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Tevo
01-28-2011, 18:16
I've read that it's better not to start by doing too many miles per day. I'm curious how many miles per day others usually do (or are planning to do) for the first week. I've planned to go from Springer to Gooch Mtn Shelter day 1, then Neels Gap for day two. Might be pushing it.

Lone Wolf
01-28-2011, 18:19
what's your age, weight, pack weight, experience?

Luddite
01-28-2011, 18:28
I've read that it's better not to start by doing too many miles per day. I'm curious how many miles per day others usually do (or are planning to do) for the first week. I've planned to go from Springer to Gooch Mtn Shelter day 1, then Neels Gap for day two. Might be pushing it.

From Springer to neels its about 30 miles i think and that may be pushing it.

SwitchbackVT
01-28-2011, 18:46
This is my tentative game plan.

Amicalola Falls-->Stover Creek ~ 11 miles or so
Stover Creek-->Gooch Mtn Shelter ~ 12.3 miles
Gooch Mtn Shelter-->Blood Mtn Shelter ~ 13.2 miles
Blood Mtn Shelter-->Neels Gap ~ 2.3 miles...then probably hike a few miles that afternoon, we'll see.

Here's a cool website for calculating AT distances too (though slightly outdated i'm sure)

http://www.atdist.com/

Spokes
01-28-2011, 19:50
Plan on getting to Neels Gap on day 3 and you should be fine. Adjust from there.

Cheers!

Scooby99
01-28-2011, 22:00
Did a section a few years ago from Springer to Newfound Gap in February. Got a late start first day, made it to Hawk Mtn shelter, next day camped a few miles past Gooch, third day into Neels Gap, made it there before 11a, shouldn't be a problem in 2 days if you get an early start. Left in okay shape, doing 10-11 mile day hikes with pack in NY in the snow, pack weight around 17lbs.

Slo-go'en
01-28-2011, 23:05
This is my tentative game plan.

Amicalola Falls-->Stover Creek ~ 11 miles or so
Stover Creek-->Gooch Mtn Shelter ~ 12.3 miles
Gooch Mtn Shelter-->Blood Mtn Shelter ~ 13.2 miles
Blood Mtn Shelter-->Neels Gap ~ 2.3 miles...then probably hike a few miles that afternoon, we'll see.


That's do-able if your in reasonably good shape to start with.

As soon as you see what Blood Mtn shelter looks like, you'll say the heck with this and go the rest of the way to Neels Gap. Your going to end up staying for a night there anyway, so might as well get it over with.

Serial 07
01-28-2011, 23:29
roll in to neel gap on the third day...

SweetAss03
01-28-2011, 23:46
Garbonso-
That is the exact table I did in 2003. Easy money. I stayed in blood MTN shelter, it was not pretty then, and I am sure it is worse now. BUT the sunset was worth it. Went to Meals Gap but didn't spend the night, moved on to Cowrock MTN. For the night.

Tenderheart
01-29-2011, 11:25
I wouldn't do over 7-10 miles per day until I got all the bugs ironed out. I think it was the great Loon that said "too much, too soon, too bad". I hiked from Springer to Gooch Gap in '04 on the first day of a week long trip. My feet got so blistered on the bottom that I could barely walk. I didn't even know it until it was too late. I limped to Neel Gap and went home. Don't blow your dream by being over zealous.

litefoot 2000

Smile
01-29-2011, 11:26
You can do easier 5-7 miles from shelter to shelter if you start at the top of Springer. Which I would recommend, skip the approach trail :)

Ease in, there is no rush and your body and feet with thank you.
You could head in the afternoon to top of springer, and do an easy 2.6 to Stover Creek, get comfy, play with your gear and set up for a leisurely dinner and first night.

Then head for Hawk Mountain Shelter 5.0 miles away. Relax the rest of the day, you might want to go on to Gooch Mtn., but what's the rush? At lunch you may feel terrific, but there is some work to be done to get to Gooch.

Next day, easy 7.3 miles to Gooch Mtn. Shelter, you're really easing into this so you should be feeling good, no blisters, no rushing.

Suches GA is your next road crossing, and it's only 1.4 miles here. At the TWO Resort (two wheels only) there is an AMAZING restaurant open for dinners, check to be sure it's still open when you're passing through. I've been through there in Early March, and had one of the best meals on the trail there IMHO. Laundry and cheap cabins a few miles away, call ahead and you can snag a ride there. You might want to skip Gooch and just make this a stop, depending on your budget and how you feel.
Otherwise it's an 11.9 miles to Woods Hole Shelter, than a reasonable hike into Mountain Crossings after Blood Mtn.

Keep in mind, this is a good start for someone who is not in excellent shape, or wants to really ease into this. IMHO pushing too hard the first few days can really ruin the hike, section or thru.

finskie
01-29-2011, 12:13
I've gone out too hard before, and payed the price. IMO a start of 8m then 11m then 15m progression is good for me, and I build from there.

finskie
01-29-2011, 12:16
I've gone out too hard before, and payed the price. IMO a start of 8m then 11m then 15m progression is good for me, and I build from there.

I'm not saying to progress in 3 days... just a similar step up. The average normal walking speed is 2mph. So 8 for a few days translates to 4 hrs of hiking, give or take some due to elevation. Also, I feel this depends alot on how often you hike already with a pack on.

wvgrinder
01-29-2011, 13:11
Don't be a horse race. Be a marathon. ;)

TheChop
01-29-2011, 13:45
You've got around 150-160 hiking days if not more. You don't want to blow the hike up trying to make 30 miles in the first two days. I have a saying that resting for five minutes too long has never ruined a hike but getting up from a rest five minutes too early certainly has. I believe the same principle applies here.

Another thing to take into account is you're going to be starting off that first day and there's no need to rush through it. There will be a lot of days of just walking and only one day of making a little ceremony and ritual to start the hike. Don't want to get to Springer and say to yourself, "Got to get running so I can make miles."

bigcranky
01-29-2011, 14:49
We stayed at Gooch Mountain Shelter on our third night on the Trail (Springer on the first night, Hawk Mtn on the second). Several hikers came in very late, having started at Springer that morning thinking it was an easy 16 miles for the first day. They were hurting pretty good, especially one guy from Kansas whose knee was in pretty bad shape.

