*The GPS track on strava died, the total time is correct but the GPS track is short, regional editor has confirmed the route was completed properly*
I set out on Thursday, July 22, 2021 with the aspiration to set the women's time on Bob Marshall Traverse FKT. I used the hike into JBL as my warmup and then began the FKT route at 7:03am, heading towards Big Slide. After several days of heavy rain and an unusually wet July, the river crossings on Big Slide were a bit swollen and the conditions were rough on the Lower Great Range with deep mud in many places and very slick rock. I worried I wouldn’t be able to set a respectable time. Between the Wolfjaws I took a couple good falls and quickly resolved to prioritize safety over speed. I was feeling a bit discouraged at this point, moving much more slowly than I hoped as I went over Armstrong and Gothics. Then the sun finally began to shine and I became hopeful the Upper Range would be less challenging. The Saddleback cliffs proved less treacherous then I thought and I paused to refill my water at the stream between Basin and Haystack - I've found this to be a reliable water source in all but the driest seasons. Once I reached Haystack I began to get the wind back in my sails, the majesty of that mountain has always given me enormous amounts of strength. This feeling only amplified when I heard the news from fellow hikers as I approached Marcy - two other women were out there ahead of me going for The Bob as well! What are the chances?! I determined they must have started a few hours before me as I didn't cross paths with them on the out and back to Big Slide. I knew I had to meet them so I kicked it into high gear. I am so appreciative of these two strong ladies, Sam and Shannon, as I really don't believe I would've taken the overall time if I hadn't had them to chase. At the summit of Skylight I heard more hikers talking about the "bada$$ runner ladies going for a 32 mile day" and got another shot of adrenaline. Down from the Four Corners, past Uphill Lean To and across Lake Colden Dam a cruised almost effortlessly. Then it was time for the steep climb up the Algonquin Trail. As I climbed I watched the wet footprints on the rock before me get more and more fresh. It seemed as if the steeper the trail got the stronger I felt so I kept pushing hard only stopping briefly to refuel with a quick onigiri. At the summit of Iroquois we finally crossed paths and exchanged high fives, cheering each other on. This. This is what it’s all about - women supporting women! Then I glanced at my watch and was surprised to see I was on pace for the overall, something that hadn’t even been on my radar until then. I knew it was within my ability and I still had a lot in the tank to give. I shared the realization with my new friends and they urged me to push forward. Head down and heart soaring I glided up and over Big Al, made the round trip to Wright without pause and then began the fast descent to the Loj. At this point my watch died but I knew I still had my Garmin Inreach in my pack tracking so I didn't stress. Hitting the Loj parking lot, I realized I had a full hour to complete the final 2 mile out and back to Mt Jo and knew the overall time was mine. As I ascended, I passed a few hikers who must've thought I was insane - covered in mud head to toe and huffing my way up this little mountain. I was pleased to reach the summit and have it all to myself, soaking in the joy of the day for a moment before turning around and heading back out. I was tempted to bomb down this section but I knew I had the FKT and didn't want to risk injury on fatigued legs so I slowed down just enough until I reached the base and then sprinted back out to the trailhead, arriving at 8:10pm with a huge grin. Mad respect to Jonathan Z for setting a rock solid FKT on the route for me to chase at the end!
To hold the overall on this traverse, one that’s so majestic and close to my heart, means so much to me. Just 9 months ago I didn’t even consider myself an athlete and now I get to bring home a crown for every women in these mountains because #representationmatters 👑