View Full Version : Someone who has completed a thru, comment inside!

05-21-2013, 10:42
Walk me through a day in the life of a thru hiker. The best and worst case scenarios. When you get up, how long you take to pack, what you eat for breakfast, how long you hike before stopping to eat a quick lunch, what you eat for that lunch, how long you hike until dinner, what's for dinner, how you spend the evening unwinding, any obstacles you may face during the day.

I really do believe this hike is going to be as much about the mental hike as the physical, so I would like to put my mind in the right place and really focus so that this goal is incredibly reasonable. Thanks for you time and efforts!

max patch
05-21-2013, 10:53
Ask 10 people and you'll get 10 different answers. You'll find out what works for you soon enough.

05-21-2013, 11:36
To build on Maxpatch..... Just look at the variation in daily mileage between hikers. Add to that different pace and whether folks like to sleep in. I would suggest going out for a few weekend hikes simulating your going in assumptions and answer this for yourself. You might also learn something about your gear and save you from having to retool at Neels Gap.

05-21-2013, 11:44
You should read a good trail journal: www.trailjournals.com. There are lots of good ones out there. Try Portrait's (2011 NOBO) (http://www.trailjournals.com/portrait) or Badger's (2012 NOBO) (http://www.trailjournals.com/location.cfm?trailname=12965). They were on two different ends of the spectrum as far as age and ability to hike long distances from the start. I kept one going sobo this past year (Reese 2012 (http://www.trailjournals.com/reese)). Your mileage will vary...

05-21-2013, 12:10
OK, I agree with MaxPatch. There is not a typical day, too much variation between how hikers choose to operate, what they find important, how hard they are willing to push themselves, weather that they encounter, how they choose to handle the weather, etc., etc., etc.

That said, I will attempt to give a play by play to a more or less typical day for me. I understand your desire to hear this, I know I thoroughly enjoyed Colin Fletcher's "typical" day when I was first starting out. Just a note for full disclosure: I'm not an AT Thru hiker, but have hiked well over half of it, and have completed an eleven month, cross-country hike - the precursor to the ADT. I think by combineing my experiences on these I know exactly how I do and will operate on extended hikes on the AT: If you don't agree, just click off this post now and save your time.

I enjoy early morning, even at home. If I can find a reason to roll out of bed at 5:30 or 6:00 AM, I love to do so. My morning routine goes something like this, based on an typical weather day:

Lying in sleeping bag, enjoy the early, pre-dawn bird calls untill the bladder convinces me it's time to forego the comfort of the bag. First thing is to answer natures calls, this sets me up to leisurely continue on my morning chores. I like to pack my sleeping bag immediatly after getting out of it, this squeezes the warm, moist air out of it before it has a chance to form condensation inside the insulation.

Breakfast usually consists of a power bar/clif bar type of item, a handful of trail mix, and a couple cups of coffee while sitting quietly, enjoying watching the day begin. Also review the maps/guide for the day ahead, particularly where the water sources are so I know how much to carry. Once others start stirring, and the sun is up, I pack up, change into my hiking clothes, and head out. This is usually within 45 minutes or an hour of rolling out of the bag. Water is usually gathered the night before, to eliminate this morning task.

I usually start the day hiking in the clothing I anticipate will be appropriate for the day. Often a bit chilled initially, but doesn't take long to warm up. I rather do this than have to stop 15 or 20 minutes into the hike to shed and pack extra clothing. First stretch of hiking, in general, I like to keep moving for about two hours before taking a break, next stretch is usually an hour and a half, and thereafter, I don't feel guilty taking a break about once an hour. This schedule is no-way hard and fast, is altered based on many things, terrain, views, hunger, mental state, weather, etc.

I like real breaks, 20 minutes or sometimes even 30 minutes. I never experience the cramping and soreness that some folks complain about if they take too long of breaks. Often the breaks will consist of doing some photography, eating a snack, definetly drinking some water (a bit more than I feel like), and generally just vegetating.

