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mpholcomb
03-29-2004, 13:38
I am wondering about speeds of the different sections of the trail. No need for mileage if you do not know. Speeds in relation to each other is good enough.

Me and my wife will be averaging a minimum of 20/day (Including 1 rest day for every 6 hiking).

chris
03-29-2004, 13:59
If you want to average 20 a day, then concentrate on something like 15 a day south of Damascus. An injury will slow you down alot more than the lower miles. After Damascus, or thereabouts, crank it up. From Springr to Damascus I averaged about 17 miles a day. But, from mid-way through the Smokys, a standard hiking day was in the low 20s, with a day and a half off in Hot Springs and a half day in Erwin. So, certainly averaging 20 in the south is possible, but do be careful.

Blue Jay
03-29-2004, 14:19
You said speed three times. I find that it is very difficult to go more than 7 or 8 eight miles an hour even when trail running and slack packing, which you must be doing if you are going to attempt consistent 23 mile days.
I wish you best of luck. Quite a few people have run the trail, but I have not heard of a married couple attempting one before

mpholcomb
03-29-2004, 14:19
Currently, we are planning a beginning average of ~10/day, climbing up to 22 at Damascus and staying at least there the rest. Is there sections that are extremely flat/low? Places where 25-35 range is more likely? I am trying to find the feasibility of doing 25-35/day over longer periods (based on terrain).

I am not looking to trail run it. 25/day is 3.5/hour for 7 hours. Which seems feasible to me.

chris
03-29-2004, 14:47
I wouldn't count on being able to _average_ 3.5 miles per hour on the AT. Hiking 23 a day isn't super hard, but it is going to take you more than 7 hiking hours to accomplish. Better to plan for 12 hour (with breaks) days. Generally speaking, 2 mph is considered a fairly standard pace. 2.5 mph is moving. 3 mph is fast. I don't think there were any extended legs on the PCT where I could keep up a 3.5 mph pace, and I was covering 30-35 miles a day there. There isn't much flat ground south of Damascus, although once you get up into the Smokys the terrain is relatively easy.

One thing you might be overlooking: In order to have a high per day average, one good tactic is to take few full days off. For example, rather than taking a full day off after 6 days on is pretty standard, but try cranking out 15 on that 7th day and then taking the remainder off. Or 10 miles, for that matter.

For a little comparison, the strongest AT hiker that I've hiked with completed the trail with a 22.7 mile per day average. He ran cross country for Duke (ie, he was in top shape), was going ultralight, and had no injuries over the course of the summer. Take a look at Highlander II's 2003 journal on www.trailjournals.com. He finished in a similar time frame, I believe.

rgarling
03-29-2004, 15:01
"I am not looking to trail run it. 25/day is 3.5/hour for 7 hours. Which seems feasible to me."

Unless you are running, 3.5 miles/hour is impossible from Springer through middle Virginia (the sections I have done). As suggested, 2 miles/hour is more realistic. Doing 35 miles in a day is rarely done unless supported.

A-Train
03-29-2004, 15:17
Yeah it would certainly make more sense to hike all day long rather than try to power surge by hiking really fast for only 7 hrs/day. I would suggest hiking sun up to down. That gives you many hours to walk slowly, also to allow for a break a nap and/or lunch. And that great view too.

3.5 mph is certainly not possible in the Whites and particularly in Maine, unless you were jogging or running. Just be careful. The Trail in Maine is an obstacle course in some places and incredibly rugged. One small slip on a root could end it all. Same goes for the rocks in PA.

Good luck though. It is a tremendous challenge to maintain 25-35 miles on the AT on a daily basis

Peaks
03-29-2004, 17:53
Let's say pace, rather than speed.

Anyway, an average of 120 miles per week is faster than most people hike the AT. Not that it can't be done, but most people find good reasons to do fewer miles per week, like nero's.

That being said, reading between the lines on some data complied by Roland Mueser, RIP, and published in his book "Long Distance Hiking," people hike North Carolina and Tennessee at 90% of their average pace, they hike Virginia to Connecticut at 110% of their average pace, they hike Massachusetts and Vermont at their average pace, and then back off to 90% for New Hampshire and Maine.

mpholcomb
03-29-2004, 19:01
Thanks for all the input. I of course did not think I could hike only 7 hours per day, or keep up 3.5 miles/hour. Was merely trying to keep the efforts relative to something I can understand.

Bear Magnet
03-29-2004, 19:04
Currently, we are planning a beginning average of ~10/day, climbing up to 22 at Damascus and staying at least there the rest. Is there sections that are extremely flat/low? Places where 25-35 range is more likely? I am trying to find the feasibility of doing 25-35/day over longer periods (based on terrain).

I am not looking to trail run it. 25/day is 3.5/hour for 7 hours. Which seems feasible to me.
Working from memory, Ray Jardine and his wife did the trail in 2 months, 28 days. That is 24.3 miles a day or so.

As others have said, I think that you can accomplish that better by walking for 12 hours with several breaks than by averaging 3.5 an hour for 7 hours. 3.5/hour for 7 hours might be doable if you are extremely fit, don't get injured, have a light pack, and most importantly are very mentally tough and focused. The mental toughness of fast/long hikers was what impressed me the most.

From the fast hikers I have talked to and from what I have read, an early start and a committment to walk until sundown seem to get people the big miles. (I'm not a fast hiker or big milage guy myself-23.6 was my longest day. Did some 20s but was more comfortable with 15-17. But when I needed to do 20 miles to get to the Caratunk ferry by 4:30, I knew my only choice was to _be walking_ when the sun was just coming up.)

