FKT: Jeff Garmire - Arizona Trail (AZ) - 2019-04-21

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
15d 13h 10m 0s

Jeff's trip report:

Jeff carried a SPOT tracker during his hike.  He also posted to Instagram every day.  He beat the previous self-supported FKT by more than 3 DAYS and the previous overall FKT by more than 9 hours!  Here are his approx daily splits, as determined from his SPOT:

Jeff started his NoBo hike at about 7:00AM on 4/6/2019.

Day 1 (4/6):  Reached about 3.5 miles short of Patagonia around 10:00PM (about Mile 47.6).

Day 2 (4/7):  Finished the day about 10:30PM just past Twin Tanks (start of Passage 7), right about Mile 100!

Day 3 (4/8):  45.6 miles, finishing at 10PM about 5.6 miles south of Reddinton Road (a little past Italian Spring) - 145.5 miles done.

Day 4 (4/9):  A late (11:30PM) finish at Highjinks Mine, about 51 mile for the day, and 196.5 miles done.

Day 5 (4/10): Jeff finished (11:00PM) about halfway through Passage 15, north of Ripsey Ranch.  We have him at 249 miles - a 52+ mile day!

Day 6 (4/11):  Past midnight, just north of Hwy 60, 301+ miles - another 52 mile day.

Day 7 (4/12):  Vineyard Mtn, 350 miles in 7 days!  Go Jeff!

Day 8 (4/13):  McFarland Canyon, about 398.5 miles. ? "I am holding on by a thread. My feet are a mess and I am growing more tired with each day."

Day 9 (4/14):  Whiterock Mesa, 444.3 miles.  "The margin for error each day out here is so small. In order to get enough sleep to function, take care (preserve) my body and intake enough calories, I have to be deliberate and purposeful."

Day 10 (4/15):  Battleground Ridge, 486.3 miles.  Jeff lost a bit of time due to the logistics of resupply at Pine.

Day 11 (4/16):  52 miles to Mormon Lake(?) "Energy, motivation and pain all appear in waves. One minute I might be eating a tortilla wrap, and the next I might be dozing off (only awakening when my hat falls off)."

Day 12 (4/17): Schultz Pass, mile 605.1.  Still averaging over 50mpd! "53 Miles for the day and now I’m dreaming of sleep."

Day 13 (4/18):  "Another 50 mile day."

Day 14 (4/19):  Jeff reached Skeleton Pt, about halfway down the South Kaibab Trail into the Grand Canyon.  708.4 miles in 14 days! "I am not sure the construct of a day anymore since I am awake every hour with the exception of short dirt naps, so for the sake of the Day 14 post, I covered 58 mil s before my first dirt nap."

Day 15 (4/20):  At 3AM on 4/21 Jeff was 3.6 miles south of Telephone Hill, with about 68 miles to go.  His Instagram report for the day says a lot: "It was the hardest I have ever worked. My worn out legs, exhausted mind and aching feet continued relentlessly though. After a short nap I climbed out of the Grand Canyon and then the fun began. The snow was patchy for the first 10 Miles, but then it transitioned to a constant blanket on the Kaibab plateau. I have never worked so hard for progress in order to preserve the chance to finish tomorrow. The snow had few breaks and was over 4 feet deep in most places. If my body didn’t feel broken already, it does now. There were no footprints on the trail as most other hikers walked the road. Signs were covered with snow, water sources frozen over and trees sat in deep wells. Luckily I had two things going for me, the snow was hard packed enough (or I am so light I didn’t sink in) and it was largely flat. If I was persistent I could exert myself to a decent pace, but it crushed my constantly wet feet. The landscape reminded me of the AT and the winter of 2016 when I learned to tell which path a trail would follow without blades or signs. The corridor was intuitive all day and I fought for every mile I could. I should be able to finish tomorrow!"

Day 16 (4/21): DONE around 8:19PM.  "It took 15 days, 13 hours and 10 minutes to complete the Arizona Trail. A new self supported and overall FKT (Speed Record). It was truly one of the harder things I have ever done. My feet are cut and bruised, my mind is cloudy with exhaustion, and my body has wasted away down to nothing. It was not exactly the experience I was expecting, but it was the one I was searching for. But enough about me. Thanks to a lot of people: my family for accepting I’m quite crazy and always supporting it, my friends for letting me stay on couches (when I’m not in nature) this last year of being homeless, all the companies that have helped out with gear for the trip, @elmatador.witt for breaking the FKT last fall and putting the thought in my mind, and everyone who sent a positive message. There were many low points out there, and positivity and mental toughness were the only ways to overcome them. I’m quite tired, my body needs to recover, and my mind needs to process this incredibly taxing accomplishment; but I do have more giant goals for 2019."

2 days later (4/23):  "A lot goes into an FKT or speed record. For me, I cleaned up my diet, cut out all beer, trained endless hours and set up a goal itinerary. But I think the most important decision in my success on setting the Arizona Trail FKT happened the day before I started. The plan was to start Friday, but after a windy night of little sleep in the Miller Peak Wilderness, my body was not responding the way I would like on the verge of a 15 day all out push. Contrary to my usual style, I made the decision to delay my start by a day, go into town and regroup. Looking back it was not the physical grogginess that was the concern, but the mental reluctance to begin something epic. I awoke fresh and ready to go the next day. With hindsight being 20/20 it feels like the right decision. I don’t know if there is a lesson in this, but I think mental well being and positivity is the most important. With every twinge of possible injury I would say something like “my knee doesn’t hurt,” or “I don’t get hurt out here.” This positivity along with mantras along the way proved very beneficial for the mental fortitude it took to cover 800 miles in the 15.5 days."