My general goal is to have over half my planned miles in before I take my lunch break. Sometimes that means lunch will be at 11:30, sometimes 2:30. Sometimes there is no real lunch, just more snacking. All depends on weather and how I'm feeling. This is one of the great things about backpacking, you are totally free to tune into your body and do whatever feels right, you have everything you need right on your back, not dependent on anyone elses schedule. Often times if it's an average to easy day, lunch may be an hour or even two hours if it's an enjoyable place. I usually plan out my day to have water at or near my lunch stop, so this is the time that I check my water researve and decide if I have enough for the afternoon, or gather some more. Usually I will gather more. If my sleeping bag is starting to feel a bit damp, lunch is the time to pull it out and let it air out a bit, weather permitting.

The afternoon continues as the morning, but usually breaks are space out about an hour or hour and a half, depending on how I feel. I usually start to think about camping around 5 or 6 PM. Once in camp, I set up the tent or claim the shelter space, then relax, read through the shelter register, eat a snack. Get to know the others who may be around. Whenever the mood strikes I have a cup of soup or coffee, and just socialize or relax, perhaps some photography near-by. Gathering water sometime before dinner. I gather extra water for camp, so I don't have to do this chore in the morning, but still have plenty to drink my fill through the evening. Extra platy bottles are great for this. Dinner is usually accomplished around 7 or 7:30, often depending on what others are doing. Food hung after dinner is finished, may hold out a snack for bedtime. The rest of the evening is just resting and relaxing, maybe a nice afterdinner shot of Crown Royale. Usually in bed by 8:30 or 9:00 like most of the rest of the hikers, then off to dreamland, to start over the next day.

This seems to be a pretty standard day. The major differences are, if I want to do an exceptionally high mileage day, then I try to get up early and start hiking as soon as it's light enough to not need a headlamp. Breakfast may wait until after an hour or so of hiking, probably will forego the coffee. Breaks are less leisurely, but this comes naturally, because I'm mentally geared up to spend more time on the move than lounging around - not really a conscous effort.

Another exception is on cold, rainy days. It may take a little longer to get out of camp, because I'm always hoping that the weather will let up in just a bit. Eventually (not too late) I just grin and bear it. Once on the move, it really isn't that bad. Breaks are less pleasant, so are less frequent and much shorter. The result is that you cover the anticipated miles much quicker, so you get warm and dry in camp much earlier in the day - that's a good thing. The down side of this is that it can make for a LONG evening. A good book or some cards helps to pass the time.

Hope this is what you were looking for. As I said, few days go exactly like this, too many variables, but this is a good "general" day for me. Yours and everyone else's mileage may vary.

Unfortunately, my writing doesn't even come close to the standards of Colin Fletcher. :-)

Good luck on your hike, and HAVE FUN!!! You will find what works for you.

05-21-2013, 13:02
Lyle: Excellent synopsis of trail life!

05-21-2013, 16:02
I'm not a thru-hiker either, but I've done 700 miles of the AT in the last 5 years. And a long section hike isn't all that different from a thru.

Wake up about 7-7:30, (I'm not big on early rising, and I'm on vacation). Answer nature's call, then get my food bag (usually hanging near me in the shelter) and my pack to retreive my stove. Start cooking breakfast. I like hot oatmeal and coffee normally, but defiantely something with coffee. Pack up sleeping bag and pad, while waiting on water to boil, and food to rehydrate. Eat, clean dishes, brush teeth, poop, change into hiking duds, finish packing and then get going usually by 8:30.

I stop about every hour for 5-10 min, More often if terrain is tough. Hav a snack around 11 (snickers and some gatorade). Lunch around 1 (wraps usually (summer sausage, cheese and mustard on a tortilla, or pb&j), usually either at a view or a shelter if available. Usually sometime in the afternoon, if its hot, I'll dunk my shirt in a stream to try and stay cooler. Try to stop around 5-6pm if there's a spot nearby.

