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  1. #1
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    Default Jeff Woody GSMNP 900 FKT Attempt starting 7/23/2020

    Given my current "postman" project I may be partial, but I think this will be fun to follow...
    From https://fastestknowntime.com/route/g...park-900-nc-tn:

    Well hell, I guess it's time for a big adventure. I've been mulling this one over for a few years. Here goes. Next Thursday (7/23) begins an attempt to complete all the trails in the Smoky Mountains (aka, Great Smoky Mountains National Park 900 Miler Club) in the Fastest Known Time (FKT). The current FKT is a smokin' 43 days laid down by Benny Braden. In accordance with the rules of the FKT organization (and because we have a friendship), I've discussed this with Benny, and he has been most gracious and very supportive of this attempt. A public announcement is also required...i.e., this FB post. No idea whether I can maintain the roughly 30+miles a day on some of the country's most rugged and hilly trails. So, I guess this will be an experiment of sorts for this aging body of mine. And, I know, July and August heat, really Jeff...what the hell are you thinking. I will definitely need massive luck, help from the local running/hiking community and much encouragement from family and friends. I will post regular updates. Also, daily status of the carnage can be found at https://www.strava.com/athletes/woody_jeff
    The Strava link will be the main method of recording my daily runs. While I have a Garmin InReach Mini, I have found that it isn't a reliable tool for recording routes in the heavy tree cover of the Great Smoky Mountains. Therefore I will be using my more reliable Suunto 9 Baro, and recording GPS results on both the Suunto website and Strava, and I will provide periodic updates on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/jeff.woody.98. I will also be taking timestamped photos of trailhead signs for my records.


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    looks like this is going to be a regular thing in the Park....

    i know of another attempt that is supposed to start in september.....

  3. #3

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    Thinking about the logistics makes my head swim and my stomach feel queasy.

    good luck!

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    At end of day 5, Jeff's total mileage is 153.5, estimated 139.2 new. Moving time is just over 38 hours. Moving really well given the heat and humidity. He's approaching this as a runner and getting a good amount of stoppage time each day. Projected total mileage is currently 878, which would be a new lowest mileage map completion record. I missed him last weekend by a day on Sunkota Ridge. Good luck to him.

  5. #5

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    How do they determine the most efficient route? I thought I saw that a University of Tennessee grad student had written a piece of code to calculate that but can't find the reference now. When I intentionally marked off the 900 the first time around I had to repeat and overlap a lot of it. I've done all the trails multiple times now but in separate trips and at my leisure. All in one go is a lot to conceptualize. Very cool.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatmanTN View Post
    How do they determine the most efficient route? I thought I saw that a University of Tennessee grad student had written a piece of code to calculate that but can't find the reference now. When I intentionally marked off the 900 the first time around I had to repeat and overlap a lot of it. I've done all the trails multiple times now but in separate trips and at my leisure. All in one go is a lot to conceptualize. Very cool.
    I can ask Benny how he determined it for his attempts, I know he was going to try to break his record earlier this year but life happened.
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail '18-19'

    @leonidasonthetrail https://www.youtube.com/user/tehJC13

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatmanTN View Post
    How do they determine the most efficient route? I thought I saw that a University of Tennessee grad student had written a piece of code to calculate that but can't find the reference now. When I intentionally marked off the 900 the first time around I had to repeat and overlap a lot of it. I've done all the trails multiple times now but in separate trips and at my leisure. All in one go is a lot to conceptualize. Very cool.


    I think and this is just a guess but somehow I recall something along the lines---

    that they used Janice Eitner's book that shows that routes to do the 900 in the most efficient way...

    and for her book----she targeted it towards people who wouldnt spend a night out...

    so there's some long routes to get things down (like clingmans down to welch to hazel).....

    and i would assume that they studied the hell outta the maps...


    and yeah-----for my 900, i had alot of over lap with mileage...

    especially in the early parts where i was just eager to be out on a trail and not really
    exacting planning for the 900..

    i knew i wanted to do the 900 after the second hike i had in the park as i had read a newspaper
    article about it and figured that was a good way for me to not keep doing the same trails over and over and over (like how some people
    just hike alum and chimneys every year)....

    but, it wasnt til i was a couple hundred miles in that i really started to get aware that i needed more planning
    to cut down on the overlap..

    especially for someone who was hiking solo and was not doing shuttles just yet.....

