Showing posts with label Appalachian Trail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Appalachian Trail. Show all posts

Video: Karl Meltzer - Made To Be Broken Official Trailer

Last year, ultrarunner Karl Meltzer set a new record for the fastest time on the Appalachian Trail, covering the full 2190 mile (3524 km) distance in 45 days, 22 hours, and 38 minutes. That's averaging roughly 48 miles per day for those keeping tack at home. Now, a full-length documentary film about his experience is about to be released, and we have the trailer for it below. This just gives you a glimpse of what to expect from the film, which his entitled Karl Meltzer: Made to be Broken. The doc will officially debut next Thursday, April 13. But you can find out more about Karl, this tremendous achievement, and the film itself by visiting its official website. It looks amazing and I can't wait to watch the full thing.

Backpacker Maps America's Best Long Distance Hiking Trails

Everyone knows about the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and even the Continental Divide Trail, but did you know there are a number of other great long-distance hiking routes in the U.S.? In fact, there are numerous other options for those who like to trek for days on end, covering hundreds – if not thousands – of miles in the process. And now, thanks to Backpacker magazine, we have a comprehensive map of the very best of them.

The map, which you can view in its larger format by clicking here, shows dozens of different trails scattered across the entire U.S., many of which most of us probably aren't all that aware of. For instance, did you know that there is a Centennial Trail that stretches for 111 miles (178 km) through South Dakota? Or that the Buckeye Trail covers 1445 miles (2325 km) on a circuit through Ohio? Heck, there is even a Florida Trail that stretches for 1400 miles (2253 km) across the entire length of the state, including the panhandle.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of course, as there are plenty more interesting long-distance hiking routes all over the U.S., stretching from one coast to the other. That includes the American Discovery Trail, which literally does just that, covering some 6800 miles (10,943 km) in the process. The point is, no matter where you live, chances are there is an epic trek to be had somewhere near by, and Backpacker wants to help you find it. This map is a great place to start.

As the magazine also points out, these trails wouldn't exist if it weren't for the tireless efforts of dedicated volunteers and conservation advocates all over the country. We get to reap the benefits of their hard work, and we all owe them a debt of gratitude. Hopefully in the years to come, there will be even more impressive trails to add to this map.

Karl Meltzer Sets New Speed Record on Appalachian Trail

Last week while I was away, the news broke that ultra-runner Karl Meltzer had broken the record for the fastest time on the Appalachian Trail, besting the time set by Scott Jurek just last year. The two top endurance athletes are both friends and rivals, so naturally they would compete against each other on the AT too. This was Meltzer's third attempt at a record, and this time he finished at 45 days, 22 hours, 38 minutes, which put him roughly at 13 hours ahead of Jurek.

According to Outside, Meltzer began his assault on the record book back on August 3, starting on top of Mt. Katahdin in Maine. That's the northernmost terminus of the Appalachian Trail, which stretches for 2190 miles across 14 states before ending on Springer Mountain in Georgia on September 20. That means that Karl had to average roughly 47.6 miles each and every day just to get into the conversation with Jurek, something he was able to do on his way to setting the new mark.

Amongst ultra-runners, Meltzer is considered one of the most successful endurance athletes of all time. Over the course of his career he has racked up more than 38 wins in races of 100 mile (160 km) distances or longer – including 5 in the legendary Hardrock 100 ultra-marathon. That's more than anyone else in history. Still, he did want to take on the AT and nab that record too, something he was finally able to do last week.

Considering that it takes most of us a good six months of hiking to complete the AT, doing it in just 45 days is quite an impressive feat. Congratulations to Karl on pulling off this accomplishment. I am in awe of the strength, stamina, and speed necessary to set this kind of record.

Video: Trail Angel - Finding Inner Peace on the Appalachian Trail

For many of us, the outdoors provide solitude and tranquility that we don't always get in our daily lives. They are an escape that reconnects us with nature and the world around us. In this video – brought to us by REI – we meet Paul Stiffler, better known as Ponytail Paul, who discovers his own personal peace on the Appalachian Trail, where he has taken on the role of "Trail Angel" helping many thru-hikers to accomplish their goal of walking the AT end-to-end. The short film shares Paul's story, and gives us a glimpse of the joy he gets from helping others.

Trail Angel from REI on Vimeo.

Video: On the Appalachian Trail with Jennifer Pharr Davis

Jennifer Pharr Davis is a n Appalachian Trail thru-hiker. In fact, when she walked that iconic route end-to-end back in 2011, she set a speed record for the time, covering the full 2200 miles in 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. To put that in perspective, that means that she averaged 76 km (46 miles) per day, which is an impressive feat to say the least.