As to where you can put in big miles-the easiest section I found was from the Shenandoahs through Duncannon. The rest of Penn was just ridgerunning, but the rocks are annoying. NJ and NY are not too bad either.

Bear Magnet

Datto
03-29-2004, 19:32
Here's a chart showing factual data on four northbound Appalachian Trail thru-hikers. You might want to use that data to gauge a pace for yourself and your wife if you're considering a northbound AT thru-hike. Note the 20-30 YO Male in the chart is a consistant hiker who hikes relatively long hours.

http://friends.backcountry.net/datto/pic/HIKES03.jpg

Why do you want to hike the AT at such a fast pace?

Datto

TJ aka Teej
03-29-2004, 21:34
Why do you want to hike the AT at such a fast pace?


And will you be dissapointed if you can't?

mpholcomb
03-29-2004, 21:54
Pace is needed to finish before obligations. But we are most focused on the hike, not finishing. I am asking question to see if finishing within my boundaries is feasible.

Frosty
03-29-2004, 22:09
Pace is needed to finish before obligations.

There are two ways to do this. One is to hike faster. The other is to hike at a slower pace, but hike more hours each day.

jersey joe
03-29-2004, 22:53
The miles will come easier in the middle states, VA-VT. I was very surprised by how flat the hiking in PA was, making high milage days very doable.

The posts by Chris were pretty much right on.

What your proposing is definitly possible. I say go for it! Ignore the naysayers.

Bankrobber
03-29-2004, 23:29
I maintained an average of 19 miles from Virginia to Maine, and it was quite stenuous at times. You really do not have time to slow down and smell the roses. As someone mentioned before, make sure that you get an early start. That will definitely help. Also, factor in a few ten to twelve miles a day from Glencliff, NH to Grafton Notch, Maine. I understand what it is like trying to make a deadline. Good luck, and enjoy your hike.

brack
03-29-2004, 23:49
frosty made a good point. hike longer. i think the key to logging alot of high mile days is hiking for a long time. getting up early and hiking late. here are a few things that i have done to help get more miles out of some of my days...

i get up early, usually with the sun and try to pack up and be on the trail pretty quickly. i eat a dry breakfast that requires no prep. sometimes i even eat it while walking and stop about 10 or 15 minutes down the trail to tank up on water. one way that i get hiking early is do everything i can the night before. take care of water and try and have everything gathered etc...

then when im hiking and hopefully when you are hiking you will be aware of how much daylight you have. then i usually try and divide my days up into chunks. i usually hike real hard until lunch 1 0r 2ish, take a good 45 minute break. then i hit my second section of the day until dinner, and then usually hike a little further after dinner if the weather is being friendly...

when bringing up the weather i think its important to not let that hamper your hiking... sometimes you gotta suck it up and hike in rain, snow, cold whatever. as long as you are careful and smart and the weather isnt from the depths of hell you should be able to survive... (hopefully haha)

try night hiking. i usually enjoy it. especially if the night is clear and you dont even need a lightsource. plus i hate it when i get into camp wind down go to sleep then wake up at 4 in the morning...

most importantly you shouldnt be dissapointed if you want to hike x amount of miles a day and you dont hike that many. sometimes you find a view or something thats worth losing some miles to stop and take it in. you dont want to hike the trail then look back and not remember anything because you were in such a hurry to finish. might as well not walk it if you cant take the time to take a deep breath and take in some of gods green goodness. i wish you and your wife the best, and i hope your hike together is awfully hard and full of challenges that will bring out the worst and best in you guys and ultimately bring you together. your lucky to have someone that is willing to get out there with you...

brack

MedicineMan
03-30-2004, 00:10
Our next section is from Bearwallow Gap to BuenaVista and I made the mistake of looking at the profile (rarely do I do that) and reading the book (usually on the access points)...what I'm seeing in our first 14 miles is almost 9000feet of gain and that just getting warmed up................and you guys are saying how flat Virginia is! or the big miles past Damascus! My dream is 10miles a day and that is starting early, carrying the lightest, etc.
The only easy section I did was about 20 miles south of Pearisburg and from Spivey Gap to the Nolichuckey River, and one poster said how flat Penn. was, and I like many can only picture rock and rock and more rock up there!

Toofarafoot
03-30-2004, 00:42
Right on Medicine Man! I just can't fathom the pleasure in racing along the trail. The whole point of a long hike IMHO is to get away from the busy world and relax. Sure, you can brag that you hiked the AT in 3 months, or whatever, but can you honestly say that you enjoyed the experience. If you have "obligations", then postpone your trek, or do only half of the trail at a more enjoyable pace. My longest day to, to date, has been 17 miles thru the St. Anthony Wilderness in PA to Rausch Gap Shelter, and now I wish I had taken my time - it's a lovely section.
Toofarafoot

U-BOLT
03-30-2004, 02:31
I think you and your wife need to slow down and smell the cookies.

mpholcomb
03-30-2004, 09:24
Like I said, we are most focused on the hike, but finishing would be nice. Finishing is not required. We may end up extending our time frame. It matters how bad we want jobs. We are just graduating College, so this time is as good as any. I will smell the cookies. But I also want to see most of the trail.

I misstated my averages. We will not be holding a 20/mile average. Merely hiking 20 miles/day when we do hike. The timeframe we are placing on ourselves is from Mail Drop to Mail Drop. We can hike any comibination of miles in between to get to those goals.

Setting goals such as these are good. We do not just want to go out and fart around walking at whatever pace that suites us at the time. This trek is as much to relax and smell the roses as it is to have the experience and to acheive goals that we give ourselves. And because of our timeframe the goals pertaining to our mileage are higher than others.

