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Knotts and the Appalachian Trail Speed Record

26th June

19.9 miles

Bushcamp (1310.3) to Bushcamp (1329.2)

I was woken at 12.30am by a bright light shinning into my tent. It took me a while to register what was going on. It was another of my CDT hiking buddies, called Knotts.

Now Knotts is not your regular thru hiker. He is already a Triple Crowner and this year he plans to hike all three of the trails that constitute the triple crown, the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and the Appalachian Trail in a calendar year. It’s called the calendar triple crown. Very few hikers attempt such a thing. He has already hiked around 800 miles of the PCT and around 700 miles of the CDT. Sounds impressive, right?

Knotts’s main goal for this year is to break the unsupported (without a support crew) speed record for the Appalachian Trail. Currently it’s held by a girl called Anish. I’m not sure of the exact time but something like 55 days to hike 2190 miles. Maybe someone reading this knows the exact time, of so leave a message in the comments section.

Knotts and I have been keeping in contact for a few weeks, hoping to meet up on trail and either hike together for a couple of miles or share a camp. When he woke me at 12.30am he was still on day 30 of his record attempt. That’s 1310 miles (2108km) in 30 days. Crazy.

He was obviously exhausted but we chatted for an hour while he got ready to sleep. He failed to secure any sponsors for this hike so bought a $19.99 backpack from Walmart and a $5 fleece blanket which he picked up on a Black Friday sale. He is on a very tight budget. His shoes were falling to pieces but he was in good spirits.

On a cold night he grabbed 4 hours sleep and was away hiking with his Walmart backpack around 5am. His lightweight setup only weighs 5 pounds, just over 2kg and was done on the cheapest budget possible. Check out his social media below, tell him Shepherd sent you.

Click to follow Knotts on his website

Click to follow Knotts on Instagram

I went back to sleep, because I could and I was tired. It was after 8am when I took my first steps out of camp.

The mornings hike had sections of ridgelines with nice views and the now standard rocky sections. Several hikers I met at the campsite mentioned a short hike to a restaurant for lunch. They twisted my rubber arm and I found myself at a rather posh looking restaurant.

I’m not smelling particularly nice right now, it’s been almost 200 miles since my last shower. Ok, I stink, real bad. I’m even grossing myself out right now. Six dirty smelly hikers were eating near well dressed, wine drinking business people. We were all well aware how far removed we now are from what others call normal. I had a lovely salad and a turkey sandwich with my beer. Have I mentioned that I’m craving healthy food. Of note I found a large tick on me during lunch, so did two others. Three ticks on six hikers. I check myself daily for these horrible  alien creatures.

The afternoon section of hiking was rather short to a small bushcamp next to a beaver pond. The tea coloured water was well filtered before drinking. It seemed every other hiker except me saw a black bear about half a mile from camp. Not to worry, I’m sure I’ll sleep well.

You might be interested in:

The Complete Pacific Great Trail Guide
The Complete Continental Divide Trail Guide
The Complete Appalachian Trail Guide
Lightweight Hiking Gear List

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8 Responses

  1. BeeKeeper

    I had the privilege of meeting Knotts in Banff after he finished his CDT/GDT hikes last fall. He is proving how long distance hiking can indeed be done on a budget. He’s bad ass!

    Ok, how did he know which of the 3 Nemo’s was yours?

      • BikeHikeSafari

        Anyone who does this sort of stuff is slightly bonkers in the best possible way

  2. Thomas R. Bailey

    Assuming there isn’t someone who has a more current record – this was in 2015:

    Heather “Anish” Anderson set a new record for the fastest unsupported thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail on September 24, finishing the 2,285-mile trail in just 54 days, 7 hours, and 48 minutes.


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