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View Full Version : how long should a thru-hike take



Dirtyoldman
08-04-2003, 06:50
many have asked How long to allow for a complete thru hike so heres a chance to see what you all really think.

the number of weeks to allow for a thru hike....

MadAussieInLondon
08-04-2003, 12:25
23 weeks! coz i need that week shy of 6 months to be able to fly in and out without breaking my 6month visa!

warren doyle
09-09-2003, 12:44
As long, or short, as you need to fulfill your dream or accomplish the goal you have set out for yourself.

Jaybird
01-15-2004, 09:59
hey....wasnt that a song by the band: Ace, back in the late 60s?


i would choose 6 months to complete a Thru-hike...because i wanna experience it all! the people, the towns, the streams, shelters, & those spectacular views & take photos of everything!

but, for now all i do is dream about a thru....as i section hike 100+ miles per year....& on the 20 year plan to get to Katahdin!

when i retire (age 62..most likely) will probably do a thru @ that time! ;)



see ya'll UP the trail in 2004!

Moon Monster
01-15-2004, 20:08
As long, or short, as you need to fulfill your dream or accomplish the goal you have set out for yourself.

I totally agree.

Btw, 6 months is actually 26 weeks. 24 weeks is 5 1/2 months, etc...

Jack Tarlin
01-16-2004, 16:34
How long should it take? I just want to go on the record and say that I agree with Warren 100% (surprise!!) on this one; couldn't have said it better myself.

I look forward to agreeing with him on something else one of these years.

Footslogger
01-17-2004, 15:00
Bottom line, as many others have already said, is that a thru-hike should take as long as it takes. From a practical perspective though I think a hiker needs to take some factors like weather and expense into consideration. In order to make a thru hike as enjoyable as possible I now believe (in retrospect) that a hiker should attempt to avoid the weather extremes by departing Springer (assuming a NOBO hike) in mid March and an arrival at Katahdin by mid to late September.

Just my .02

Peaks
01-17-2004, 20:35
I think it is well established that the typical thru-hike generally take between 5 1/2 and 6 months.

rambunny
02-08-2004, 16:28
Hike your own hike, but as far as Mz R Bunny -1st and 2nd unplanned but ended up being 7 months to the day 3rd 5 and a half months-way too fast as far as my likes,SoBo next time with no planned end maybe i'll just keep on hiking the trail and be known as that crazy old woman that's still on the trail in my book better than winning the lottery.

rumbler
02-08-2004, 17:04
I'll second that seven months to the day concept!

warren doyle
05-05-2004, 16:19
Thanks Jack.
I'm sure there are more trail-related topics we agree on than not. Our disagreements have been more public though.
Keep your passion for the trail up - it has helped more people than hurt them and that alone is a worthy contribution.
Happy trails!

Kozmic Zian
05-05-2004, 17:45
Yea.......Time. Time is relative(I think Einstein toyed with that one). I always figured a person to walk at their own pace, leaving from Springer to arrive at Katahdin in 5 or 6 months, depending on the many variables involved in such an undertaking, and should the Good Lord Be Willing, and the Mother Earth accepting. KZ@

gravityman
05-06-2004, 12:05
Yea.......Time. Time is relative(I think Einstein toyed with that one). I always figured a person to walk at their own pace, leaving from Springer to arrive at Katahdin in 5 or 6 months, depending on the many variables involved in such an undertaking, and should the Good Lord Be Willing, and the Mother Earth accepting. KZ@

The problem with everyone saying "5 or 6 months" is that a lot of people take longer than that. Newbies start thinking "Oh my gosh, I'm not going to make in to maine in 6 months. I am so slow. This is taking for ever. I won't make it..." See the logic there... Sure, they'll speed up - yadda yadda yadda, but it's the pyschological effects around month 2 or 3 that really matter...

I hate seeing "It'll take 5 to 6 months." It will take as long as it takes. Plan 7-8 months off from the world to do it if at all possible.

Gravity man

weary
05-06-2004, 12:16
A thru hike should take as long as needed to backpack "every mile" between Springer and Katahdin.

Weary

fiddlehead
08-06-2005, 00:10
i think i usually do them in 5 months. (that's how long the weather usually holds) i don't want to try to extend a CDT northbound hike into late Oct or Nov. chances are i'd never make it as it gets snowed in. (although i've done a southbound AT hike starting in Oct, but with van support) But i voted for 24 weeks because i always need time to wind down afterward and really take my time getting home. I never want it to end but know it must because of the weather but prolong it by visiting friends on the way home.
Of course you can start earlier but again, on the PCT and CDT that's not always possible because of the weather you are going to hit in the spring. The rockies get most of their snow in March and April. The AT can be done year round except for perhaps New England in the winter or very early spring.