But don't worry... we will smell lots, and relax. We will enjoy the sounds and the people. We will enjoy the small towns, the rain, and the crapping in the woods. And best of all we will acheive our goals, and feel good about it!

mpholcomb
03-30-2004, 09:26
The miles will come easier in the middle states, VA-VT. I was very surprised by how flat the hiking in PA was, making high milage days very doable.

The posts by Chris were pretty much right on.

What your proposing is definitly possible. I say go for it! Ignore the naysayers.
Thanks Jersey. You know whats up. :banana

hungryhowie
03-30-2004, 09:45
I'd like to comment on the replies given in this thread.

Mpholcomb basically asked which sections of the trail were easiest. From some, he has gotten excellent replies, statistics, and actual help. At first I was leary of providing a reply because of uncertanties that Mpholcomb knew that his pace was quite a bit faster than the norm (that and Whiteblaze went down...). But I think through his replies, he has made it clear that he is aware that the intended pace is quicker than normal, that he plans to start out slower and work his way up to pace gradually to minimize the chances of injury, and that he is simply seeking advice to see if this pace is feasible.

So why all of the "Slow down and enjoy yourself" replies?

You'd think that a group of people who's unofficial motto is "Hike your own hike" would be more supportive of doing just that. Thousands of thruhikes have been made throughout the years and no two have been alike. Some have been fast, others slow. Some have taken many zero days in towns, others have used caches on the trail to resupply never leaving the trail. Some have carried 70lb packs, others have carried no more than a bottle of water. Some have enjoyed their hikes, others have not; and while you may simply be wishing that a person enjoy their hike, conclusively stating before the start that their hike won't be enjoyable because of one or more criteria is both nonsensical and unhelpful.

Mpholcomb's request for schedule feasibility is no different from another hiker who may ask, "I only have 6 months to do the trail in, and while I'm aware that a 6mo pace is fairly average, I'm a little (okay, a lot) out of shape and worried that I might not finish. Which parts of the trail are easiest so that I may be able to make up some miles?" Do you see the correlation? One man's trash is another's treasure. One man's walk may be another's sprint.

Don't conclusively tell the person that they should slow down and smell the roses. I've done hikes where I've averaged 10mpd. I've done hikes where I averaged 26mpd. I've done hikes where nearly 30% of my hike was spent on zero days, and I've done long stretches where I never gave myself a rest. I've done zeros, neros, and multiple 30-mile days...and I've enjoyed every second of it.

So Mpholcomb, if you wish to hike at a faster than average pace, go for it. I found the easiest sections of trail were stretched from central Virginia into New York. Yes, PA is rocky, but it's flat and you will quickly learn to "dance" over them without much extra effort. You'll start going against the grain of the ridges in NY, and the you'll get back into some smaller mountains again in CT and MA. Vermont is where it really gets nice again, but it's not until Smarts Mountain in NH (just north of Hanover) that you'll get a taste of what you're really in for for the remaining miles. I still remember the register entry there..."Smarts Mountain would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of you wimpy northbounders to NH...It only gets worse from here, boys." Man oh man, you walk 1700 miles and feel like a total greenhorn...Unless you're a super hiker, plan for a lessening of mileage in NH and Maine.

Whatever you do, I hope that you have an enjoyable hike, and that you and your wife grow even closer and more in love together

-Howie

mpholcomb
03-30-2004, 10:36
Howie, you are the man! You have got it under control. And you know how to keep things in perspective.

gravityman
03-30-2004, 11:48
Pace is needed to finish before obligations. But we are most focused on the hike, not finishing. I am asking question to see if finishing within my boundaries is feasible.

I hiked with my wife. Unless you are both exceptionally physically fit and really into the physical aspect of the hike (a marathon runner would be a good example) then I don't think you are going to enjoy yourselves with this pace.

Here's my experience, and we didn't even have a tight deadline :

Before leaving for the trail, I read how 6 months is pretty much the average. We should be able to do that, right honey? So we planned and planned. Had mail drops all packed, average milage determined (about 15 miles/day) and zero days planned.

We got on the trail, and I started pushing us to keep on schedule. We couldn't take a zero unless it was planned. My wife had a really bad cold. I didn't let us stop, we had miles to do! She got some terrible stomach bug (giardia like, but lasted over three months despite seeing a doc and getting drugs for it) but we kept it moving. We hiked for about a month like that. Then we hit Kincora. My wife was exhausted because anything she ate went right through her. Her feet were killing her (she ended up with neuromas which is what eventually kicked us off trail in Front Royal) and every step brough her to tears (although she kept hiking for 2 more months - a testiment to how bad she wanted to be out there). We had to toss the miles out the window, and just relax and enjoy ourselves.

From then on we took zeros when we felt like it, we hiked the miles we felt like. We hitched in to eat when we felt like it. Things got better. But not completely. I wanted to hike more miles and faster. She just couldn't. She's a strong woman, but her feet were really killing her. She also couldn't keep up with me. I am a faster hiker with more endurance. I don't want to say that there aren't woman out there that can't hike as fast or a lot faster and farther than me. But my wife isn't one of them. But I love being with her, and we were doing this together!

Anyway, we didn't finish. I attribute that to the miles I expected to be able to hike, and for pushing us. I didn't want to take time off to see a doctor for my wife's stomach problems (I was sure it would just get better on its own) and for her shoe problems (which is what ultimately got us. If she had switched to trail runners earlier there is a chance she would have never gotten as bad as she did). It was absolutely my fault.

