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Michele
08-24-2006, 19:33
I haven't seen a lot of discussion about zero days. I understand it all depends on your hike/physcial conditioning/circumstances, etc. when it comes to how many you take, but I once said I thought I might take 1 zero per week and was told that was twice as much as normally taken by the average thru-hiker Is this true?

I'm giving myself 7 months to complete the trail and am in absolutely no hurry. What does everyone think about zero days and how often did you (or do you think you will) take one? By the way, I'm also considering taking zero days actually on the trail...just spending a day in a nice spot resting, instead of going into town to rest.

map man
08-24-2006, 19:47
If hikers who've completed the whole trail in one year and keep a journal at trailjournals.com are any indication, the "typical" thru-hiker would spend one zero day for every seven or eight spent hiking (20 zeros on average, 148 hiking days on avareage). Of course, your experience may vary.

Your idea to spend some zero days on the trail instead of in towns is one I've heard some thru-hikers say they would have done more of if they had it to do over again. And it saves a lot of money!

mweinstone
08-24-2006, 20:53
the neat trick is to slide thru towns and zero on trail. there are so so many benifits to doing this yet it takes alot of time to sink in.you are having the hike of your life when; you hate town good. real good.real hate. hate the smell, sight, sound and lack of peace.the longer you wait to zero the better. each week is too much. only 6 times on a thru hike , not enough. around 10 to 12 is just right.

Blue Jay
08-24-2006, 21:12
Actually when you come right down to it every single one of your days, on the trail or off, is yours and your alone. It is very important to spend them exactly as you and no one else, wants to spend them. After all, they, memories and love, are truly the only things you will ever have. The rest is overhyped BS.

The Old Fhart
08-24-2006, 21:18
Blue Jay-"Actually when you come right down to it every single one of your days, on the trail or off, is yours and your alone. It is very important to spend them exactly as you and no one else, wants to spend them. After all, they, memories and love, are truly the only things you will ever have. The rest is overhyped BS."Gosh, I hate to admit it, and this is pretty scary, but I totally agree with Blue Jay!

Frosty
08-24-2006, 21:27
Gosh, I hate to admit it, and this is pretty scary, but I totally agree with Blue Jay!You think that's scary? Warren Doyle said pretty much the same thing....

The Old Fhart
08-24-2006, 22:20
Frosty:

Originally Posted by The Old Fhart
Gosh, I hate to admit it, and this is pretty scary, but I totally agree with Blue Jay!
You think that's scary? Warren Doyle said pretty much the same thing...."You mean WD agrees with Blue Jay as well! Wow, that is scary!:D

Frosty
08-24-2006, 23:47
You mean WD agrees with Blue Jay as well! Wow, that is scary!:DOkay, so it's you, me, Warren, and Blue Jay. Wonder how Tha Wookie and Jack would chime in? And L. Wolf? Teej? We could be facing Armageddon here!

Biloxi
08-25-2006, 00:12
:eek: LONE WOLF takes zero days..say it aint so;)

bfitz
08-25-2006, 01:39
Gosh, I hate to admit it, and this is pretty scary, but I totally agree with Blue Jay!
Holy crap! Me too!
Think weekends. Occasional sidetracks. Let fate drive.

fiddlehead
08-25-2006, 02:41
i wouldn't plan too much. Take one when you feel like it, not when your schedule tells you it's past due or whatever. THat being said, looking back on our triplecrown attempt in 2001/2002, we took one on average of every 11 days. And although you think now that you will spend it in the woods, chances are you will take it wherever is most comfortable at the time: some girls house, hotel with 6 other hikers, exploring DC or NYC, rafting the Nolichucky, home for a wedding, Memorial day picnic, etc.

Lilred
08-25-2006, 08:20
I haven't seen a lot of discussion about zero days. I understand it all depends on your hike/physcial conditioning/circumstances, etc. when it comes to how many you take, but I once said I thought I might take 1 zero per week and was told that was twice as much as normally taken by the average thru-hiker Is this true?

I'm giving myself 7 months to complete the trail and am in absolutely no hurry. What does everyone think about zero days and how often did you (or do you think you will) take one? By the way, I'm also considering taking zero days actually on the trail...just spending a day in a nice spot resting, instead of going into town to rest.


