjoyment or accomplishment or even self worth is going to be that dependent on others -- then all I can say is "grow up, boy -- see and experience the world for YOURSELF"!

If other people's speed is bothersome, then are we also going to complain about their size because by comparing, we feel that too is diminishing our own experience, enjoyment, and accomplishment? Makes no sense to me.

Edited by ben2world on 08/07/2008 19:17:37 MDT.

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: If YOU Have to Compare -- Then Don't Blame Others on 08/07/2008 19:18:25 MDT Print View

Ain't the speed, Ben. It's the shameless, public self-advancement that leaves its lasting mark - not on the individual - but on the trail experience. I can't explain it better 'n that to those who haven't yet gone out and experienced thru-hiking for themselves.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: If YOU Have to Compare -- Then Don't Blame Others on 08/07/2008 19:24:45 MDT Print View

Brett:

I think the perceived shamelessness, public self-advancement, etc. permeate through all aspects of our society. The trail is not going to be any different.

Be it cars, homes, incomes -- or speed -- comparisons diminish the self worth / sense of accomplishment of those who are competitive -- or insecure. Just saying in general -- definitely not meaning you or anyone else specifically.

Edited by ben2world on 08/07/2008 19:34:06 MDT.

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: If YOU Have to Compare -- Then Don't Blame Others on 08/07/2008 19:36:41 MDT Print View

"The trail is not going to be any different..."

And that's the rub, ain't it? That's what the idealists among us might rail against. I've done my part for today. Onward.

Edited by blister-free on 08/07/2008 19:40:30 MDT.

Glenn Dixon
(dixonge) - F

Locale: North Texas
Re: AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/07/2008 19:38:06 MDT Print View

While I truly appreciate speed records in some areas (rock climbing, running, paddling across the ocean, etc.) somehow the trail record seems off. I guess if you've already done the trail before I have less of a problem with it. I just hate seeing anyone rush by nature, whether it is in a car or on a trail, and not be able to fully appreciate it.

To be consistent, I have a problem with those who schedule their hiking so tightly that they go ultralight simply to squeeze in more miles per day. Same lack of appreciation. But then, I enjoy stopping for photos and observing things more than some, and birding. Hard to shoot wildlife if you don't stop now and then.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: AT Speed Record Attempt/CT in 5 days myself... on 08/07/2008 19:52:03 MDT Print View

I just rode the Colorado Trail in 5 days and 6 hours (on a rigid singlespeed). It was an awesome experience to cover almost 550 miles that fast. Would I do it again on bike or foot more slowly? Sure. Did I miss some during the dark hours? Sure. Did I still end up with hundreds of pictures and see miles upon miles of beautiful sights? You bet.

There is room for everyone out on the trail. If you're not interested in this guy doing the AT at a record pace, just don't watch. That seems pretty simple to me.

BTW all the thru hikers I met and chatted with on the trail were really psyched by us "racers" doing it so fast and they liked getting to meet us all.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Re: If YOU Have to Compare -- Then Don't Blame Others on 08/07/2008 20:00:26 MDT Print View

Brett,
Maybe you should first criticize the other 300 million Americans that aren't going to hike a single mile this year before heaping too much criticism on this guy. Besides, who is to say that he doesn't also do more "slow paced" miles than you do?

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Weirdly controversial on 08/07/2008 22:13:42 MDT Print View

If the various online hiking/backpacking forums are any indication, the subject of record attempts is a controversial subject for all the reasons already discussed.

I'd like to point out the Scott Williamson, the first person to yo-yo (Mexico-Canada-Mexico) the Pacific Crest Trail, is among the nicest, most humble human beings you ever will meet. He's deeply committed to the PCT and very respectful of the trail experience. He's hiked it more than a half-dozen times. And he's going for a record this year.

During his discussion of his yo-yo attempt, he had a PowerPoint presentation. Chalked full of amazing photos, maybe none made quite the impression as this rather pedestrian photograph of a car camp, replete with camp chairs, Coleman cooler, a roaring fire, and a small, compact television. Scott recounted how the trail had passed by an edge of a lake with a car campground, and how he struck up a conversation with a camping couple. They invited him to sit for a few minutes and Scott would up spending the entire afternoon with them, watching old episodes of "Sanford and Son" on the television. HYOH indeed.