But now I know better, and so does she. We are trying again in 2005, and are totally excited. Why? To get to Katahdin? Well, yes and no. It's about being in the woods for 8 months (yes, we are giving ourselves 8 months!) and not having to work or be in the rat race. The freedom. That's what is about for us. We love it, and we can't wait to be out there. To check out the foot problem we are training for a marathon (which is much harder on the feet than hiking - we will run about 500 miles training, so it's a pretty decent test). And we aren't planning milage at all. We will move as we want to. Either fast or slow. Whatever.

So, my advise is - don't plan milage. Just go out and hike. If you make it all the way, great. You will know it once you are out there. If you don't, look at it as a gift! You get to go back out there an finish! That's a great thing! It gives you purpose and something to look forward to. This time we are much more into it - reading all the journal-style books, we have a map on the wall, we are totally psyched!

Anyway, just my thoughts. It's up to you and your wife in the end...

Gravity Man

TedB
03-30-2004, 12:34
Working from memory, Ray Jardine and his wife did the trail in 2 months, 28 days. That is 24.3 miles a day or so.

The Jardines also did extensive prehike training, carried light packs, ate healthy food, and had previously hiked other long distance trails. However, I think the real difference is Ray's motivation. He obviously loves and thrives on physical challenges, else he would have never become one of the top rock climbers in the world, back in the days when he was climbing.

As far as relative differences, I would say New Hampshire and Maine are about 30% more difficult than the other states. All the other states I thought were roughly equal. Lots of people talk about how difficult Georgia is, but that it isn't the terrain (in my humble opinion), rather it is the shape the hikers are in, when they are hiking in Georgia.

If you crave physical challenges, I say go for it. Otherwise, I would suggest deciding what aspects of hiking are most important to you and structure your hike around them. Don't be afraid to experiment as you go and adjust your plans accordingly.

What ever you decide, have a wonderful hike.

Bear Magnet
03-30-2004, 13:04
[QUOTE=TedB]The Jardines also did extensive prehike training, carried light packs, ate healthy food, and had previously hiked other long distance trails. However, I think the real difference is Ray's motivation. He obviously loves and thrives on physical challenges, else he would have never become one of the top rock climbers in the world, back in the days when he was climbing.

Correct. I should have specified that a 24 mile a day average is about the upper limit of what people can do without running. And the reasons the Jardines could do 24 a day are all outlined in your post.

Bear Magnet

Lone Wolf
03-30-2004, 13:11
But then there is Ward Leonard in 1990 who averaged 36 miles per day for 60 days. Unsupported and no running.

Bear Magnet
03-30-2004, 13:26
But then there is Ward Leonard in 1990 who averaged 36 miles per day for 60 days. Unsupported and no running.
Notice I did say "about". :) How did he average 36/day? I'm curious.

Jonathan

Lone Wolf
03-30-2004, 13:31
He hiked 3-4 mph consistently.

gravityman
03-30-2004, 14:45
But that sure is speed walking!

I can barely do that on flat ground without a pack for any distance...

gesh, what a hiking machine!

Gravity man

jersey joe
03-30-2004, 14:50
Good post hungryhowie.
It always puzzled me how other hikers would scrutinize me for covering a lot of miles and then follow it up with, "but hey, hike your own hike".

mpholcomb,
I noticed you said you planned on doing mail drops. One thing that messed up my planned milage a little bit was getting to a mail drop on a saturday or sunday when the post office was closed. Just something to consider.

whcobbs
03-30-2004, 15:03
mpholcomb--

Last Aug 22 I met Buckeye on the AT NoBo just north of near Bennington VT and 62 days out of Springer. He was all excited from seeing a moose that AM, unusual in S VT. He was carrying a waistpack with double water bottles, another in his hand, and wearing running briefs. He was running slackpack style, his wife meeting him twice daily with supplies. He kept records of daily progress. Most likely he is in his mid forties, certainly he appeared very fit. He is from Ohio, and that is the limit of my information, but since he has done substantially what you propose, I suggest trying to locate him through this BB and others.

Walt


I am wondering about speeds of the different sections of the trail. No need for mileage if you do not know. Speeds in relation to each other is good enough.

Me and my wife will be averaging a minimum of 20/day (Including 1 rest day for every 6 hiking).

U-BOLT
03-30-2004, 15:32
I think you and your wife need to slow down and smell the cookies.
And throw a few buns in the oven while you're at it.

jersey joe
03-30-2004, 16:18
mpholcombe,
I averaged almost exactly 20miles/day on my thru. If your interested, here is a link to a couple of milage charts I put togehther from my hike. Obviously there are plenty of factors that altered my milage, like me getting sick in the whites (food poisoning from some old hut food that i yogied) and doing 5 and 7 miles in and out of town because of mail drops, but as an overall snapshot it might be useful.
http://www.geocities.com/joegamehike/milesframe.html

mpholcomb
03-30-2004, 16:24
If your interested, here is a link to a couple of milage charts I put togehther from my hike.
Thanks, that is very useful.

rgarling
03-30-2004, 17:05
"But then there is Ward Leonard in 1990 who averaged 36 miles per day for 60 days. Unsupported and no running."


I can't find any documentation about this achievement. Any ideas about where to get the story.

