Twenty five years later, Palen and Swan again took to the peaks, reducing their record to four days and 18 hours. Their effort was for personal gratification and little mention was made of the achievement.
Palen later explained, "We didn't tell a soul. We tried to adhere to that philosophy: Do it and don't tell anybody. Do it because you like to do it."
The antithesis of this concept appeared in the Adirondacks in June 2002, in the person of Ted Keizer, an ultra-marathoner, speed climber and self promoter known as Cave Dog.
With the full support of The Dog Team, a full crew that provided food, drink and transportation to the various trailheads; Keizer climbed the 46 Adirondack High Peaks in a record three days, 18 hours and 14 minutes.
Keizer's knack for attracting press attention to his accomplishments soured many people's opinion about the feat. But, there is no denying the fact that it was a fast an arduous journey. Keizer's record remained intact until last summer, when Jan Wellford, a trail runner from Keene Valley covered an estimated 153 miles in 3 days, 17 hours and 14 minutes. With a limited support crew, and about nine hours of sleep over three days, Wellford, 26, managed to shave about an hour off the record.
Wellford's effort received little fanfare and even less press coverage. It was intended as a personal accomplishment, not a public affair. But eventually, someone will step to the plate to challenge his achievement.
Trail runs become increasingly popular
In recent years, numerous trail running events have sprouted up targeting the growing community of folks who enjoy taking a faster pace through the wilderness. These events have taken trail running to a whole, new level.
The grandaddy of them all is the Damn Wakley Dam Ultra Marathon, scheduled annually for mid-July. The popular race fills up every year with returnees and open slots are only available, "if someone dies," according to organizers.