One thing is that the 8 miles from Springer to Hawk is pretty flat, so hikers keep going and hit Sassafras and Justus in the late afternoon. Those are pretty steep for a starting hiker, and getting to Gooch Mountain turns into a death march. There used to be good camp sites at Justus Creek (about 12 miles in, just past all the climbs), but I think there was a relo a couple of years ago that bypasses them.

Be flexible, listen to your body, and bring an extra day of food.

Cookerhiker
01-29-2011, 15:11
Even if your aerobic fitness enables you to start 15+ mpd, I'd recommend shorter days in the beginning to help your body adjust - especially feet and knees.

map man
01-29-2011, 15:28
The typical hiker keeping a journal at trailjournals.com, and making it all the way to Katahdin, takes 5.5 months to complete the trail (about 168 days) and covers 10 miles per hiking day in the first 75 miles in Georgia, and 12 miles per hiking day in the section from the Georgia border to Fontana. By extrapolation, hikers doing 15 miles/day right out of the chute are on a pace to complete the trail in around 112 days, something less than 5% of successful thru-hikers do. So you would be in very fast company indeed if you can do 15 miles per day right off the bat without breaking down. As Lone Wolf implies, you can improve your odds by showing up in great shape and keeping your pack weight light, but 15 miles a day is still a tall order for most hikers at the start of a thru-hike.

You can find the numbers I'm quoting in the articles section in the article "AT Hiking Rates, Section by Section."

Monkeywrench
01-30-2011, 09:25
This is my tentative game plan.

Amicalola Falls-->Stover Creek ~ 11 miles or so
Stover Creek-->Gooch Mtn Shelter ~ 12.3 miles
Gooch Mtn Shelter-->Blood Mtn Shelter ~ 13.2 miles
Blood Mtn Shelter-->Neels Gap ~ 2.3 miles

I believe that is exactly what I did at the start of my thru. Your legs and lungs may be in great shape when you start your thru, but your feet likely will not be used to hiking every day, day after day, so you should take it a little easy and let your feet toughen up before you start pulling big miles.

Monkeywrench
01-30-2011, 09:29
I believe that is exactly what I did at the start of my thru. Your legs and lungs may be in great shape when you start your thru, but your feet likely will not be used to hiking every day, day after day, so you should take it a little easy and let your feet toughen up before you start pulling big miles.

I did not stay at Blood Mountain Shelter, however. I camped at Slaughter Creek. I'm glad I did, as Blood Mountain shelter looks like a cold, dank, dungeon of a place.

Some church group was cooking up cheeseburgers and all the fixin's for hikers when I got to Neels Gap, and I remember eating more than my share of them!

GeneralLee10
01-30-2011, 09:42
I've read that it's better not to start by doing too many miles per day. I'm curious how many miles per day others usually do (or are planning to do) for the first week. I've planned to go from Springer to Gooch Mtn Shelter day 1, then Neels Gap for day two. Might be pushing it.

That is what I did and I was okay. However, I have hiked that section two times before I started my long trek. Most folks would only do short days at start. I picked up my miles after Franklin, NC. So... I started out dong around 15 miles then 18+ a day. It is not that hard long as you pace yourself. Plus you I'll not be in the crowded shelters as much. I don't care what anyother on here say it is an all out race to get room on the deck of a shelter n the start. Then when the weekend comes get ready for the Weekend'ers too.

GeneralLee10
01-30-2011, 09:48
This is my tentative game plan.

Amicalola Falls-->Stover Creek ~ 11 miles or so
Stover Creek-->Gooch Mtn Shelter ~ 12.3 miles
Gooch Mtn Shelter-->Blood Mtn Shelter ~ 13.2 miles
Blood Mtn Shelter-->Neels Gap ~ 2.3 miles...then probably hike a few miles that afternoon, we'll see.

Here's a cool website for calculating AT distances too (though slightly outdated i'm sure)

http://www.atdist.com/


Have you ever been to Blood Mountain Shelter? I would never sleep up there man up and walk to Neels Gap and give Winton all your money like most of you will:D

takethisbread
01-30-2011, 10:17
Have you ever been to Blood Mountain Shelter? I would never sleep up there man up and walk to Neels Gap and give Winton all your money like most of you will:D


Blood mt shelter is an emergency only shelter. I don't think any sane person would stay there!

Cookerhiker
01-30-2011, 12:41
....Your legs and lungs may be in great shape when you start your thru, but your feet likely will not be used to hiking every day, day after day, so you should take it a little easy and let your feet toughen up before you start pulling big miles.

Wise words - listen to this man.

SwitchbackVT
01-30-2011, 13:16
Good points all around, I really appreciate the input and tips. Pretty much as soon as I posted my tentative game plan, I realized that might be a little overzealous...More likely, i'll squeeze another night in there somewhere, and try to keep the mileage close to 10 miles per day, from Amicalola to Neels Gap. I have to keep reminding myself to "start slow, then slow down" (the name of the person on WB escapes me, but I think that's an excellent quote). I'm definitely in support of listening to your body, and allowing time for your body to make adjustments. Thank you all for reminding me! :)

And thanks for the heads up about Blood Mountain shelter too, I'm planning on tenting as much as possible at first, but that sounds like it may be a good place to avoid.

Happy trails!

FatMan
01-30-2011, 13:34
Forget about making any plans. Just get to the trail and start walking. Let your body tell you where to stop. There are plenty of places in Georgia to pitch a tent. It might just be a pretty place to camp, or you might have some hots spots on your feet, or you might just be tired. Just walk man, and camp wherever. Plans are for city life.

Don H
01-30-2011, 18:00
One thing I have learned in the 800 miles of section hiking I've done is that you (or I) don't decide on how far we will hike on any given day, the trail decides. Hills, rocks, weather and many other factors influence how many mile we will go.

