Introduction: NOBO Self-Supported Record Attempt

My name is Chris Pratt and I’m 29 years old. Why would you attempt the self-supported record? What makes you think you can do that? Are you even going to stop and smell the roses? Why would anyone want to hike 50 miles every day? Are you crazy? Why are you announcing this so early; what if you fail? These are some of the questions you may be wondering when reading this blog title, and they are valid questions.

Dirty Face Peak.

I suppose I should give a brief introduction about myself. My name is Chris and I grew up in a small town in North Idaho. I was a very active kid growing up; playing football, wrestling, track, and basketball. All the while growing up in the woods as a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, hunting, fishing, and a lot of camping. But after failing to graduate high school (less than a 1.0 GPA), I served four years in the Marine Corps. After my service was up, I went to college. How is that possible? When I didn’t graduate high school, the Marines still let me join because I tested high in both physical fitness and the ASVAB test. The University of Oregon let me in because I had a high GED score I took while in the Marines. After five years, I managed to transfer colleges numerous times, played rugby and football briefly, and worked all sorts of bad jobs (not having a high school diploma really does make it difficult to get a good job); I worked at places like Subway, an insurance restoration company where I took out attic insulation and replaced it with new insulation every day, oil fields in North Dakota where I was a laborer in every sense of the word, security guard at a weed-growing facility, road construction laborer, etc.

Enchantments thru-hike.

Here I was nine years later (2016) and my life changed, almost literally overnight. I ended up graduating from a trade school at North Idaho College, received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho, owned a small dock building company, and received a job offer from a Seattle-based company to be their newest construction engineer, I accepted their offer and started one day after walking down the graduation aisle.

After being in Seattle for two years now, some things I know now are certain:

  • Cities give me anxiety and stress me out.
  • The mountains and deep woods are soul healers.
  • Money isn’t everything.
  • I need to embark on a grand adventure.

Anish

I was actually planning on thru-hiking the Continental Divide Trail first in 2019, but the Pacific Crest Trail ended up having a stronger pull for me (I was born in California, attended colleges in Oregon, and currently work/live in Washington). The PCT just made sense. Already planning on hiking big miles out of the gate, led me to wonder, what’s the fastest anyone has ever hiked this trail? This led me to Heather “Anish” Anderson’s self-supported-record of just over 60 days. Well, I immediately thought, I can do that!

With this being my first long-distance backpacking trip, naturally everyone will think I’m full of it. I would think the same thing. But what makes this record unique is the mental toughness required to do it. Yes, physical fitness plays a big role, but that mental fortitude to keep pushing without anyone watching or even caring, for that matter, is right up my alley. I have nothing but respect for Anish and will feel very fortunate to even sniff her time.

Black bear in North Cascades National Park.

Q & A

To circle back to my introduction questions:

  • Why would you attempt the self-supported record? The simple version is that’s what I like to do; I like to push myself in the backcountry. I want to see what a human being is still capable of. With society getting softer, I want to take a step back and really push myself in a way that most people will never understand.
  • What makes you think you can do that? I think it takes a unique mind-set to attempt this, and I have just enough crazy to give it my best shot. I’ve also been hiking and spending time in the outdoors all my life. If I had it my way, I would just continue walking back and forth from the North and South terminuses forever.
  • Are you even going to stop and smell the roses? Yes, I plan on taking one break a day. That might not be enough for some. But when I hike, I like to see the changes; I want to see behind the next corner, I simply just take more joy in hiking all day than not.
  • Why would anyone want to hike 50 miles every day? Why would anyone not want to hike 50 miles a day; it’s going to be extremely rewarding covering that much distance on your own two legs.
  • Are you crazy? Yes, but in a good way. Not the kind of way where I say things like “it puts the lotion on its skin” way!
  • Why are you announcing this so early; what if you fail? I would prefer to not tell anyone and attempt this as a huge underdog. But there are no refs in this game and a lot of it is based on the honor system. I think I can set a new record, but I need to make it publicly known that I’m already training and preparing to tackle this seemingly impossible task, just in case I do break it. Plus, I want people to take note and hold me accountable when they see me on trail, not taking zeros, not hitching, etc. If I fail? This is the most probable scenario, but that’s OK because I’ve failed at a lot of things in my life. It would also give me another reason to attempt the record the following year.

Doubtful Lake in North Cascades National Park.

Conclusion

I look forward to blogging about training and nutrition for The Trek leading up to the PCT. I will post limited amounts on trail, for obvious reasons. I will post a conclusion blog following the results of my endeavor. I will be filming and taking pictures daily throughout the journey and posting them to different social medias as well (Instagram: wilderness.pratt). I will also be tracking my movement with various GPS tracking devices per fastestknowntime.com requirements.

Cheers and see you on the trail!

Fun Facts

  • I have not hiked with another human for the past (three) years and I do a lot of hiking. However, my dog named Dan has joined me in the last six months.
  • I cannot give you an accurate number to the amount of times I’ve transferred colleges; I would have to really sit down and research.
  • I am not the actor.
  • Life goal: to become a mountain man.
  • I don’t own a TV.
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Comments 14

  • Saunter : Dec 3rd

    HYOH

    Reply
    • Chris Pratt : Dec 4th

      Most certainly, cheers. 🙂

      Reply
  • Christine : Dec 4th

    Good luck I’m sure you have done your research. I hope you do well and succeed in the goals you set for yourself.

    Reply
    • Chris Pratt : Dec 4th

      Thanks Christine, 99.9% chance I don’t succeed but I’m pushing regardless.

      Reply
      • Kevin Bowlby : Dec 4th

        Your style of hiking is not mine. I’d like to set the “Took the longest to hike X” record. But don’t cut yourself short. With a good attitude, lots of planning and proper training your chances are way better than 0.01% of succeeding. Plus, if the goal is to ATTEMPT the record, and do your best along the way, you pretty much have a 100% chance of achieving that. Good luck and be safe.

        Reply
        • Chris Pratt : Dec 6th

          Thanks Kevin for your kind words! But your right, the real winner is the one who took the longest!

          Reply
  • MoFo : Dec 4th

    go for it! have a ball however the adventure goes.

    Reply
    • Chris Pratt : Dec 6th

      I plan on taking it one step at a time, being flexible to whatever is thrown my way. Cheers!

      Reply
  • Jim : Dec 4th

    Are you planning on hiking with either an InReach, Spot, or other dedicated GPS device? These days, if you aren’t keeping a GPS track, or have other substantial proof, any record is likely to be questioned for its authenticity.

    Reply
    • Chris Pratt : Dec 6th

      Hey Jim. Yes I’ll have an Inreach and other GPS’s as well. Basically all the requirements fastestknowntime.com requires.

      Reply
  • Katrin : Dec 4th

    How are the record regulations? Will you hike through all the fire closures or taking the official detours?

    Reply
    • Chris Pratt : Dec 6th

      Hey Katrin. You should visit fastestknowntime.com for all the requirements. It would be easier for you to see for yourself, instead of me summarizing their requirements. I’ll take all the official detours if the trail is closed due to fire, as long as I’m on a continuous walking path to Canada and walking every available (open) mile of the PCT including re-routes. Nowadays, their will always be fire closures somewhere along the trail.

      Reply
  • Ruth Morley : Dec 4th

    If there’s a fire burning in your belly to do this, then you simply have to do it! Go for it!

    Reply
    • Chris Pratt : Dec 6th

      Hey Ruth. Oh its burning big time, I’m so excited just to attempt it! Cheers!

      Reply

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