FKT: Eli Burakian - Midstate Trail (MA) - 2019-05-12

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
1d 20h 8m 0s
GPS track(s)

Hiked Midstate Trail south to north, starting on 05/10/18 at 6:31pm on the RI/MA and finished at the MA/NH border at 2:39pm on 05/12/18. This was a practice hike for an upcoming Long Trail hike, so I carried a full pack (starting 24lbs) and camped 2 nights. Given that, this could definitely go sub-30 hours in a fast light straight shot with no need to sleep. Nonetheless, was happy with the pace, including ~15 hours of rain. I tacked on some of the Wapack Trail in NH at the end, which is gorgeous. (Ended up doing ~105 miles total). 

Much more enjoyable hike than I had anticipated. Beautiful rural landscape, with some residential. Probably 25% is on roads, with much more of that in the southern part. Even on a beautiful Saturday in mid-May, I didn't see another hiker until I had already done 55 miles! Over the course of the trail, I saw less than 10 hikers in total.

Eli carried an InReach tracker, and also posted a few times to Instagram.

Post 1:  "Wet start to my midstate trail unsupported FKT hike. Started at 6:30 PM from the border, then hiked until 3:30 AM and threw down in the woods for a few hours. It was pouring rain most of the time I was completely soaked but eventually succumb to my tiredness, although I couldn’t sleep anyways."

Post 2:  "19 hours, 46 miles. Legs are a bit tired but otherwise good. Halfway through the trail and I haven’t seen a single hiker!"

Post 3:  "Just got it up from another not so peaceful almost slumber. Definitely feeling tired and moving a little slower than I had hoped, but still hope to finish the trail by mid day today. Got in 47 miles yesterday. All right final 20 miles to the border! I was going to tack on the white pack trail this afternoon, but due to all the rain, I may call it quits after the Midstate trail. I’ll play it by ear. Happy Mother’s Day all you mothers!

I’ve only seen three other hikers on the whole trail. Two of them were a couple I knew from Vermont who recognize me! The other one was another fast packer who I ran into at midnight doing 46 miles through the night. Guess there are other crazies out there!"

Post 4:  "Finished at 2:38 on Sunday! Midstate Trail unsupported FKT is 44 hours and 7 minutes. This could be done much much faster, as in probably under 30 hours. There is no need for even one night of sleep, let alone two nights camping, and my bag started out at 24 lbs, way heavier than necessary. I camped and carried a heavy pack because this is training for the Long trail. (Plus I worked on Friday, took a bus to Boston, a train to Providence, then got picked up and driven to the trailhead, starting at 5:18 pm and hiked 10 hours from there.) Had a great time. Over the course of the whole trail I only saw six hikers, in three distinct groups. It was a very solitary and peaceful experience. Heavy rain on Friday night and Sunday morning made it a bit sloppy, but the verdant green and spring flowers made it worth the struggle.

Interestingly, most of the climbing in the trail occurs in the last 27 miles with something like 4,500-5000 feet of vertical gain there. All told, according to my watch which has both a GPS and barometric altimeter (so I trust it) it looks like it was just over 12,000 of vertical gain over the entire trail.

With the 3.5 miles of access and the additional 7 miles I did on the Wapack Trail at the end, along with a few wrong turns, it looks like I did 105 miles and 14,000 vertical gain in exactly 48 hours.

Thanks so much for the support of my wife and family. Special thanks goes out to my brother in law, Jason Martiesian, who picked me up at the train station and drove me 40 minutes to the trailhead. Super shout out to Suzanna Smith-Horn, who drove all the way to the end of the trail to pick me up, and even hiked in 4 miles to meet me on the Wapack. It was great hiking out with her, and I showed up at the car and she had a veritable feast waiting for me. 
And best of all, I got back in time to see Julia on Mother’s Day.

A great adventure. Now just five and a half weeks until the Long Trail!"