Cookerhiker
01-30-2011, 19:07
.... I have to keep reminding myself to "start slow, then slow down" (the name of the person on WB escapes me, but I think that's an excellent quote)....

It's from Medicine Man, a long-time WBer.

Hot Sauce 2011
01-30-2011, 23:13
Forget about making any plans. Just get to the trail and start walking. Let your body tell you where to stop. There are plenty of places in Georgia to pitch a tent. It might just be a pretty place to camp, or you might have some hots spots on your feet, or you might just be tired. Just walk man, and camp wherever. Plans are for city life.

THAT's the spirit right there. That's my plan, but I would've never stated it as beautifully- thanks, FatMan :)

mweinstone
01-30-2011, 23:21
ive failed to thru and watched fails all my days. i have studyed the problem long into the nights writting theorys by the dim sooty glow of a single serving spamfire. there is only one way to pace oneself. find the fattest slowest nicest funnest hiker and saddel up to them like a saddle.walk 10,s far into the month with them. and one day,...somewhere near erwin or hot springs,...take off like a bat out of hell and kiss their slowpoke butt goodby. nicely though. you must meet your pacehorse on springer.no one can contain the urdge to run after blood. do this and all will be well with you.
matthewski has spoken
so shall it be

Awol1970
01-30-2011, 23:55
ive failed to thru and watched fails all my days. i have studyed the problem long into the nights writting theorys by the dim sooty glow of a single serving spamfire. there is only one way to pace oneself. find the fattest slowest nicest funnest hiker and saddel up to them like a saddle.walk 10,s far into the month with them. and one day,...somewhere near erwin or hot springs,...take off like a bat out of hell and kiss their slowpoke butt goodby. nicely though. you must meet your pacehorse on springer.no one can contain the urdge to run after blood. do this and all will be well with you.
matthewski has spoken
so shall it be


Well Matt pretty much summed it up right there.

Someone should put "spamfire" in the urban dictionary.

mweinstone
01-31-2011, 00:00
early man was a spammer long before a tooluser.

mweinstone
01-31-2011, 00:05
you see, before fire hardened spear tips, and before the stoneage, austrohikepithicus hiked around looking for the kills of other beasts to scavenge. all that he got was the leftovers scrambled under the claws of beasts it resembled our modern day spam.
later homoerectatentis filled his tent with spam. thats why we put it in cans today. the can symbolizes the tent.

mweinstone
01-31-2011, 00:08
when bigfoots built the pyrimids we sarted putting spam in the shape of a block of stone in remembrence of spam fueling the egyption bigfoot empire witchh gave rise to modern man who lives alone. hence spam singles. to commemorate aloneness.

Awol1970
01-31-2011, 00:10
homoerectatentis

That's clearly brilliant humor right there.

will1972
01-31-2011, 00:23
I hope one day in the future I have the pleasure of meeting Matty on the trail. I love his post, there is no way that he would not make the hard stuff easier to get thru.

Speakeasy TN
02-05-2011, 19:08
That's clearly brilliant humor right there.

You're right but just try to convince an outsider that he's not NUTZ I dare ya! :D

Cookerhiker
02-05-2011, 21:56
ive failed to thru and watched fails all my days. i have studyed the problem long into the nights writting theorys by the dim sooty glow of a single serving spamfire. there is only one way to pace oneself. find the fattest slowest nicest funnest hiker and saddel up to them like a saddle.walk 10,s far into the month with them. and one day,...somewhere near erwin or hot springs,...take off like a bat out of hell and kiss their slowpoke butt goodby. nicely though. you must meet your pacehorse on springer.no one can contain the urdge to run after blood. do this and all will be well with you.
matthewski has spoken
so shall it be

:D:clap:D:p:clap Oh I needed that today - thanks!

Don H
02-05-2011, 22:34
Another chapter for your book Matty, I can't wait until its finished.

Tevo
02-14-2011, 13:00
Sorry for the delayed reply. I'm doing about 15 miles in 5 hours on the mountain bike trail here with about 15-20 lbs on my back, but I seriously doubt anything here in TX compares to the elevation changes I'll see. I'll change my start to get to Neels Gap in three days progressing in miles. I feel confident in 10 miles per day, but you're right...what's the rush? I may even progress with something like 8mi, 10mi, 12mi to get there if that'll work with shelter distances. Thanks for the help!! Also, thanks for the tips on good places to shoot for. Can't tell ya how pumped I am to get on the trail. I bet I have to slow myself down the first day out.

Tevo
02-14-2011, 18:57
... Hope to see ya on the trail. You can't miss me, I'm the one with spam hiking with a fat man. Thanks Matt.

max patch
02-14-2011, 19:08
I've read that it's better not to start by doing too many miles per day. I'm curious how many miles per day others usually do (or are planning to do) for the first week. I've planned to go from Springer to Gooch Mtn Shelter day 1, then Neels Gap for day two. Might be pushing it.

I went Springer to Gooch Gap (a bit farthur than you) and Gooch Gap to Blood Mtn (a bit less than you) because I wanted to stay on top of Blood. Si I don't think that what you have planned is out of the question.

Some people can't get past 3 Forks the first day. Some (not many) can cruise into Neels on day 1. Your body will tell you how far you can get.

mweinstone
02-14-2011, 19:17
i love the appalachian trail!!!!!!!


writing my congressman,...now.

bobtomaskovic
02-17-2011, 02:14
HYOH I'm staring off real slowwwwww.

Bronk
02-17-2011, 02:41
I spent 5 1/2 days going from Springer to Neels Gap...that included one 2 mile day. Nothing wrong with starting slow...there will be plenty of opportunities to do big miles.

bflorac
02-17-2011, 02:50
I would do approach trail. While not offically part of the trail it really is a good eye opener for the rest of GA. Stop at the visitors center and sign the log book/take photos. You could even take the old blue blaze trail around the falls skipping all the step.