Chances are, you won't be seeing many of the places you'll pass through again. Take as many zero's as you feel necessary. Enjoy the woods and the towns. Have a great hike.

kyhipo
08-25-2006, 08:43
I love to take a day off a week,usually sunday while hiking.Sometimes two days off!If I have no datelines or its raining out bad,hate to hike in the rain.I just hike my own hike ,I have taken a week off in the middle of my hike to visit people many many times.ky

Spiritual Pillgrim
09-14-2006, 19:04
If hikers who've completed the whole trail in one year and keep a journal at trailjournals.com are any indication, the "typical" thru-hiker would spend one zero day for every seven or eight spent hiking (20 zeros on average, 148 hiking days on avareage).

Joe Walsh I ain't, but ordinary, average guy I must be. I had 21 zeros and 150 total days (129 hiking). My original plan called for a zero about every two weeks for a total of about 12 over six months.

Most of my zeros came as back to back zero days, some were single. I had 2 or more consecutive zeros in Hot Springs, Damascus, Pearisburg, Waynesboro, Carlisle PA, Wallingford VT. Once past central VA, most of my zeros were to get out of the rain. Early in the hike, my body needed extra recuperation time, especially in Pearisburg. I made it there from Damascus in 8 days which for me was phenomenal.

Further north (say, past the Terrapin Hostel in Front Royal, VA) good hostels were fewer and farther apart (for me, anyway) until reaching Maine, so my zeros on the northern half of the trail were mostly single zeros and spread out a little more.

I didn't plan on any 20+ mile days, but had 26.

My advice? Relax and chill out. Zeros, hostels and trail towns are a great part of thru hiking. Don't miss 'em.

Panzer1
09-14-2006, 19:41
Besides taking zero days, you can also take short days too if you want.

Panzer

bfitz
09-14-2006, 23:28
Nearo days. I think more than one per week (mabye way more...) when it is all counted up at the end...but mabye not so evenly spread out.

the goat
09-14-2006, 23:37
zero days may be planned, and may be taken on a whim. that's the greatest thing a/b doing a thru, when you wake up in the morning, you can hike, or you can chill out, swim, lie around, read, sleep, or do whatever you want. it's the ultimate freedom.

Tinker
09-14-2006, 23:55
in Georgia this March. One reason is that I was with Frosty, and I probably wouldn't have taken one if I was on my own. I don't regret it. I got to meet a few new hikers who passed me or stayed with us at the Hiawassee Inn.
As I get older I don't worry as much about making miles as I do about making MEMORIES.:)
I had a great time, and wouldn't change a thing about how I did it (except the "Snickers bar" incident. (Ask Frosty :D).

Tinker
09-14-2006, 23:57
in Georgia this March. One reason is that I was with Frosty, and I probably wouldn't have taken one if I was on my own. I don't regret it. I got to meet a few new hikers who passed me or stayed with us at the Hiawassee Inn.
As I get older I don't worry as much about making miles as I do about making MEMORIES.:)
I had a great time, and wouldn't change a thing about how I did it (except the "Snickers bar" incident. (Ask Frosty :D).

I forgot to mention that Frosty was ill, and I took the day off hoping he'd be better the next day. When he wasn't, I continued and finished my section hike solo.

Footslogger
09-15-2006, 13:29
Zero days are lame.
============================

You're kidding ...right ??

'Slogger

Lone Wolf
09-15-2006, 13:36
I don't like doing zeros. I came to hike, not wallow around. If I wanted to wallow I'd be at home on teh couch or teh internets.
like now, huh cupcake?:D

Footslogger
09-15-2006, 13:49
I don't like doing zeros. I came to hike, not wallow around. If I wanted to wallow I'd be at home on teh couch or teh internets.
=====================================

You're thru-hiking now or have in the past ?? ...and never took a zero ??

'Slogger

Crazy Larry #1
09-15-2006, 14:03
I haven't seen a lot of discussion about zero days. I understand it all depends on your hike/physcial conditioning/circumstances, etc. when it comes to how many you take, but I once said I thought I might take 1 zero per week and was told that was twice as much as normally taken by the average thru-hiker Is this true?

I'm giving myself 7 months to complete the trail and am in absolutely no hurry. What does everyone think about zero days and how often did you (or do you think you will) take one? By the way, I'm also considering taking zero days actually on the trail...just spending a day in a nice spot resting, instead of going into town to rest.
take as many as you like and you will probably still finish on time........

