Scott Jurek just began his attempt on taking down the supported Appalachian Trail record and I’m excited of the possibility of seeing both records fall in one year. I’m fascinated by what he is doing and have infinite respect for the man. I want to clarify some of the questions I’ve been asked and exactly why I chose to go unsupported. The unsupported record is an entirely different game than supported. For me it is infinitely more appealing to go for the unsupported record but I can fully appreciate and admire the supported record. I’ve been in awe at what Jen Pharr Davis accomplished out there and would be thrilled to see Scott Jurek do it even faster. I think it takes two different types of people to break each record, which is why no single person holds both records for any of the long trails in the United States. Continue reading Unsupported versus supported thru-hike
Yesterday I had my first day of a two week stretch of training out in the western Virginia woods. On my drive to Blacksburg, Virginia, I stopped in Montebello to do The Priest hike, one of the longest climbs on the entire trail. It was a beautiful cooler day and it’s great to be back out in some shaded woods after training through the winter in the leafless forests of Shenandoah National Park. I met some awesome thru-hikers, Koz from South Carolina hiking for his second attempt, Patterns and her canine companion The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and her other hiking friend Scarecrow. I gladly let them help themselves to the snacks, drinks, and candy I housed in my car and it felt great to have the opportunity to do so. I told them I would be hiking south in a few weeks and may see them again. It certainly would be nice to see a familiar face out there.
My custom shirts for my upcoming hike were finished yesterday and they look great. Thanks to Darn Tough for hooking me up with the most badass socks ever, Enlightened Equipment for making the lightest, fluffiest, warmest quilt I’ve ever slept in, 3sports for supplying me with some awesome shoes, and Wild River Outfitters for the world’s lightest shirts! I’m very proud to represent such outstanding companies and products I can stand by. I wish I could put the names of all my friends and family on there because they’ve been the best supporters of all but I think I’d need an XL to fit all of them.
“Drop completely the term “fastpack.” You are backpacking, so call it that. There is a very well developed community of backpackers who take an endurance athlete’s approach to the activity, myself included. I’d encourage you to join it rather than try to create a new niche in the ultra niche. Don’t create distinctions where there are none. I’ll add that I find “fastpacking” to sound very elitist — it’s as if runners can’t admit that they are “backpacking” and it implies that the rest of us are just “slowpacking.”
Skurka left that comment on an article written about fastpacking a few months ago. To be perfectly honest, to me it was nonsensical. I dropped a quote on one of my previous posts from a climber demoting mountaineering to “hiking and camping”. As absurd as it sounds, it’s absolutely accurate. Whether hiking in Shenandoah National Park or climbing Everest, you’re mostly walking and sleeping. But if we didn’t have the term mountaineering, we may not know whether our friend just climbed Everest or went on a stroll in Nepal. His argument is synonymous to saying we don’t need the term whale because it’s just a mammal or we don’t need to term hiking because it’s just walking.
But it brings up an interesting question, what exactly is fastpacking? Continue reading Should we abandon the term fastpacking?
This summer I am going to be attempting to break the unsupported Appalachian Trail record. I have been asked a lot of questions about my trip and wanted to clear up exactly what I am doing by addressing some of those common questions here.
What exactly are you doing?
Self-supported Appalachian Trail record thru hike attempt. It is done backpacker style without a support crew. I will resupply in towns and pick up packages I mailed to myself but cannot have prearranged support from friends or family nor will I be able to accept rides into towns.
How far is it?
It is a 2185 mile long trail that passes through 14 states. Continue reading Appalachian Trail record attempt FAQ
Asics Top Impact Shorts
I’m super stoked about some new pieces of ultralight backpacking gear I got in the last few days. At 2.19 ounces, the Asics Top Impact shorts were the biggest drop from my gear weight in months. They’re incredibly comfortable but with their minimalist design, tend to be a little revealing. So far they’re the lightest shorts I could find and weigh in at little more than a Snickers bar. I guess I’ll just have to get used to all the ladies checking out my sexy white thighs. Continue reading Final ultralight backpacking gear modifications
Note: It’s taken me a while to post this because it was a very overwhelming experience but I do feel it is worth sharing.
The trademark medical school class will be over in less than a week. I’ve learned every piece of wiring, tubing, and structures of the human body, what else is there to learn? But really all I’ve learned is how the body is supposed to be, how it is supposed to look. In the elderly cadavers that predominated in our anatomy lab, we only learned of a handful of ailments: cancer, obesity, heart disease. Next semester we will continue to study the proper functioning of the human body with still some minor correlations to medicine. But second year we’ll learn the bulk of what goes wrong and a glimpse of how to treat it. Continue reading Anatomy last day
In the summer of 2014 I paddled my 17 foot kayak from Key West to the Tortugas. This is some press from that trip:
Original article: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090513/00770
Note: This is a post I wrote at the beginning of medical school last fall describing the experience I had in anatomy lab for the first day of medical school. Having just finished my first year, I felt it was appropriate to share.
The tension was visible in all my classmates faces. This was big and we knew it. We had all lifted the stainless steel covers, unzipped the tarpaulin bags, and revealed our cadaver for the year.
Our donor, an elderly lady, lay on the table in front of us, a shell of the life that came before. She was scarred, from the sun and the chores of life and with each sun spot and freckle I could see age, wisdom, and love. Looking at her worn hands and feet I couldn’t help but imagine where those feet had been, who those hands had touched, what work they had accomplished and the infinite influence her life had on the world around her. What knowledge did she possess that no one else did? What stories did she tell that will never be heard again? Continue reading Anatomy lab first day
“I’m not happy but I guess if you climb enough offwidths, one of these days you’re gonna get your knee stuck and then shit your pants. It’s just an odds thing really.”