My 24 Hour Challenge Experience

Sometime in Southern Oregon, my friends and I started talking about doing the 24 hour challenge. The goal of this challenge is to see how many miles one can hike in 24 hours. I was all in. We went ultralight for the challenge. We mailed all unnecessary items up to Bend where we would be in about a week. I got rid of all extra clothing, winter gear, stove, and random items like my Swiss Army knife. There are 66 miles between Crater Lake and Shelter Cove. My resupply strategy for the challenge was to pack 9,000 calories for the day. The resupply in Crater Lake was mainly sugar, sugar, and more sugar. Not the best for a typical resupply, but hey, works out for the challenge. I loaded up on donuts, muffins, candy, and chips. We wanted to rest our legs so we only hiked the Rim Trail at Crater Lake the day before consisting of about 8 miles. The night before I went over the water sources for the next day so I could be as productive as possible. Twas the night before the challenge. I went to sleep anticipating the next day.

7:20- Mile marker 1840. Take off! Feeling good and excited for the challenge!!
9:28- Just passed some trail magic and it took everything in me to not sit down and eat some food and drink a soda but I did get a piece of chocolate!
9:34- Got to first water cache, 8 miles in.
10:01- Why am I climbing? I thought Oregon was supposed to be flat?
10:55- Ugh, still climbing.
11:43- Made it to Thielson Creek, I see people sitting and enjoying second breakfast/lunch. Hmm, must be nice to sit. That’ll have to wait till tomorrow. Must filter water quickly. 3L for a 22 mile stretch. Let’s go.
12:00- Ran into my friend, Pterodactyl, who is also doing his 24 hour challenge. We had some good conversations about life lessons learned on trail, but this is a challenge and I must continue.
13:20- First quarter down! 6 hours and 21.5 miles in. I feel good and I’m not sure how I’ve been able to keep this pace up! My legs have a mind of their own.
15:30- Just trying to keep myself entertained by telling myself jokes. This is the best one I have: What makes a dad joke a dad joke? When it becomes a-parent hehe.
17:20- Ten hours in and mile 36!!! Crying tears of joy because I never thought I would be able to keep up this pace for this long. It is really cool to see how much stronger I have gotten out on trail. I also owe it to the amount of sugar I have consumed.
18:00- Made it to the next water cache and ran into Trail Spice, Soccer Mom, and Zoomies who are also doing the challenge. I sit down for the first time in almost 12 hours and enjoy dinner with my friends. I quickly shovel food into my mouth, fill up my water and then continue on. I’ll be able to enjoy dinner tomorrow.
18:20- Halfway done! 12 hours and 41.5 miles!
21:00- Its getting dark so I pull my headlamp out. I stop listening to music so I can hear for any sound of wildlife. I’m suddenly very scared of mountain lions.
21:30- I come to the realization that if I am going to die from a mountain lion attack I might as well be listening to some good music so I plug my earphones back in.
22:22- May or may not have tripped multiple times in the past hour, but I have not  fallen so who is the real winner?
24:00- Eating only candy at this point.
1:20- Three quarters of the way done! Hour 18 and mile 60 AND passed the 1900 mile marker! This is a big moment for me because this was my goal for the challenge. I legitimately thought I would be crawling into the 60th mile at the end of 24 hours. The fact that I made it 60 miles with 6 hours left is truly mind blowing and I may have teared up again. Ugh why am I so emotional today? Maybe it’s delirium.
3:00- I stop by Midnight Lake to filter water and take my second sit down rest break for the day. I am just chilling and eating a bag of chips when a cowboy camper suddenly yells out in terror thinking I was a bear eating his food. Whoops, sorry bro, just a human.
3:45- Dilemma, I made it to the junction to take me to town but it’s only 3:45. I truly did not think I would be able to hike 66 miles before 24 hours, but here we are. I then continue hiking past town and my plan is to turn around and yo-yo back to see how many miles I can cover in 24 hours. Let’s go.
5:05- It has now come to the point where I have now been listening to Move Along by the All American Rejects on repeat for the last hour. Great motivational song for when you are delirious and have been walking for almost 22 hours. Would recommend.
5:45- I stop for a second and admire the beautiful sunrise. Damn, I don’t see enough of those.
6:20- One our left!! I can no longer feel my feet, my knees are starting to hurt, and I am not sure how my legs are moving right now. My mind is mush.
7:20- 24 hours done and 78 miles hiked!!!! Holy moly. Never in a million years would I think I could possibly hike that many miles. I am shook. More tears of joy/delirium. But wait, there are no flat spots around for me to take a nap. Unashamedly I lie down in the middle of the trail with my feet elevated up on the mountain. Shoutout to the fellow hiker, Obi, who steps over me and not on me.
7:50ish- I pull myself together and slowly, very slowly, stand up and hobble down the mountain to a campsite to take a nap. Everything hurts.
11:00- After a good nap on trail, I hike/hobble the last two miles back to town, eat a huge lunch, and then sleep in a cabin for ~18 hours.

Now, some of you may ask, why would you do such a crazy challenge? That is a great question. I have wanted to do this challenge ever since I saw Dixie’s PCT video on her YouTube channel, Homemade Wanderlust. I then researched it further and a lot of people said that they felt more accomplished after completing this than completing the PCT. Now, I have not completed the PCT yet so I can’t say that, but I can say that pushing my mind and body to both their mental and physical limits is extremely rewarding. Challenging myself to the extreme limits provided me with a huge sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I learned much about myself during this challenge. With a little bit of determination (stubbornness) we can push through barriers. We can exceed our goals. We can do hard things.

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Comments 2

  • Johny : Aug 16th

    Paula “Dixie” Deen?

  • Clay Bonnyman EVans : Aug 22nd

    It’s great when fit young hikers — or fit older hikers, for that matter — can pull off one of these difficult long-trail “challenges.”

    But, a bit of caution may (may) be warranted: During my recent NOBO PCT hike (April 7-Aug. 7), I watched as two hikers I knew decided to pull off “big miles,” mostly just to see if they could do it. In one case, the hiker racked up 50 to go into Tehachapi; in the other, a hiker pulled a 40, then a 34, just to “see if I can do it.”

    In both cases, the hikers really f***ed up their feet. One had to double-zero in a hotel; the other had to slowly hobble, in great pain, until he could catch a shuttle to a town, where his family came and picked up. He went home to recover for more than a week.

    So, again, it’s great if you can pull something like this off. But the consequences for some (one of these hikers was older, but the other was in his 20s) convinced me that it’s not necessarily worth it.

    Take care of your feet, first and foremost. And if you’ve got the chops to do a big-mile challenge, cool.


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