If you stay on top of Springer, you can make it to Gooch the next night and then to Woods hole the next night. If there is no water at Woods, they you can just keep going to Neels Gap (skipping Blood). The top of Blood is a nice place to visit but I would not stay there. Besides being a dump, there were a number of reported bear problems around Blood last year.

By the time you get to Neels Gap, you should have a good idea as to what pace you want to hike. Remember that sometime it is not the miles but the elevation change that makes it hard! You will remember this as you go up Albert Mtn.

Have fun.

slingblade
02-17-2011, 12:49
Dont hike, just walk. Georgia is no joke, even if you are in shape. Know where the next water source is and stop when you get tired.

Berserker
02-17-2011, 13:53
Yeah, I agree with everyone else here. Just start hiking and play it by ear. I'm a section hiker, and did all of GA in one section. Since I'm sectioning the trail I need to hit it in decent physical condition, and so I did. I averaged almost 15 miles a day through GA, and it beat me up pretty good...especially on my feet (although I think changing my footwear may have resolved that problem). If I'd a had the time I would definitely have done it slower.

Tevo
02-18-2011, 03:59
Looks like I'll be hiking 15 miles/day to Neels. I was told the new regional Navy Chief wanted to meet me and talk about the trip. He's the guy who can just shake his head yes/no and never even try to understand... and it's usually not a good thing to get called in to talk to him. I had my old hiking schedule with me and it saved me big time. Once he saw a schedule with dates/places including towns and that I'd actually gone through a lot of trouble to organize, he gave me the uneasy "ok". HOWEVER, my flexibility from that schedule is almost zero now and the old schedule they accepted is the 15 mi/day to Neels schedule. Not perfect, but at least I'm still heading to the AT.

If the miles are high, I'm hoping I can shave down my pack weight to make them easier with less chance for injury. ANY guru ideas that helps shave weight, let me know! Here's some of what I've done so far: replaced my old down jacket with a UL Inner Down jacket (subtract 9oz), replaced my clunker camera with a Canon S95 (-18oz), decided against trekking poles and will just find sticks for my tarp poles or will tie to trees (-19oz), replaced Marmot DriClime with a DIY wind shirt similar to Go Lite Wisp (-6oz), replaced Contrail tarptent with DIY Jardine tarp (-10oz), ousted the idea of an umbrella (-9oz), replaced Aegis Rain Jacket with Rainshield O2 jacket (-7oz), space blanket gone (-3.5oz), replaced my midweight thermal bottoms and windpants with rainpants since the material is thicker (-5oz), even the toothbrush now looks like a nub with bristles (-0.0001oz) ... the base pack weight should now be under 15lbs. With food/water I'm guessing a total pack weight of 22lbs? I also figured I should spoil the feet. The Brooks Cascadia shoes came in... they're incredible. So yeah, anything you can think of that helped you shave the weight, I'm open to suggestions!

And... my wallet is lighter too. Ouch.

max patch
02-18-2011, 07:59
decided against trekking poles and will just find sticks for my tarp poles or will tie to trees (-19oz),

I don't like trekking poles but this will be the first (and probably last) time I recommend them. If your poles are an integral part of your sleeping system then carry them. I would hate to have to look for the "right size" stick on the ground after hiking all day on top of all the other chores that need to be done. And if you like to hike til its dark like me then its even a bigger hassle.

There, i've said it. Take your poles. The apocalypse is upon us.

Monkeywrench
02-18-2011, 09:40
the base pack weight should now be under 15lbs. With food/water I'm guessing a total pack weight of 22lbs?

You're figuring 7 lbs for both food and water? 2 liters of water weighs 4.4 lbs. And food? There were times my food bag weighed at least 15 lbs leaving town.

Pony
02-18-2011, 11:04
Somebody once told me to rest early, and often. I was surprised at how many people were getting off the trail, at least temporarily, in Ga, because they tried to do 17+ mile days in their first week. If you have no time constraints, then I would just take it really slow. After about a month think back to your first week, and you'll be amazed at how much easier it has become. 10 miles seemed like a lot for me in the beginning, but after a while it felt pretty much like a nero. But eventually you'll hit the Whites, and everything will change.

Tevo
02-18-2011, 11:17
Ha. I've never used the trekking poles in the past. When I tried my friends for a mile or two it seemed more like power-walking than just walking. Took more energy. You may be right though. I wonder if there are some really lightweight, sturdy tent poles I could use instead?

Hey Monkeywrench, thanks for the food/water calc. 15 lbs for food seems pretty heavy. Was that for the 100 mile wilderness? I have to stop at West VA on May 8th for Navy stuff. I looked up the distances between towns and it seems three days (a couple w/ four days) is the longest stretch I'll have. I was thinking 2lbs food/day was about right? I'd rarely ever have a full two liters except right after I fill up. So, that'd be around 26lbs max and 18lbs when I'm heading into a town for a resupply. On average it'd be around 22?

This all coming from the multitude of experience my computer chair and forum reading provides... ha, so yeah, I could be way off. 15lbs?? Your food bag must have been huge!

Monkeywrench
02-19-2011, 10:37
Hey Monkeywrench, thanks for the food/water calc. 15 lbs for food seems pretty heavy. Was that for the 100 mile wilderness? I have to stop at West VA on May 8th for Navy stuff. I looked up the distances between towns and it seems three days (a couple w/ four days) is the longest stretch I'll have. I was thinking 2lbs food/day was about right? I'd rarely ever have a full two liters except right after I fill up. So, that'd be around 26lbs max and 18lbs when I'm heading into a town for a resupply. On average it'd be around 22?

By the time I got to Damascus, I felt like I was starving. I actually nearly fainted standing in the living room of the Hiker Inn. When I left Damascus I had so much food I couldn't fit it all in my food bag, and my pack weighed more than it did when I left Springer Mtn, even though I had sent a bunch of my warmer clothes home. That weight was all food.

That 2 lbs of food per day guideline works great when you're going out for a weekend or 3 or 4 days, then heading back home where you can eat all you want. But when you are hiking up and down mountains for 8 - 10 hours per day, day after day, for months, you need a lot more calories.

