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BOZEMAN, MONT. – When Demetri Coupounas came bounding out of the Vermont woods earlier this month, he knew exactly how long it had taken him to hike the 280-mile Long Trail solo: 12 days, 19 hours, 53 minutes.

But more remarkable than Mr. Coupounas's brisk pace was the lightness of the "base load" he carried on his back - just 13 pounds of gear, weighing about as much as a bag of groceries.


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