View Full Version : Leaving possibly May 5th from Springer Mt.

03-02-2012, 18:52
I'm 32 years old and I plan on leaving Springer Mt. Just around the beginning of May. The other thing I want to note is I am a college student and have only 112 days to hike this. I KNOW I can get it done faster actually. I have ran 6 marathons, my PR being 3 hours 35 minutes. I also have ran one intense 50k trail run as well. I know I will not be running this and it's a far longer challenge than any marathon I have ever ran. This has been my dream to accomplish since I was 17 and I have this window of time to accomplish it. I know there are people who say, to section hike it, etc. for more time. I won't accept section hike or take more time, it's Thru Hike or nothing for me~! I have already made up my mind that I will accomplish this journey. I already have most of my gear purchased. I guess what I am looking for is just a little reassurance from some veteran hikers here that I CAN hike the entire AT in 112 days = 3.68 months. Any insight will be taken with an open mind.


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

03-02-2012, 19:11
You're going to want to start out slow so you don't injure yourself, that might be hard for you to do with that deadline looming over your head.

Get your gear in a pack and go out and do weekend trips now, hike ~10 miles a day back to back, see how you handle that. It's very different than running.

Ask yourself this: if you had to pick one, would you rather have only hiked, say, 60% of the trail in the time you have, or hiked on a pace where you could have finished in under 4 months but blow out a knee or get plantar fasciitis within the first week?

It's important to remember that from NH through a majority of Maine, it's very very difficult to maintain double-digit miles per day.

03-02-2012, 19:43

I am going to be going out for some hikes with all of my gear and camping as well for spring break. I also have some time where I will be able to practice hiking with the gear too on a local trail. I am going to start out slow, but my main concern is just finishing!

03-02-2012, 21:12
Talk to Garlic, he started in Mid April I think and finished in I believe 3.5 months. He was 50ish yrs. old and his hiking partner was 60ish. They started and finished together. Great guy.

03-02-2012, 21:38
You have plenty of time. May is the best time to start. You can knock out 20s almost everywhere in the South. Even the first day off of Springer. Just give yourself the whole day to hike. Something like this:
8-11 5 miles
12-3 5miles
4-7 5 miles

That's a fifteen mile day at an average of less than 2 miles per hour with 2 one-hour breaks thrown in. You can have fun, enjoy every great spot and still make miles if you give yourself the time to hike. Starting in May and ending in late Aug, you will have all the time you need.

03-02-2012, 22:01
Talk to Garlic, he started in Mid April I think and finished in I believe 3.5 months. He was 50ish yrs. old and his hiking partner was 60ish. They started and finished together. Great guy.

Thank you for the kind words.

Pickle and I, combined ages 114 years, hiked in 106 days and had great fun doing it. We had a lot of prior experience on other long trails. We had the experience to take care of the little problems before they became big problems, and taking care of town business efficiently (buying groceries etc). We didn't waste time waiting for the new shoes to come, or needing to buy a new tent--all our gear was tried and true. You probably won't have that much experience, but you might make up for it in sheer strength and endurance. Neither Pickle nor I would describe ourselves as endurance athletes. Our biggest day was 29 miles. We were very consistent, though. We only took three zeros (days off). We pretty consistently made 20 mile days in the Whites and in Maine. A slow day for us was 18 miles. That meant a lot of long days of hiking from sun up to sun down, but we both enjoyed that tremendously. Our journal is at www.trailjournals.com/thedeliduo.

03-02-2012, 23:53
You can do it, you just have to get in and out of town (make sure you don't do mail-drops as this could keep you in town for 2 days if you time it wrong), start hiking early, and finish late...day after day after day. If there is any way you could put it off later to where you would have 5 months that's what I would do, if not then I say go for it now. A big part about hiking the AT is the social scene and building bonds with other hikers, you'll be missing out on this part. That doesn't bother some people but to others it's what the hike is all about.

Good luck!!!

03-03-2012, 06:32
Sounds to me the biggest question isn't whether you have the ability to do, u clearly do. Rather it's whether you have the mental toughness to live outside for 100 straight nights.

03-03-2012, 12:03
You can do it.
Though, listen to what your body is saying.
Your mind is strong.

Aspen Glow
03-04-2012, 21:55
hey man, i'm starting around may 8th with about the same time frame in mind. perhaps we'll cross paths

Aspen Glow
03-04-2012, 22:05
we should probably be pretty well on par fitness-wise. fingers crossed i'll run my boston qualifying marathon either this sunday or on 5/6 (reason i'm starting so late). plus i'm used to hiking with a much heavier pack (40# ish) from my wildland firefighting days

03-08-2012, 06:48
Thank you everyone for the input and I will also read the journal that was posted as well! Good luck on your marathon aspen! We probably will cross paths. This is going to be a journey of a lifetime no matter how fast or slow I hike, so I am excited for that. I hope to get some big miles in early so that I can enjoy time in the northeast which I am excited to see the most.

03-17-2012, 16:36
Hello, I'm also on a similar time frame. I'll be starting the last weekend in April and have the same type of deadline, I'm also heading to school in August (at the ripe old age of 37 :)).

I don't know if I can do the whole trail in the time I have, I work with a guy who did it last Summer in 102 days and we are about the same fitness level, although he is 10 years younger. As long as I get to the halfway point I'll consider that a success. I'm going to start off slowly and finish fast...at least that is the plan. My girlfriend will be with me for the first week so the starting slowly shouldnt be a problem (only kidding love! :)) its the finishing fast I'm worried about!

Good luck and enjoy it, maybe I'll see you out there.