By the time I got to the Smokies, I was having food fantasies. The evening conversation turns almost exclusively to food. It is called "food porn." That wears off after a while, and being hungry simply becomes the status quo.

Some of my fondest memories of my hike are from days when I realized I was going to hit town a day ahead of schedule, and thus I had an extra dinner so could eat two that evening. The prospect would leave me giddy with joy.

There were many stretches of only 3 days or so between town stops, but also plenty of times when I went 5 - 7 days between resupplies.

YMMV, but I think my experience is quite typical.

Tevo
02-19-2011, 23:50
You know, that's a great point Monkeywrench. I'd just read an article that said hikers use around 6000 calories a day, so pretty much everyone will lose weight and seriously crave food. It also went on to say that upping the amount of fats eaten is one of the best bets to feeling good on the trail. It also said to eat plenty of protein to rebuild the muscles/tendons etc. that break down, thus helping to avoid injuries. Seems like this is one area where the extra weight is worth it. Even though it's heavy, I was thinking something like peanut butter or even summer sausage. Now I'm wondering if this is why some bring olive oil in a bottle. Did you find any good food that helped you get through the day without feeling like you were starved for energy? Thanks.

swjohnsey
02-20-2011, 09:59
Peanut butter and oil (any kind) are high in calories. Peanut butter has the added advantage of being high in protein as well.

Monkeywrench
02-20-2011, 10:40
You know, that's a great point Monkeywrench. I'd just read an article that said hikers use around 6000 calories a day, so pretty much everyone will lose weight and seriously crave food. It also went on to say that upping the amount of fats eaten is one of the best bets to feeling good on the trail. It also said to eat plenty of protein to rebuild the muscles/tendons etc. that break down, thus helping to avoid injuries. Seems like this is one area where the extra weight is worth it. Even though it's heavy, I was thinking something like peanut butter or even summer sausage. Now I'm wondering if this is why some bring olive oil in a bottle. Did you find any good food that helped you get through the day without feeling like you were starved for energy? Thanks.

I pretty much always had a jar of peanut butter and a jar of Nutella in my pack. I also ate a lot of beef jerky, and alternated things like pepperoni, summer sausage, and hard salami. A block of some dry, hard cheese worked well in all but the hottest of summer weather. I also carried a small plastic container of olive oil, which got added to just about every dinner, along with the ubiquitous tuna or Spam singles.

And when you are in town, eat constantly. A typical zero day for me would go something lie this:

Wake up in motel or hostel, get dressed and head for local diner. Order something like 3 scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, hash browns, bacon, sausage, large OJ, decaf coffee.

After breakfast walk to grocery store to buy food for next leg of hike. Buy an extra container of Ben & Jerry's ice cream for a snack. (At the time, I could tell you how many calories each flavor of Ben & Jerry's was) Walk back to motel / hostel. Eat ice cream.

Pretty soon it is lunch time, so head out to the local pizza joint and order a large pepperoni pizza and a drink.

In mid-afternoon, walk to burger joint (Sonic!) for a bacon cheddar cheeseburger, fries, and a chocolate shake.

For dinner many hikers tend to frequent the AYCE Chinese buffet, but being older and with a fatter bank account than many thrus, I would usually seek out the best restaurant in town and indulge in a steak and a martini.

You will sometimes see hikers in town eating, and not looking like they are particularly enjoying it. That's cuz they aren't. They are just stuffing as many calories as possible into their body.

But don't let this freak you out. Once your hike is underway, you'll figure out how much you need to carry out of town with you. Just don't force yourself to skimp on food based on a pre-conceived notion of how much you "should" be carrying.

Tevo
02-21-2011, 16:28
Just dont see how i can safely lower my pack weight any more, so I've simply decided to take three days to Neels regardless of the Navy. I'm suppose to "keep it safe, and use common sense". This seems apply. Thanks again for all the help for those who contributed advice. See ya on the trail.

Bronk
02-21-2011, 17:34
Run out of food just one time and you'll never leave town without a little extra again.

Tim51
02-21-2011, 18:23
Iv'e done about 110 miles of 'Shakedown' hikes recently in preparation for my Thru. I'm 51, in probably slightly above average shape. I am expecting to average 10-11 miles per day for the first few weeks. Hopefully a little better pace as i get my hiking legs on.

Ogre
02-22-2011, 16:16
Looks like I'll be hiking 15 miles/day to Neels. I was told the new regional Navy Chief wanted to meet me and talk about the trip. He's the guy who can just shake his head yes/no and never even try to understand... and it's usually not a good thing to get called in to talk to him. I had my old hiking schedule with me and it saved me big time. Once he saw a schedule with dates/places including towns and that I'd actually gone through a lot of trouble to organize, he gave me the uneasy "ok". HOWEVER, my flexibility from that schedule is almost zero now and the old schedule they accepted is the 15 mi/day to Neels schedule. Not perfect, but at least I'm still heading to the AT.

Hey Tevo, are you saying that you're getting time off from the Navy to hike, AND that they're approving (or not) your schedule for the whole trail? That sounds crazy to me! Are you hiking your own hike, or are you hiking the Navy's hike?!

Not to pry into your business or anything, feel free to ignore me. You just left me confused.

Tevo
02-22-2011, 21:25
Hey Ogre (nice name by the way), it IS confusing. I'm on my way into the Navy and am in the "Delayed Entry Program". Basically I've given an oath to serve my country in the Navy, but the Navy doesn't cover me financially/legally until I ship out mid July. Until I ship out, I am under close supervision by the recruiters to ensure I remain safe and out of trouble until that ship date... and to make it even more confusing, I've put in an application for both Officer Navy Intel and Enlisted Missile Technician, both of which require supervision until I go in and if chosen for Intel, could get yanked off the trail sometime in April and need frequent contact with my Officer recruiter as well. It definitely impedes my trail freedom, but I still see any chance to enjoy the AT as a gift and will take what I can get! So, I plan on going from Springer to Harper's Ferry.
I've dreamed of hiking the AT since I was a kid... so, it's gonna happen and I'm going to savor minute meeting people and enjoying mother nature at her finest!

