Appalachian Trail FKT (day one)

On 03/28/2024 I picked up a rental car and arrived in Dawsonville Georgia about 4:30 in the afternoon. Brett (shuttle driver) kindly shuttled me down to Above the Clouds Hostel in Suches, where I would stay for the evening. It was a little windy and the temperature sat right around 46° The following morning at 5:00 a.m., Michelle (shuttle driver) picked me up and about 45 minutes later I was standing in the parking lot getting ready to begin my ascent to the top of Springer Mountain. On the top of Springer Mountain it was both cool and windy. I took a quick video of myself announcing that this was my 2024 FKT attempt and that it was 6:30 in the morning on 03/29/2024. A few minutes later I hit the start tracking button and I was off back down Springer Mountain for my fourth time (only my second FKT attempt) and I began to try and get into a rhythm. I do my best thinking when I hike but this time it was different, I immediately started to take mental inventory of everything in my pack and questioned whether or not I needed it. At about 7 miles in I noticed that I wasn’t moving fast enough and so I reassured myself that I just had to get comfortable. I couldn’t wait until I got to my first water source which was about fifteen miles in. This was because I decided to pass on the first few. My focus was now on my water situation, in training I never ran with water specifically for this reason but with my pack on it seemed like I couldn’t drink enough water. I stopped at every water source from Gooch Gap until Blood Mountain.

It was 4:30 when I reached the top of Blood Mountain and it was absolutely gorgeous up there! Every other time I was up there it was either foggy or raining. I stopped for a few minutes and started to think about how I thought this was going, I knew I was way behind schedule and had to get going soon.

I began to think about my pack weight again.

By this time four gentlemen that I met earlier had just got to the top and we started talking ( Taylor, Ryan, Jack and Chris) all at once I realized that I made multiple big mistakes. When I was able to cut my original base weight in half I thought it doesn’t get any better than this, turns out it does. In fact within five minutes I realized everything that I overlooked and was questioning almost everything. I made the decision to stop what I was doing and discontinue my FKT attempt.

At five the next morning I hiked down from Blood Mountain to Mountain Crossings where Brett (shuttle driver) was waiting to drive me up to Gainesville where I rented a car and drove back home. I don’t consider this a complete failure, I feel like I went back to school and was given a test and at the end of the day the teacher showed me what I got wrong.

It was not an easy decision for me to make because of how much went in to this. Any and all success that I’ve had in life did not come without sacrifice and often times failure.

I want to give a big Thank you to the Trek team for doing what they do and for giving me a platform to share this.
Thank you to everyone who supported me in this adventure and I will be back.

Thank you
Christopher chmura

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