In this video, we travel to AT with Jennifer to experience just a small portion of the trail as she shares her thoughts about this amazing hiking route. Over the course of her hiking career, she has walked the entire thing three times, and visits it often from her home in North Carolina. She calls it the great American trail, and as you'll see, it is hard to argue with that.

On The Appalachian Trail (With Jennifer Pharr Davis) from Kerrin Sheldon on Vimeo.

Men's Journal Looks at the 24 Greatest Feats of 2015

As the final days of the year slip off the calendar, it is a good time to look back and reflect on some of the things that happened in 2015. As usual, it was a busy year, filled with great stories of exploration and adventure. So many in fact, that you sometimes forget everything that happened. Fortunately for us, Men's Journal has put together a great little slideshow highlighting the 24 Greatest Feats of the past year.

Some of the amazing accomplishments that earned a spot on this list include the first winter crossing of the PCT, the longest time spent in space by an American, and Freya Hoffmeister's circumnavigation of South America in a kayak. Scott Jurek's speed record on the Appalachian Trail gets a nod as well, as does Dani Arnold's new speed record on the Matterhorn.

I won't spoil all of the entires on the list, but I will say paging through the MJ slideshow is a bit like taking a walk down memory lane. It reminded me of so many great things that happened this year, a lot off which we covered right here on The Adventure Blog.

For my money, the greatest feat of 2015 occurred all the way back in January. That's when Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson completed the first free climb of the Dawn Wall in Yosemite. For a brief time, the world was transfixed by a pair of rock climbers taking on the hardest big wall on the planet, and they did not disappoint. It was an amazing way to start the year, and it still stands as one of the most impressive climbing accomplishments ever.

With 2015 quickly fading away, now is a good time to look back on these great adventures, before e start looking ahead to those that will come in 2016. It was a great year. Here's to many more!

The Fallout Over Scott Jurek's Record-Setting Appalachian Trail Run

Earlier in the summer ultra-runner Scott Jurek set a new record for completing the Appalachian Trail end-to-end, finishing on Mt. Katahdin in Maine in 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. That was an impressive accomplishment to say the least, but if you've been following this story at all, you already know that Jurek hasn't truly been able to celebrate his record thanks to legal issues brought on by overzealous rangers in Baxter State Park, the terminus of the northern end of the AT. Those issues were resolved last week, but they continue to cast a shadow over the whole affair.

As the story goes, when Scott arrived at the finish line on the final day of his hike he was not only greeted by a group of friends and supporters, he popped a bottle of champaign to celebrate the completion of the AT and a new record being set. Seems innocent enough right? Well, as it turns out a ranger in Baxter State Park witnessed the celebration and fined Jurek for littering because some of the champaign spilled on the ground. He was also cited for having too large of a hiking group because the 16 people on hand to welcome him exceeded the 12 person limit. It is also illegal to drink in the park too, which was also added to the list of offenses.

Last week, Jurek finally put an end to the legal nonsense by agreeing to pay a $500 fine for drinking – which Outside points out is $300 more than usual – while the other charges were dropped. He and Park Director Jensen Bissell had been waging a war of words on the Internet as well, with Bissell saying Jurek's record-setting run was nothing more than big publicity stunt, while the ultra-runner fired back for being singled out due to his high profile. In the two months since the completion of the AT, the entire thing turned into a nasty affair.

Worse yet, the park officials are now threatening to reroute the AT off of Mt. Katahdin. They say that excessive numbers of people finishing the AT, and celebrating in similar fashion, are threatening the environment there. This has of course angered trail purists who have seen the summit of that mountain as an important point on the Appalachian Trail for decades. To many, changing the route would be unthinkable.


For his part, Jurek is just happy to finally be putting all of the controversy behind him. In an interview with Outside he discussed the impact that the situation has had on his life, as he received a lot of negative press and feedback from fans. He also indicated that he is likely done with competing in 100-mile races – something that was hinted at before the AT attempt – but that he hasn't finished doing what he calls "adventure runs." Scott says that while he won't do another run as long as the Appalachian Trail, he will be looking for other long-distance running challenges.

Personally, I have avoided writing about this topic because I thought it was all big farce. Sure, by the letter of the law, Scott and his team probably broke a few rules when celebrating his accomplishment, but typically I'd like to think that most people would have enough common sense to look the other way under these circumstances. It smacks of someone trying to capitalize on this high profile event. While it is true that Jurek and his welcoming committee drank a little champaign, they weren't doing so to get drunk. Citing him for having too large of a group, and for spilling some bubbly on the ground is just down right idiotic. I'm glad those legal issues are done, and hopefully cooler heads will prevail, allowing the AT to continue on its normal route. The entire thing has just been silly.