I usually stay in shelters, they have lots to offer (picnic table, water, privy, socializing, a chance to annoy others late into the night with my snoring). I put my pack down, go get water (Icarry a 4l nalgene cantene bladder for getting enough for the night, plus some get going in the morning). Every 2-3days, I'll take a bandana and campsuds and try to wash up a short distance from the stream. I'll also use a gallon baggie to try and wash out my clothes a little. No, its not near as effective as a real shower or doing laundry, but I feel a whole lot better and refreshed. I'll then return to the shelter and setup my spotin the shelter, if I'm lucky enough to get one (sometimes you're too late). Change out of hiking clothes, and into camp clothes and crocs.

I'll usually eat a snack soon after getting to the shelter. (I read that eating some protein and carbs, immediately after exercise helps with recovery.) And then eat dinner around 7ish. Dinner is usually a Knorr pasta side with some canned chicken and gatorade (I need extra electrolytes or I get leg cramps). Bed time is usually 30 min after dark. I'm not usually the first one asleep, but I don't stay up too long after dark either. I usually get one once or twice to pee during the night. (drinking a liter of gatorade right before bed will do that)

05-21-2013, 16:26
People tend to like talking about themselves. Hikers tend to be no different. You'll get lots of answers. Like others have said you'll get 100 different answers from 100 different thru-hikers but I do believe you'll start noticing thru-hikers falling into the same different categories or sharing some traits in common.

Little backround. I'm an experienced ULer who lives to hike whenever I can. It's most apt to say it's one of my callings. If I'm not out there for at least three wks I haven't gotten my hiking fix. Yeah, I'm a full blown hiking addict. If I was to play and win the Mega Ball Lottery Jackpot I would give a good portion of it to various charities, some to my family and friends, and spend the rest of my yrs hiking around the world departing good energy to all and receiving it back.

When in thru-hiking mode(I think that distinction needs to be made too, we're talking about long distance hikers and thru-hikers) I awake at 5 -7 a.m. If it's cold I like a heated bfast of oatmeal, millet, amaranth with fruit, nuts seeds, etc which I've typically laid out the night before. When it's warm or summer noshing a bar as I'm breaking camp is my modus operandi. The reason will become apparent. I like tarping and cowboying. Within 25 mins of arising I want to have my camp broken down and be packed up. I like being out of camp within 15 mins. I like being hiking NO LATER than 7:30 a.m. but prefer 6- 7 a.m. Great to get an early start. I go all day stopping occasionally for however amt of time it takes to do whatever - watch wildlife. let the sounds of a waterfall wash my soul, nosh a snack, take a breather, share a word or thought with someone, snap some pics, jot down something in a trail journal, feel the rays, catch snowflakes on my tongue, feel the wind on my face, adjust apparel(constantly do that), etc Between those stops I'm pumpin up the beats, getting chased by a bear, stalked by a mountain lion, falling on my ass, self checking my bod and mental state(IMPORTANT!), stompin in puddles, getting raunchy smelling and houseless dirty(that can be FUN!), dancin in the rain, and generally LIVIN while BEING truly ALIVE! A great awareness occurs that the masses miss when you live in the moment and have this connection with the universe! I know. Sounds weird but when you experience it for yourself you'll GET IT. I like hiking until after dark into the night but like enjoying open far reaching sunset views. Sunsets seem to be more enjoyable to me when I know where I'm watching them from I've gotten to by way of my own two feet after many miles of hiking. There's a satisfaction in it. I don't set up camp until well after dark. 95% of the time I heat up a dinner. Some might say I'm more focused on being a hiker who camps rather than a camper who hikes. When I choose my camp it's only about 30-40 % of the time at established campsites. I like sleeping in unexplored caves, on islands in rivers that I have to wade or swim to, up in trees, in thickets, at the top or base of off trail waterfalls. on edges of escarpments, under ledges, on beaches, on arches, at mountain summits, etc. It's special to me to get to pick where I sleep, be self sufficient, and independent yet feeling more connected with the Universe than ever! I'm in my sleeping bag within 20 mins of finding where I'm sleeping. I write in my journal of the day's events. As I lay in my bag out in nature whether or not I'm a little cold, little hungry, little warm, little thirsty, little broke, little sore, little bloody, a LOT smelly, a LOT dirty, little this little that, etc I feel content and somehow fulfilled. I get up the next day and enjoy it all again. LOVE IT!

