View Full Version : How much planning is necessary?

04-04-2006, 16:41
I am planning a 06' SOBO thru starting on or slightly after July 1st. Just spoke with BSP and they assure me there are enough open spots for 2 nights on that date at the KSC (I'll send in my reg form tomorrow). I'm wondering how much mileage/planning data I need to compile before I determine my itinerary? I figured I'll meticulously plan the first few weeks, then use average mileage figures for the rest of the trail to plan for maildrop mail-dates for the rest of the trail, and if necessary I can call the person sending these drops from a town to adjust the schedule if needed. Is anyone planning specifically where they will sleep every night, based on climate, topo maps (i.e. degree of difficulty due to elevation change, etc.) and planning their itinerary down to the second? I'd prefer to leave some slack in there, and I don't really like planning that specifically. What are you all doing and do you have any thoughts?

04-04-2006, 16:57
Well, I think that everyone should have a baseline "paper" schedule.

What's your pace going to be? Who knows. But if you surf around White Blaze, you should get a pretty good idea of what others have done, and where they have resupplied. So, based on that you should be able to develop a reasonable itenary, at least on paper.

Is it going to be perfect? far from it. But, it will give you, and others, a rough idea of when you expect to be where. I know that's what worked for me.

04-04-2006, 17:11
I agree with Peaks. But, there have been those who had no plan, or: guide, maps, etc. and did OK.
I would have a "Plan", even a daily milage figured out. Bear in mind that you may have written down: Day one, summit K & return, Day 2 K stream CG to Abol bridge, (etc) Lets assume 12 MPD, by day 6 you plan on being at mile 60 (incl 1 days rest) Yet, you get hit by a major (leg cramp, T storm, Senic view, whatever) & only make it to mile 45. That is OK!! Some day you will plan on 12 and manage to do 20, it all works out in the end. Be sure to let family at home that this may happen, and "Ill call you from Monson on day 15" is just a guess.


04-04-2006, 17:16
Plan like crazy before your hike and then just take it as it comes on the trail.

No matter what you plan ...Murphy will be there !!


Blue Jay
04-04-2006, 19:22
Well, I think that everyone should have a baseline "paper" schedule.

I agree with this on the condition, that you use it for toilet paper within ten minute of starting the hike. Limiting yourself is BORING.

Almost There
04-04-2006, 19:27
Screw planning...after the first two weeks....IT"S OUT THE WINDOW!!!

max patch
04-04-2006, 20:18
The only thing I "planned" was where my first 2 resupplys were going to be. And showed my wife my bill paying system Took a couple of hours at most. Five months and 1 week later I finished. Then I thought about how I was going to get home. That took about 15 minutes. So "planning" isn't "necessary."

04-04-2006, 22:01
I am going south from BSP on July 28th, --get those reservations in lilpuppy!! I pretty much planned the first couple of weeks, as doctari suggested. I figure when I get to Monson, which I am in no hurry to get to, then I will have my trail legs, and will be able to cruise from there. But I am planning extensively for these first 116 miles or so.. Wether or not I stick to it, I expect not, but thats fine with me! Hope you catch me on the trail! I should have a few days on ya..good luck.. One more thing about planning. Its wicked fun so, why not. You learn about the trail, which gives you a bit more confidence about your surroundings when your on the trail, at least this is true for me and previous section hikes.

04-04-2006, 22:03
*June 28th..my

Lone Wolf
04-04-2006, 22:04
Screw planning...after the first two weeks....IT"S OUT THE WINDOW!!!
After the first 2 days it's null and void. Just hike. Don't be so anal about walking.

04-04-2006, 22:05
bad..(my computer is absolutely possessed!!)

Mountain Mike
04-04-2006, 22:35
You can plan somewhat for milage. I usually start slow miles at the start of a trip since my job doesn't allow for ample training & I figure it in on the trail. After a few week I figure 12-15 days on the AT & 20 on the PCT. It's never a sure thing. I may hit a pretty spot & decide to stay or hit bad weather & not want to miss a great view I may never get back to. I racall one day on the PCT when me & my hiking companion decided to layover in a campsite due to zero visibility. We hiked part of the next day till the clouds socked in again. We set up camp & combined our remaining food for dinner. When I opened my tent the next morning I knew we made the right choice!
I was awed by our views of the glaciers of Mt Jefferson in the early light. Hiking 13 miles to the resupply on a snickers bar was tuff 3+ months into the trail was a liitle ruff, but worth it.

Some things you can plan for. Others you can't.

Mountain Mike
04-04-2006, 22:50
One thing you have to plan is milage between supply point. Where you can buy, get by or need to do a mail drop. First time you do a long distance hike you plan like crazy. After that it's second thought with a little research on a new trail. My AT hike consummed hour & hours. Menu planning etc. My menue planning for the PCT was walking through the grocery store pulling trail food off the shelfs in 5-7 quantities. I got a weird look from the manager when I was checking out untill I told him what Iwas doing. When I got home I just dealed out the meals in the boxes for my resupply.

04-04-2006, 23:55
just get your gear, some cash ($40-50) and an Atm card and just start walking...

04-05-2006, 00:00
Plan on carrying extra food. That's about the extent of my planning. If you've hiked in mountainous conditions, you should know roughly how far you can hike in a day. If you aren't carrying a ton of stuff, you can easily make 8-10 miles a day, even if you're not in the best of shape. On my Georgia section hike, those are the miles I made, more or less, being 52 years old and roughly 20 lbs. overweight (though my job keeps me on my feet and I routinely lift heavy items). I probably can't help much with your decisions, but you might gain some insight from mine. My pack weight with 6 days of food and fuel, a solo tent, 15 degree down bag, closed cell pad, clothing, water, and a luxury item (14 oz. hammock) weighed 38 lbs. at Amicalola Falls State Park when I started the Approach Trail. Once you get your legs and decide what you can do without, you'll pick up speed, and when you do that, you'll need to carry less food, because you'll reach the next resupply town that much faster. I've done all of the Trail in New England except for the "100 Mile Wilderness" and Kahdin, and Connecticut.

The sections I found the hardest were the southern Maine mountains, the Whites (especially when done from the North - the climb up Mt. Madison is murder), and the section between the Vt./NH. border and the Long Trail (PUDS with no views).

Maine is wonderful.

Have fun.

09-09-2006, 02:37
well my date is approaching fast..and mostly my planning has gone into clothing, I would say..lots of hours , finding the proper layers and bag.I think staying warm is gonna be the key..long as I can walk I can get to food ..and I will carry extra food..but milage wise just wanna get to next shelter, next resupply..aint pushin nothing..long as I am warm and have a wallet ..I am good