Scott was a very nice guy and seemed genuinely interested in inspiring others to try long-distance hiking, whether it be 20 miles, 200, or 2600.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
AT Speed Record on 08/08/2008 03:19:01 MDT Print View

I can't understand why some folks are getting wound up about this. If the hype and publicity helps him to make enough money to hike/run full-time, then good for him i say.
Here in Scotland a popular trail called The West Highland Way, has a race over it's 95 mile length every June. The winner will finish in around 15 hours. Some hikers take 7 days. So what? As long as each individual is enjoying what they do, and causing no harm to others or the trail.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
AT Speed Record Attempt/CT in 5 days myself... on 08/08/2008 09:57:10 MDT Print View

Hi Christopher,

How did you ride your bike through the different Wilderness Areas on the CT?

Did you by-pass them?

Thanks
Bill

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Re: If YOU Have to Compare -- Then Don't Blame Others on 08/08/2008 10:00:03 MDT Print View

Brett wrote:

"Ain't the speed, Ben. It's the shameless, public self-advancement that leaves its lasting mark - not on the individual - but on the trail experience. I can't explain it better 'n that to those who haven't yet gone out and experienced thru-hiking for themselves."

orry Brett, I have done and still do through hikes and I completely disagree with your statement. Just because someone promotes their long distance hike dose not mean they have affected the trial experience.

In all your ‘long distance’ hikes how many people have you told about your experiences? Has your telling of your experiences affected your or anyone else’s hike in any way other than passing on the joy of hiking and possible tips to enhance that enjoyment? If you think that because people know how fast someone else has done a section of trial it will degrade their personal experience then you sir are a shallow, egotistical man.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: AT Speed Record Attempt/CT in 5 days myself... on 08/08/2008 10:26:54 MDT Print View

There are mandatory detours for the wilderness Bill. I'll probably make a separate post about the trip but I thought it was somewhat relevant experience to this. You learn just as much going fast as going slow, sometimes it's just different stuff.

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
AT Speed Record vs Selflessness on 08/08/2008 11:17:51 MDT Print View

Chad -

1) The airy insinuations against my character is gittin old and ain't in the spirit (or user guidelines) of this forum.

2) If we all would spend more time in stewardship of the trail and the trail experience, in the care and protection of the resource, and in offering freely of ourselves the many lessons the trail can teach, we might find that we have little time left for idle promotion of self as the natural world comes to promote herself through us.

Edited by blister-free on 08/08/2008 11:19:01 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
An Altogether Different Mentality on 08/08/2008 12:04:21 MDT Print View

Brett:

You seem drawn to a particular philosophy of where humans fit in the world. People venturing into the wilds should "drink in" the beauty and power of Nature -- and this requires slowing down and a certain "quieting" of the mind. In contrast, you seem dismayed by what you see as folks who are so into their own quest or self-challenge -- that they merely use Nature as a backdrop to attain their rush! Am I hitting it?

If you look at most all Chinese / Eastern nature or scenery paintings -- almost always, the mountains are extensive, and people and houses are drawn inconspicuously tiny -- a very definite and deliberate show of perspective and proportion between Nature and humans.

In contrast, looking at Western scenery paintings where humans are included -- they and their settlements are often drawn much larger -- sometimes so dominating that Nature forms a mere background. It is often the "human spirit" that is the main focus.

I think it's perfectly OK to prefer one philosphy over another. However, if I were ever to post that the Eastern philosophy of viewing nature is the correct one -- then I too will be inviting attacks for treating something that's inherently subjective as if it were the objective truth (which it isn't). And that's what I am seeing here. Not a single person is questioning your way of hiking -- but there is unanimous disagreement to the way you have put down other people's sensibilities.

It's a big world out there. Go and enjoy it in whatever way you prefer. Remember -- the instance you feel that your enjoyment or satisfaction is diminished by somebody else's experience -- that feeling of inadequacy is just your own ego being bruised. And as I touched on above, when that happens, the problem lies squarely with you -- with your ego -- and nobody else.

Edited by ben2world on 08/08/2008 12:16:17 MDT.

