Beginning on September 7th, I will challenge the supported Long Trail speed record, held by Ted "CaveDog" Keizer. Teddy's record is 4days, 13 hours, 15 minutes.
The Long Trail, located in the "Green State" of Vermont, begins at the Canadian/Vermont border and extends 272.7 south to the Vermont/Mass border. As the nation's oldest long distance trail, the LT has seen it's share of speed hikes. As many of you may know, last fall, I attempted an unsupported speed hike on the LT. Although, I did not reach my goal of completing the LT in under 7 days, I did take away a substantial amount of knowledge about the LT that I will utilize for my supported attempt in September. A major noteworthy point that I discovered was the advantage of a late summer/early fall start date. That is, during my hike, not once did I walk through or around a muddy bog (the LT is notorious for its muddy bogs), nor deal with black flies or mosquitoes, nor struggle with heat and humidity (cold nights and relatively cool days). In addition, because the majority of thru-hikers had already come through, the Trail was well worn and broken in. Yes, a September hike will mean losing valuable day-light hours, however, I believe the mentioned pros, combined, are more valuable than the additional day-light hours.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Unlike the previous LT speed hikes, which based the itinerary on what the State of Vermont has given the hiker in terms of support via road crossings, I plan to break the Trail down into evenly-divided days. That is, 272.7 miles divided into 5 hiking days gives an average of 54.5 miles/day. So rather than ending my day at a road, my crew will hike in and establish a backcountry camp at predetermined sites as close to 54.5 miles for the day as possible. My itinerary is as follows:
Day 1: Canadian Border --to-- Bear Hollow shelter 53.6 miles
Day 2: Bear Hollow shelter --to-- Birch Glen shelter 53.6 miles
Day 3: Birch Glen shelter --to-- Green Rd. 52.4 miles
Day 4: Green Rd --to-- VT 11/30 58.7 miles
Day 5: VT 11/30 --t0-- VT/Mass border 54.4 miles
My crew consists of Andrew Thompson, Kyle Klingman, Travis Wildeboer, and my wife Hilary. Andrew will serve as my backcountry support and will hike all supplies necessary for a complete and thorough camp. This will be his sole function. Kyle Klingman is one of my close friends from Iowa who is a solid marathon and ultra-marathon runner. Kyle will serve as one of my three pacers that will be with me at all times. Travis Wildeboer(current unsupported Superior Hiking Trail record holder) is a great friend from Winter Park, CO, who, along with Andrew, crewed me on my Colorado Trail speed record in 2006 and who helped David Horton 2 months ago on his CT speed attempt. Travis will also serve as one of my pacers and my road crossing support team as well. My wife, Hilary, who is an Emergency Room physician at Lehigh Valley Hospital in PA, will be on hand to deal with any health issues, should they arise, serve as a pacer and road crossing support as well.
As for my time goal, I have no set goal other than to go under the current time of 4d13h15m. If I am fortunate enough to reach the VT/Mass border in record time, realistically, it will probably be just under the current time; I would be thrilled to better CaveDog's time by 1 hour. My crew will be sending updates daily to the Inov-8 blog where cell phone coverage is available. I look forward to the challenge ahead. More info on the history of Long Trail speed hikes can be found at Peter Bakwin's website http://home.comcast.net/~pbakwin/FKT.html
"Keep on dreamin' boy, cause when you stop, it's time to die." --Shannon Hoon