05-21-2013, 17:21
My typical day revolves around hiking. I get up at first light, rain or shine, and start hiking. After an hour or two, I look for a dry and maybe sunny spot for a meal and break. That's pretty much my whole day--hike two hours, usually five or six miles, stop and eat, usually at a nice place where I can spend some time enjoying nature and maybe write something. I'll do that four, maybe five times, covering between 20 and 30 miles. When I don't feel like doing that anymore, or at sunset, whichever comes first, I stop and sleep. I will usually have already eaten my last meal for the day and filled up with enough water before I stop and camp, so I have no camp chores.

I enjoy the simple act of walking more than most, so that's my focus on the trail. I take very few days off, maybe one a month, usually to visit someone or do some errands. This allows me to cover a lot of ground and that's what I enjoy. I'm not a lot of fun to be with unless you really like to walk, too.

05-21-2013, 18:47
Sleep, eat, walk, eat walk, eat, sleep

05-21-2013, 22:06
I get up about 6:30, 2 packs of instant oatmeal and a coffee and 45 minutes later I'm moving. I want to make 10 by 12. That's 10 miles by noon. (some of the bad parts of the trail it's 6X12). I eat 2 eat snickers bars and I keep hiking. 5 to 10 miles later at about 5pm I quit. Most times I eat one Mountain House meal and go to sleep. I do read my book for a short time until I fall asleep.

05-22-2013, 00:49
Not a thru hiker--but started hiking roughly 41 years ago. My days are pretty similar to much of what others have written. Some differences for me...

I tend to start my actual walking very slow in the morning. I like to start slow in order to slowly warm up my muscles joints and ligaments. I will often do some light stretching in the morning before I start hiking. I hydrate pretty well in the morning as I pack up and get ready to leave camp. I like to start the day fully hydrated. This also means that 30-60 minutes into the hike--I often need a bladder break. This brief break is also a good time to make any adjustments to my pack--adjust socks, shoe laces etc. (No matter how often you pack up---and no matter how many lifetime miles you have hiked--some days something "just doesn't feel right". On such days, it is better to make the adjustment early--before it becomes a blister or some other type of more significant discomfort).

Some days--I take a longer midday break. I eat. Gather some water. (Some days I may even have a long break and eat my biggest meal at midday and/or take a small nap). However, more often than not, I just snack on things almost continually throughout the day and take only short breaks--and have no real lunch break

05-22-2013, 03:59
Don't want to hog this thread but one of the main things I do outside of the mechanics and organization of settled trail routine is that I LISTEN. As I'm listening(this is going to sound strange again)I've learned to sense something that flows around and through us and then flow with it. Maybe Yoda was onto something? When the distractions and preoccupations of human civilization fade a world emerges that is hidden. There is a connection an interweaving of life that I feel largely gets unnoticed or ignored. It's precious. It's beautiful. It's called life or chi or energy or God or whatever that's binding us to that tree, that blade of grass, that bear, to the snake, to the birds, to each other.

Sounds really strange but Carl Sagin said it like this, "we all share a common bond; we are all made from stardust."

Confucious - Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

John Muir - When we try to pick out anything by itself we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.

John Muir - The clearest way into the Universe is through a forested wilderness.

05-22-2013, 04:28
Sleep, eat, walk, eat walk, eat, sleep
Except I add coffee at first light.

05-22-2013, 07:35
Sleep, eat, walk, eat walk, eat, sleep
Yep that's about it.

