Here’s the update at Day 7 of Karl’s attempt to break the AT record.
The going has been tough. A summer of torrential rain has left the trails sloppy and slow, and it’s been raining on them since they started. A veteran New Englander told me: “2008 is going to be a very tough year to break any record out here”.
However, Karl is in good spirits, continues to move well, and has great support. His current crew chief, Marit from backcountry.com told me:
“Yesterday was the hardest day so far. The boys got 47 miles, with almost 14,000′ of vert, and the last 13 miles were in a torrential downpour. They got in the miles but it took 2.5 hours longer than expected. The conditions are super horrible. Last night was the first night Karl couldn’t smile. He’s looking gnarly. He has on huge blister, as his feet haven’t been dry for 7 days.”
“Matt is going to stay with him thru Maine. It’s better to have someone out there. They are using every second of daylight, like you suggested.”
They are only 18 miles behind schedule, all from Day 4 when they didn’t take a ferry across the Kennebunk River; this is nothing considering the conditions, and Karl’s timetable thru the White Mountains was quick to begin with. If the conditions dry out further south, 18 miles will not be a problem.
The whereskarl.com website is state-of-the-art, and the excellent blog Marit is doing includes photos, video, and more.
Karl is carrying a SPOT locater beacon that pings every 10 minutes, and is then plotted on the same website. To find the tracking map, click “On the Trail” from the menu on the bottom left. The forest cover is quite dense, which may have explained why the early days were not tracking well; the company sent the crew a new unit via Overnight Delivery last Thursday to make sure the problem wasn’t with the device.