Blue _
(lrmblue) - MLife

Locale: Northeast (New England)
Re: Re: AT Speed Record Attempt/CT in 5 days myself... on 08/08/2008 12:54:00 MDT Print View

I look forward to reading the post on your trip, Christopher and I think your observation that one “learn[s] just as much going fast as going slow, sometimes it's just different stuff” is undoubtedly true. In my own case, after many years, sometimes a trick of the light or a scent (or some such thing) will recall sensations and thoughts that came to me when I once did a lot of cross-country running —when I remember those runs, I realize they inspired new insights into both myself and the landscape I was passing through, insights that now seem almost visionary—I would be much poorer without these memories. Likewise, someone who takes a marathon car trip across the continent experiences a very different version of the United States than someone on a leisurely road trip: the most fortunate, perhaps, are those who have seen both versions of the US. As I wrote in an earlier post, I think speed-hikers live in a “different dimension” than someone who loiters, as I do—and I respect the value and validity of their experience. However, I just can’t find much reason to value Karl’s AT attempt at the exaggerated level his promotional material proposes it should be. In the hospital where I work part-time (clerical, not medical) I see people who are probably enduring far greater physical pain, stress and suffering for longer periods than Karl will have to endure in his 47 day campaign to “rule the AT”. In fact, I believe that there are people all around us who deserve more attention and admiration than Karl--people who quietly carry on doing the difficult, performing the near impossible, enduring the barely endurable, because they have to, or because it’s the “right thing,” or maybe for personal reasons that must remain private. I sincerely hope that Karl finds something of significant personal value during his hike—but whatever it might be, well, that will be his private journey. I wish him the best of luck, even though I believe he may be carrying a broken compass.

Edited by lrmblue on 08/08/2008 13:02:00 MDT.

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: An Altogether Different Mentality on 08/08/2008 13:31:54 MDT Print View

My point of view is absolutely subjective, duly acknowledged. Call me a critic and nothing more. But my criticism is based on close observation of the long distance hiking culture I've been deeply immersed in for over a decade - of the society, if you will. By providing and receiving criticism, we attempt to engage on matters of mutual importance to the society to which we belong, to apprise where we've been, where we now are, and where we desire to be. The speed hiking phenomenon is simply one of myriad issues, large and small, that affect the society; it's fundamentally the society's business to voice its opinions about them. Whether this should be ongoing in this particular forum, though, is a matter of some debate.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/08/2008 13:54:27 MDT Print View

Randall posted, "... or stopping to camp 4 miles from the trailhead to play with all the latest gadgets you just bought at REI."

Hey! That guy sounds like me! What's wrong with taking my toys when I go out to play? :-) Come to think of it, my toys probably add up to some of you folk's base weight!

Anyway, this whole discussion brings to mind the Mt. Washington Auto Road in New Hampshire. I have both hiked and driven to the top of Mt. Washington. When you drive, they give you a CD or tape to play in your car that tells about the history of the autoroad. It was built in the 1800's long before cars came along, as a carriage trail. But, almost immediately, it drew people from all over the US attempting to break some kind of record on the road, including the fastest to walk backwards to the top!

This to me illustrates something in human nature that just has to create a challenge out of anything. In this fellow Karl's case, it happens to be hiking the AT. Now for me, I am tickled pink to be able to hike to the top of Mt. Washington and not have to go back down in an ambulance. But, if it weren't for those who see breaking records as a challenge that must be faced, we probably wouldn't be watching the Olympics on TV right now!

Even though I'm slow-poke, I enjoy meeting people of all types out on the trail. I recall a solo trail runner once who stopped to ask me directions. It was a cool, wet fall day in New England. I was wearing waterproof shoes, longjohns and a poncho, he was wearing sneakers, running shorts and a tee shirt, covered with mud from the trail. All the while he was talking to me, he was running-in-place. After he left, I had to sit down and rest because he made me tired. :-) But, I enjoyed our talk.

Another time, while I was huffing and puffing up a pile of boulders someone had labeled as a trail, a dozen college age "kids" came bounding down the trail like gazelles. A couple of minutes later, another group of a dozen gazelles came bounding by, asking if I had seen their mates. I answered, "You betcha, they went that-a-way. By the way, where are you from?" They answered that they were the Dartmouth College trail running team. I gotta admit, for a moment there, I was jealous. Could of had something to do with the fact that I had at least 35 years on them.

