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PCT record attempt - need help/advice from the ultra runners
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Daniel Goldenberg
(DanG) - M
PCT record attempt - need help/advice from the ultra runners on 03/31/2013 09:42:13 MDT Print View

This is a bit long winded and very difficult for me to discuss but I hope you can all bear with me as I’m kind of baring my soul and will be attempting an extremely unusual endeavor that has the potential to elevate me to greatness or suffer great failure and humiliation.

I’m not really an accomplished backpacker with regards to speed or long trails, but this summer I intend to change that.
I’ve long wanted to accomplish some kind of hiking accomplishment/record etc but with a full time job and advancing age my dreams seem to be slowly slipping away. So during this last year I’ve really done some soul searching and thought about something I can do to “leave my mark”.  Realizing that I don’t really have any kind of physical ability I’ve decided to take a unique approach – namely doing something that has never been done before, at least as far as my extensive research over the last 6 months has revealed.
PCT section J is approximately 76 miles in length and traverses the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington State. It’s a spectacular and a fairly challenging hike due to the elevation changes. There have been numerous records set on this section, both hiking and ultra running. I have no illusions of breaking any of these records set by individuals much more gifted than me. So I’ve thought about doing this section via alternative forms of transport. It really surprised me that nobody had attempted to do this section on a mountain bike, but the reasons became obvious once I looked at the regulations. A good portion of section J goes through the alpine lakes wilderness area, where no mechanized transport is permitted – specifically,
“Motorized and mechanized equipment
Motorized and mechanized equipment are not allowed, including bicycles, carts, wagons, chainsaws, hang gliders and off-road vehicles and other wheeled vehicles. Landing aircraft, air dropping or picking up supplies, materials or people are prohibited.”
I’ve researched this extensively and what it boils down to is that anything with wheels or a motor is not allowed.
However, I’ve discovered a legal loophole that is not accounted for in the legal restrictions for federal wilderness areas. I’ve gone so far as to contact the US forest service, both on the national level and the local district (Snoqualmie-Mt Baker National forest) requesting an official list of prohibited mechanized equipment and I’m very confident the loophole exists.

What I’ve determined, after considerable expense in both money and time investment is that pogo sticks are not restricted in wilderness areas. It makes perfect sense when you think about it, since they don’t have wheels, and hiking sticks/trekking poles are already permitted. I’ve gone so far as to solicit legal advice at no small cost and my attorney has indicated after a lengthy investigation that pogo sticks, in the context of being used during backpacking or hiking activity, for forward travel on an established trail, legally fall under the same category as hiking sticks and trekking poles, provided they are used as an assist device, especially but not necessarily limited to and due to some kind of physical limitation or impairment, under the direct control and usage of the owner, and since hiking sticks and trekking poles are already permitted in wilderness areas, pogo sticks are therefore legally permitted by de facto inclusion. There are a few limitations with regards to usage, for example  I can’t  use a pogo stick for recreation purposes, such as standing in one location and jumping up and down without there being practical forward motion. But my attorney has indicated that as long as I use the pogo stick as a transport assist device with forward motion, at a rate deemed reasonable, and that I am in direct possession and control of same, and that I am the legal owner, that it’s perfectly legal and permissible to use that specific pogo stick as a transportation assist device according to the wilderness regulations, both local and federal.

Determined at this point, I will have to say that I still was met with considerable resistance from the forest service, being that the local rangers issuing the permits where skeptical about all this, expressing liability concerns, and other fabricated obfuscations, and I had to later return and have my lawyer present and threaten legal suit. It was eventually agreed that I would be required to sign a liability waiver to obtain the necessary permits.  I was at one point even persuaded to offer a “gratuity” to the permitting ranger, who offered no resistance, and gingerly proceded to expedite the necessary paperwork.

With all the legal and monetary hurdles out of the way,  earlier this month I purchased this off road pogo stick: 
(I have the MX1-L model)
I have been experimenting on the trail with it doing short overnight trips. Climbing hills is a little difficult but I am confident I can complete PCT section J in just 3 days using the pogo stick. If it ends up taking longer it won’t really matter though since nobody else has ever done this, therefore I’ll be the first in history and will be in the record books!
The one main obstacle though is my regular backpacking backpack bounces violently up and down and is totally unsuitable. I think the solution is to use a small backpack designed for runners  that will be more stable with the up and down motion.
I would appreciate any advice and recommendations on a suitable backpack. I’ve got a preliminary gear list, and expect to have a base weight (excluding the pogo stick) of about 7.5 lbs excluding food/water.
My main criteria would be a pack that is robust and extremely stable with up and down motion, with minimal external straps, and capable of handling a weight of 7.5 lbs plus 4 days of food (I’ll carry an extra day’s food just in case). I don’t need the capability of storing water externally. Water is plentiful on the trail, so I’ll probably just use my steripen and 750ml water bottle which I’ll store inside the pack.

I've created a website where you will be able to follow my record attempt beginning July 6



Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Who's the fool? on 03/31/2013 09:46:57 MDT Print View

There was an article in the PCTA magazine a few years back about a guy using the same loophole to do an attempt on stilts. Really. Too bad your date stamp on your post is not 4/1. Early bird.

Edited by kthompson on 03/31/2013 09:49:38 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: PCT record attempt - need help/advice from the ultra runners on 03/31/2013 10:07:56 MDT Print View

I would think a pogo stick would "leave your mark" on the trail more than trekking poles and shoes - the mark I am referring to is damage to the trail.

As to elevating yourself to greatness, perhaps you have sought the wrong kind of profession help. Maybe it is time to contemplate your self esteem...