Lobo
09-15-2006, 14:20
I didn't plan for any zeros for my 2000 hike. I figured that zeros were for allowing the body to rest after an especially strenuous day, to wait out nasty weather, or to enjoy a friendly Trail town. How could I tell when those things would happen months away while I was sitting at my computer typing up a schedule while drinking a beer? I took 6 zeros in my 150 day hike...one at Damascus after a 26 mile day, three at home in PA to meet my grandson who was born while I was on the Trail, one in Gorham after getting beat up by the Whites, and one in Monson to mentally prepare for the looming end of the trip. There were several other days when I only walked 3 or 4 miles into or out of town. For a thru-hiker these are esentally zero days.

saimyoji
09-16-2006, 00:10
+1



You've posted this before with banana, "yabba dabba",....exactly what do you mean by this?

Programbo
09-16-2006, 08:53
I find the whole term "Zero Days" to be a bad thing as it implies you are suppose to be racking up X amount of miles in X amount of time etc and feeds the whole racing up the trail mentality...I honestly never recall anyone asking pack weights..How many miles did you do today..How long did it take... etc..Back in the 70`s.....So take your time and enjoy your days off (Stop using zero days)..If you find a spot you like or just don`t care for the weather sleep in and read a book

Smile
09-16-2006, 09:16
Boston:Zero days are lame.

I think you have this backwards, you'll be lame if you never take a zero day!

Actually, I suppose some can go without zeros, but everyone has to resupply and even a nero day can be rest for your body. Hiking is supposed to be fun and full of the freedom you can't find anywhere else - take a zero if you want, take two, take three!:D

Nean
09-16-2006, 09:50
Ah yes, the good ol days... back before there were "zeros" and "nearos" and "cut-offs". :(
No matter, do what you do and enjoy.:banana A nice start would be to avoid "lame" advice.:eek: :D

Topcat
09-16-2006, 18:04
i have taken 0 days on section hikes, but always in the woods. often so we can have a base camp to go somewhere but once, in the whites, we stayed a 0 on Garfield, laid around, climbed to the top, laid around some more, ate chicken soup, laid around some more and basically, laid around some more. It was a great day.

When i thru hike, i dont think i will worry about a number of 0 days, i like the idea of going where the wind blows me.

Disney
09-17-2006, 04:42
Some of my best zeros were at Miss Janets, Tarrapin Station, Elmer's, and Overmountain Shelter.

SGT Rock
09-17-2006, 08:28
I even take a zero occasionally on section hikes. The most fun have been out in the woods like at Dismal Falls, Winding Staircase, or on Slickrock Creek. If you are out there in it, why not enjoy it. I've found I would rather do a short day through town (note: I have not thru-hiked yet) and spend a screw-off day at a nice creek.

Zeros ain't lame. They are only lame if you are lame while taking them.

Nean
09-17-2006, 10:23
=====================================

You're thru-hiking now or have in the past ?? ...and never took a zero ??

'Slogger

Good question. :D Something tells me a yes isn't in the cards.:rolleyes: Zero does not = wallow. ;) Then again, maybe it does if most of your hiking experience is done on the internet.:o

Programbo
09-17-2006, 13:41
Zero does not = wallow.

Even if it does what`s wrong with that?...One of my favorite things to do when hiking was to just hang out at a nice shelter and enjoy life. To me it was home and I felt as if I belonged there and would have spent my life just hiking on the trail with direction and destination being irrelevant...Of course that was when you could stay at a shelter during the week (M-F) when school was still in and not see anyone else come thru... Of course if you are on a "thru-hike" and already figure it`s going to take 7 months then obviously you can`t linger to long anywhere...But if you HAVE 7 months and it actually will only take you 5 then by all means hang out a few days here and there

saimyoji
09-17-2006, 14:27
Just a small point here: notice the placement of this thread: Thru-hiker specific Q&A. If you're not a thru, perhaps the original poster doesn't want/need/care about your opinion. Just my 0.00. ;)

SGT Rock
09-17-2006, 14:47
I know my comment was just to counterpoint someone that said that Zero's were lame.