05-22-2013, 08:16
- Wake up when the birds start singing a bit before dawn. Lie in hammock all snug and warm and doze for another 5 ort 10 minuted, then get up.

- Early and late in the hike, when the weather was cold, I would boil water and have a cup of tea and some instant oatmeal for breakfast. For the bulk of my thru-hike, when the weather was warm, I ate some cold cereal with dry milk and water, and if lucky some freeze dried strawberries or fresh blueberries added. I often followed this with some instant breakfast because I think it was good for me, even though I don't much care for it.

- Once breakfast is finished I wash my face and brush my teeth pack everything up, changing into my hiking clothes at the last minute before stuffing my clothing bag into my pack. Time from wake up to walking was very consistently about an hour.

- It's usually a bit chilly at the beginning so hike briskly for 20 or 30 minutes to get warmed up, then settle into an all-day hiking pace.

- I often walked 3 or 4 hours in the morning without a break, stopping for first lunch about 11 or so. I would take a 30 - 45 minute break for first lunch, often taking off my boots and socks and letting them air out.

- Hike another couple of hours, then stop for 2nd lunch. Pretty much like the 1st lunch.

- Hike a couple more hours, until reaching the day's destination. Hang hammock. If it's dry and sunny, drape sleeping bag/quilt over hammock to air out in the sun. Get water. Eat snack. Wash clothes.* Cook and eat dinner. Ponder how hungry I still am. If it is the last night before a town stop and I managed to cover the section faster than anticipated I may have an extra dinner in my food bag. If that is the case, rejoice giddily and cook second dinner. Yippee!

- Write journal, call home if there is reception, chat with other hikers, and when the sun sets, crawl into my hammock with a book to read for 10 minutes before falling asleep.

- This evening routine is sometimes altered to stopping at a shelter or campsite to get water and cook dinner, then walking another hour or two until dusk and hanging my hammock from any two suitable trees beside the trail and crawling in and going to sleep.

*Clothes washing - any day the weather was reasonably dry I would take out my trusty back-country laundry system (a 1 gallon zip-loc bag) fill it half way with water, add a shot of Dr. Bronners and wash first either my shirt or my shorts (alternating), and then the socks I hiked in that day. Dump out the now amazingly dirty water well away from the water source. Use my water bottle to refill the zip-loc half way. Rinse first the shirt/shorts, and then the socks. Wring out and hang on hammock suspension line to dry. They won't really dry overnight, so in the morning I don the damp shorts/shirt and let them dry from my body heat. The socks get hung on the back of my pack to dry during the day.

05-22-2013, 09:36
I really do believe this hike is going to be as much about the mental hike as the physical, so I would like to put my mind in the right place and really focus so that this goal is incredibly reasonable. Thanks for you time and efforts!
This is a related but fundamentally different question than the first and a very important one. To answer this question you have to go beyond what a typical day is like and go to what is it like to hike and camp day after day after day. I'll try to speak to both questions.

First, this deserves repeating:

Great to get an early start. I go all day stopping occasionally for however amt of time it takes to do whatever - watch wildlife. let the sounds of a waterfall wash my soul, nosh a snack, take a breather, share a word or thought with someone, snap some pics, jot down something in a trail journal, feel the rays, catch snowflakes on my tongue, feel the wind on my face, adjust apparel(constantly do that), etc Between those stops I'm pumpin up the beats, getting chased by a bear, stalked by a mountain lion, falling on my ass, self checking my bod and mental state(IMPORTANT!), stompin in puddles, getting raunchy smelling and houseless dirty(that can be FUN!), dancin in the rain, and generally LIVIN while BEING truly ALIVE! A great awareness occurs that the masses miss when you live in the moment and have this connection with the universe! I know. Sounds weird but when you experience it for yourself you'll GET IT.

I hike erratically. Some days I'll get up near dawn and hike until or past nightfall to go over 25+ miles. Some days I'll sleep in and monkey about the whole day covering only 10 or so miles. Sometimes I'll wake up early and hike to a viewpoint for sunrise. Often I will end up somewhere in the middle.

