View Full Version : Am I Crazy?

03-17-2013, 01:53
Hi folks! I'm starting a SOBO thru hike sometime early August, and trying to finish by Christmas. Is this insane? A little info: I'm 26. Not a physical masterpiece, but in decent shape and totally comfortable in the woods (I lead month-long, unsupported expeditions for a living and take personal trips on my "off time"). During my last two week-long trips we averaged about 15 miles per day...drinking whiskey with dinner, sleeping until we felt like waking, and taking time for pictures/long breaks in beautiful spots. I feel like once I'm back in the "expedition mode" (wake up early ->hike all day->sleep->repeat), it shouldn't be impossible to bump up my daily average. Clearly hiking 2k+ miles is no cake walk, but is it really all that absurd to attempt a 12/25 finish date? Not a newbie hiker, but definitely a newbie AT thru-hiker. Any thoughts or facts would be appreciated.

03-17-2013, 02:06
It's doable. Question; what is the effect if you are a week or three late? If 12/25 is a hard date then maybe star earlier allow some wiggle room. If not who cares? If both are hard dates then do what feels good have a great time if you miss a section hit it later, the mountains will not be going away in our life time so no rush.

Rock Lobster
03-17-2013, 02:55
Quite doable. I started August 24 '08 with the intention to hike until Christmas, with no prior backpacking experience. It was an average of about 16 miles per day to complete the trail. I knew I wouldn't, so I didn't even try (walked slow and took plenty of zeros instead) but I made it from Katahdin to Waynesboro in 3 months without trying to push miles. After that and another 1000-mile hike last summer, I'm sure that it's possible for a seasoned hiker if your focus is completion.

You probably won't average 15 a day until a month in when you get to Vermont. From there south 20 a day is very reasonable for a "broken-in" hiker. You just won't be able to zero often, live the party life, or take a week off trail like many hikers do.

map man
03-17-2013, 11:58
Here is a trail journal of a guy about your age who thru-hiked starting August 19 and finishing December 19 this last year:


Here is a table that shows "typical" thru-hiker progress for a four, five or six month SOBO hike, so you can gauge your progress as you are hiking:

13 days......17 days......20 days......Stratton
22 days......27 days......33 days......Gorham
30 days......38 days......45 days......Glencliff
48 days......60 days......72 days......Kent
58 days......72 days......87 days......Delaware Water Gap
71 days......89 days......106 days....Harpers Ferry
79 days......99 days......118 days....Waynesboro
97 days.....122 days.....146 days.....Damascus
114 days...143 days.....171 days.....Fontana
122 days...153 days.....183 days.....Springer

This table came from this article:


If you are leaving in early August that would give you around 4.5 months to finish so you can split the difference between the 4 and 5 month hikes in the above table. As has been previously mentioned, don't get discouraged if you aren't covering 15 miles a day between Katahdin and Glencliff, New Hampshire -- you will be getting your trail legs in tough terrain. The bigger miles will come if you are patient.

03-17-2013, 13:34
Thanks to all of you for your replies! I was open to hearing people tell me it wasn't doable, but am much happier to hear replies toward the positive ;) I've been spending lots of time in the woods for years, but a big thru-hike is totally new to me, so it's great to show up on this site and ask newbie questions, without being scoffed at or ignored. Seriously, thanks for taking the time to offer input. Maybe I'll see some of you on the trail...then you're welcome to scoff as a huff and puff my naivety up and down those mountains!

03-17-2013, 18:52
Nice table and info 10K.