The Old Fhart
03-30-2004, 17:36
Rgarling,
In 1990 while going through N.J. I took my second lunch break at a shelter just off the trail. When I got back on and reached the next shelter, there was an entry in the register: "Ward Leonard, day 35 2/5" That's about 37 miles per day from Springer to that point and his register entries continued that way up the trail. I had missed seeing him by eating but I know he was on the trail and signing the registers that way to note his progress. Larry Luxenberg briefly mentions Ward in his book but I know of no one who has written anything extensive about him. I don't doubt that he did the trail in 60 2/3 days with no support team.

tlbj6142
03-31-2004, 00:06
I averaged almost exactly 20miles/day on my thru.Great chart. Must be a fantasy baseball player.:D

So, what was your "typical" 20+ mile day like? Hiking speed? breaks? Time-of-day start/stop?


Damn. I just realized you didn't take any zeroes and only 5 days with less than 10 miles. That's impressive. Even more so given the heavy gear you lugged the entire trip. By not taking zeroes did you get "flack" from other hikers who thought you were nuts?

jersey joe
03-31-2004, 12:50
tlbj6142,
Your right on, I'm in a fantasy baseball AND fantasy football league...

My typical 20+ mile day...I hiked at an average pace, typically 2.5 miles per hour. I did hike long days though. I'd usually be on the trail at 7am and hike till 7pm. I rarely pulled up to a shelter at 3pm and stopped, I guess I preferred to be out there hiking and taking in the views, then sitting at a shelter. I took plenty of breaks along the way, I could sit on a mountain top for an hour just soaking up the view.

I did get some flack from other hikers for carrying a heavier pack and not taking any zeros, which is part of my motivation for supporting mpholcomb. My pack was usually over 50lbs after resupply...I basically took the gear I already owned and didn't subscribe to the super light weight gear idea. Heck, I didn't even buy hiking poles. As for the no zero thing, I think it's just in my nature. If you want to blame it on someone, blame it on my mother who never let me miss a single day of school from K-12. :)

Mags
03-31-2004, 13:36
The best way to maintain an over all pace that you intend can happen fairly easily.

One: avoid towns. Better to camp just outside town, hitch in, relax, camp just outside of town. Towns tend to have a way of sucking you in...zeroes only compound this effect.

Two: A light pack. If you have a light pack, you can easly increase your pace by .5/hr without any extra effort. In a 10 hr hiking day, that means an additional 5 miles without doing anything special! Adds up over the course of a week.

Three: Get up early, hike late. On my AT thru-hike, would typically hike 7am - 6 pm. Nine - ten hours of hiking total if I factor in breaks. At a moderate pace of 2 MPH, that was 18-20 miles MPD. Up the pace to 2.5 with a light pack and shoes, that is 22.5 -25 MPD.

Naturally, in some areas (Whites, Mahoosucs) your mileage and speed may drop, but your overall average is kept up by the miles you can do in the easier sections.

Now that I hike lightweight (just shy of 11 lbs for base packweight, wear sneakers), am in overall better shape than six years ago (active runner, training for an ultra, hiking almost every weekend, etc.) and have more long distance hiking experience, I suspect my overall time for completing the AT may drop if I choose to hike the trail again. Did the trail in a somewhat quick five months in 1998. Suspect I could drop it to less than 4 1/2 mos without doing anything radical based on how I hike now. On my AT thru-hike, enjoyed myself immensley. On my PCT thru-hike, was within the first group to finish and I enjoyed myself as well. Fast hiking does not equal no enjoyment of hike.

My basepack weight on the AT thru was almost 30 lbs, I wore heavy leather boots, did not have the hiking experience I have now and was not in the shape I am now when I started the AT. A bit different in 1998 vs 2004. :)

So, guess what I am trying to say your goal is very attainable without doing anything superhuman. Be consistent, pack light, try to be in good shape when you start and above all else, have fun!

Mags

mpholcomb
03-31-2004, 13:52
Thanks, I will have tons of fun!

whcobbs
03-31-2004, 15:20
Jersey Joe--

The graphical and tabular presentation of your daily hiking mileage/time is extraordinarily useful. For the first approx six weeks, you followed a hard -easy schedule of alternate long and short days, then changed to a more uniform effort. Were you conscious of this decision, or did it just evolve? Anyway, it is a textbook training curve any endurance athlete would be proud of.

Walt

mpholcombe,
I averaged almost exactly 20miles/day on my thru. If your interested, here is a link to a couple of milage charts I put togehther from my hike. Obviously there are plenty of factors that altered my milage, like me getting sick in the whites (food poisoning from some old hut food that i yogied) and doing 5 and 7 miles in and out of town because of mail drops, but as an overall snapshot it might be useful.
http://www.geocities.com/joegamehike/milesframe.html

jersey joe
03-31-2004, 16:29
It was not a concious decision to alternate long and short days. I did notice in the beginning of my hike that it was physically harder to do back to back 20+ days. Text book endurance training??? I had no idea...interesting. It's funny, I can look at almost every dip and rise in that chart and tell you exactly where I was, what I was doing and the reason for the big or small mile day.

Jaybird
03-31-2004, 17:31
Currently, we are planning a beginning average of ~10/day, climbing up to 22 at Damascus and staying at least there the rest. Is there sections that are extremely flat/low? Places where 25-35 range is more likely? I am trying to find the feasibility of doing 25-35/day over longer periods (based on terrain).I am not looking to trail run it. 25/day is 3.5/hour for 7 hours. Which seems feasible to me.


my 1st question is............WHY?

most injuries, take place before you hit Damascus...loads of them are from too much stress from "HIGH MILEAGE DAYS". I've even seen 20-somethings, that were in relatively good shape...wither...while attempting to climb the mountains of N.E. Georgia into NC & then into TN.
Start slower...build up to your 20, 25 + miles....per day.

enjoy the trail.... :D

mpholcomb
03-31-2004, 17:37
my 1st question is............WHY?

most injuries, take place before you hit Damascus...loads of them are from too much stress from "HIGH MILEAGE DAYS". I've even seen 20-somethings, that were in relatively good shape...wither...while attempting to climb the mountains of N.E. Georgia into NC & then into TN.
Start slower...build up to your 20, 25 + miles....per day.

enjoy the trail.... :D
Well, i did state that we were starting at 10 MPD. We are working our way up to the low 20s near Gatlinburg. :banana

Why? Because that is what we want to do.