The key for me is to live in the moment and stay flexible. Usually I have a thought process similar to 'well that view is ~15 miles from here and that's about my average, let's start walking and see what happens.' Sometimes I feel the need for a goal, so I set one.

Stop at views. Swim in streams. Skinny dip. Watch wildlife. Feel at one with the universe. Eat when hungry or a little bit after. I irrationally dislike taking my pack off once I have it well adjusted so I do most of my activities (snacking, refilling water) on the go. I'll take it off when I stop for lunch and for airing out my feet (if I'm wearing shoes). When I stop for a while, and in the mornings, my body is stiff and has to warm up. It takes a mile or a good uphill and then I'm right as rain.

At the end of the day sometimes I'm tired, sometimes I'm lazy, sometimes I feel like building an elaborate tarp structure. I usually have a hot dinner. After dinner I'll read for a little and then sleep.

What changes on a thru hike is that you are doing this day after day after day for ~6 months. It's no longer a trip to escape humdrum life. It IS life. And it involves being smelly, being dirty, getting rashes, having sore feet, having sore muscles, and being hungry. Occasionally tendons or joints will become inflamed and hurt. Sometimes I run out of water because the water source I was counting on was nonexistent. Sometimes I get hyponatrema or heat exhaustion on really hot days (my body does not deal well with heat). Sometimes I have to fight to stay warm. Sometimes I pick up the strain of norovirus that has been going around. Sometimes motivation flags and I simply feel exhausted. Sometimes I will fear for my life because of exceedingly strong windstorms or thunderstorms. Those are some of the hard things. Often I feel exhilaration and a deep connection to the universe and everything in it. I feel the joy of my body functioning smoothly. I enjoy the amazing taste of water and the delight of a food flavored by hunger. I watch the amazing world around me and feel happy.

Here is the key: how will you deal with the hard things that happen on a hike? How will you deal with the acute hardships? How will you deal with the low level but more nagging difficulties? By that last I mean things such as: this is a green tunnel and it's boring; this trail is so flat and level that I'm bored; this is a hard climb and it's my tenth climb of the day in 100 degree heat; this is the 9th day in a row of cold fog and rain - I haven't seen the sun in two weeks; and why am I hiking the trail at all - the all important question.

My answers are: (1) Cold rain, exhausted muscles, pain, storms and whatnot do not determine how I feel. They provide a stimulus but I can choose how to respond to them. I choose to marvel at the experience and enjoy it - even if it hurts and even if it's scary. (2) I work to figure out why I am hiking beforehand and always keep it in mind. As my hike progressed I realized that I had fewer and fewer reasons to hike - because I kept accomplishing them. So the reasons can change. I also keep in mind that I am choosing to hike. That really does make a big difference - that I am making the conscious choice to hike.

Endnote: It took me over 1200 miles to fully realize that I choose my attitude and can be happy no matter what is happening outside of my control. It was hard work to reach and practice that realization and absolutely worth it. On the other hand, I know some folks who seem to have been born with this realization and skill.

05-22-2013, 10:53
All of you combined definitely gave me the answers I was looking for. Partly because of how you hike, partly knowing what you were eating throughout the day, and most importantly, because some of you seem to want a deeper connection even more than I do. So many of you were talking about having a connection with the universe and just living life the way mother nature pushes you to live life, and this is my goal. This is my life goal. I really appreciate all of the very well typed out responses, they were absolutely wonderful. I feel more prepared than I ever was.

I'm leaving for my SOBO from Shreveport, LA on June 25th and flying up to Maine. I've been off and on planning this hike since about 2009, and I feel more prepared after reading this thread than I ever have. Seriously, I am so grateful for this website, the wealth of knowledge here, and even moreso, the loving nature of everyone here. You're all fantastic and I can't wait to share my journey with you once I return.

