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

Gender category
Route variation
out & back
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.