MOWGLI
09-17-2006, 14:54
I haven't seen a lot of discussion about zero days. I understand it all depends on your hike/physcial conditioning/circumstances, etc. when it comes to how many you take, but I once said I thought I might take 1 zero per week and was told that was twice as much as normally taken by the average thru-hiker Is this true?



I don't know if there is such a thing as an "average thru-hiker." FWIW I took 26 zero days during my 5.5 month hike. It's pretty simple. Listen to your body. Hike if you like. Take a rest day if you feel beaten up or need a day of rest. You may want to take a day off in places like Hot Springs, Erwin, Damascus and other trail towns.

Have a great hike.

Programbo
09-17-2006, 21:48
Just a small point here: notice the placement of this thread: Thru-hiker specific Q&A. If you're not a thru, perhaps the original poster doesn't want/need/care about your opinion. Just my 0.00. ;)

I would think people who have hiked for a long time and been involved in the hiking community..Say 30-40 years and have been on 20-30 long distance hikes may have some input on most any topic which is of value..Maybe more so than a lot of "thru-hikers"..I know a LOT of thru`s who have basically no hiking experience before they do their TH....I think it basically gets down to the various reasons why people are out there in the first place what value the original poster may take from their answers or advice...The advice of someone who is just hiking as a physical challange and who`s only goal is speed and distance will be different than someone who is out there for the peace and solitude and connection with nature....I may not have completed my thru-hike way back when but I`d like to feel that my input from the perspective of a hiker from another generation may add a different slant that a lot of younger haiker may otherwise never hear or even knew existed....Or I may just be an old crackpot :p

Slingshot
09-25-2006, 14:54
By the time I made it to connecticut I had been on the trail for 4 months and had taken around 40 zero days. I loved every single one of them and my hike wouldn't have been the same without them. If you don't mind doing big miles you can zero and just make up for it in the next couple days.

mrc237
09-25-2006, 18:30
While thru hiking through Vermont I got off the trail and went to Saratoga Race Track spent 3 zeros, came back with zero in my pocket.

Johnny Swank
10-09-2006, 18:28
I bet I had at least 30 zeros, and probably closer to 35 if I really broke it down. If I did it again, I'd cut that at least to 15, and do the majority of those out in the woods.

For comparison - we had 7 in 73 days during the paddle trip last year, 3 of which were for a hurricane. Plenty of Near-O's or half days, but it always felt better to us to make a few miles a day.

Like they say - one bad day of hiking for every zero day.

the_iceman
10-17-2006, 10:45
How many people took zeros just because there were physically burned out? How many zero days did you need to take versus took to party, go home, hang with trail buddies, wait for a partner or a group, etc. If you did it again would you take half like Johnny Swank mentioned?

I hate stopping because it is so hard to get going. Even during the day I try to stop only for meals. If I go to a look out, etc I always keep may pack on. I enjoy the view but I just like to keep moving. I do not hike fast so I need to hike steady. I hike with my brother and we have always hiked the daylight stopping for a mid-day meal. Many nights it was dark when we hit camp. I bike a lot and have done some big charity rides. Most people stop at every water stop or rest stop. If I do not need water I just stand on the pedals, stretch, and coast on by. I guess I am a tortoise rather than a hare. The same people pass me 10 times between their rests and I am always waiting for them at the end.

Which brings me back to zero days. I am hiking to be in the woods not in town. I will be missing my time with my family and they are sacrificing so I can hike. I want to do it right and not rush it for the sole purpose of finishing by and given date. Also, they (my family) are not putting any pressure on me to finish in a certain time frame.

This may be a once in a life time deal that I have dreamed of since I first set foot on the AT darn near 50 years ago. I want to limit the number of zero days that are just for killing time. I have been in every state along the trail and in a lot of trail towns (I grew up in one) so I would not miss seeing much. My pack now is lighter than ever before but I am in worse shape. I hope to start training with earnest after my relocation next week. I won’t be in peak shape when I start but probably better off than a lot of guys my age.

I think I am more of a nearo guy and will want to stay in motion. Any similar experiences?