05-22-2013, 11:40
This is a funquestion. Obviously you will get a million different answers; I think thevaried response is what the OP was looking for. It’s interesting to seedifferent schedules depending on the style of your thru hike.

Alarm goes offat 5:30 am and we are beginning our morning routine in minutes. Pack upsleeping bag and pad, change clothes, stretch. Husband takes down tent as I’mstuffing my backpack and getting the water boiling for breakfast. Eat 2 or 3packets of oatmeal, clean out pot, finish packing backpack. Take out a coupleprotein bars to put in the pouch on my hip belt. Glance at the AWOL guide to remindmyself of the day we planned the night before, noting shelter distances andwater accessibility. By now it’s a little before 6:30am and we are among thefirst to leave the shelter. We don’t walk incredibly fast, but cover more milesper week than the average hiker.

We take a breaka couple miles in for a protein bar (ideally at a view or shelter, but almostdefinitely at some sort of physical marker like a road crossing or sign so weknow where we are in relation to the guidebook.) I look at the book for thenext chunk of the day, noting our mph more out of curiosity of statistics thananything. Walk a bit more, sometimes in silence but a lot of times talking. Wediscuss the chapters in our books we read the night before, the people we met,and anything else that comes to mind. Lunch comes when around noon, usually ata shelter or particular spot, and we stop for a more extended break while weeat tuna packets (best with mayo packets from the deli) with crackers alongwith something else like trail mix (cereal mixed with dried fruit and chocolatechips). Still hungry, we grab a couple spoonfulls of peanut butter and/ornutella. We may have cookies or a candy bar and then continue on. The secondhalf of the day drags on a bit more. I look at my watch at 3pm and marvel thatwhile I’ve been walking for 8 hours, I still have a few more to go. We dubbed 3:00-4:00as “power hour”, and we each have a big protein bar and pound out the miles inthe late afternoon when hiking is mentally hardest. I start to do math in myhead, calculating our miles per hour and guess when we’ll get to the shelter.We take bets on when we’ll get in for the night. Months later, we both recallthat we were right most of the time and the other was off. After the push forpower hour wears off, we know we’re within 3 or 4 miles of the shelter and thatdoesn’t seem too bad. We eat another snack while we walk, and talk about whatwe want for dinner. Sometimes we play games to distract us from looking at ourwatches – going through all 50 states and discuss the pros and cons of livingin each one, or trying to remember each other’s extended family names, ages,occupations, and interests.

We arrive atthe shelter between 5:00 and 6:30pm and greet the hikers we may have been “leapfrogging” with all day and talk about the day’s hike, our favorite climbs,descents, and scenery. We immediately set up our tent or stuff in the shelter(sheltering if it looks like rain, there are few bugs, and/or there are fewpeople occupying it) and then I make dinner while Husband gets water. He fillsup enough to last through dinner and afterwards – about 6 liters total. We’reexcited when dinner is our favorite, dehydrated refried beans with tortillasand cheese. We hang out with other thru hikers and, around 7:30, head to oursleeping bags and get out the guidebook. We talk about the next day’s terrainand mileage. If there’s time, we read in our sleeping bags, and sometimes getout a treat we’ve reserved like poptarts or Snickers bars. We are “lights out”by 8pm and asleep shortly after.

Thanks forletting me relive some good memories, Wesley!

05-22-2013, 11:53
After re reading, this makes me look like I had no fun at all and was all about the miles. Not so! Like MeriaDoc said, it's just that it becomes your day to day life, and I think ANYONE would describe their day to day life kind of monotonously.

And sorry for the words thatruntogether. I typed it in a word doc and pasted it in, and I guess it formatted weird.

05-22-2013, 12:24
I see alot of folks answering they get up prior to 6AM. In my experience, I'd say less than 10% of those on the trail actually do that.

05-22-2013, 12:41
Walk me through a day in the life of a thru hiker. The best and worst case scenarios. When you get up, how long you take to pack, what you eat for breakfast, how long you hike before stopping to eat a quick lunch, what you eat for that lunch, how long you hike until dinner, what's for dinner, how you spend the evening unwinding, any obstacles you may face during the day.

