View Full Version : Question about planning a thru hike

07-21-2012, 15:43
I am trying to figure out the miles per day and when do you get into hiker shape? Currently I am figuring about 11 to 15 miles per day, basically shelter hopping. The total day count is 188 with 2 zeros from summit to summit.:confused:

07-21-2012, 16:01
Good luck with that... you really think you are going to walk 188 days and only take 2 off ????

07-21-2012, 16:15
Sorry, it takes about 2 weeks to get in ok hiker shape, best advice i can give is to not plan things out, just play it by ear.... there is to many variables to account for. you could easy spend a week in some hostel or hotel waiting out a snow store, or sprain and ankle bad and be out for awhile

07-21-2012, 16:48
Planning 11-15 mile day is not a bad idea.
For a general plan to figure mail drops, aprox. distances, etc.

But, it is best not to rely on it too heavily after you start and go with the flow.
It takes closer to 1,000 miles of hiking to really get in hiker shape IMO.
A month at minimum.

Once you are there, and the terrain gets easier in the middle states, you will most likely do more than 15's at times, but, don't plan these things.
Just go with how you feel every day.

We always would plan our hikes out as you are doing with a rough idea for logistics but then "burn the schedule" when we start.
It's no fun looking at a schedule and seeing that you are not on it simply because you are having fun or hurt or whatever.

Schedules are made to be broken.
Have fun.

07-21-2012, 17:06
Forget shelter hopping, many good memories at a quiet campsite in the woods.

Double Wide
07-21-2012, 18:06
If Trail Journals are any indication, it seems that a lot of people take two zeroes before they get out of Georgia!

07-21-2012, 18:06
The nice thing about any hiking plan, you will toss it out the window on day one. After about 2 weeks you will see a increase in your daily average. I know that everyone claims to somehow get their trail legs or that they are stronger and in better shape at this point. I think it has more to do with you coming to realize just how far 2200 miles is and the only way you can do it is to do more miles. You will also take action to do more miles such as: lighten the load, change what you eat, change your rest stops and figure ways to break camp in faster time. You will find that if you start knocking out 18's and 20's you will be able to have more rest days in town. The 2 things that you will come to covet, town food and a soft bed. By the time you get to New England these 2 things will become more of an obsession.

Supreme Being
07-21-2012, 18:11
Is there a reason you want to stay only at the shelters? You might want to rethink this as you aren't always guaranteed a place; they're noisy; most have rodents.

07-21-2012, 18:15
You have certainly allotted enough time at 188 days. what you will see is your mileage will increase steadily as you become more fit & the trail becomes "easier". for most the mileage will again decrease once you reach NH/maine for a number of reasons.

what a lot of people aren't prepared for/accustomed to is the elevation changes. I did a lot of hiking to "prepare" for my hike. I got to where a 15 - 18 mile day (locally) was typical. When I first started that dropped to 10 mpd because my local hikes didn't have the constant PUDS with elevation. If you are doing 8 - 12 mpd in Ga/NC don't get discouraged as you will start doing 20 - 30 mpd from somewhere in Va. up intil Hanover or so.

fwiw, I'm one of those who thought the trail thru your home state was unexpectedly gorgeous (with more opportunity to see bears than anywhere else).

07-21-2012, 18:53
I was not just planning on staying in the shelters just using them as a reference point so I could get a starting point. I figure that once I am in hiker shape, I can take zero days and still keep under my 188 mark. The one thing I am having problem with is figuring out the mail drops. How many, how far apart and how much to purchase in town to supplement so I don't get bored with the food?

07-21-2012, 18:58
This planning I am doing is to keep me busy while I wait for my time to thru hike. Once I am on my thru hike I plan on burning my schedule on the first night. Just want to make sure I have enough food, money and other supplies to make it a wonderful journey.