Lone Wolf
10-17-2006, 10:49
I never took days off cuz I was tired, only for buffets and beer and to watch golf tourneys on the boob tube.:D

Johnny Swank
10-17-2006, 11:11
Alot of my zeros were from either butt inertia (too lazy to leave town) or from actually needing to rest from trying to go too fast between towns. It was a cycle of doing big miles, having to recover, get "behind", then doing big miles again. If I had cut my miles per day down to about 15, I could probably get by with about 7-10 zeros for the trip, spend more time in the woods, and still end up finishing faster.

twosticks
10-17-2006, 12:41
Someone said it best when they said it's the journey not the destination. Take that anyway you want to. I for one don't like stopping. I'm hiking in the woods to hike in the woods. You can take plenty of zero days after you're done with your hike, or like L. Wolf said because you're tired.

Doctari
10-17-2006, 13:04
I have a hate love relationship with zeros. I usually push too hard, mostly cause I section hike & therefore have a deadline, even tho I try to schedule "Just 7 - 8 MPD" I end up pushing much further. So when I take a zero, it's cause I had no choice, I could walk no further. BUT, when I do take one, I usually end up pacing & walking on errands about 5 MPD, so next trip the plan is to just go ahead & hike those 5 miles on the trail & camp in the woods. Besides, most times after a zero, I feel phisically like I just started my hike, so a zero for me is not much different than a (week, month, year) off, I do usually get back in the "grove" a bit quicker, usually by the second day as opposed to about 4 or 5 at the true start. So, for me at least, Nero days are better than Zero days, altho I suspect that a 2 in a row zero break MAY be better for me, I'll likely never find out till I thru.

I love taking rest, hate that I rarely actually rest, & I usually get anxious to be on the trail, about 4:00 PM, a bit too late to hike more.


That's my plan at least. Next trip is about May of next year, I get 22 days off work/vacation by then, so we shall see.



Doctari.

Footslogger
10-17-2006, 13:46
In my personal experience, zero's are as much a mental break as they are a physical one. A day in town now and then is a good thing and it has nothing to do with your desire to "be in the woods".

'Slogger

the_iceman
10-17-2006, 15:57
Good point Footslogger

Sometimes I do not always get the best wording but it seems that zero days have increased over the years. Of course, if you believe what is posted at the ATC, so has the success rate. I guess I won’t know what is right for me until next March when I finally get started. Sitting at the keyboard I cannot imagine that I will want to take 40 zeros but I now I will take some for both physically and mental burnout.

I am also considering taking a week “vacation” when a family friend from France visits. Then of course I have family on the trail in Connecticut so I will need to say “hi” there as well. Aside from that I pretty much see town as a necessary evil for supply and washing up. Either way I will have a 7.5 month window before the official close of the Big K.

Footslogger
10-17-2006, 16:09
[quote=icemanboston;257179]Good point Footslogger

Sometimes I do not always get the best wording but it seems that zero days have increased over the years. Of course, if you believe what is posted at the ATC, so has the success rate. I guess I won’t know what is right for me until next March when I finally get started. Sitting at the keyboard I cannot imagine that I will want to take 40 zeros but I now I will take some for both physically and mental burnout.
===========================================

Zero days are kinda like sh_t ...they just HAPPEN. There is no right or wrong number. If a Zero feels good, do it. You'll know when the time comes.

'Slogger

Just a Hiker
10-17-2006, 20:12
Good topic as I am taking a zero today in Franklin, Nc. I have to say that for me, zero days are all about the food! Atleast once a week I get off the trail and stuff myself with good food non-stop. I intend to lay seige upon the Shoney's breakfast bar first thing tomorrow morning as a matter of fact! But zeros are good for getting some rest, getting cleaned up and watching a little TV. Also it's an individual thing as well. I take as many zero and nero days as I need because I try and hike my own hike. I can't tell anyone how many to take or not take nor will I ever. All I know is that if I cross a road and it leads to good food.....I am going down it. Take care, Just Jim

1happyhiker
10-18-2006, 00:43
Zero days are kinda like sh_t ...they just HAPPEN. There is no right or wrong number. If a Zero feels good, do it.

exactly, there is no magic number. its like having a static number of days to get from ga to tn, no such animal. sure there are purist that tell you that your should have (x) amount but they aren't you. its like saying every pack should be 12 pounds or less, or you cant get on the trail...:rolleyes:

HYOH

-hh

bfitz
10-18-2006, 21:53
I never took days off cuz I was tired, only for buffets and beer and to watch golf tourneys on the boob tube.:D
I was always more tired after a zero day than after a hiking day.