Air Head
08-06-2005, 10:30
I'd plan to complete it in 5 months. Granted I've never completed a thru-hike, but I would figure that's plenty of time to go at a nice steady pace and enjoy what's out there. Now, the trick is, finding 5 months of vacation time. :)

Lone Wolf
02-26-2008, 06:00
6 months

Frolicking Dinosaurs
02-26-2008, 06:33
Another oldie, but goody thread.

There is no certain amount of time a thru should take. Different people have different goals for what a thru-hike will accomplish. For some, speed is important - making the miles is part of the experience for them. For some, smelling the roses along the way is important - making the miles doesn't matter to them.

A thru-hike needs to be what the person making the hike wants it to be - not what anyone else's idea of what a thru-hike is. IMO, that goes for:

* how long it takes

* how it is done (NOBO, SOBO, done in sections, white versus blue blazes)

* whether a pack is carried the whole way or not

* shelters were used or not used

:sun HYOH :sun - and bullocks to those who don't like it

bredler
02-26-2008, 06:34
6 months

Interesting...

...I would only have expected "thru-hiking is dumb" ;)

Grampie
02-26-2008, 09:51
When folks ask me the most importent aspects of having a successful thru-hike, my answer is; Have enough time and have enough money.

Crazy Larry #1
02-26-2008, 09:55
many have asked How long to allow for a complete thru hike so heres a chance to see what you all really think.

the number of weeks to allow for a thru hike....
I can see that most people voted six months, but I truly think you should allow a little more time than that.

You did not include thirty days or less? I can see Wildcowboy will be upset.

rafe
02-26-2008, 10:33
There's no "should." You're hemmed in by the seasons, somewhat. That's all. There are a thousand ways around that, unless you make arbitrary rules for yourself. The only rule is: distance = rate * time -- and mathematical variants on that theme.

jersey joe
02-26-2008, 10:36
4 months

ofthearth
02-26-2008, 11:18
As long, or short, as you need to fulfill your dream or accomplish the goal you have set out for yourself.


I totally agree.

Btw, 6 months is actually 26 weeks. 24 weeks is 5 1/2 months, etc...


How long should it take? I just want to go on the record and say that I agree with Warren 100% (surprise!!) on this one; couldn't have said it better myself.

I look forward to agreeing with him on something else one of these years.


Bottom line, as many others have already said, is that a thru-hike should take as long as it takes. From a practical perspective though I think a hiker needs to take some factors like weather and expense into consideration. In order to make a thru hike as enjoyable as possible I now believe (in retrospect) that a hiker should attempt to avoid the weather extremes by departing Springer (assuming a NOBO hike) in mid March and an arrival at Katahdin by mid to late September.

Just my .02


There's no "should." You're hemmed in by the seasons, somewhat. That's all. There are a thousand ways around that, unless you make arbitrary rules for yourself. The only rule is: distance = rate * time -- and mathematical variants on that theme.


It looks like the vote is in and it's not on the poll (or I didn't see it) :-?

Mar 1 !

ofthearth

Mags
02-26-2008, 12:06
As long, or short, as you need to fulfill your dream or accomplish the goal you have set out for yourself.

You really can't say it much better than that.

Tuxedo
10-06-2008, 03:31
I remember getting one of those emails in the late 90's on catchy phrases like why do we drive on a parkway and park in a driveway? One of the quotes was anyone driving slower than you is an idiot and anyone driving faster than you is a maniac! I found the exact same mentality on the AT from hikers and non-hikers alike, especially hostel owners.
Hike your own Hike. If you want to break the record many don't feel thats hik'n and take 20 years many don't feel thats hiking either. No one can truly define the in between.

Lyle
10-06-2008, 08:23
I would plan six months with no hard and fast deadlines either way. I want a relaxed hike and want to be able to take some time off for injury R&R if necessary without worry.

dessertrat
10-06-2008, 10:44
It should take exactly as long as the time you enjoy doing it in.

weary
10-06-2008, 11:20
Bottom line, as many others have already said, is that a thru-hike should take as long as it takes. From a practical perspective though I think a hiker needs to take some factors like weather and expense into consideration. In order to make a thru hike as enjoyable as possible I now believe (in retrospect) that a hiker should attempt to avoid the weather extremes by departing Springer (assuming a NOBO hike) in mid March and an arrival at Katahdin by mid to late September......Just my .02
I agree. Though I thoroughly enjoyed my final 10 days in Maine, October 6 to 16 on my almost thru hike. October most years is my favorite Maine month. The bugs are gone. The leaves are pretty. The temperatures perfect for walking -- well most days, most years.

Weary

DavidNH
10-06-2008, 11:29
I actually agree with both Warren and Jack on this. As long or as short as necessary to achieve the goals you set out for yourself.