To tell the truth, I mentally remember my hikes as much by the people I meet on them as much as by the scenery that I encounter. That's true whether they go flying past with a wave and a shout or it's other slow-pokes that I sit down with and brew a cup of tea.

Blue _
(lrmblue) - MLife

Locale: Northeast (New England)
Re re: AT Speed Record Attempt--Olympics? on 08/08/2008 15:16:48 MDT Print View

Michael Wrote: “we probably wouldn't be watching the Olympics on TV right now!”

Ouch . . . I didn’t realize the Olympics had started already. But it gets even worse, a while back my wife and I donated our television to a local library. I feel like a cultural deadbeat sometimes.

Michael, is you avatar a photo from the White Mountains? It looks so much like some of the ledging on the side of Mt. Whiteface that it makes me sick with longing. Obligations have kept my wife and me close to home all summer—usually we are hiking up in the Passaconaway area for a week or so at this time of year. Sigh.

Edited by lrmblue on 08/08/2008 19:16:47 MDT.

JASON CUZZETTO
(cuzzettj) - MLife

Locale: NorCal - South Bay
"AT Speed Record Attempt" on 08/08/2008 16:23:15 MDT Print View

I to didn't realize the Olympics started Yesterday. We haven't had regular TV or Cable for more than 6 years now.

To throw my two cents in here I think these attempts are going to put more adrenilin junkies out in the back country. In the long run it may be good for the sport as these folks grow older.

This should definately be an olympic event. Heck with the Marathon.

Elizabeth Rothman
(erothman2) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Hot Discussion on 08/08/2008 18:36:48 MDT Print View

OK, I started it. But wow, I started it to encourage some good, heartfelt sharing of differing points of view, not to cause hurt feelings, stimulate red-faced defensiveness, or invite invective and personal insults. If my stating my opinion strongly- and I believe I owned it as just my opinion, and acknowledged the superdude's right to hike his own hike, etc- if my Brooklyn-born strength of rhetoric offended, I apologize. Chad, your responses especially seem to to reflect that you have taken this all a bit personally. Relax. I believe you, he and all of us have a right to do what we want as long as it doesn't damage the resource or disturb anyone else. I reserve the right to find some choices personally distasteful, and to discuss the choice and my response in a civil manner with mature fellow hikers (of any age).
I enjoy a spirited exchange and difference of opinion, but not when personal attacks are made. If some readers find statements of differing opinions threatening or offensive, well I don't know what to say. Maybe participating in forums or discussions with who-knows-whom on line isn't a good choice.

I have read some things here I agree with and some I don't, and it's all given me food for thought and led me a bit farther along in figuring out just what my objection is- which I said at the outset I couldn't identify.

While I ponder it, while we ponder it, thanks all for your thoughts and let's play nicely and keep talking.

And whew! When I saw something about cycling through a wilderness area- well, I'm glad somebody asked and that the answer was detours. If THIS discussion caused so much agitation, what would happen if we got into THAT? :-)

Linsey Budden
(lollygag)

Locale: pugetropolis
RE: "AT Speed Record Attempt" on 08/08/2008 18:36:58 MDT Print View

Fast, slow, heavy, light; whatever gets one out. HYOH. What confuses me is if a record is set for a vehicle supported trail run of the trail, is it considered a trail running record or a distance hiking record? To me there certainly is a difference between the two considering the help carrying gear.

Elizabeth Rothman
(erothman2) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
P.S. on 08/08/2008 18:42:02 MDT Print View

We do not conquer peaks, or trails. They are not at war with us. They just are, they just exist. We only conquer ourselves, and our limitations. Maybe if there was less of that warrior/competitive/ManMustRuleNature energy about this I'd be a teeny bit more comfortable.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Re: AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/09/2008 10:03:58 MDT Print View

Blue,

Good eye! My avatar is in the Whites from a blazing fall 2006. It's actually on little Hedgehog Mountain off the Kancamagus Hwy. about midway between Lincoln and Conway, NH.

Sorry about the deviation from the thread folks.

René Enguehard
(ahugenerd) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland
Re: Re: Re: AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/09/2008 21:46:39 MDT Print View

I find it interesting. Not for me, but still interesting from a purely academic standpoint. On the topic of disrespecting: I find it is a tenuous argument to make that going fast on a trail is disrespectful or in any way wrong. At least he's out there, which is more than can be said of a lot of people. To an extent, he is bringing some publicity to himself, the trail and the sport. How is that bad?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: AT Speed Record Attempt/CT in 5 days myself... on 08/10/2008 09:25:03 MDT Print View

Christopher, what single speed bike did you use? Did you make a gear list?

