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Fastpacking The Appalachian Trail

Updated: Monday, August 26 2013, 09:15 PM EDT

A former Brevard school teacher takes a long walk that's one for the books. He completed an unassisted thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail in record time. Matt Kirk started his journey in Maine back in June and finished in Georgia this month. He beat the old record by about two days.

Kirk had hiked the Appalachian Trail twice before in 2001 and 2007.  But this time his journey was what's known as "self-supported". That means no help along the way from anybody. He arrived at the southern end of the Appalachian Trail on August 7th greeted by family and friends.

It had been 58 days, 9 hours and 38 minutes since he left Mt. Katahdin, Maine. He'd just finished what's known as "fastpacking" 2,185 miles north to south. Kirk started north to south because of rocky terrain in Maine and New Hampshire, and wanted to take advantage of more light from summer solstice.

"I had heard about Ward Leonard's record that he had set back in 1990. I thought, wow, 23 years, this record has stood for so long.. and I was just intrigued, I wanted to give it a shot ," said Kirk. 

He not only gave it a shot, he shattered it. When that previous record was set, the Appalachian Trail was actually 45 miles shorter.

Click here to read Matt Kirk's blog.

Click here to watch Matt cross the finish line.

Fastpacking The Appalachian Trail

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