https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred-Mile_Wilderness: The Hundred-Mile Wilderness is the section of the Appalachian Trail running between Abol Bridge just south of Baxter State Park and Monson in the state of Maine. It is generally considered the wildest section of the Appalachian Trail, and one of the most challenging to navigate and traverse. This section of the A.T. is crossed by several logging roads and is maintained by the Maine Appalachian Trail Club. It consists of a small corridor of protected wilderness surrounded by large tracts of public and private land controlled by paper companies. An increasing amount of the adjoining lands are being protected by groups like the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Nature Conservancy.
Congrats Xander! That is such an impressive time! Maybe without the high water you can take it under 24 hours some day. Glad to see this FKT finally get to the point that I no longer need to fret over taking any more stabs at it. I will keep enjoying the HMW at my own pace whenever I get the chance. It's a special place!
I will be returning to the Hundred Mile Wilderness in mid August or early September of 2022 to attempt a sub-24 hour NOBO time. I have not decided if it will be supported or unsupported yet. I will reply to this thread with more details a couple months ahead of time.
I'm planning to run a SoBo Unsupported Hundred Mile Wilderness on the weekend of August 13. I haven't been on the trail there yet, so I'm filled with hubris and trepidation, but I suppose all of that will be tested on the mud, roots, and rocks of Maine soon. Perhaps I'll run into Finn out there. Tracker link and more specific start time to follow.
I am heading out from Abol Bridge this afternoon (2022-08-12 around 1:30pm) armed with 16000 Calories, two filter bottles, and 12000 lumens. Here's my tracker link:
It should ping every 15 minutes. I'll also be tracking with a GPS watch.
In 2020, I set a self-supported (intended to be unsupported but received medical aid from a passing hiker about 20 miles in) FKT of 29 hours and change on this route.
The intent was to return in 2022 to lower the time unsupported, but plans fell through (went to Chamonix for UTMB instead).
I am writing to confirm that I will be returning in the summer of 2023 to attempt an unsupported fastest known time of the Hundred Mile Wilderness.
Sub 24 hours is absolutely possible. That is what I'm aiming for - I will try my best to take it under that time.
Regardless, of whether I get it or not, the overarching purpose is to keep the spirit alive and hopefully inspire other athletes to consider a similar attempt and performance breakthrough.
I will be setting off from Monson at 2pm on Monday 6/19 to take a crack at the 100 Mile Wilderness supported FKT. I will have a crew meeting me at the road crossings previously noted by Barry Howe on his trip report. I will also be paced throughout the run. You can find my live tracking link below and I will upload a gps track if/when I complete the run.
In my prep for the run, I've spoken to three of the athletes listed above on the FKT board. There's so much passion for this route, and I hope my team and I can bring it alive in a couple of days. I have planned this run extensively and tried to cut out many of the time-sucks that can chip away at 100+ mile efforts, in the hopes that this will not only be an FKT but a reflection of exactly how fast I can move on Monday.
I'm wicked grateful to the team that's coming out to pace me, the experienced runners who have helped me strategize over the past few months, and my dad for constantly being a source of grounding, creativity, and care. Time to carry some logs.
I'm planning to try for the Maine 100mi Wilderness unsupported FKT on July 6th, 2023, beginning in the early afternoon. I'll have a buddy drop me off at the southern end and pick me up at Abol Bridge. I've done a fair amount of diligence, but am much greener on this route than most people on this thread. I am so appreciative of the several folks here who have taken my calls and talked me through bits and pieces.
My tracker page is here: https://share.garmin.com/stepanovic. I will also have a GPS watch (or two) for the detailed GPX afterward.
Looking forward to posting the outcome, no matter how it goes.
I think for the time being we should shelve the idea that this route is primed and ready to go sub-24 hours unsupported. I don't understand where this narrative came from, and there's no data to back it up. It has been proven time and again that the standard right now is 29-30 hours. I'm sure sub 24 unsupported will happen at some point, but the idea that anyone short of maybe a handful of true world-class athletes is just going to carve 5+ hours off the current time is not only unrealistic, but I think hurts the route. I say that because it will likely goad people into going out way too hard, or it'll keep people off the trail altogether because they think something like 27 hours is a bad time (which it isn’t). I think it’s also disrespectful to current and past records and fails to properly acknowledge the difficulty of this route. The HMW just had its first supported/overall run anywhere in the ballpark of 24 hours, which was game changing for the route and required a ton of planning and support to a very skilled non-professional athlete. Just MO, but no one has proven that this route is anywhere close to 24 hours unsupported yet.
On the theme of unsubstantiated narratives, “Northbound is faster” places high on my list. Ryan and Adam set the first serious speed record back in 2011 running south bound—not sure why they are not listed in the new website, but it was a legit record and can still be viewed in the old FKT site.
Rob broke that record running south bound as well and several other runners have completed the FKT south bound. I prefer northbound because I’m paradoxically less prone to overdo the effort on harder terrain but that can’t be true for everyone. Running southbound also ensures that a fast runner can cover all the most runnable terrain in daylight when they are fresh. There’s definitely something to be said for using your best energy to smoke those miles and then save enough to just hold on for the remaining miles that are going to be slower no matter what.
Again, I do prefer northbound but my point is that the fastest direction is not a foregone conclusion and subsequent aspiring FKTers should seriously consider Southbound as a great option, depending on their physical and psychological preferences.
Hey Will! I can appreciate why you feel this way about the sub-24 narrative. That said, I think it's possible and not just by world-class athletes. I'll also take ownership for generating this narrative and I can assure you, it doesn't come from a place of disrespect, surrealism, or dissuading others from going for it. As a thru-hiker (class of 2014) and multi-time finisher of the HMW over the last 10 years, I only have the deepest admiration and reverence for the trail and the people who have completed it, as well as encouragement for people who want to get into the scene. Feel free to give me a call (207-420-0469).
Hey Finn! Sorry if my post felt aggressive. I know you mean no disrespect to or to dissuade anyone, and I know we share a deep respect and love for this route.
When I said that I don't understand where the narrative came from, I didn't mean that I didn't know who was saying it. Rather, I was saying that I don't understand what evidence there is to support that this route is anywhere close to going sub 24 unsupported. I'd be happy to be proven wrong! But I don't see the evidence. Perhaps you can elaborate here on what evidence or data you have that indicates that a sub elite athlete is capable of shaving over 5 hours off the FKT?
The reason I bring it up here rather than offline is because multiple people (yourself included but others too) have publicly made the case that sub 24 hours unsupported is imminently possible by a sub-elite athlete, so I'm publicly making the case why I think that's wrong and what I think are the unintended consequences of that narrative. It's an interesting conversation and I think the dialogue should be good for the route!