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Re: AT Speed Record Attempt/CT in 5 days myself... on 08/10/2008 22:19:37 MDT Print View

Redline Monocog frame/QBP rigid fork. Parts are a mix, nothing too trick other than NoTubes rims/Schwalbe tires. I have a gearlist but it's not posted. ~5lbs base weight with a stove, GPS, AA camera and SPOT.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
comments. on 08/11/2008 10:34:16 MDT Print View

a. elizabeth, i agree with you completely.

b. brett, i do too. i think some of this discussion is getting confused. i don't oppose the trail running, 40+ mile days, or whatever. i just feel like it would be more impressive if it were done WITHOUT lots of "look at me and what i'm doing and how amazing it is!" if it's how he makes his living, cool i guess. but i agree that more and more of thru-hiking culture seems to be about how fast, how little the pack, etc. but whatever.

c. christopher, that's a great accomplishment. i did much of the CT last year, and i was always amazed at the folks going by me on the steep uphills on a mountain bike. great trip!

victoria maki
(clt1953) - F

Locale: northern minnesota
re:speed hiking on 08/11/2008 12:36:19 MDT Print View

all i want to know is who is he hurting?? i tend to hike fast just because i walk faster than most people. it is hard for me to slow down. i still enjoy the scenery, just at a different speed and i really enjoy it when i get to camp....different strokes for different folks.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
If you like speed hiking you will love this on 08/11/2008 13:04:12 MDT Print View

This is next

Open AT to ATV's
and in a few years I will be able to Thru-Hike the AT driving a SUL modified Hummer.

Running on a trail accelerates trail erosion.

Joshua Gilbert
(joshcgil2) - F

Locale: Seattle
okay, seriously? on 08/11/2008 13:50:08 MDT Print View

I think the comparison of someone running down a trail, under their own power, with the possibility of someone who is disabled using a specially modified atv is disengenious, at best. Is increased speed some sort of gateway drug, that will cause us to need to move faster and faster until we use some rocket powered rollerskates to send us hurtling down the trail? seems doubtful.

While the hyperbole of a record attempt on the A.T. is not particularly interesting to me, as a trail runner and hiker, the idea that me running down the trail is somehow not in the "spirit of the trail" whatever that means,strikes me as completely silly. The argument that running increases trail erosion, well, maybe somewhere there is some sort of explanation that might lend credence to that theory (physics of incresed impact or something)I can't begin to imagine that the impact is so much greater that it is a problem. One trail runner, or 100 hikers, which contributes more? There certainly are fewer runners out there.

really, this is a strange sort of argument. Sometimes, when my wife and I hike, we start running, because we like to run, sometimes when we are running, we stop and walk and look at at birds or wildflowers. If you narrow your definition of what is okay for people to do on the trail, you start having strange ethical arguments with yourself, or writing long, rambling posts on line.

Another contributer to erosion? Rain. Maybe we should put a roof over the trail.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: If you like speed hiking you will love this on 08/11/2008 13:54:49 MDT Print View

Bill, if "they" start allowing ATV's on the AT, it'll be time to pull out the carbon stock/titanium barrelled AK47 and go on patrol, eh?

About that trail running/erosion stuff. What about fat hikers stomping along on the trail and their erosion? Should we have a weight limit to hike the AT?

Edited by jshann on 08/11/2008 13:57:48 MDT.

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
re: running on 08/11/2008 14:47:03 MDT Print View

>>> Running on a trail accelerates trail erosion.


Man, I'm gonna try this line on my hiking partners next time I can't keep up with them.... "Hey, slow down you losers, you're all causing excessive erosion...!"

Bill, do you hike during or after it rains?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: re: running on 08/11/2008 15:34:26 MDT Print View

John Brochu is onto something. I'd have to say that hiking in wet weather/mud would cause alot more trail damage than trail running in dry weather.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/11/2008 15:52:41 MDT Print View

As a trail maintainer for several years I was able to watch the erosion on my section of trail on a monthly bases from the effects of trail runners.

