Sunday, December 18, 2011

FKT action on the FT with TATU JOE!!!

Florida Trail route
FKT action in winter? Yeah, why not. This November/ December finds Tatu Joe on the Florida Trail attempting a yo-yo of the trail and a new Unsupported Speed Record as well. Some folks who follow FSTPKR may not be aware of Joe Kisner/ “Tatu Joe”.  I first met Tatu Joe in 2006 on the PCT which was my first thru hike of the trail or of any magnitude for that matter. I had already become aware of Scott Williamson through one of his slide shows here in Truckee, CA. 2006 was to be Binks (Scott Williamson) 2nd successful yo yo of the PCT. A yo yo by the way is to walk a trail from its beginning to end, then turn around and return to your starting point. This time though Scott was to hike with a friend of his, Tatu Joe. Tatu Joe lives in Huntington Beach, CA and is a surfer and ultra runner to boot. I will never forget this first encounter with Tatu and Bink as it has had a direct impact on where I would take my long distance hiking.

Tatu Joe and Bink PCT 2006
I remember I was camped just north of Cajon Pass, CA and had already broke camp and was walking when I heard folks talking below me on trail. Tatu up and moving before Bink had passed my buddy Stormin' Norman behind me on trail. I had a feeling this was Tatu as I was acutely aware of his and Bink's yo yo attempt and their start date. I had a hunch they would be catching up to me in this section. Sure enough it was Joe, but he was ahead of Bink. I ended up hanging with Joe for a while and hearing about his adventure so far. Bink caught up with us near a side trail down to a spring house. I ended up walking with Bink and Tatu after this and they encouraged me to hike and camp with them. I was blown away at the end of the day when Bink took over the lead and surged ahead on the climb over Baden Powell. There is a ton of short steep climbs in this section causing me to slow my pace. Finally I caught back up to Bink after he had long since stopped and was in camp for the night.

Tatu Joe charging off the front PCT 2006
Next morning before dawn, in the dark I heard Tatu rustling in his campsite. I was kind of taken back a few minutes later to see him taking off in the dark. Later once the sun had come up Bink came by my camp asking if I had seen Joe take off earlier. I mentioned I had, but now looking at the trail realized that he had gone on a side trail, possibly mistaking it for the PCT. In the end that was what happened.

That was 2006. In 2007 Tatu would return to the PCT to claim the unsupported speed record. Tatu put up a time of 79 days 21 hours and 42 minutes. Tatu kept a detailed account of this trip here. 2008 Tatu was back out on the PCT again and he was walking with Bink too. Tatu and Bink put up a strong time of 71 days 2hrs 41 minutes. I hadn't looked at these numbers recently, but they are distinctive in that this is the first big jump for the hikers.

Tatu Joe @ the Lost Boys 50 Miler
Since 2008 Tatu has run several ultra races and has continued to long distance hike. Most recently he walked the Appalachian Trail in 2010. This winter Tatu has a break between jobs and he has decided to put up the first unsupported speed record on the trail and hopefully to do it fast enough he has time to turn around and walk back south.

Tatu and the Big K!
Tatu will be the first to yo yo the Florida Trail and also the first to put up a unsupported speed record if all goes well. Tatu details some info on his 2,585 mile journey here on his blog. His time frame for this trip is to start in Key West on 11/26 and arriving at the northern terminus on New Years Eve. He plans to be back in Key West on the 1st of February.

Tatus Jammy Pack for the FT
There is also a detailed discussion of the gear he is using for this record attempt here. I will have live updates from Tatu shortly and will post those as they come in. I am looking forward to following Tatus adventure while at work during the crazy retail holiday season. At least Tatu will help me keep the fire going through the holidays!

Some of Tatus gear

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post about the trip Krud. I knew Tatu was up to something down there, but it's good to hear the whole story.