A local friend was looking to do the GRT today (9/16/20) and needed a ride to the start. My schedule worked out so I decided to give it a second effort myself (thanks for the nudges from Mark Martin-Williams as well as the gent who beat my previous FKT, Mark Marzen).
We arrived at the trailhead around 0645. I explained to MMW that we needed to stagger our starts to avoid any improprieties with regards to unsupported vs self-supported. After asking me, "Seriously?" I proceeded to take off 10 minutes ahead of him.
When I ran this route a couple months earlier, about 70% of it was new to me. I had trouble locating a couple bridges and was not mentally prepared for the wealth of deadfall. Compounding these factors, it was a hot, sunny day and I had never attempted to fuel for an unsupported 10 hour effort.
This time went smoother. I could anticipate every trail junction, every bridge, every water crossing. I wasn't as successful anticipating deadfall locations or wildlife locations; spooked a massive bull moose in the Black Creek drainage leading to new deadfall it appeared. And a recent windstorm piled up astonishing amounts of deadfall on the north side of Black Creek and the descent to N10mi from Eccles Pass. Temps were about 10 degrees cooler than July, and the smoke haze was never over the top. Also, I fueled more consistently and didn't find myself incessantly refilling water bottles at every single water crossing.
I bonked a little on the top portion of the Eccles climb but it was less pronounced than my first go. Same of the Uneva climb. Generally a consistent effort. Just a great day running through the mountains.
Left the Surprise Lake TH at 0652 and arrived at the Copper GRT terminus at 1545 (elapsed time of 8:53).