I was part of a small group that would run on my section and other nearby trail sections. This was a hilly section of trail and we were pounding the rock base lose and when it rained the water carried the lose dirt away. Then the rocks were pushed off the trail by our running and the erosion cycle started over.

After a few months I could see the damage we were doing and we stopped.

Become a trail maintainer or help a trail maintainer every month for a year and you may wake up to what accelerates trail erosion.

Joshua Gilbert
(joshcgil2) - F

Locale: Seattle
where did I put that alarm clock? on 08/11/2008 17:21:06 MDT Print View

One piece of anecdotal evidence from one region of the country does not make a universal truth.

Trails erode. Trail use, at whatever speed helps accelerate that erosion, true, but trails are there for use, by definition. If foot powered traffic is allowed on a trail, then the speed of said traffic is immaterial. Plenty of places are incredibly eroded without much trailrunner traffic (adirondak park for example)

A lot of people on this site have done trail maintinence, myself included. I volunteered my time, and as long as someone wasn't riding a motorcycle down the trail, I can't say that their speed was a problem for me or for the trail.

todd harper
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: where did I put that alarm clock? on 08/11/2008 20:32:42 MDT Print View

Joshua,

While speed itself probably won't increase erosion, think about this: weight (downward force) can.

I mean...which causes more impact for you: walking down a hill or running down it? Your feet hit harder running, and that DOES / CAN increase erosion.

FWIW...Todd

Linsey Budden
(lollygag)

Locale: pugetropolis
trail erosion on 08/11/2008 23:04:05 MDT Print View

You wouldn't believe what horse traffic does to a trail in the wet Cascades--I've seen giant mudbogs on parts of the PCT and other area trails which I hope I rightly cross thru instead of skirting the edges of.

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
erosion on 08/12/2008 05:07:46 MDT Print View

Sure running causes erosion. So does walking. Don't forget trekking poles and fat people or guys with 60 lb packs. How about having a security guard at every trailhead that makes sure that the only ultralight hikers get on the trail, we could even have low impact shoe rental like the bowling alley.

Joshua Gilbert
(joshcgil2) - F

Locale: Seattle
speed and erosion on 08/12/2008 17:34:15 MDT Print View

Todd,
I'm sure that running does increase impact (what is it force= mass x acceleration or something?) what I was really responding to was the idea that trail running should be banned because of the damage it does to the trail, and the wish for bodily harm on trail runners expressed on another thread.

I don't think you can ban a user group who is following the law (being self propelled), just based on their speed.

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Running and erosion on 08/12/2008 18:22:10 MDT Print View

So the theory is running causes more erosion per step than walking? Don't you take bigger strides when running causing less steps per mile and possibly less or equal the amount of erosion as an average hiker?

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: AT Speed Record Attempt on 08/12/2008 19:21:20 MDT Print View

LOL. How can the AT have a speed record when the "track" changes so often. The distance changes due to trail relocations. How about weather? In real running, not only are distances carefully measured, too much wind voids a record.

Maybe like baseball records, you put an asterisk by the number. That'll work.

Possibly you could compute a 'milesHiked / Days' ratio and compare to others. For that matter, you could hike a Manhattan block in a loop until you do 2,175 miles. If you do it in 46 days, then you have the AT Speed Record with an asterisk that notes that you were not actually on the AT.

I wish Karl good luck. We'll break the news to him about the asterisk after he completes his journey.

Earlier John Muir was mentioned. He is asterisk-less. The pure essence of wilderness adventure was why he went walking.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
www.johnmuir... on 08/12/2008 19:37:53 MDT Print View

nah, i'm sure if john muir was around now he'd have a myspace, facebook, and a web page at www.john-muir-rules.com. you'd log onto his web page to get an online journal of all the cool things john muir has done lately, and how thin of a blanket and how suprisingly few hardtack biscuits he carried on his latest super-hard, super-rewarding, super-extreme hike john muir did to experience his true john-muir-ness. he'd prominently feature his sponsors on his web page and in his powerpoint presentations: grandmas biscuits, pendleton wool blanket supply, penobscot hatchet maker ltd., and levi's jeans, of course all available at the #1 place for all your gear needs: backcountry.com. he also have several books published, including his most recent "enlightenment above timberline: seven life-changing lessons i learned in the high sierra that you can too" (for only $26.95 in paperback, hardback available december 2008, just in time for christmas). his last blog entry (downloadable to your blackberry) would be entitled "clarence king, what a biatch."