Happy
03-31-2004, 23:35
I look forward to following your hike...are you posting on trailjournals.com?

If so, what is your journal name?

mpholcomb
03-31-2004, 23:55
I have never used trailjournals, but will probably make my own system to log our hike.

Happy
04-01-2004, 00:15
I have never used trailjournals, but will probably make my own system to log our hike.


GREAT! Please post the site before you leave and have a SUPER hike!

Jaybird
04-01-2004, 06:30
Well, i did state that we were starting at 10 MPD. We are working our way up to the low 20s near Gatlinburg. :banana

Why? Because that is what we want to do.



mpholcomb

i guess my point is this.....WHY travel in racing speed....why not slow your speed & enjoy the hike, nature, the critters, the fellow hikers.....

if you have obligations & a deadline....might wanna think about doing the trail in 2 parts (maybe 2 years).

Good Luck with your hike! :D

mpholcomb
04-01-2004, 08:28
Jaybird, I am not debating whether or not to finish in 2 years. If we don't finish this time around, then we don't. Getting a time where we both are off of our jobs (just after graduation now) would not be easy.

Based on the people who answered my question, I think we will finish. I think alot of the people here try too much to make other people's hikes their own. Me and my wife are going to have our own. Unique. Ours. And when we finish we will know that we set goals and acheived them.

Besides, the next time we have a chance for a long hike, we may go to Europe. Chili? PCT,CDT? Who knows! Or, we may never again!

Muahahahaha! I love uncertainty! :jump:banana:jump

chris
04-01-2004, 08:50
mpholcomb

i guess my point is this.....WHY travel in racing speed....why not slow your speed & enjoy the hike, nature, the critters, the fellow hikers.....



I agree! For, those who hike more than 12 miles a day do so with their eyes shut, their nose stuffed, and their fingers in their ears. Of course, if you break the 12 mile a day barrier (like the sound barrier, only worse), you will not have time to talk to people or smell a single flower. The entire AT will go by like a fart in the wind and you will reach Katahdin without a single worthy experience. You will NOT, repeat, will NOT, enjoy your hike if you do not follow Jaybird's advice. Racing is for losers, and anything more than a few hours of hiking a day is racing. People who hike 20 miles a day are too stupid to know better, but now you do!

mpholcomb
04-01-2004, 09:17
I agree! For, those who hike more than 12 miles a day do so with their eyes shut, their nose stuffed, and their fingers in their ears. Of course, if you break the 12 mile a day barrier (like the sound barrier, only worse), you will not have time to talk to people or smell a single flower. The entire AT will go by like a fart in the wind and you will reach Katahdin without a single worthy experience. You will NOT, repeat, will NOT, enjoy your hike if you do not follow Jaybird's advice. Racing is for losers, and anything more than a few hours of hiking a day is racing. People who hike 20 miles a day are too stupid to know better, but now you do!
Sarcasm? Since I do not know you, I can not be sure. I will assume sarcasm tho.

A 3 month fart is an awfully large fart, or a very strong wind.

hungryhowie
04-01-2004, 09:31
I think that's the first totally sarcastic reply I've ever read from you, Chris. :cool:

I empathize with your frustration, and although it's getting to the point of 'how many times can we beat this dead horse', I will state once again for the naysayers that, despite popular belief, people do actually hike at different paces. What is comfortable for one individual may be horrendously slow or fast to another. Additionally, the same hiker may find that they have different goals on different hikes. Like I said in a previous post, I've completed different hikes in differing styles. Sometimes I feel like hiking fast, others slow, etc, etc.

And while I don't care how fast another hiker hikes, or how much weight their going to carry, etc, it is my sincere hope that all hikers find what they want in the trail. Meaning, if you want to find enjoyment, I hope you find it. If you want to find a physical challenge, I hope you find it. If you hope to find an answer to a philosophical question, I hope you find it. Not all people have the same motivations in life, and not all people have the same goals on the trail. If you're not finding what you're after, you need to step down, assess why, and do your best to fix it. Maybe you need to change something about the hike. Maybe you need to go do something else. Whatever your goals, hopes, and dreams, and this goes for ALL of you, may you find what you're looking for in the trail.

-Howie

tlbj6142
04-01-2004, 09:34
i guess my point is this.....WHY travel in racing speed....why not slow your speed & enjoy the hike, nature, the critters, the fellow hikers.....Because there aren't any views to be seen from the floor of a shelter. Well, most shelters. So, sitting on your ass in camp isn't much of a journey. Might was well go to your local mall and talk to the old guys in the "men holding their wives' purses" coral.

tlbj6142
04-01-2004, 09:37
I think that's the first totally sarcastic reply I've ever read from you, Chris.You should dig up some of Chris' old post from his pre-pct days. They were down right abrasive at times. I think he has soften up a bit since finishing his PCT thru.:D

Happy
04-01-2004, 11:30
Just let the couple "hike their own hike"...as I mentioned in a previous post, just post the website for the journal. I followed "Barkeaters" triple crown attempt starting on Springer on New Years Eve that was aborted early.

