View Full Version : Takin' breaks while thru-hikin'

10-30-2006, 17:16
How often does everyone take a day off while hiking? Is 10 miles per day a good average through the mountains?

Hike for four or five, day off? What should I expect?

Lone Wolf
10-30-2006, 17:18
Sure. Take lots of days off. I always took at least 2 per week.

max patch
10-30-2006, 17:36
You'll hit your own rythem. My "ideal" schedule was to hike 6 days, take 1 day off in town to resupply, bathe, laundry, and fall asleep in a real bed while watching Morton Downy Jr.

10-30-2006, 17:45
I'm with Lone Wolf on this one. Side trips and blue blazes are what it's all about. The highway exists solely so that the exits can be gotten to.

Mountain Maiden
10-30-2006, 17:52

During my 2002 thru-hike, my first "day off" was at Davenport Gap Shelter (234 miles) after 21 days on the Trail. I was the ultimate "newbie!" I didn't dare stop in case I might make the fateful decision to "go home."

By the time I got to Hot Spgs, there was no way I was going home. But, I did learn to take a day off. I also learned to do things that were a diversion from hiking everyday. Things like work a day at an organic farm, pick apples, etc. Spending time in towns meant seeing more than just the Trail and meeting some really great townspeople!

Some of the best days off (zero days) were the days spent just sleeping and eating in a Trail shelter.

In the end---208 days from start to finish--I took 60 zero days. This included two trips home for family funerals and surgery for a broken arm.

Next time--I'll take just as many days off and take more time in the Whites and the 100 Mile Wilderness.. Guess I will have to start earlier!

Take breaks? You betcha'!

Sunny aka Sunrise ga-me '02

10-30-2006, 21:26
Don't try to decide ahead of time how many zero days you'll take or how often you'll take them. Though you could decide ahead of time WHERE you'll want to take some zeros, such as knowing from the outset that you want to soak in the hot tubs in Hot Springs or ride a bike on the Creeper Trail in Damascus. But most zero days should be taken when YOU feel like taking them, when YOU need to take them, and where YOU want to take them. You won't know when you'll want most of these zero days until you get out there.

Most importantly, enjoy every single one of those days you decide to take off. Never feel quilty, and never question why.

PJ 2005
10-30-2006, 21:44
Amen, Pokey! It's definitely different for everybody. Take them when you feel them. I took 10, or about every two weeks. After a while I felt lazy if I wasn't hiking... plus, I liked feeling like I was making progress every day.

map man
10-31-2006, 00:16
On the home page of WhiteBlaze, on the left hand side of the page is an "articles" section. If you click on "Thru-Hiker Advice" a menu will pop up. The last article in that menu is "AT Hiking Rates, Section by Section." (I don't know how to do links, or I'd put one here) That article describes, for eleven different sections of the trail, how a group of 105 NOBO journal keepers at Trailjournals.com hiked the trail, on average. So if you are wondering how likely an "average" hiker is to take a zero day in a given section, how many total zero days were taken, or how many miles per day were covered in more rugged sections compared to easier sections, that article should help you (modesty forbids me revealing who researched and wrote that article:D ).

But of course your own hike is likely to vary from any "average" hike. The article would just give you a rough idea of how others before you have made the trip. Good luck with your own unique trip!

10-31-2006, 00:24
I usually take a day off when i get to a town and i need to hit the laundry, eat a few meals, hit a few bars, and catch up on communications. That happens whenever it happens. It's not something i ever plan but do whenever i have to.
forget plans. just hike and have fun.

10-31-2006, 00:28
This is the break-out quotes to end all break-out quotes, and sums up the answer to the original question:

"It happens when it happens."


10-31-2006, 09:17
How often does everyone take a day off while hiking? Is 10 miles per day a good average through the mountains?

Hike for four or five, day off? What should I expect?

Long distance hiking is a job. We all need breaks from the routine of our jobs. How often depends on the individual. Myself, I took very few, but I did a lot of nero's.

If you read trailjournals, generally most hikers average about 1 day a week off, but not strictly 1 day every week. Many go for several weeks, and then take several days off. For example, people typically take several days off in a row for events like trail days.

Is 10 miles per day a good average though the mountains? The general rule of thumb for the White Mountains is to take your average daily mileage and divide by two.

10-31-2006, 09:45
It was not my plan up front but in retrospect I ended up taking a day off for about every 8 - 10 days of hiking. For me that was a good system. I re-supplied every 4 - 6 days so about every other re-supply (on average) I got a shower, did laundry, ate a prepared meal or two (prepared by someone else, that is) and caught up on the happs.


wilderness bob
10-31-2006, 10:04
When you are on the trail you will figure it out. There are the basics to help you though. If there are things you want to do in town there are things to consider. Laundry, Post Offices and the like have hours of operation. How much food per day you need to carry to the next town. Are you going to spend the night. What are your hiking partners plans (you will most likely be with someone somewhere along the trail). Even the things like what is going on in town will play a part in your decision (a hiker party, a movie schedule or a concert to go see). It is all about finding the pulse of the trail and what works for you. Remember this, a zero in the woods IS a nice break as well. For the most part, no chores to do.
Relax, breath, hike, eat and enjoy. WB

wilderness bob
10-31-2006, 10:07
p.s. Pokey hit the nail on the head (read back if you missed it) WB

10-31-2006, 19:36
The general rule of thumb for the White Mountains is to take your average daily mileage and divide by two.Not a bad rule of thumb. I averaged just under 11 miles per day (with a range of 9 to 14) as a section hiker in mid-September (versus 17.5 mpd in southern Virginia in May 2005), but I also enjoyed great weather. Even so, my pace slowed from my usual 2-2.6 mph to 1-1.5 mph in most sections. With more daylight I might have gone farther in a day, but I can also imagine hiking even slower if it had been really wet, foggy and windy above treeline instead of the perfect days we had.

11-01-2006, 19:16
if town has a bar or the possibility of at least a beer store, go there.