Edited by DaveT on 08/12/2008 19:52:28 MDT.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Hiking styles on 08/13/2008 12:30:20 MDT Print View

Elizabeth Rothman wrote:

“Chad, your responses especially seem to reflect that you have taken this all a bit personally. Relax. I believe you, he and all of us have a right to do what we want as long as it doesn't damage the resource or disturb anyone else. I reserve the right to find some choices personally distasteful, and to discuss the choice and my response in a civil manner with mature fellow hikers (of any age).”


Sorry I wasn’t able to respond to this sooner but I was out backpacking. Elizabeth you are right that I am taking this personally. However I am not questioning yours or Brett’s philosophy on backpacking.

What I am doing is disagreeing with the way you two have stubbornly shown complete intolerance for other people’s opinions and style of hiking. That in it of itself is bigotry and I take bigotry very personally.

I do not care how fast you hike or run on a trail. I don’t care if you’re supported by a team of people or you’re doing the whole trail without even a food drop. As many people in this discussion have stated HYOH and have fun doing it!

I’ve backpacked various distances and various speeds; all of my trips where fun and I enjoyed myself greatly. Take this last trip for example; I hiked 90 miles in four days and had a great time! Some may say that my mileage was fast, some may say that it was average. But for you to say that I did it wrong and need to do it like you in order to do it right and gain enjoyment out of my hike is simply mind boggling and incredibly self centered.

I am sorry if you think that this discussion was not done in a civil manor. I in no way attacked you or Brett personally. I simply voiced my disagreement for your attitude towards different hiking styles.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Hiking styles on 08/13/2008 13:52:19 MDT Print View

" Take this last trip for example; I hiked 90 miles in four days..." Chad, you are a pokey hiker - Just kidding.

Sometimes I am not satisfied with my own style. Often I will hike the same route, but camp at different places, hike in reverse order, or change the pace. I have hiked areas with a sense of urgency to make my miles that I later go back and slowly savor. Those great camping spots that I passed just after lunch are fit into the next hike.

I have come to think of the fast trips as scouting trips for the real hike later. HYOH, but hike!

derek parsons
(neurotek) - F

Locale: ontario
Re: speed and erosion on 08/20/2008 22:48:49 MDT Print View

quote "I'm sure that running does increase impact (what is it force= mass x acceleration or something?) what I was really responding to was the idea that trail running should be banned because of the damage it does to the trail, and the wish for bodily harm on trail runners expressed on another thread." end quote


i wouldn't even give him that. i posted in the other thread and have the same sentiments as others.

i trail run and backpack. i generally always backpack a trail first before running (to see the site, enjoy the solitude, and menatlly map the trail so when i run it, i have an idea of the layout). when i run, i carry less weigth, my shoes weigh less, my strides are longer, and i leave less of an imprint. when i backpack the weight of the pack, boots, etc shortens my stride and each step is heavier leaving a larger imprint (and scattering more debris, hence, trail erosion).

i've maitained trails as well and do not see any evidence that trail running is more damaging to the trail than backpacking.

trails will erode. to argue trail running impacts the trail more/less than backpacking is almost a moot point. they both do. and the comment that somehow atvs will be allowed in the at in relation to allowing trail running is pure jokes. i'm not even sure how you'd begin to even connect the two.

i didn't know there was such a disconnect between some backpackers and trail runners south of the border. generally on trails on ontario, alberta, and bc; you'll see both and we all seem to get along. sure i've heard the comments from quasi-luddites that when i'm running a trail i'm missing out (i didn't know nature had a speed limit, other than the speed of light), but generally when i tell i've already backpacked it, seen the sites, and wanted to enjoy the trail differently my second time around, they're normally stumped.

