Another Summer, Another Speed Record Attempt!

About this time last year, we were presenting you with news of Scott Jurek breaking the supported speed record of the Appalachian Trail. If you don’t remember Scott’s journey, jog your memory with this blog post from last July celebrating the vegan ultra runner’s incredible feat of running the Appalachian Trail in 46 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes. Narrowly securing the record by 3 hours from Jennifer Pharr Davis, the previous record holder.

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Karl Metzler: third time is the charm for AT speed record!

Now, the record is up for grabs again! Karl Metzler, yet another ultra runner, is setting out to take on the task beginning in August. Karl holds the most wins of 100 mile races of any human ever and has already run 2000+ miles twice before, once on the Pony Express from California to Missouri and once on the Appalachian Trail in 2008, though no record was set. He is well acquainted with and prepared for the days ahead, to say the least.

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Karl during his 2008 record attempt of the AT. He finished but did not set a new record.

Unlike Scott, who started at Springer Mountain in late May, Karl will be setting out in early to mid August to from Mount Katahdin, taking on the trail South Bound. He spent a few weeks running with Scott last summer, who a good buddy of his, and got a great feel for the world of fully supported hiking. He also has the benefit of being a full on omnivore and will be crushing steaks, ice cream and beer provided by his support team as he makes his way down trail. Not only this, but Karl is backed by Red Bull, which he claims to be sipping on nearly all day long when possible!

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Karl during a 2014 record attempt that didn’t work out.

His goal is to finish the trail in at least 46 days, once again shaving off the time of the record by just a few hours. If you want to follow along check out this website. Here you can learn more about Karl as an athlete and his diet on trail. Once he sets out, you can even track his progress and see his steps taken, calories burned, distance covered and much more! We found the “By The Numbers” portion very interesting: Karl will go through a new pair of shoes roughly every 2-3 days, have approximately 121 crashes over the course of the trail and listen to nearly 690 hours of the Grateful Dead and other tunes. We like this guys already!!

 

 

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The Future of Resupplying?

One of the biggest hurdles of preparing for a thru hike of any long distance trail is to wrap your brain around “the hiker resupply”. Six months in the woods definitely doesn’t mean carrying six months worth of food, but how much do you carry? And what do you carry? Not to mention, how do you get that food? The answers to these questions vary greatly on the speed of the hiker, certain dietary restraints and preferred mode of resupplying.

You can carry as much or as many days worth of food as you’d like, skipping over towns or resupply points if desired. While on trail you can chow down on whatever foods tickle your fancy, even if that consists mostly of Oreos and Sour Patch Kids. But interestingly enough, there are only a few ways to actually go about the act of resupplying.

Traditionally, you either got off trail and found a decent place to purchase food locally or you had a pre-packed resupply box sent to you from back home and picked it up at a scheduled location. But these days, there is a new way! It combines the ease of having a box sent to you in town with the flexibility of choosing what you want to eat when you are currently craving it.

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Welcome, Zero Day Resupply! Made by and for thru hikers, this company has a vast amount of hiker favorite online that you can sift through and create your next resupply while on trail or in town, planning ahead. Then it is mailed to you up trail, to wherever you specify. What better way to take full advantage of a zero than actually being able to relax? Why walk up and down the aisles of Dollar General grimacing the prospects when you could be chillin’ in a hostel or motel, catching a midday matinée of The Goonies because you already picked up your resupply, which you ordered from your phone when you were relaxing on your last zero day. So easy and so simple.

This new way to resupply can even open up new possibilities in your hiking arrangements. Say you and your buddies are crushing sammies at the Appalachian Deli in Garrison, NY after scaling Bear Mountain and crossings the Hudson. It’s a great convenience store and you’ve picked a few good things because you’ve heard the resupply in Stormville, NY is a bit hit or miss. No worries! Hop on your phone and get on Zero Day Resupply and jot down a little order to have waiting for you in Stormville so you know for sure that you’re getting what you want! It’s Brilliant!

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What makes this service even more incredible is that it is nearly as cheap as buying food as you go, but you save so much time and hassle. Their items are generously well priced, even in the eyes of a thru hiker. And, in the end, you don’t have to worry about wasting time or not being able to find a full resupply in a crummy location. Because Zero Day Resupply is the brain child of a former thru hikers, the selection is smartly curated for the taste of long distance backpackers. You will surely find many of your favorite available on their site.

Not only does this site make finding your food take a lost less miles over six months, it also helps you calculate the weight and calorie count of your resupply! You can save lists of foods and start each resupply out with the old trusties before adding new foods and you can even set up a donations page where friends and family and send you a resupply box!

So the next time you are heading out for a long hike or even just for a section, remember that there are new ways to resupply in our modern world! Check out Zero Day Resupply for an easy and painless experience! (Take the “tour” to see all food varieties.)

Zero Day Resupply boxes stacked up and ready to be sent out to hikers all over!!

Zero Day Resupply boxes stacked up and ready to be sent out to hikers all over!!

 

The Pitfalls of “Hike Your Own Hike”

Hike Your Own Hike is a term beloved by thru hikers. It gives validation to many of our weird little quirks other hikers may not understand. If you want to take 2 zero days a week, do it. If you want to take a blue blaze around a section of trail, do it.  If you want to carry a Katana, do it. It’s a term that helps settle any and all disagreements over these petty differences. No matter the context, it seems as if dropping the term “Hike Your Own Hike” is the cue for both sides to drop it and just enjoy the scenery. In a community where every person has their own opinions of comfort, ruggedness and everything in between, this little catch all has gone far to remind us that we don’t always have to be right.

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Origins of the term are hotly debated among hikers but many agree it came around sometime in the late 80’s or early 90’s. Today, as the AT community grows in size with the rising popularity of long distance backpacking, this term has began to see a metamorphosis as well. It is increasingly being referenced not only to justify individual styles of hiking, but also individual styles of treating the Appalachian Trail. When “Hike Your Own Hike” becomes a cop out for proper “Leave No Trace” ethics, we as a community have a problem.

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You know it’s big when they make t-shirts of it!

Leave To Trace is also a widely known term on the AT. It was brought about in the 1960’s by the US Forest Service as the use of and need for management of our public lands grew. Leave No Trace has grown from just a saying with great intentions behind it to a full fledge non-profit that works tirelessly to uphold it’s Seven Principles. In a time when we are fighting to both protect our precious land and introduce people to the wonderful affect of Mother Nature for mental and physical health, it is massively important that we do not allow these two hiker adages to work against one another.

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Hike Your Own Hike never means it’s okay to burn your trash if you don’t feel like packing it out.

Hike Your Own Hike never means you are exempt from digging a 6 inch cat hole if you don’t feel like it. 

Hike Your Own Hike never means you get a pass on being polite and courteous to other hikers. 

The rights given to you by the term Hike Your Own Hike end where they become detrimental to the land you are on and it’s natural inhabitants. When making decisions for yourself on trail, first and foremost, go by the Principles of Leave No Trace. Only secondly, go by Hike Your Own Hike. If you want there to continue to be a Hike worth Hiking, you will gladly do so.