[cdt-l] A record on the CDT

Paul Magnanti pmags at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 3 13:13:35 CDT 2007

>>You didn't mention Temple Pass vs the "official" roadwalk vs the Popo Agie.  I'd recommend 2 of the 3.  Do I need to specify which >>ones?
And that is, partly, why a "speed record" is really hard to call valid on the CDT.  What comparison do you use? 
Squeaky's time was mentioned. Did he go through the Winds via the majestic Temple Pass route or stick to the road walk? 
(I honestly don't know..nor care.)  What if Person A went over Mt. Taylor and the other person stuck to the flatter road walk? 
I only bring this up because to do a true record attempt, each person would have to do the EXACT same route.   Something rather difficult to do on an unfinished trail that is widely accepted to be a corridor as much as a trail. Otherwise you are comparing apples to grapes to oranges to bananas. 
If you plan on following the USFS designated route you are missing some astounding scenery in the Winds alone. Plus there is the weather factor. If a freak snowstorm dumps 3 ft of snow in the San Juans and stays there (like in 2006), is your record invalid because you had to take a lower route? WHat if a portion of the CDT is closed due to grizzly activity in Glacier? You'll have to take an alternate route? Is the record invalid?   
Anyway, does not really matter what we say on this list. Record attempts will be made. Sponsorships will be given and press releases will trumpet it.  And perhaps .01% of the people in the country will even know about it. :D  I honestly have nothing against speed hiking, I just don't think the CDT can truly have a "speed record" journey at this point that is truly valid.
The only real criteria for a successful journey on the CDT is if you enjoyed it or not.  I'll leave the debate on records, what is a "Real thru-hike" and other such "Angels on the heads of a pin" type arguments to people who care about this stuff. 
I am an outdoors person, not an athlete. I may hike "faster" than most (meaning I hike all day), I may do some stuff  that could be considered a bit odd [1] by many but that is just gravy.  The athletic part of being outdoors is secondary, to well, being outdoors.  
I am an outdoors person because I want to see the sunrise over Temple Pass again. Or see glacier lilies  up on the Highline Trail in Glacier.  See another sunrise over the desert. 
I will leave the records, discussions of V02 max, PRs and what type of goo shots to the athletes who go outdoors.  Best of luck in whoever attempts a "record". I hope they get out of the journey what they seek.   They will get a personal record and hopefully some wonderful memories.
But for a raw, wild and unfinished trail like the CDT, a "record" means more to gear companies, magazines and sports supplement companies.  Those who have experienced the CDT know that a record is more whatever a person proclaims it to be than what conforms to reality.  I will smile when I hear of a new CDT record: I smile because  I'm amused at the thought of "record" on the CDT.  I mainly smile, though, because it reminds me of the journey I spent on this wonderful trail.  May others smile for similar reasons.
Just my .02, YMMV, whatever works for you, I really don't care,etc..etc..etc..
[1] Just ask my ex-girlfriends. :D
The true harvest of my life is intangible.... a little stardust 
caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched

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