9/6/2020: I ran the Beaten Path Trail from East Rosebud to Clarks Fork and back in 10:58, unsupported. I carried my own food and drank water from only natural sources along the way. I left the East Rosebud trailhead around sunrise at 6:48am, reached the Clarks Fork TH in 5:17, and returned to the East Rosebud TH in 5:41 for a total time of 10:58:46. My watch read 54.57 miles and 8,200 feet of vertical gain.
I just came off a month on the CDT 12 days ago, so wanted to give this a go to see how my body adapted and recovered from 800 miles on the trail over a month. My legs still felt heavy and sore from the beginning, but gradually felt better (or at least not much worse) over the first 2/3 of the run. For food I munched primarily birthday-cake flavored gu (best eva) and peanut butter pretzels. I carried a Hydrapak 500ml soft flask with Katadyn BeFree filter and I had a bonus 600ml soft flask in my pack that I never needed to pull out as there are so many streams and lakes along the way, even in the dry season. I did become quite dehydrated (no bathroom breaks between Clarks Fork turnaround and my house in Bozeman...), so I would likely focus on drinking more if I did it again.
Now for the important stuff: I blasted HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban audiobook on the way out (Jim Dale is top 3 audiobook narrators of all time), switched to Above and Beyond Group Therapy EDM bangers for the 3rd quarter, and then enjoyed a nice mix of Ariana Grande and quiet time for the final hours. I used just one earbud and made lots of noise for bears, although I didn't see a single bit of scat or sign along the entire trail.
The Beaten Path is a truly phenomenal trail that has become immensely popular. The parking area was overflowing and I passed well over 150 backpackers and a few other groups of runners enjoying their Labor Day weekend. I did my best to pass wide for COVID, smile and say hi to folks, and to not be that guy that blasts others off the trail. It's a nice trail to run, quite runnable, but it's difficulty to take in the beauty of it all at anything faster than a slow trot or waddle. I think the out and back is actually faster unsupported as you aren't tempted to loiter with your support crew at the turnaround. I would have almost certainly been 30 minutes slower if I had buddies meeting me halfway.
Great day out there and a nice opportunity to take advantage of my blister proof feet and strong soles I earned from a month on the trail fastpacking from YNP to GNP.