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[pct-l] More on Brian.

With Thanks to Mrs. Gorp.

.c The Associated Press

BANNOCK PASS, Idaho (AP) - Darkness was falling in the Bitterroots, but Brian 
Robinson couldn't stop walking. 

He had been hiking virtually nonstop since sunrise - 30 miles and 13 hours 
ago. And he still wanted to cover two more miles before making camp on this 
remote gap on the Continental Divide. 

It was another daunting day on the trail for Robinson, who was pushing the 
limits of endurance on the final legs of an unprecedented 7,400-mile, 
22-state trek involving hiking's so-called ``Triple Crown.'' 

``I'm walking from dawn to dusk every day, seven days a week,'' he said. 

By Oct. 23, Robinson hoped to become the first person to hike, in a single 
calendar year, all three premier 2,000-mile-plus national scenic trails in 
the United States: the Appalachian in the East, Continental Divide in the 
Rockies and Pacific Crest in the West. 

>From the Continental Divide somewhere in Colorado, the man known to friends 
as Flyin' Brian flew east to complete the trek's final leg at Mount Katahdin 
in Maine, the Appalachian's northern end. 

``I'm having a blast,'' Robinson said on the August walk to Bannock Pass on 
the Idaho-Montana border. ``But it's hard - really, really hard. You always 
have moments of doubt.'' 

He has coped with hip-deep snow and single-digit temperatures on the 
Appalachian Trail, 100-degree heat and thick mosquitoes on the Pacific Crest, 
and loneliness and countless steep climbs along the Continental Divide. 

On Sept. 27, with the Continental Divide behind him, Robinson was relieved, 
but still looking ahead. 

``I just have to keep moving as fast as I can,'' he said. ``Things can still 
go wrong, but my chances are very, very good right now.'' 

In all, the trek involves more than 1 million feet of climbs. 

Since taking his first steps Jan. 1 at the Appalachian's southern end, 
Robinson has tramped as many as 41 miles in a day and averaged 30 miles a 
day. From Gorham, N.H., he had about 300 miles to go to make history. 

``Brian has defied the odds. This is the greatest feat of endurance on any of 
the trails,'' said Jeffrey Schaffer of Napa, Calif., author of Pacific Crest 
Trail guidebooks. 

``I think it's comparable to trying to climb the highest peaks on all seven 
continents in a single year,'' added Karen Berger of Bronxville, N.Y., author 
of ``Hiking the Triple Crown.'' 

``I've quit saying what can and can't be done on the trails,'' she said. 
``Humans are amazing.'' 

Only two dozen people, including Berger, have achieved hiking's Triple Crown 
in their lifetimes. In 1999, two men became the first to hike two of the 
trails in a single year: the Appalachian and Pacific Crest. 

Only a major snowstorm or injury appear to stand in the way of success for 
Robinson, who already has worn out six pairs of running shoes. 

``Going in, I thought Mother Nature was going (to slow him down),'' Schaffer 
said. ``I don't know what he's done to placate the gods, but I think he's 
going to do it. ... If he finishes it, I expect to see his face on a box of 

Robinson, a 40-year-old from San Jose, Calif., suffered some setbacks early 
on, but has enjoyed considerable luck in the past few months with mostly dry 
weather and snow-free trails. 

His troubles included a six-week case of Bell's palsy that paralyzed the left 
side of his face, and heavy snow in New England that forced him off the 
2,168-mile Appalachian Trail in April. 

After abandoning the Appalachian Trail, he walked the New Mexico section of 
the Continental Divide Trail before traversing the entire 2,645-mile Pacific 
Crest in only 84 days and six hours. 

He pushed south into Colorado, completing the final 300 miles of the 
Continental Divide Trail Sept. 27 at Chama, N.M. 

Because there's no fixed route for much of the Continental Divide Trail, 
hikes of it generally range from 2,600 to 3,100 miles. Robinson followed 
route variations that took him 2,588 miles. 

Then he headed east to walk the final 590 miles of the Appalachian Trail. 

Despite a 2 1/2 mph average pace, Robinson insists he's not faster than other 
hikers. He just puts in longer days and takes fewer days off. 

``I don't stop for lunch or breakfast, and I eat all food, including snacks, 
on the go,'' the affable, soft-spoken backpacker said. ``I'm walking the 
entire day.'' 

He came up with the idea for the trek in 1998, a year after he hiked the 
entire Pacific Crest Trail, his first such journey. He saved $10,000 to 
finance the undertaking after working 17 years as a systems engineer for 
Tandem Computers of Cupertino, Calif., now Compaq. 

``I'm goal-oriented and I wanted a challenge. I saw it as my Mount Everest,'' 
Robinson said. 

Incredibly, the 6-foot-1, 155-pound hiker hasn't lost a single pound. That's 
because he eats a whopping 6,000 calories a day - almost triple the average 
daily intake - fueling himself with peanut butter, Snickers bars and ramen 

``Physically, the hike is getting easier,'' he said. ``But the main challenge 
is mental. I wake up at dawn and sometimes I'm tired and don't feel like 

``But you can't kick yourself out of bed if it's not fun. I'm seeing all the 
best country in the 48 lower states. What could be more amazing than that?'' 

He acknowledges the negatives of such a demanding schedule, though. 

``I sometimes feel like I'm in a bus,'' he said. ``I have to look and go, 
look and go.'' 

Some hikers have criticized Robinson's trek, saying the trails were designed 
to be escapes from modern life's fast pace, not race courses. 

Robinson said he hopes he doesn't spur an increase in competitive speed 
hiking. Instead, he hopes the trek helps raise public awareness and support 
for the trails, which need funding. 

``You see incredible beauty beyond description out here and these trails need 
all the help they can get,'' he said. ``There are definitely reasons not to 
hike fast on these trails.'' 

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