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JC13 View Post
    I can ask Benny how he determined it for his attempts, I know he was going to try to break his record earlier this year but life happened.


    i was wondering about that as i had read that he wanted to do it again but never saw an update about it......

    thanks..

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatmanTN View Post
    How do they determine the most efficient route?
    It depends on your definition of "efficiency." Going after lowest time, or distance? I've spent a good bit of time on this and to the best of my knowledge there isn't an algorithm in graph theory that cleanly solves the GSMNP 900 for efficiency. The postman algorithm is a good place to start and is the basis for the name of my current quest for lowest mileage map completion... The Great Smoky Postman: http://matthewkirk.blogspot.com/2019...roduction.html

    That introductory post includes a link to an interactive visualization of Benny's 2017 itinerary which is currently the lowest mileage map completion record of 924.3. There is also some interesting discussion on different interpretations of efficiency on the FKT forum linked above including the concept of a self-supported route:
    https://fastestknowntime.com/route/g...park-900-nc-tn

    Spoiler alert: although I'm no PhD in math, Jeff's projected total mileage will likely soon be above 900 as he starts doubling back. I have found (at least on spreadsheet) that it's possible to beat Benny's lowest mileage, but it comes at a sacrifice of time efficiency. How Jeff balances this out will be interesting for us nerds to watch.

  10. #10

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    Yeah I was thinking of efficiency as least repeated mileage. The postman algorithm is fascinating, thanks for sharing those links Matthew. I've done IT work for distribution companies for many years and no one does this manually (too complex to be done in time for next day deliveries when shipping 50,000 items each day to multiple hundred customers); most use sophisticated routing software. I've never delved into the algorithms; very interesting and that vid did a nice job explaining it.

    Good luck on your own project!

  11. #11

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    Wondering how he’s getting resupply?

  12. #12

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    Nobody has studied this sort of mapping problem before? I see it having a lot of combinations of trails so perhaps overly large computationally. Simplest problem seems to be finding the route with the least distance, which to me seems would have a solution. Optimizing for a FKT would be complicated by terrain considerations and campsites and how that might affect a particular hiker/runner. And probably other factors, like a maximum distance per day constraint and factoring in deadends. An interesting factor might be a bushwhack option. I wonder if it could be solved in a GIS or brute force computationally?
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by treroach View Post
    Wondering how hes getting resupply?
    To accomplish a GSMNP 900 FKT, you have to do it as just long day hikes with a support team/person that drops you off and picks you up at trail heads.
    There isn't any spot along the trails that you're more than 15 miles from a trail head. So when you're doing 30+ mpd or more, there isn't any reason to spend a night in the back country.

    However, I could see that someone really getting into the nitty-gritty of planning out a GSMNP 900 FKT might find a situation where the best way to get a particular day's hike in would be to hike from Trailhead A to trailhead B, then be driven to Trailhead C and stop for the night at back country campsite CS. But to keep up their speed, still never carry a pack full of gear and have a support person already have campsite CS setup for him when he gets there.

    I could even eventually see at least a couple of different GSMNP 900 FKT catagories:

    1. Solo - Supported
    This is what I assume Jeff is doing at least having someone pick him up and drop him off at trailheads.

    2. Duel - Unsupported
    Two people working on FKT in tandem being each others support.
    Example: Each day "Bob" drops "Sue" are going to hike between trail head X and trail head Y.
    Bob drives to X and drops off Sue, where she walks to Y.
    Bob then drives to Y and walks to X.
    Sue picks up the car at Y and drives to X to pickup Bob

    3. Solo - Unsupported
    This would require no shuttles and no support or resupplies (since park rule prohibit stashing a supply "cache" other than in your vehicle).
    off at trail head D1 and then drives to trailhead D2 to hike back to D1.So each day person A drops person B off at trailhead X, then drives to trailhead Y.
    Then person B hikes to the car at trailhead Y

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    looks like matthew (previous poster) according to the link he provided----somewhat did figure out how to map all this out...