Or as mentioned the post is a day early :)

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Who's the fool? on 03/31/2013 10:14:43 MDT Print View

One slip and SAR will be scraping your remains from the bottom of a cliff.

Why not leave the wilderness to the soft sounds of footsteps and following the spirit of the regulations rather than looking for loopholes and ruining the experience for others, not to mention trail damage?

If you want to do something unique, how about pogo sticking the AlCan Highway or something?

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: PCT record attempt - need help/advice from the ultra runners on 03/31/2013 10:15:24 MDT Print View

Dan, I understand the quest. Good for you for finding something you might actually be able to accomplish, and which seems a pretty cool attempt. I mean, since this is a one-time shot, you don't want to waste your effort on the bodybuilder at the gym instead of Petra Petrova, if you know what I mean.

The pack thing, a bit of a conundrum. Packs aren't made for such a violent up and down motion, repeated mile after mile. And you don't want to have to cinch the thing down so tight it hampers your breathing. So I'd suggest duct tape/gorilla tape. If you put your pack on, then wind the tape around the pack and your body a few times, it should keep the pack nice and snug. The tape could also help in case you fell, keeping a broken rib in place and all. And it should assist with any flying insects, they're either going to hit it and fall away, or get stuck to it, which means you wouldn't have to bring as much food since flying critters are high in protein.

Seems to be the best answer my brain can come up with. I look forward to other suggestions.

And good luck! Make sure you really attach that helmet cam securely!

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - MLife

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: PCT record attempt - need help/advice from the ultra runners on 03/31/2013 11:00:04 MDT Print View

Doug's advice is sound. You could also look into getting some custom-built hybrid cuben saddle bags that attach to the pogo stick. What shelter will you be using? The pogo could probably double as pole support for a pyramid tarp.

Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
Buy a mouth gaurs and garters on 03/31/2013 11:13:32 MDT Print View

Better protect your teeth and hold your socks up
And move this post to Chaff.

Hope you and the trail survive!

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: PCT record attempt - need help/advice from the ultra runners on 03/31/2013 11:25:12 MDT Print View

Sorry, but I have to agree with some of the other posts about the real objective here. I would step back and take a different look at Wilderness. Learn what it can do for you not what you can do. A solo through hike might be a wonderful way to allow Wilderness to touch your soul in a more permanent way than some arbitrary achievement. A Pogo stick jump through the wilderness seems so counter-intuitive to what wilderness is for. You might as well pogo jump down a highway for a 100 miles to achieve something unique physically.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

PCT Pogo on 03/31/2013 13:32:26 MDT Print View

I think you're onto something here. The pogo could do for hiking what the packraft did for long distance river swimming: substantially increase both efficiency and fun. Much like shoes, the weight of the lower shaft of the pogo likely has a disproportionate impact. I'd look at sourcing a carbon fiber lower - perhaps from Ruta Locura.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Good Luck on 03/31/2013 13:56:31 MDT Print View

Sounds foolish, if you ask me. ;)

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: PCT Pogo on 03/31/2013 14:28:05 MDT Print View

"I'd look at sourcing a carbon fiber lower - perhaps from Ruta Locura."

Of course! And one that has an adaptor so it can fit to the Clarkii rod for use as a Tenkara rod! Dual use!

Terry Sparks
(Firebug) - M

Locale: Santa Barbara, CA
If you really wanna have some fun... on 03/31/2013 14:44:58 MDT Print View

How 'bouts you just strap a coil spring from an old Army truck to your butt and bounce yer way across section J instead?

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: If you really wanna have some fun... on 03/31/2013 18:31:56 MDT Print View

I smell a race brewing! Have at you!


Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
PCT record attempt - need help/advice from the ultra runners on 03/31/2013 18:47:56 MDT Print View

Or as mentioned the post is a day early :)

Just on time for me :).

Craig .
(zipper) - F

Locale: LOST, but making good time
Race brewing... on 03/31/2013 18:56:42 MDT Print View

I'm in!spring shoes

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Full support on 03/31/2013 19:21:22 MDT Print View

This is a great idea especially in July. I'll bring the popcorn!

Alpine lakes
A little bit of heaven!

I will be sitting here!

Right before I hiked through here in '11 the blow downs were so bad that they had to use explosives to clear them out. There was such a tangle that there was no safe way of cutting them. One of my favorite areas that I have hiked.

stefan hoffman
(puckem) - F

Locale: between trees
Haters on 03/31/2013 23:23:36 MDT Print View

Anybody who says this will have an unnecessary impact on the trail better be wearing bunny slippers while you are hiking. Seriously, the footprint is probably 1/20th the size of your trail shoes. Even though i know this idea is a joke (good one), its also a cool idea, and if a person doesn't like it for whatever reason, they sound like most of my public school teachers.....old, grumpy haters, jealous of the creativity and vigor of those who don't see things through the filter of limitations set forth decades ago.
Go for it dude. :) If we all thought this far outside the box, our packs would be lighter and our smiles permanent.
The reason i know you aren't serious, is because these exist ( and you didn't mention them.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: PCT record attempt - need help/advice from the ultra runners on 04/01/2013 01:35:35 MDT Print View

gajooing, gajoing, gajoing... What the hell is that sound coming from? Hey, did that guy just pass us on a pogo stick?!

haha, that would be awesome! Unless I had to listen to "gajoing" for days straight...

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
April Fools? on 04/01/2013 08:34:22 MDT Print View

At first I thought this was an early April Fools joke.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

April Fools on 04/01/2013 08:39:19 MDT Print View

It is...