FKT: Jason Hardrath - Joshua Tree Traverse (CA) - 2018-12-19

Route variation
out & back
Gender category
Finish date
Total time
18h 17m 16s

The established Black Rock Campground to North Entrance Trailhead and back again on the California Riding and Hiking Trail.

Wow. What a Trip. What a beautiful desert.
I used the same "carry and cache” technique Christoff described using in his original establishment of the "Double Traverse” back in 2016. That is I started with all food and water and gear in pack then dropped caches as I ran out.
I started with 5 liters and a red bull...this was about 1 liter too little I now estimate...and that hurt really bad at the end.
Texted Peter (@ as I left the Black Rock Trailhead at 4:21am on December 19th, 2018...I resorted to this when my Strava Beacon refused to function.
I progressed through the the various trailheads good for about 18miles then started to feel terrible. From mile 23-29 I was sure I was going to drop out. Bleh. 
Rallied a bit and hit the North Trailhead at just before 12:16pm with 7:51:45 on the elapsed time. Dallied here until 7:57:40 showed on the watch, then started the long uphill back.
I agree with Christoff that running it this way makes great logistical sense when unsupported. It was nice not to have a heavy pack for the long ascent.
I made it to the Ryan Campground with around 12:32:10 elapsed time. At this point, I knew I could put away the record, after a day full of doubt and cramps. But the hardest section was still in front of me.
The Sun was completely set when I was about 2mi past Ryan CG and I went back to a headlamp for my remaining 5 hours of movement.
It was slow-going and painful. At one point, in the final miles I noticed my Garmin battery was low and started chanting (in painful, sleepy tones) "No, I have to make it, I have to make it [before my watch dies]" because I my tired mind suddenly remember that because my Beacon didn't work the watch was the only data I would have of the effort.
Well, it happened. I rolled into the Black Rock Trailhead and theatrically stopped my watch only to see a rather fun, new fastest known time of 18:17:16.
It was a beautiful day in the fact, I am already pondering doing a ”supported" or ”self-supported” out and back FKT going North-Black Rock-North.