"UltraPedestrian" Ras on His Unsupported Crossing of Washington
Vaughan believes his unsupported traverse, meaning no access to a crew or cached supplies, to be the first of its kind across Washington state
Ras Jason Vaughan at the Cascade Crest 100-miler in Easton, Washington. Photo by Glenn Tachiyama
Call it an FKT: first-known time.
Ras Jason Vaughan, better known as UltraPedestrian Ras, 43, of Seattle, completed a traverse of the entire state of Washington on foot last week, arriving at the Oregon-Washington border at 8:31 p.m. Tuesday, August 19.
Ras and his trademark dreadlocks completed the journey, which took him over 500 miles from the Canadian border to Bridge of the Gods at the Oregon state line via the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), in 13 days 14 hours 58 minutes. Two days prior to starting, on August 4, he hiked 30 miles north to his starting point from the Hart's Pass Trailhead in northern Washington's Pasaytan Wilderness, took a rest day, then began his journey south on August 6 at 5:33 a.m.
He was completely unsupported, meaning he had no assistance from a crew (as in supported attempts) and did not cache food and supplies for himself along the trail ahead of time (as in self-supported attempts). Adhering to strict self-imposed rules, he also did not forage for wild food or accept help from others on the trail, and he carried out all of his own trash until the end of his journey.
To accommodate his approach, he carried 29 pounds of dehydrated food, which he simply soaked in a container to prepare. He says a stove would have added too much weight. He carried no shelter or sleeping bag, opting instead to sleep on an inflatable mattress with a down jacket, pants and slippers.
It is believed to be the first completely unsupported crossing of the state of Washington on foot.
We caught up with Ras to ask him about what inspired him to make the crossing, why he did it unsupported and how he fared against the elements.
First of all, 29 pounds of food—how much trash did you have in your pack at the end?
I had a medium-sized peanut butter jar crammed full of wrappers, Ziploc bags and dead batteries. I would guess there were three and a half pounds of trash, mostly because of all the batteries.
29 pounds of food before ...
… and after. Photos by Ras Jason Vaughan
What kind of food was it, and how did you prepare it?
Most of it was homemade food that I cooked then dehydrated. A small amount was ready to go. I had a jar of peanut butter and a box of granola bars I crumbled up and stirred into it. I ate that for breakfast most days, until I ran out with three days to go.
At home, I made white jasmine rice, tempeh and soy strips. The soy strips were plain but I seasoned them with green curry, Jamaican jerk, lemon pepper, Sriracha and chipotle lime. Dehydrating everything saved a ton of weight and time on the trail.
When I soaked it I used a lot of water so it actually came out like a stew. It's the best trail food I’ve ever had.