View Full Version : Georgia to New York

Trail Dog
11-12-2002, 15:53
Hi all, i'm an experienced outdoorsman for a City boy who hasnt really done any hiking/backpacking for more than a week strech at a time. I want to do a few months on the trail after i graduate and before some corporation gets their claws in me.

i was wondering what a good pace would be for me to smell the Roses and get back to New York before my family decides to send out a rescue party.

i was thinking 10 miles a day but am worried that may be too slow, thinking about it i may be right, should i plan on 12?. I know what it feels like to be forced marched 35 miles in one day with Sargeant Slaughter screaming at me and i dont want to hike the AT feeling like i have some far off Battle i might be late for.

whats a reasonable pace and time for a georgia to new york trip? i estimate about 1,400 miles (i'm stoping at bear mountian or Anthony's nose in NY since its my usual stomping grounds so i wont be doing all 88 miles in NY) and I figure on 130 days.

would really aprichiate some input. other question i have is how much food should be carried on me from point to point? a week 12 days? what's reasonable and safe.

some info: I plan to start in georgia in mid march of 2004 and get home by or before August. Later in life i will head to Maine and go South to NY.



11-12-2002, 16:21
You can start doing 10 mile days, but after 2-3 weeks expect to be doing 15-20 mile days. You won't have to try. It will just happen because you will get into trail shape. Listen to your body and do what is comfortable. Try to keep your plans flexible.

11-12-2002, 17:36
I started at Springer doing 12-14 mile days. After about 10 days it was in the low 20s pretty consistently to Damascus. One full zero day plus a half day off in Erwin. I had trips planned out west and up north for the rest of the summer, but my guess is that daily mileage would have risen to mid-upper 20s for much of the rest of the trail. I was less tired at the end of a 20 mile day after week 3 than I was after a 14 mile day during week 1. You do adjust. I'd say I was smelling the roses and hiking comfortably. I took breaks, drank lots of water. I laid around in the sun on rocky outcroppings admiring the views. I smelled flowers and hunted for mushrooms and ramps. In short, I did alot of things that I liked to do and walked until I was tired, which usually came around 6 or 7. Shrek (anyone know what happenned to him?) started out from Springer doing something like 4-6 miles per day and way up to 8-10 miles around Hot Springs (230 or so mile up trail). He also seemed to be having a grand time. You are out there to have fun. No reason to go faster or slower than you want to.

Hiking pace is pretty individual. To get an idea of your hiking pace, go out for some day hikes. If a 10 mile day hike across flat ground is challenging, then doing 10 mile days, with a pack, up and down the mountains in Georgia may be too much. At least at first, that is. If a day hike of 20 miles over hilly terrain isn't very challenging, then, assuming you don't carry a very heavy pack, you should be able to cruise along at 15 per day early on and be up into the 20s after a couple of weeks and still enjoy your trip. If there are no hills where you are (there are none where I am), then do day hikes on flat ground and read some of the journals at www.trailjournals.com and try to extrapolate. You can click on the Stats link to see what the journalist averaged per day and averaged per hiking day. In the end, though, only you can determine a realistic hiking pace that will be comfortable for you.

One word of warning. Do not push yourself too hard initially. Find an estimate that you think you can comfortably do in a day. Then, subtract 10-25% for the first week or two. This will help break your body in a bit. I saw lots of people walking downhill backwards in GA because their knees were so swollen and hurting.

11-24-2002, 23:12
You will have low mile days, high mile days, days off, etc. But you can probably count on averaging 13-16 miles a day over the course of the trip. So plan on about 90-110 days to do this trip.

11-25-2002, 11:59
We did 1000 miles in about 90 days. That's 11 miles a day. There were plenty of zero days in there (maybe 7-10?) because of health problems and foot problems and just plain enjoying life. We had a number of 7 mile days in virginia as the foot problems got bad and moral wore down. We only had one 20 mile day and that was in the Park.
That being said, I've also seen this "you'll easily be averaging in the mid 20's by damascus" urban legend a lot. It's not easy, and I don't know too many people that were 'averaging' it. A few people did do a 20 miler into Damascus, but that's very different from an average. I found boredom to be my biggest problem with long miles. I just couldn't keep my mind occupied for that long. We hiked at 2 miles an hour, so 10 hours of hiking, plus breaks, meant about a 12 hour day to hit 20. We ended up getting sick of walking that much on any given day. Maybe it would have been different if we weren't hiking as a couple, or we didn't have foot and health issues, but most people we meet were not doing an average(!) of 20 miles a day. Most were averaging around 16 or so... If you plan on taking 6 months to do the whole trail (The ATC webpage says the average is slightly over 6 months!) that's 12 miles a day!
So, don't believe the Hype! I'm tired of it! The average, including days off, is 12 miles a day. If you consider yourself an average person physically, then use this.