Ogre
02-22-2011, 21:39
Hey Ogre (nice name by the way)

Thanks! It's not really a trail name, but it's been my online name for 18 years.


it IS confusing. I'm on my way into the Navy and am in the "Delayed Entry Program". Basically I've given an oath to serve my country in the Navy, but the Navy doesn't cover me financially/legally until I ship out mid July. Until I ship out, I am under close supervision by the recruiters to ensure I remain safe and out of trouble until that ship date... and to make it even more confusing, I've put in an application for both Officer Navy Intel and Enlisted Missile Technician, both of which require supervision until I go in and if chosen for Intel, could get yanked off the trail sometime in April and need frequent contact with my Officer recruiter as well. It definitely impedes my trail freedom, but I still see any chance to enjoy the AT as a gift and will take what I can get! So, I plan on going from Springer to Harper's Ferry.
I've dreamed of hiking the AT since I was a kid... so, it's gonna happen and I'm going to savor minute meeting people and enjoying mother nature at her finest!

Interesting. If they're not supporting you financially or legally, what was the benefit to enlisting now with delayed entry rather than simply enlisting when you're done hiking?

Tevo
02-22-2011, 22:19
Yep, I thought about that too. However, pretty much everyone who enlists will be delayed about 6-9 months before shipping out and they retain their previous employment until the ship date. Being a Navy Sailor is a sweet career and people know it. Now there is a waiting list and the Navy is essentially making reservations to have spots filled as they come up. As for Officer candidacy, that's a completely different process and I'm just waiting for the review board to meet, but again there is quite a delay. If Intel picks me up, it's my understanding I'm to immediately fly home and go to Officer Candidate School.

The Navy is my #1 obligation (which I'm glad of), but since I have the finances and some time NOW, I've decided to stop working and head out on the AT before shipping out.

Ogre
02-23-2011, 14:59
Thanks for answering, that makes sense.

Good luck with your hike, hope we meet up out there. Though you're starting sooner and faster than me.

And hey, that's the original point of this thread, so here's my rule:

I am going to limit myself to 10 miles per day for the first two weeks, as strictly as possible, no matter how good I feel about going farther. At that point I will reevaluate and adjust the number up, but keep the rule, for the rest of the first month. No sense rushing things and getting hurt. I am not in a hurry. I have a loose 6 month deadline, but even then I'd be ok going a few weeks over if it came to that.

I may adjust that to 20 miles per 2 days to make it easier to hit shelters and other stops like Neel's Gap, no sense being overly literal about it either. Otherwise I do intend to stick to that rule.

Haze Grey
02-23-2011, 16:40
Hey TEVO...I'm a Chief in the Navy and I enjoy your description...LOL. I have 3 yrs left till I hit my 20 and then I'll hit my chance for my thru-hike. I applaud your chioce to get some serious freedom before starting on your career with the Navy. I have been on Submarines for 17 yrs and it hasnt been easy by any means but I have always taken time to enjoyey myself whenever possible. I have been all over the world and have been an avid hiker...limited to when I can take leave. I suggest to you---where ever the Navy takes you get out and see some stuff---dont spend all your liberty ports checking out the inside of local bars...though a few of them are worth hanging out at. You can always get a dayhike in here or there. Good luck on your through hike and good luck in the Navy.

glessed
02-24-2011, 11:23
I've read that it's better not to start by doing too many miles per day. I'm curious how many miles per day others usually do (or are planning to do) for the first week. I've planned to go from Springer to Gooch Mtn Shelter day 1, then Neels Gap for day two. Might be pushing it.

I started out with goals like yourself and that's good. I ended up planning each day on a daily basis based on the distance to the next shelter and an alternate tenting site a little further along the trail. Sometimes I did the opposite. A tenting site and then a shelter. I then let my body tell me what to do as I reached those milestones.

Have fun and Good Luck. The trail and daily circumstances will influence your decisions so IMHO, I say "go with the flow".

FlyPaper
02-24-2011, 15:46
This is my tentative game plan.

Amicalola Falls-->Stover Creek ~ 11 miles or so
Stover Creek-->Gooch Mtn Shelter ~ 12.3 miles
Gooch Mtn Shelter-->Blood Mtn Shelter ~ 13.2 miles
Blood Mtn Shelter-->Neels Gap ~ 2.3 miles...then probably hike a few miles that afternoon, we'll see.

Here's a cool website for calculating AT distances too (though slightly outdated i'm sure)

http://www.atdist.com/

Actually this site is completely up to date with 2011 mileage according to the ATC.

webmaster@atdist.com

weary
02-24-2011, 16:38
You can do easier 5-7 miles from shelter to shelter if you start at the top of Springer. Which I would recommend, skip the approach trail :)

Ease in, there is no rush and your body and feet with thank you.
You could head in the afternoon to top of springer, and do an easy 2.6 to Stover Creek, get comfy, play with your gear and set up for a leisurely dinner and first night.

Then head for Hawk Mountain Shelter 5.0 miles away. Relax the rest of the day, you might want to go on to Gooch Mtn., but what's the rush? At lunch you may feel terrific, but there is some work to be done to get to Gooch.

Next day, easy 7.3 miles to Gooch Mtn. Shelter, you're really easing into this so you should be feeling good, no blisters, no rushing.

Suches GA is your next road crossing, and it's only 1.4 miles here. At the TWO Resort (two wheels only) there is an AMAZING restaurant open for dinners, check to be sure it's still open when you're passing through. I've been through there in Early March, and had one of the best meals on the trail there IMHO. Laundry and cheap cabins a few miles away, call ahead and you can snag a ride there. You might want to skip Gooch and just make this a stop, depending on your budget and how you feel.
Otherwise it's an 11.9 miles to Woods Hole Shelter, than a reasonable hike into Mountain Crossings after Blood Mtn.

