Karl Meltzer finished the Appalachian Trail early this morning. Huge! The AT is super-classic. Karl ran into tough conditions at the beginning, had to take 4 days off due to injury (see previous posts on this blog on this topic), then picked it back up for a fine finish.
The entire following summary is by Marit Fischer on Where’s Karl.
Karl and Billy spent a few minutes refueling at Woody Gap and hit the trail again at 9:15 PM. They have 11.8 miles to go to Hightower Gap. That’s 19.9 miles left to Springer. Seriously. 19.9 miles.
That Is All.
Many of you have written that you don’t know what you’re going to do when this is over. I’m with you, friends. It’s been a fun ride. It’s been a roller coaster, for sure, with some serious ups and downs and twists and loops. But I love roller coasters and this has been the best one I’ve ever been on. I know already that I’m going to have a severe case of PWKD – Post Where’s Karl Depression – when tomorrow comes and Karl is not out there running anymore.
The last day I was on the trail with Karl we talked about his posting about his experience on this site. He is planning on it. It may be a few days, but he is looking forward to sharing his thoughts on the journey once he has had a bit of time to rest and process it all.
Karl and Billy hiked the last .9 mile to the top of Springer in the early morning moonlight. They stopped halfway up to crack open some beers, and then walked together slowly to the summit, where Cheryl and Senior were waiting for them.
“Karl’s a very happy man,” said Billy. “He’s so happy to be done. And I think he’s really proud of himself for finishing this. He should be, man. To go on when the record was out of reach takes a man with some big balls and a big will. But he did it.”
I talked to Billy a little before noon Eastern Time. Karl and the crew had all taken long naps and some good “real” showers and were headed out to find the “first best damn restaurant we can find.”
Official Start: Tuesday, August 5, 2008, 7:08 a.m.
Official Finish: Monday, September 29, 2008, 4:20 a.m.
54 days 21 hours and 12 minutes.
Unofficially, Karl’s is the fourth fastest thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.
In order, the fastest finishers:
Andrew Thompson: 47 days 13 hours 31 minutes (2005)
Pete Palmer: 48 days 20 hours 11 minutes (1999)
David Horton: 52 days 9 hours (1991)
Karl Meltzer: 54 days 21 hours 12 minutes
Scott Grierson: 55 days 20 hours 34 minutes (1991)
Jennifer Pharr Davis: 57 days 8 hours 35 minutes (2008)