500 Miles in 10 Days?! Thru-Hiker Smashes Record on Colorado Trail

Spencer Cox | BackcountryBackcountry
Colorado Trail
Photo credit: Mikaela Osler

Summer of 2020 might just become known as the summer of F.K.T’s (fastest known times). With races canceled, runners, distance hikers, and cyclists have been charging hard and breaking records left and right. The sheer amount of F.K.T’s that have occurred this season are so numerous, it’s been difficult just to stay up to date.

Among the multitude of broken records this year, Mikaela “Fly-By” Osler’s endeavor on the Colorado Trail stands out as a highlight. On July 30, Osler set out to attempt the famous Colorado Trail. Spanning 486 miles from Denver to Durango and encompassing over 80,000 feet of vertical gain over 8 mountain ranges, the Colorado Trail is a behemoth of a trek that usually takes many weeks to complete. Additionally, much of the trail sits at an elevation of above 10,000 feet. Despite this, Osler set out on the trail with the goal of completing the whole length in 14 days.

Colorado Trail
Check out that view! Photo credit: Mikaela Osler

This ambitious objective, if successful, would mean that Osler would break the previous female self-supported Colorado Trail F.K.T by 24 hours. The former record was held by Olga King with a blazing time of 15 days and 2 hours.

The female record for a supported attempt is 9d 10h 52mins, set by Betsy Kalmeyer back in 2003. 

record
Miles and miles… and more miles of singletrack. Photo credit: Mikaela Osler

On August 9, Mikaela Osler completed her trek on the Colorado Trail… four days ahead of schedule. Osler’s goal of 14 days was impressive as is, but her finishing time of 10 days, 12 hours, and 36 minutes is downright mind-blowing. Furthermore, Osler successfully completed this thru-hike entirely self-supported- she had food drops and accepted trail magic. That means Osler hiked the whole trail by herself, without pacers, a crew, or any outside assistance.

FKT
At the trailhead. Photo credit: Mikaela Osler

Osler is no stranger to long thru-hikes and boasts an impressive hiking resume completing trails such as the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail.

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The Colorado Trail. Credit: The Colorado Trail Foundation

Osler’s success on the Colorado Trail sets the bar high for those seeking an F.K.T. Covering just under 500 miles in 10 days is absolutely gnarly. Congrats to Mikaela Osler on her record-smashing hike in Colorado!

Colorado
Post-hike feast. Photo credit: Troy Allen

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20 thoughts on “500 Miles in 10 Days?! Thru-Hiker Smashes Record on Colorado Trail

  1. Very cool! Can’t wait to hear more about her adventure.

    For all the doubters in the comment section, you really have no idea what you are talking about. I did the CT in 2017 solo in 19 days and 4 hours while carrying about 45 pounds of 1990s gear and having done very little logistics planning. I have no doubt that an ultralight hiker/runner (who has experience on the Triple Crown) could pull this off in 10 days if she was lucky with weather and injuries. Stout, but not unbelievable at all.

  2. I’ve spoken with many thru-hikers. I ask them where they camped. I ask what their favorite place was so far. They cannot remember anything. Impressed? No. I feel sorry for people who need to make everything into a competition.

    1. There’s a thing in backpacking called “hike your own hike.” Kind of lame to rip on and discount something just because it’s not what you’re into.

  3. Truly impressive! But I have to admit I feel the same–not sure how this is physically possible…How was this feat monitored and verified? And more details on logistics would be appreciated–food, sleep, etc

    1. Ive seen people pulling 60 mile days on the AZT. It’s impressive but, not impossible. If you’re in shape and enjoy long days of solid speed-walking, it’s definitely achievable.

  4. You should probably clarify in the article that she broke the female FKT. It doesn’t say that in the article and is misleading.

          1. Negative. You are commenting on the link Dan Durston even posted the link with all the information on it you dimwit.

  5. Her look in the last photo says, “I hiked 500 miles, gained and lost about 80,000 feet in elevation all in 10 days and no pepperoni!?” Or her look says exhaustion, either way what an animal.

  6. How is this even possible? That would mean hiking 50 miles each day on average… And with the elevation???

    1. Truly impressive! But I have to admit I feel the same–not sure how this is physically possible…How was this feat monitored and verified? And more details on logistics would be appreciated–food, sleep, etc

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