Gravity Man

PS. Even an above average person who finishes it in 4 months (which I found to be pretty rare in my experiences) you only average 18 miles a day incuding zeros! At 25 miles a day average, you will finish in under 3 months! Sure, there's people that do that, but without a doubt, that is not the 'average!'

11-25-2002, 19:46
A better indication of progress along the AT is not the daily miles, but rather the weekly miles. As Gravity says, there are very few that average 20 miles per day. That would be 140 miles per week, and that rarely happens. And everyone remembers their big mileage days. What they forget about is that it then takes them a couple of days to recover from the big day. So, it all averages out.

Based on averages, 100 miles per week every week is doing very well.

Roland Muesser published the results of a very limited survey in his book "Long Distance Hiking." Based on that, it takes around 100 days to hike from Georgia to New York.

11-25-2002, 22:57
Granted some folks are slower than others and some are faster as well. All I am doing is guessing how fast a person may hike and averaging 14-16 miles over the course of a trip is very common. Take a look at the poll here on the site concerning average miles.

11-26-2002, 08:38
Ganj, let's not be misleading here.

Per the survey by Roland Mueser, the overall average is 14.5 miles per hiking day. If you add in non-hiking days (zero days), the average becomes 12.75 miles per day.

Anyone whose overall average is between 14 and 16 miles per day is doing better than average. Granted, there are people out there that do this average, especially in the mid Atlantic states, but they probably didn't do this average down south, or up north, and that will reduce the overall average.

Lone Wolf
11-26-2002, 08:52
Trail Dog. To hell with surveys and averages. Take the full 130 days you're giving yourself to get to N.Y. Take your time, take days off and take advice with a grain of sand. You'll do just fine. The trail ain't that tough. If B. Jack who is 40+ in age, carries 60+ in pack weight, smokes non-filter camels WHILE hiking and swigging bourbon all with trashed knees and no Leki poles can do it, anyone can.

11-26-2002, 09:27
You're absolutely right.

11-26-2002, 09:45
What Peaks and others say is good. To put a slightly different name on it, it helps to be consistent in your hiking style. This was something that Flyin' Brian emphasized at the Gathering. If you need a couple of days to really recover from a 25 mile day (say a zero plus a 10), wouldn't it be better just to hike along at 12 miles per day and cover the same ground? On the other hand, people are able to average 20 miles per day on the and above on the AT and still enjoy their hike. Enjoying one's hike is the main thing, not going at a certain pace or covering a certain amount of distance per week. This also means that a 130 day hike to New York could be, depending on the person, less enjoyable than a 130 day hike to Katahdin.

For those who haven't backpacked much or even hiked, I think starting out in Georgia planning to average 10-12 miles per day (not per hiking day, so 70-84 miles per week) seems wise. Doing a buy as you go approach to resupplying would give more flexibility for speeding up (or slowing down).

11-26-2002, 13:02
When we do the AT again we are not going to worry about miles at all. We will give ourselves 7 months. The drive to get to the big K will be there, or won't. But I know that our first 300 miles I drove us to try to get those average miles up because I thought we won't make it if we didn't make the miles. Well, its simply not true. You will get there as long as you have the time! I pushed us through injuries, and ended up making us have to get off...
The lesson I learned was not to trade time for miles. It pushes you to an unhappy mental frame of mind and can cause you to push yourself (or your wife) when you shouldn't.
I'm a physicist by training. It was tough to give up the numbers, and just to go with the flow, but its what you have to do...

Gravity Man

Jack Tarlin
11-26-2002, 14:04
I must take issue with the accuracy of Lone Wolf's latest post.

I now use Leki Poles.

Lone Wolf
11-26-2002, 14:21
Damn Jack! You've become a conformist. What's next? Golite gear? 21.3lb. pack? A tarp. BTW, that's the SHORTEST post by you that I've ever seen.