Zion FKT - Patgagonia
In a whirlwind of changing plans, insufficient oil and desert highways we found our selves on the side of the road with a blown engine en-route to Clare Gallagher setting the Zion Traverse FKT. If we believed in bad omens a weekend in Boulder would have sufficed. Instead we were led by Clare’s admirable and unwavering focus on running fast through public lands.
Clare’s planning on the drive with brief lessons of indigenous history in Zion made the 12 hour drive move quickly until the engine made some noises and blew leaving us with more questions than answers on car maintenance. After hefty car troubles we thankfully were able to lean on Hayden Hawks and his family for route guidance, moral support, and hospitality. He is the male FKT holder and knows the ins and outs of successful running between these glowing red walls.
The night before the attempt five of us crammed into a hotel room and in the morning Kyle graciously made us each a cup of coffee. With a loose but solid plan, Clare and Abby got out of the car and started on the 48 mile journey across Zion. I met Clare at a few points on route in order to take photos, but joined in and ran the last 15-ish miles with her attempting to keep stride to capture the poetic and audible Earth Raging going on in Clare’s head.
At the finish there were no crowds cheering her in as she set a new record. There wasn’t even a warm jacket or extra food other than what was left in her pack and mine, and surely she was done eating gels. The temperature was dropping as fast as the sun and we had a few mile walk out on a closed road. Thankfully, we hitched a ride from construction workers where we eventually linked up with the rest of our friends for food and margaritas in Cedar City.