Karl Meltzer, 49, hiked his own hike from Maine to Georgia, drinking beer and eating bacon along the way.
He also moved at a blistering pace, covering the 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail in 45 days, 22 hours and 38 minutes. It was the fastest time ever for a “supported” speed hike.
Being “supported” means that a crew brought Meltzer food, water and dry socks (and bacon) each day and a warm place to sleep in a van each night, which allowed him to carry the bare minimum daypack.
At 3:38 a.m. on Sept. 18, 2016, guided by his headlamp and by illumination provided by a fellow hiker (and previous AT record holder) Scott Jurek, Meltzer arrived on Springer Mountain in North Georgia at the southern terminus of the trail. After a well-deserved rest he met with the AJC the following evening to talk about his North-South dash, over beers, french fries and foie gras at a Little Five Points pub called The Porter.
The energy drink company Red Bull underwrote part of the cost of the trip, and also made a film about it. That film, “Karl Meltzer: Made To Be Broken,” was released last week, in time for National Park Week, and can be viewed online at this Red Bull web site.
Nicknamed “Speedgoat,” the Sandy, Utah resident is an ultramarathoner with more wins in 100-miles races than any other athlete, according to Red Bull.
In a brief statement about the movie, released last week, Meltzer remembered the last leg of the trail and his trip through Georgia, much of which he hiked at night.
“Georgia’s portion of the A.T. is 72 miles of singletrack (narrow trail), but don’t take it lightly, it’s the most beaten down section of the trail since most thru-hikers hit it early in the season,” he said. “I did all of Georgia in one exhausting 83-mile day.”