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    looks like matthew (previous poster) according to the link he provided----somewhat did figure out how to map all this out...
    I followed the first link and saw the picture but the link to the postman problem didn't appear as a link to me. Reading it over now.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

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    Happy to welcome more brains to this interesting route inspection problem of both time and distance!

    Yes, please also refer to the discussion forum here:

    https://fastestknowntime.com/route/g...park-900-nc-tn

    The GSMNP network problem poses some interesting and perhaps unforeseen computational challenges. If bushwhacking, there would be the consideration of where and which nodes to accept into the network. Would you want to distinguish between the interwoven network of roads (used to access trail network at many nodes) for efficiency? Or is this distance traveled in a vehicle inconsequential to solution? So on and so forth...

    I'm just hoping to finish my postman outings before someone finds a more efficient solution! But crunching numbers is one thing, you should also walk the talk

    Anyway, back to Jeff's attempt... To the best of my knowledge here's his status after a week:

    Elapsed time*: 6d, 4h, 39m
    Staged time: 2d, 3h, 34m
    Total miles**: 204.81
    New miles***: 179.3
    Projected total miles: 910.1
    Projected total days: 31.1
    Projected days (staged): 9.5
    *assumes same start time each day, based off Jeff's Strava
    **uses Jeff's GPS data, shown to err on shorter than actual mileage
    ***estimated from quick nightly tally of $1 park map mileage, unofficial

  17. #17

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    (Links don't show up on the white background.)

    Solving under the Chinese Postman method stipulates a closed path (return to origin). Then the video allows for a different ending point from the start, giving a minimum but not guaranteeing that minimum starts and finishes at a trailhead. Can you solve the minimum distance for a connected set of trails when trailhead nodes are specified? Interesting. If that could be done, then the trailhead nodes required could then be included with roads to compute minimum distance overall. That is if I am not missing something which is entirely possible, not my usual math. I'll go read the additional information.

    All the trails in the Smokies is a pretty interesting plan but I already have enough on my list to keep me busy. Maybe when I retire.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

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    i find it interesting how the spreadsheet i created for the Park is being used these days......

    although i hope they have updated it since 2004 when i passed it on to them......

    some mileages may have changed a touch.....

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    i find it interesting how the spreadsheet i created for the Park is being used these days......

    although i hope they have updated it since 2004 when i passed it on to them......

    some mileages may have changed a touch.....
    Are you talking about the 900 miler club spreadsheet? Link: http://900miler.smhclub.org/900%20Mi...preadsheet.pdf

    It looks like this spreadsheet was updated as recently as 2018 with the GSMNP $1 map, which in turn looks to have been updated July 2019. Link: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvis...p_JULY19-4.pdf

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    Are you talking about the 900 miler club spreadsheet? Link: http://900miler.smhclub.org/900%20Mi...preadsheet.pdf



    yeah.....

    i put together that spreadsheet back in 2003...


    and i should state---when i said i "created it for the Park"----I meant a spreadsheet of the trails in the Park.......i didnt make it for the
    Park Service...

    I created that spreadsheet when I had a job that was awful so i spent a day doing the spreadsheet instead of working but billed them for it..

    I did it mainly for myself as i had a paper log that i was keeping to show how much park mileage i had completed....

    and with the paper log, after each new hike, i would do the math and them figure out what percentage i was done....

    and the job that i was at when i created this spreadsheet----i had to take when i was 75% done with the 900 but new job
    meant i had to move away....

    and then at one of the wilderness wildlife week's that pigeon forge held, i talked to this gentleman and we
    were just discussing trails and what not..

    told him that i had create this spreadsheet to keep track of mileage and if he wanted it, i would email it to him...

    so i did...

    i also said to pass it on to others that might find it useful........

    and he was some sort of officer for the smoky mountain hiking club so he passed it on and one day i noticed it up
    on the webpage....

    i just find it funny that it has become very useful for people doing the 900.....

    but, the caveat i always say is that i have not updated it since right before i completed my 900...

    i just didnt have a need to as i moved on to hiking in other areas than the Park...


    its good that it was updated and they have tweaked it a little...


    what i did to compile it was just use the brown book and each trail listing was its one entry...

    and then for longer trails like the AT, in the brown book is was separated in chunks so i did likewise..........


    i hope people have found it useful....

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