That said, I think you should allow for extra time (if you plan to do it in five months, allow 6) to account for unplanned events such as injury, money troubles, weather or what ever other obstacles you may face).
I did my hike in just over 6 months. Had I to do it again, I'd still do a six month pace.

DavidNH

Serial 07
10-06-2008, 11:44
six months is the way to go...no rush, plenty of time for zero's (77) and near-O's (25ft past Neels Gap) to keep the load light and fun...but that's also in the perfect world...

the key, IMO, is not to rush anything...it's more than just miles...

Dogwood
10-06-2008, 18:03
Silly question. Warren got this one right.

smaaax
10-10-2008, 15:05
Schedules suck, and lots of people try to use them. Go out and hike. You get there when you get there.

Jaybird
10-11-2008, 08:24
many have asked How long to allow for a complete thru hike so heres a chance to see what you all really think.
the number of weeks to allow for a thru hike....


its an INDIVIDUAL HIKER question.
we know from past thru-hikers....6 months is the AVERAGE time it takes to finish a "THRU"
or 12 miles per day AVERAGE.

but again, its an IDIVIDUAL THANG..."HIKE YOUR OWN HIKE!"

superman
10-11-2008, 08:38
EXACTLY 6 months and 2 days. Any other time span is wrong. ....er..uh or that could just be how long mine lasted.:D

mrc237
10-11-2008, 09:20
Mine too. Mar 17----Sept 19

Red Hat
10-11-2008, 12:02
How long should it take? I just want to go on the record and say that I agree with Warren 100% (surprise!!) on this one; couldn't have said it better myself.

I look forward to agreeing with him on something else one of these years.

Since someone bumped this, I'm curious if there has been anything else you two agreed on in the past four years? (loved both answers, by the way)

YoungMoose
01-22-2009, 22:06
Its different for everyone becuase some people like to take their time and enjoy it. On the other hand what i like to do is to push myself to the limits and i will try to do it in 5 months. I know thats the normal but i want to enjoy myself.

wrongway_08
01-22-2009, 22:08
6 months 11 days.

Kanati
01-22-2009, 22:20
I thought most people were working with some sort of time table for completion. Most of the college students I met had to return to school to begin the fall semester so that gave them about 4 months or so to complete it, which may account in part for their speedy pace. Youthful energy probably had something to do with it also.

Jaybird
01-23-2009, 06:01
many have asked How long to allow for a complete thru hike so heres a chance to see what you all really think.
the number of weeks to allow for a thru hike....


As looooong as you want.
as loooong as it takes!
(THATS MY NEWEST ANSWER):D

see U out there in May (w/ "Jigsaw" & "Model T") Harpers Ferry, WV to Swatara Gap,PA

Egads
01-23-2009, 07:25
15 mpd x 6 days / week = 24 weeks

jersey joe
01-23-2009, 11:45
To be considered a "thru-hike" it SHOULD be completed in less than one year.

Lone Wolf
01-23-2009, 13:13
To be considered a "thru-hike" it SHOULD be completed in less than one year.

says who?

4eyedbuzzard
01-23-2009, 13:21
says who?

The self-appointed guardians of thru-hiking purity of course.:rolleyes:

Lone Wolf
01-23-2009, 13:24
then i say if you take any days off or leave the trail to go home and come back a week later, that ain't a thru-hike

jersey joe
01-23-2009, 13:56
then i say if you take any days off or leave the trail to go home and come back a week later, that ain't a thru-hike
Quite a bit more strict then saying less than a year, but not altogether outlandish. (my hike still qualifies)

weary
01-23-2009, 20:08
There are no rules, other than conventional rules, i.e. "don't sign false documents unless you truly think it important that you be dishonest."

Weary

Kaptain Kangaroo
01-24-2009, 02:11
Here's (yet) another thing for prospective thru-hikers to think about. The pace of your hike will determine the weather conditions you hike in.

I really don't like hot weather, anything over 75 degrees I find uncomfortable & I don't enjoy hiking. So a 4 month pace, leaving early March & finishing early July kept me almost completely out of hot weather. Sure it would have been great to stretch my hike out, but not at the expense of having to hike in the heat.

Cheers,

Kaptain Kangaroo

garlic08
01-24-2009, 11:22
Here's (yet) another thing for prospective thru-hikers to think about. The pace of your hike will determine the weather conditions you hike in.

I really don't like hot weather, anything over 75 degrees I find uncomfortable & I don't enjoy hiking. So a 4 month pace, leaving early March & finishing early July kept me almost completely out of hot weather. Sure it would have been great to stretch my hike out, but not at the expense of having to hike in the heat.

Ditto that! I did much the same this year and only had 4 days of real summer heat in CT in early June. I heard the hikers in VA really got beat up by that heat wave.

I haven't read this whole thread and I'm sure it's been brought up before, but I also found a faster hike is a cheaper hike.