Keep in mind, this is a good start for someone who is not in excellent shape, or wants to really ease into this. IMHO pushing too hard the first few days can really ruin the hike, section or thru.
Well, I didn't take the side trip to Suches, but otherwise this sounds like my early schedule in 1993. I'm a firm believer in going slow early on while muscles and joints work themselves into long distance mode.

SunnyWalker
02-24-2011, 20:58
Once on Blood Mtn its downhill from there to Neel Gap. Go for it. Have a nice shower at Neel Gap.

Tevo
02-26-2011, 23:04
Hoo-ah Chief! Sure wish I was hiking with ya. I have a ton of questions about Sub life!

Yeah, I do plan on "going with the flow" within the limits of being able to call in to the recruiters about every three to four days. Not sure what the cell service will be like, but I bet even small towns will have payphones. That should ease things up a lot.

JokerJersey
02-28-2011, 22:12
This is my plan from start to Trail Days. Starting slow, working my way into it. Of course, all of this is subject to change depending on what my body is telling me.

Day 1 - Springer Mtn -> Hawk Mtn Shelter - 7.8m - T/S
Day 2 - Hawk Mtn Shelter -> Gooch Mtn Shelter - 7.3m - T/S
Day 3 - Gooch Mtn Shelter -> Lance Creek - 7.8m - T
Day 4 - Lance Creek -> Neels Gap - 7.4m - Resupply - B
Day 5 - Neels Gap -> Low Gap - 10.8m - T/S
Day 6 - Low Gap -> Blue Mtn - 7.2m - T/S
Day 7 - Blue Mtn -> Tray Mtn Shelter - 7.8m - T/S

Week 2 (4/8-4/15)

Day 8 - Tray Mtn Shelter -> Deep Gap Shelter - 7.5m - T/S
Day 9 - Deep Gap Shelter -> Blueberry Patch Hostel - 7m - Resupply Hiawassee, GA - H
Day 10 - Dick's Creek Gap -> Bly Gap - 9m - Crossing border of GA/NC - T
Day 11 - Bly Gap -> Standing Indian Mtn - 9.2m - T
Day 12 - Standing Indian Mtn -> Betty Creek Gap - 9.8m - T
Day 13 - Betty Creek Gap -> Rock Gap Shelter - 8.4m - T/S
Day 14 - Rock Gap -> Winding Stair Gap - 3.7m - Nero/Resupply in Franklin, NC - Htl

Week 3 (4/16-4/22)

Day 15 - Winding Stair Gap -> Wayah Shelter - 11m - T/s
Day 16 - Wayah Shelter -> Wesser Bald Shelter - 10.6m - T/S
Day 17 - Wesser Bald Shelter -> NOC - 5.3m - B - Resupply
Day 18 - NOC -> Locust Cove Gap - 10.5m - T
Day 19 - Locust Cove Gap -> Cable Gap Shelter - 11.6m - T/S
Day 20 - Cable Gap Shelter -> Birch Spring Gap - 12.5m - T - Resupply Fontana Dam, NC
Day 21 - Birch Spring Gap -> Spence Field Shelter - 10.8m - T/S

Week 4 (4/23-4/29) -

Day 22 - Spence Field Shelter -> Double Spring Gap Shelter - 13.5m - T/S
Day 23 - Double Spring Gap Shelter -> Newfound Gap - 9.8m - Resupply Gatlinburg, TN - H
Day 24 - Newfound Gap -> Tri-Corner Knob Shelter - 15.6m - T/S
Day 25 - Tri-Corner Knob Shelter -> Davenport Gap, TN - 15.8m - H (Standing Bear)
Day 26 - Davenport Gap Shelter -> Groundhog Creek Shelter - 10.5m - T/S
Day 27 - Groundhog Creek Shelter -> Walnut Mtn Shelter - 13.1m - T/S
Day 28 - Walnut Mtn Shelter -> Hot Springs, NC - 13.1m - H - Resupply

Week 5 (4/30-5/6) -

Day 29 - Hot Springs, NC -> Spring Mtn Shelter - 11m - T/S
Day 30 - Spring Mtn Shelter -> Jerry Cabin Shelter - 15.4m - T/S
Day 31 - Jerry Cabin Shelter -> Hogback Ridge Shelter - 14.7m - T/S
Day 32 - Hogback Ridge Shelter -> Whistling Gap - 13.5m - T
Day 33 - Whistling Gap -> Erwin, TN - 13.5m - H
Day 34 - Erwin, TN -> Curly Maple Gap Shelter - 4.2m - Nero / Resupply
Day 35 - Curly Maple Gap Shelter -> Cherry Gap Shelter - 12.8m - T/S

Week 6 (5/7-5/13)

Day 36 - Cherry Gap Shelter -> Roan High Knob Shelter - 15.6m - T/S
Day 37 - Roan High Knob Shelter -> Mountain Harbour Hostel - 15.9m - H
Day 38 - Mountain Harbour Hostel -> Moreland Gap Shelter - 18.4m - T/S
Day 39 - Moreland Gap Shelter -> Watauga Lake Shelter - 16.7m - T/S
Day 40 - Watauga Lake Shelter -> Double Springs Shelter - 21.5m - T/S
Day 41 - Double Spring Shelter -> Damascus, VA - 18.5m - Resupply
Day 42 - Trail Days!!

Monkeywrench
03-01-2011, 08:41
This is my plan from start to Trail Days. Starting slow, working my way into it. Of course, all of this is subject to change depending on what my body is telling me.

Day 1 - Springer Mtn -> Hawk Mtn Shelter - 7.8m - T/S
...
Day 42 - Trail Days!!

Wow! I am just flabbergasted! I thought I was a planning weenie, having tried to estimate when I would reach certain mileposts along the trail, but I never even thought of attempting to plan each campsite 6 weeks out. When I started up the Approach Trail I didn't even know where I would be camping that first night.

My guess is by week two you are going to find yourself covering more miles than you have planned. Heck, you'll be done hiking by lunch time!