Each year I hike and meet 50-60 thruhikers with journals, so I can follow their hikes for the next 5-6 months. I see people with pack weights of 40-60 pounds and they explain how they are strong and can handle the weight.

Then later, I read the shelter journals further North by the same hikers saying they HAVE to reduce weight...then read their journals on the internet saying they have purchased lighter packs, shelters, sent unneeded items and clothes home, tore pages out of their guidebook and forwarded the rest...I now understand why over a TON of gear is mailed home from Neel's Gap each hiking season!

Just let the couple hike their hike and I am SURE they will make adjustments as with the example of the heavy packs above.

gravityman
04-01-2004, 11:31
I empathize with your frustration, and although it's getting to the point of 'how many times can we beat this dead horse', I will state once again for the naysayers that, despite popular belief, people do actually hike at different paces. What is comfortable for one individual may be horrendously slow or fast to another. Additionally, the same hiker may find that they have different goals on different hikes. Like I said in a previous post, I've completed different hikes in differing styles. Sometimes I feel like hiking fast, others slow, etc, etc.

-Howie

Note that they are two people. Twice the potential for problems, twice the town cravings, twice the chance for burn out, and twice the chance for getting hurt. Adds a level of difficult to trying to finish fast. Maybe they are both super hikers, but it definitely makes it harder. My guess is (and maybe it is wrong) statistically woman are not going to be able to hike as fast as a man. That said, there are definitely those woman who will hike a lot faster than most men. Tough to say how his wife feels about this. We know he thinks he can do it, but what does she think? Unless she is 100% on board with no reservation, then it's going to be really tough on her.

Gravity Man

mpholcomb
04-01-2004, 12:28
Note that they are two people. Twice the potential for problems, twice the town cravings, twice the chance for burn out, and twice the chance for getting hurt. Adds a level of difficult to trying to finish fast. Maybe they are both super hikers, but it definitely makes it harder. My guess is (and maybe it is wrong) statistically woman are not going to be able to hike as fast as a man. That said, there are definitely those woman who will hike a lot faster than most men. Tough to say how his wife feels about this. We know he thinks he can do it, but what does she think? Unless she is 100% on board with no reservation, then it's going to be really tough on her.
Gravity Man
And the truth:

I tried to down the mileage a bit a while ago, and she said "nah". She is a cross-country, track runner (a freaking good one). And she is 100% on board. We have been on long backpacking trips together and we have even endurance, but she looks a lot better doing it. As for cravings. I think we can control our cravings. We have a 2 day break, 7 day, and 9 day break planned (parents, family wedding, family wedding). As for injuries. If it happens, it happens. Su><ors to us.

Thanks all for answering the questions I wanted answered. All the rest that tried to shape our hike...sorry, but it aint gonna happen.

:banana

gravityman
04-01-2004, 14:21
Well, it all sounds good. The runner part is very reassuring, as she knows what it is like to put in long miles at high exersion rate (65-85% of max heart rate). This is not true of everyone. Just remember to stay flexible. I personally wasn't trying to "shape" your hike. I was trying to unshape it. You will find out that long distance hiking is all about flexibility.

Come back and tell us what you think about our advice after the hike. That will be most interesting!

Good luck and remember to enjoy!

Gravity man

rickb
04-01-2004, 14:41
FWIW, I thought that Gravity Man's post #25 was among the best I read. Anywhere.

Perhaps it takes one to know one. I know that I was miles obsessed on my thru hike. More than 20 years after the fact, this southbounder could tell you to the 1/10 of a mile what I averaged to the NH border-- and at Springer. I could tell you how much of a failure I felt after doing an 8-mile day in 50* pouring rain. Or how dissapointed I was to be forced into taking my one and only zero day.

I never did really big miles, just big for me. But I could tell you that my NEED to do miles and my self-imposed schedule SUCKED. That's just my experience. (YMMV and other disclaimers so many seem to need inserted here).

I could also say that anything that kept me from making my miles was not welcome. If a trial was rerouted, it bugged the heck out of me. If I got lost, it was bad. If a hitch failed to materialize, my attitude went sour. If shin pain had me hobbling, I knew I couldn't rest-- miles had to be made. If it were a hiking partner keeping me back (I had one for a couple days), I couldn't, wouldn't adjust. In my case, I left the only other SOBO I met forever behind, because he refused to leave the Church Hostel in Perisburg in the middle of a downpour. This at a time I was lonely for company beyond words. Dumb? You bet.

Again, just me. Other's might know the type, though.

Anyway, I have great admiration for couples who push thier limits together. But I am glad that I met my wife (on the AT, BTW) some years after my thu hike, and walked the AT alone. I would not have made a great hiking partner in 1983. She probably would have killed me.

My schedule just mattered too much, and I wasn't smart enough to know that at the time. My hike could have been better.

Not trying to shape anyone's hike-- just talking about my own. And I did want to say again that I appreciated that post by Gravity Man. I think it takes a bit more "weight" to share our own mistakes and shortcomings than just our triumphs.

(My original post involved, blisters, stomach aches, bad days, and normal distributions. But it got lost so this is all I can offer. If anything above makes people feel like I am trying to shape their hike, that's OK. But I'm not.)

Rick B

mpholcomb
04-01-2004, 14:52
I personally wasn't trying to "shape" your hike. I was trying to unshape it. You will find out that long distance hiking is all about flexibility.
Hehe, wasn't trying to be mean. And all of your advice is great. I was more referring to the few posts that disagreed with what I was doing with purely opinionated reasons.

gravityman
04-01-2004, 15:20
FWIW, I thought that Gravity Man's post #25 was among the best I read. Anywhere.