Edited by neurotek on 08/20/2008 22:50:17 MDT.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
AT Speed Record Attempt - FINISHED on 08/22/2008 08:32:36 MDT Print View

It's all over, folks. A lower leg injury on day 6 has done it. See http://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=40337

Timothy Hortberg
(thortberg) - F

Locale: Midwest
AT Speed Record on 08/22/2008 09:33:28 MDT Print View

Karl actually made it to day 15 before he made the wise decision to pause and evaluate his condition. He has tendonitis caused by compensating for the pain of trench foot.
He is taking it day by day and hopes to get back on the trail soon. He is optimistic and plans on finishing even though he most likely will not get the record. (paraphrased from the Whereskarl website) I think Karl is making wise choices and I wish him the best of luck in finishing this year and with his next attempt.

I have read the posts so far and really find the negative posts disheartening.

I think we should be more supportive of everyone that is chasing their dreams. I know I would like the support.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: AT Speed Record on 08/24/2008 14:02:16 MDT Print View

I say more power to him for following a dream and getting out to do it, success or not. Having simply tried, having pushed as hard as he could, is more than many will ever experience.

So what's everyone's take on Andrew Skurka then? He seems to be somewhat of a hero around here (for the record, I have nothing but the utmost respect for what he does as a backpacker and an athlete, if I could only do half as much...). He hikes pretty fast in my book, does lectures, slide shows, runs a nice website that chronicles his deeds, definitely has a fairly active PR campaign going...Yet I've seen no criticism of him so far.

This idea I've seen come up that if you tell anyone about what you've done then you're somehow spoiling it, that your motives are now less pure, is plain silly. If you want to share, share. If that's not you, no problem- don't. Nobody has to visit websites or pay any attention to what these people are doing...Most people don't.

I'm an artist (I see this as the same)- I create things because it's what I do...Now what's the point if I horde my work, if I never share? I would make art regardless, but what if my creations will inspire others? Make someone happy? Make a child go "Wow!". Does it hurt to try? Am I selfish because I admit that it feels great when someone tells you that they love what you do?
The same goes for all these hikers- if long and slow inspires you, great...

But please don't shoot down those that do it different. They are all a source of inspiration to me and many others, inspiration to run harder, eat better, train more, and ultimately, become a better, stronger person.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
say it isn't so... on 08/25/2008 17:54:42 MDT Print View

... wait, he didn't CONQUER it? does this mean he doesn't RULE it? (maybe that's because he says it's man VERSUS nature.)

i am surprised by this news, since his web page, blog, painted support wagon, and podcast (along with the chance to purchase the VERY SAME gear as karl at backcountry.com!) all said, in regards to the AT and Nature itself, that he'd conquer, rule, defeat, trod upon, humiliate, crush underfoot (like a bug), etc.

Randall Miller
(speyguy) - F

Locale: Cascadia
www.johnmuir.com on 08/25/2008 20:42:40 MDT Print View

"nah, i'm sure if john muir was around now he'd have a myspace, facebook, and a web page at www.john-muir-rules.com. you'd log onto his web page to get an online journal of all the cool things john muir has done lately, and how thin of a blanket and how suprisingly few hardtack biscuits he carried on his latest super-hard, super-rewarding, super-extreme hike john muir did to experience his true john-muir-ness............."



Now that right there is funny! I wanna go hiking with Dave.

Dave, if you're ever in Portland, at least let me buy you a beer.

A. B.
(tomswifty)
Ironic? on 09/04/2008 15:08:41 MDT Print View

Hmmm. Complain about someone commercializing the sport on a website that commercializes the sport.

Brian Turner
(Phreak) - F
Re: AT Speed attempt on 10/08/2008 20:31:53 MDT Print View

I typically find people who lack the ability to do a speed hike are the ones who complain about them the most. Why do you care how someone else is hiking? Focus on your own hike.

Hiking the trail in 47 days is not a big deal, it's a HUGE deal.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
AT Speed Record Attempt on 10/09/2008 17:33:52 MDT Print View

There is a strong chance Karl Meltzer will be back to attempt the record again within the next year or two, this time with firsthand experience on how to maximize mileage.

A start without massive rainfall to swell creeks and swamp the trail wouldn't hurt either. Karl learned some very good lessons and dealt with a fairly significant injury that cost him a full non-hiking day and still finished in 47 days. If he were only out to grandstand for the record, he wouldn't have bothered finishing at all. He has my respect.

Karl Meltzer offerred up his take on his hike here: http://karlmeltzer.com/?page_id=85

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Ironic? on 10/09/2008 18:59:08 MDT Print View

Evan, very interesting point. Thanks for educating us.