Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hiking Intentions

Hiking Intentions

May 25, 6:04:31, officially starting my hike!
I'm the type of person who is always questioning where his limits are - how far can I push myself until I can no longer continue. As a result of this, over the past few years, I've been setting goals in that I am unsure if I can accomplish. It started in 2009 with hiking the PCT for the first time, 2010 with cycling across the country along the TransAm cycling route, 2011 with climbing Mt. McKinley and finally 2012 with trying to speed hike the PCT to break the overall speed record. My attempt in 2012 was the first time I had actually attempted one of these goals with a good deal of experience pertaining to what I was about to do.

The true drive behind my hike was not to set the speed record, but to see what I could accomplish. Since I had hiked the entire trail in 2009, I knew I could complete it again, but the new unknown variable was speed - just how fast could I do it? A new record would have been the byproduct of if I could push myself to hike fast enough. The current record is/was the bar in which to judge myself and what I could accomplished. I know the distinction is very fuzzy between these two concepts, especially since 'Speed Record Attempt' is plastered all over this blog, however, it was the easiest way to label what I was attempting, rather than explaining that I wanted to see if I could go that fast, with the actual breaking of it not being the true goal.
Tuna Helper poses next to PCT graffiti under Interstate 15 at Cajon Pass.

Here are the exact intentions I posted to the PCT-L, a mailing list of new and old hikers that acts somewhat like a forum. I posted to the PCT-L so that the general PCT hiking community would become aware of my attempt and, in the event that I did break the record, it would give my claim more credibility because I wouldn't just suddenly pop up and say that I had broken the record when no one knew that I was even attempting it.
"Hello Everyone!
Ryan Weidert, AKA Tuna Helper here. I’d like to let my intentions be known that I will be attempting to break the overall speed record (64 days 11 hours 19 minutes by Scott Williamson 2011) for hiking the entire length of the entire Pacific Crest Trail going northbound. I will adhere to the same “self-supported” and “unassisted” style as the current records. This style means a great many things, most of which I’ve copied directly or paraphrased from the posts and correspondence of current record holders (Scott Williamson's (Bink) and Adam Bradley (Krudmeister)). In adhering to the guidelines of the current records, ‘I will NOT have anyone following, or otherwise meeting me in prearranged manner to give me support. I plan to do this hike as a backpacker, carrying all of my food, equipment, and water between resupply towns. I will walk into supply towns to pick up mailed, prepackaged food boxes or to purchase food, then walk back to the trail via the same route I came in on. I will not be getting into a vehicle for any reason during this attempt, or skipping any section of trail. If I receive a lift from any vehicle or skip a portion of trail (no matter the distance) the attempt is off. I will be following the official PCT route, taking no detours, road walks or alternates of any kind.’

I will be attempting to break this record as a solo hiker and will be starting sometime between May 20-30th. I will post my official start date once I have it pinned down. My main reasons for this attempt is to test myself and what I am capable of, the record being the bar in which to compare myself with other awesome endurance athletes. My ultimate goal is to hike the trail in under 60 days, however, completing it very fast is good enough, as I love the PCT. I am also planning my food and schedule to attempt a Yo-Yo. This, however is highly dependent on how I feel once (and if) I complete the trail. I’ll periodically be in contact with family members and relay my progress, which I hope to have posted on FTK. I’m willing to contact someone else I don’t know as an outside contact to help verify my progress. I am considering taking a GPS to have extra verification of my hike since I am hiking solo and independent verification is more difficult. I want to be as open as I can with this so there is as little possibility of ‘drama’ or questions if I manage to succeed. Any suggestions or comments as to how I can possibly improve my openness and or verify my hike more clearly will be welcome and considered. My admiration for the trail and those who hike it runs deep and I can’t wait to test myself and get dirty!

-Tuna Helper"
I followed my intentions to the letter because any discrepancy and or differences from what I said and how I completed my hike versus how Scott Williamson completed his record would only breed criticism and skepticism. Overall, the main intent of using a GPS to track my progress, having hikers sign a witness log and letting my specific intentions be know was to give some evidence and credibility to my claims to try and minimize doubt. I think it worked out well, even considering I didn't manage to finish the entire trail. Shucks.
Panoramic view nearing the top of Silver Pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA, looking south.