I really do believe this hike is going to be as much about the mental hike as the physical, so I would like to put my mind in the right place and really focus so that this goal is incredibly reasonable. Thanks for you time and efforts!

Wake with the light or alarm if I feel the need
Pack up camp after peeing and lacing up my sneakers
Eat a cold breakfast
Drink water
Break as needed – based on views, water, whatever
“Lunch” may just be a long break near a water source or a nice view
Keep walking
Stop and eat around 5pm – this is my only hot meal of the day
Pack up and keep walking until close to dark or where I’m camping
I very rarely sleep where I eat dinner

Nice views and interesting places usually get breaks – sometimes long if I’m not in any hurry
Rain will keep me moving more through out the day and perhaps in camp earlier

I almost never sleep near shelters unless I have to, but I do often eat there because of water and maybe a picnic table and trail journal to read before I move on

Always some variations along the way because of town stops, weather, views, and trail conditions, but that’s basically it.

And yes I’ve thru-hiked a couple of trails this way.

05-29-2013, 09:56
Ok, so maybe even a little more on the specific side now.

I'm looking at getting my food supply ready for my SOBO. A few different answers from many would be great: What all food should be in my pack Day 1 - Next resupply?

06-11-2013, 11:44
Everything Meriadoc posted was on point. To further that, I also was unpredictable in terms of what time of day I started hiking but was always where I wanted to be at the end of the day. Early on in my hike I was waking up before 8am and as my hike progressed I was waking up later and later but still knocking out the miles. I can remember one day in NY when I finally broke camp at 11am and hiked until 2am the following morning, covering 27 miles. The next day I was up and out before 9am. One important thing to remember, why are you out there? Take naps, go for swims, relax, order pizza and hoagies in a shelter somewhere in NJ, etc. In terms of food for day 1 as a SOBO, you can carry 7-10 days of food in to the Wilderness or carry 3 days to get you to WHL then resupply there w/ 4-7 days worth of food and bam, you're in Monson. You can also arrange for a food drop at a couple locations in the Wilderness. For the entire 2184.2 sobo miles I never carried over 5 days worth of food but I did run out of food 4 times w/ one half or a full days worth of hiking left until next resupply. Food gets heavy and when coupled w/ a thru-hiker appetite it gets heavier. I remember resupplying in Erwin, TN for 5 days and my food bag weighed 18+ pounds, no joke! Feed the monster w/in the LDHer!

06-11-2013, 14:02
For the early risers going in 2014, I will say thank you now. Because you will be clearing out all the spider webs on the trail for me! =)

I also enjoyed ready everyone's comments and they were very helpful.

06-11-2013, 18:08
I'm just gonna post my blog...not to pimp myself, but I kept a very informal blog and wrote about everything...I didn't sugar coat anything. I ended up not writing after a few months, it just became a chore, but it'll give you an idea of what you're in for...the smelly, the nasty, the good, and the bad. Looking back, I wish I would've continued the blog. When I got back, there were a LOT of people that were upset because I quit posting. I started the hike in July, but there may be June posts from testing out wordpress. http://ghettohiker.wordpress.com/2012/06/

06-11-2013, 18:35
Here's been the typical SOBO BMT thru-hiker itinerary as of the last seven days and why I'm in Cherokee NC right now.

Day 1) Rain get wet try to dry out
Day 2) Rain get wet try to dry out
Day 3) Rain get wet try to dry out
Day 4) Rain get wet try to dry out
Day 5) Rain get wet try to dry out
Day 6) Rain get wet try to dry out
Day 7) Rain heck I'm heading into town! Now the sun is shining brightly! Getting back on the BMT tomorrow. Just looked at the forecast. The next two days after this one call for------- RAIN! I hope Home Depot get WOO's superhydrophopbic spray in soon!