Anyway, I have great admiration for couples who push thier limits together. But I am glad that I met my wife (on the AT, BTW) some years after my thu hike, and walked the AT alone. I would not have made a great hiking partner in 1983. She probably would have killed me.
Rick B

Thanks Rick. I appeciate that. It is tough to take responibility for what went on during the hike, but it is good. I grew a hell of a lot on that hike. I enjoy life 100 times more now. And I owe that to my wife. If she hadn't been along, you and I would have had very similar hikes. I'm just thankful that I care enough about her that I changed. It's a whole lot better for the both of us!

I really sympathize with your experience! The reroutes is a perfect example. Maybe other milage oriented people aren't like that, but it really hurt my experience. And why should it? Anyway, that's what I learned from the trail. And it's a perfect parabol for life.

Gravity Man

rgarling
04-15-2004, 09:53
I googled "Appalachian Trail fastest thru hike" and got a couple of references everyone is probably familiar with. I have calculated their average speed and average miles per day (used 2100 miles as AT length).

============
http://www.railriders.com/store/article/2?&archive_link=yes
The fastest record trip, with no support system was 61 days in 1991, by Wade Leonard. Average speed was 2.8 miles per hour. (61d x 24hpd x 2.8mph = 4099.2miles possible / 2100 miles actual = 1.952) (24/1.952=12.3 hours per day)
Fastest time, with support, was 52 days by ultramarathoner David Horton in 1991, with an average speed of 4.3 miles per hour. (52d x 24hpd x4.3mph = 5366.4 miles / 2100 miles = 2.5) (24/2.5=9.6 hours per day)

http://friends.backcountry.net/lht/at/Funapp97.htm
"You gotta have dreams to have dreams come true," said Horton at the Gathering. "My dream was to have the fastest time on the trail." Horton runs 50- and 100-mile races on a regular basis. With the support of interested people who met him with food and transported him to shelter, he set the world speed record for hiking the Appalachian Trail - 52 days, 9 hours - running at a pace of 3.54 miles per hour. (***edit In a phone conversation on 4/15/2004 David Horton confirmed that 3.54mph is the correct pace for his record.)

(2100m / 3.54mph = 593.22 hours / 52.375 days = 11.3 hours per day)

====================
Of the two quotes on Horton's accomplishment, I tend to think the 2nd reference is more accurate since it appears to be quoting Horton's own numbers presented at the "Gathering". In any event, the 'world speed records' seem to put the maximums near:

Unsupported: 12.5 hours per day @ 2.8mph (incredible!)
Supported: 11.3 hours per day @ 3.54mph
FWIW, the people that I have seen on the trail, who attain 3+ mph are running when it is possible to run.

Lone Wolf
04-15-2004, 10:00
The new record is 47+ days set by Pete Palmer in 99. He ran less than 100 miles of it.

rgarling
04-15-2004, 11:06
Have you seen the writeup on this? Any links? (google search yields nothing)

Lone Wolf
04-15-2004, 11:10
I've seen a write-up but don't remember where. Plus he was a friend at the time. He , myself and another friend hatched the idea of him doing it. I was suppose to help support him but had a family crisis and couldn't participate.

rgarling
04-15-2004, 11:34
On the face of it, we have a 4 year old record that apparently no one has documented, there is only one reference to the achievement, and one of the 3 planners of the record attempt has no details.

Lone Wolf
04-15-2004, 11:45
I really don't give a s**t what you believe son. The article was in a Maine paper. Call David Horton @ 434-582-2386 He'll give you all the info about Pete and his record. Google this! And tell him Lone Wolf sent you. BTW go to YAHOO.com and type in: Peter Palmer Appalachian Trail record. I was wrong. The record is 48 days, 20 hours, 11 minutes.

rgarling
04-15-2004, 11:49
Thanks, I'll give him a call....
==== edit (added)

OK. I've called him... very nice guy. I told him that Lone Wolf asked me to give him a call. He said "Oh, I'm sorry'. I *think* he was kidding.

Anyway he has a writeup on his web page about Palmer's achievement.

http://www.extremeultrarunning.com/palmer.htm


This is an excellent first hand account. The last entry contains the text: CUMULATIVE MILES 2160.2 IN 48 DAYS 20 HOURS AND 11 MINUTES

I don't have documentation for the exact hiking speed, but David said Pete averaged a slower pace than he had, about 3 miles per hour, but was moving 14+ hours per day. David also confirmed that Pete did not run very much.


I asked David to characterize his pace he used to achieve his record. He said he walked up hill and ran the flats & downhill (if possible). By the way, David has written a book about his achievement which I have now purchased. If you have an interest in details of ultramarathoning, you might consider buying it too.


I see Old Fhart has added to the fray as I was editing this. This is simply a case of documenting. For some reason, I didn't instantly get the extremeultrarunning site. Guess I'm just a hack at google.

The Old Fhart
04-15-2004, 12:07
First, I donít always agree with Lone Wolf but he is honest and Iíd believe him.
Second, I used Google and instantly found this:http://www.extremeultrarunning.com/palmer.htm
48 days, 20 hours, 11 minutes is the new record.

Pencil Pusher
05-27-2004, 15:02
It's not like moving fast puts blinders on your eyes, or that you cannot enjoy the scenery. I would think people that go the distance do it more to see what they're made of than for bragging rights. Just the same, I think quite a few of the 'go light and fast' crowd overly obsess about times and weights.
This thread started off with the guy asking which sections of the trail might he be able to maintain that pace in. So he's taking into account which areas would not offer this pace.