Please don't take this as criticism; it isn't meant as such. I truly believe in HYOH, and you should do your hike your way. This schedule just struck me, as there is no way I would have the discipline to stick to it.

Good luck, and have a great hike!

Old Hiker
03-01-2011, 08:55
Tevo - retired wingnut (AF) here. My delayed enlistment in '77 gave me several months bonus retirement pay, if you are thinking that far ahead.

Worked with many decent squids, doggies and grunts in my career, mostly joint assignments. I was on a "real" AF base only once in 24 years.

Congrats on your enlistment, good luck on OCS, and thanks for your service (yet to come!) Be safe on the trail.

MSgt, USAF, (Ret.)

art gypsy
03-01-2011, 09:48
I did 16.5 miles my first day out 2 years ago and ended up losing 3 toenails. I also had to slow down the next day due to severe weather. Do what feels right for your body, but bring enough food for 3 days.

JokerJersey
03-01-2011, 11:19
Wow! I am just flabbergasted! I thought I was a planning weenie, having tried to estimate when I would reach certain mileposts along the trail, but I never even thought of attempting to plan each campsite 6 weeks out. When I started up the Approach Trail I didn't even know where I would be camping that first night.

My guess is by week two you are going to find yourself covering more miles than you have planned. Heck, you'll be done hiking by lunch time!

Please don't take this as criticism; it isn't meant as such. I truly believe in HYOH, and you should do your hike your way. This schedule just struck me, as there is no way I would have the discipline to stick to it.

Good luck, and have a great hike!

This is what happens when you are living/working in BFE Oklahoma and the need to do something Trail related starts to eat at your brain! I'm sure that I won't be on this shedule within the first 2 weeks, but it was something to do to pass the time and it gave me a reason to study the Trail guide to see what my elevation changes were going to be and get a rough idea what I would be encountering. I'm really not this OCD normally, but it felt good to do it.

max patch
03-01-2011, 12:22
My guess is by week two you are going to find yourself covering more miles than you have planned. Heck, you'll be done hiking by lunch time!



I didn't have an itinerary planned, but I kinda thought I'd hike to Hawk Mtn Shelter and spend the nite on day 1. Got there at 11:30, ate lunch, and moved on.

weary
03-01-2011, 13:27
It's my guess that far more thru hikes have failed from going too fast then from going too slow. Most of us can do 15-20 mile days for the first few days of a long distance walk. But that doesn't mean we should. The human body takes time to adjust to new conditions. And the trail for most of us is a totally new, and physically demanding, condition.

My advice is to slow down and enjoy the trail. If you find yourself ahead of schedule, stop early and enjoy a nap. Or better, take off your pack and wander slowly down a side trail to a scenic overlook, or a pretty waterfall, and sit for an hour enjoying the view. Some maintainer spent an afternoon or a day to build that trail, just for you to enjoy.

bigcranky
03-01-2011, 15:43
This is my plan from start to Trail Days. Starting slow, working my way into it. Of course, all of this is subject to change depending on what my body is telling me.


This is a very good schedule. Of course it will change and adapt to trail conditions, but if you ended up doing something close to this, you will do very well on the trail.

earlyriser26
03-01-2011, 16:43
Less is more starting. Your plan is doable, but don't push it. I know two thru hikers that averaged only 7 miles a day for the first whole month.

JokerJersey
03-01-2011, 19:27
Thanks for the advice and comments guys! I know it does seem a little over the top to try and plan 6 weeks out, but like I said, it helped with my confidence a bit to know that I could start slow and still get to where I wanted to be within the timeframe that I had.

I'd rather spend the first few weeks doing what weary said and taking extra time to explore a little bit. I'm not in any rush to get to the end, so why push myself when I don't need to? I know I can hike faster if I wanted to, since I normally average about 10-12m per day as it is, but that's over short periods of time (3-7 day hikes) and even on some of those, I come home burnt out and feeling like I pushed too hard just to get home on schedule. Only real time table I have is to be at Trail Days when it starts and actually be in Damascus on the Trail at that point, instead of needing to catch a ride there. As long as that happens, fast or slow, planned or by the seat of my pants, I'm just there for the experience.

blitz1
03-02-2011, 12:23
I don't know if this is foolish, and I've never done a continuous backpack trip of >10 days, but I like to push myself and go fast from the first day. I'll stop for views and waterfalls, and everything else, but I like to go at least 15 mi/day, and that's in the White Mtns, which aren't wimpy. So i was hoping to start off at that pace for my NoBo AT trip next month, recognizing that I'll get sore (as i always do), but figuring i'll just take a zero day in a town to recover, and then go from there, hiking my own hike how ever it feels right. Is this a terrible idea? I'll be doing a week backpack breakin with my son (18 yo, very fast) the week before I start the AT to try to work ouyt the sore parts, toughen feet etc.

Grinder
03-02-2011, 13:26
What they said!!

If you have experience, go for it. If you don't, err on the side of caution.

Being bored in camp for "too long" is much better than a death march to "git 'er done"

flemdawg1
03-02-2011, 19:01
Hey Ogre (nice name by the way), it IS confusing. I'm on my way into the Navy and am in the "Delayed Entry Program". Basically I've given an oath to serve my country in the Navy, but the Navy doesn't cover me financially/legally until I ship out mid July. Until I ship out, I am under close supervision by the recruiters to ensure I remain safe and out of trouble until that ship date... and to make it even more confusing, I've put in an application for both Officer Navy Intel and Enlisted Missile Technician, both of which require supervision until I go in and if chosen for Intel, could get yanked off the trail sometime in April and need frequent contact with my Officer recruiter as well. It definitely impedes my trail freedom, but I still see any chance to enjoy the AT as a gift and will take what I can get! So, I plan on going from Springer to Harper's Ferry.
I've dreamed of hiking the AT since I was a kid... so, it's gonna happen and I'm going to savor minute meeting people and enjoying mother nature at her finest!

Stay away from the potheads at the shelters. First thing when you report for Basic Training is a drug screening.