Scott Jurek Sets New Record on Appalachian Trail

The Adventure Blog remains on hiatus for one more day while I continue to celebrate getting married this past weekend, but I did want to break radio silence to update one of the bigger stories that has broken in the past few days. As expected, ultrarunner Scott Jurek has broken the speed record on the Appalachian Trail, but he didn't smash it as it seemed he would.

Jurek started his quest to become the fastest person to hike the AT end-to-end back May 27 when he set out from Springer Mountain in Georgia. Ahead of him lay 2185 miles of trail, and a four year old record that was currently held by Jennifer Pharr Davis. The time to beat was 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. In order to set a new speed record, he would need to reach Mt. Katahdin in Maine in less time than that.

At the mid-way point of the attempt it appeared that Jurek would crush the old mark by three or four days. But the second half of the run didn't go quite as expected, and the ultrarunner's cushion began to evaporate. As the days slipped away, it even appeared at some point that he might not break the record at all. Jurek himself even told his support crew at one point that the attempt was over. He himself didn't believe that he had enough time, and could travel fast enough, to catch Pharr Davis' record. But in the end, he managed to finish the hike, and set a new mark in the process.

The speed record for completing the Appalachian Trail now stands at 46 days, 8 hours, 7 minutes. That's an impressive time no matter how you slice it, and Scott should be incredibly happy with his efforts. Congratulations to him on a job well done. His efforts were both inspiring, and a good reminder of just how difficult these types of endeavors can be.

Scott Jurek On Pace to Break Appalachian Trail Record

When I set out for Alaska a couple of weeks ago ultrarunner Scott Jurek was in the midst of an attempt to break the speed record for completing the Appalachian Trail. Now, he approaching the end at last, and he remains on track to complete the long-distance hiking route in an unbelievable time.

Jurek launched his attempt on the AT back on May 27, setting out from the southern end of the trail on Springer Mountain in Georgia. At the time, he hoped to reach the northern end on Mt. Katahdin in Maine – some 2160 miles (3476 km) away – in less than 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. That's the current record held by Jennifer Pharr Davis, which she set back in 2011.

The ultrarunner passed into Maine a few days back, and is closing in on the finish line now. He's been running about 50 miles (80 km) per day, and should finish up very soon. Today is Day 43 of the run, and he remains on pace to break the record, most likely shaving a couple of days off the mark set by Pharr Davis. It is unclear exactly when he will finish, but it should be within the next day or two.

There have been some hints that Jurek may be considering retiring from competitive ultra-running. If so, he will leave a legacy that will be tough to beat. During his career, he won seven straight Western States 100s and two Badwaters Ultras, two of the toughest races ever. Completing the AT in record time would be a fitting way to end such an impressive resume.

Stay tuned for more updates as Scott nears the end.

Ultrarunner Scott Jurek Attempting Speed Record on Appalachian Trail

Ultrarunner Scott Jurek has been a legend in the endurance running community for years. Not only has he won both the Badwater and the Western States Ultras, he has scored wins in numerous other major races as well. Additionally, back in 2010 he set a record for the 24-hour run, covering 165.7 miles during that time period. To say he has had a stellar career would be an understatement, and although he has started to hint at a possible retirement, he isn't quite ready to hang up his running shoes just yet. In fact, he has just set off on his greatest challenge of all – an attempt to set a new speed record for completing the Appalachian Trail end-to-end.

Last week, Jurek began what he hopes will be a record-breaking run on the AT. He's chasing the record set by Jennifer Pharr Davis back in 2011, when she managed to cover the entire length of the 2160 mile (3476 km) trail in 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. In doing so, she managed to travel about 47 miles (75 km) per day. Jurek hopes to be closer to 50 in his pursuit of a new speed mark.

The ultrarunner launched his record bid on Spring Mountain in Georgia last week. He'll now head north toward Katahdin, Maine, where the trail officially ends. Along the way, he'll pass through 14 U.S. states, and face enough vertical gain to climb Everest 16 times over. He'll also be attempting to run the equivalent of two marathons per day for a month and a half. If everything goes as planned, he will wrap up the speed attempt on July 6, although he'll need to stay healthy and have the weather cooperate along the way. He is, of course, making this attempt in supported fashion, with a three-person team providing resupplies throughout the journey. Pharr Davis did the same thing on her record-setting trek as well.

You can follow Scott's efforts on his Facebook page and official website.