View Full Version : How common is it for speed hikers to team up with people met on the trail?

Bagge Pants
09-24-2013, 22:12
I'm training my but off, well have been training my but off unbeknownst to be until recently for a thru-hike. I trail run and fast pack around 30 miles with significant elevation day before lunch. Of course, I have yet to do this back-to-backs-to-backs-to-backs. Anyways, how common is this on the AT? Has anyone ever started clocking multiple big days with other people met on the trail? Is it as common as 15 mile per day groups? Thanks, this question perfectly blends my newbness and the speed-hiking topic beautifully together. It should be entertaining for you, nonetheless.

09-24-2013, 22:18
Speed guys/gals often meet new friends each day with no one keeping up with them. You could get lucky to stumble onto someone with similar talents. I just think the odds are low.

Wise Old Owl
09-24-2013, 22:34

evyck da fleet
09-27-2013, 00:05
For short sections, a few days, maybe a week at a time, it does happen. The problem is most speed hikers are on their own schedule and have to get back to work or school by a certain date so unless you are in better shape and adhere to their schedule you will either get dropped when you need a rest or injured trying to keep up.

Kaptain Kangaroo
09-27-2013, 01:55
It doesn't really matter what speed you hike at, if you want to hike long term with someone else you are going to have to adjust your mileage (up or down)from what you would do if by yourself.

Even if you are with someone of the same ability & mindset as yourself, everyone has good & bad days on the trail & you will adjust each day accordingly.

But the more your speed varies from the "average" (whether faster or slower) the less likely it is you will find someone to partner up with for a long time.

My 4 month thru was probably a little bit faster than average, but I was lucky enough to summit Katahdin with someone that I met up with on day 2.

09-29-2013, 00:04
It's highly unlikely in my experience, a lot of things have to happen in order to have a successful long term partner on the AT:
- start times
- ability
- compatability
- similar budgets $
- no injurires
- no breaks for weddings, funerals, graduations, etc...
- then mileage prefereces

Unlikely, but sure it could happen. I find for me that I like to hike alone, but enjoy camping with others...this suits speed hiking perfectly. You're always hiking alone but usually have people in camp - on the AT at least.

09-29-2013, 00:04
Wow...some great spelling in that post!

09-29-2013, 09:50
I hiked with several people on the second half of my thru hike. I was very much on my schedule and was maintaining 30+ mile averages. I ended up hiking the last 800 miles with a young guy that also was UL and capable of doing high miles. My experience may not have been typical and could have been due to a few factors.
1) On the PCT many hikers routinely do big miles by the time they hit Oregon.
2) by the time I hit the second half I was up in the front of the pack where generally the stronger, bigger mile hikers are more likely to be. Any of of the first ten hikers could and routinely did 30+ mile days.
3) it was a huge snow year in 2011 and many folks were running short on time having been slowed down by snow. This created a sense of urgency for anyone on a fixed schedule.

will you find this on the AT? Hard to know. Even if there is a hiker doing close to your pace that is a day ahead it is almost impossible to catch them unless they take a zero. It would take 10 days for a 33 mpd hiker to catch a 30mpd that is a day ahead. In the meantime the lead hiker has travelled 300 miles.

an earlier poster commented about folks changing their pace to stay together. This can cause quite a bit of stress for both hikers. I hiked with an incredibly strong hiker for about 400 miles of NoCal. Our average was well over 30mpd and he was not set up to sustain that day after day. He needed to set up his resupplies in Ashland and he spent an extra half day in town. I never saw him again. There was a third hiker that I hiked with for a couple of days coming out of Ashland. He also couldn't maintain the average that I needed to do. I had an early start out of Crater Lake on a very strong day and never saw him again. Those two hikers ended up hiking the rest of the trail together and I hiked with Rusticus starting that day forward. He was a very strong and experienced hiker and we both slightly adjusted our speed day to day to meet our schedules but it meshed perfectly with very little stress.

finishing right behind me was Dirtmonger and Rhino who also were very strong hikers. Had we met I have little doubt that we would have hiked together as they were doing roughly the same pace by that point in the hike.

09-29-2013, 17:30
On all three of my thru-hikes i have only met one person that did the similar MPD (25-30+) i was doing, that was in 2006 and we met in VA and hiked to the DWG, that's where she had to leave for a while and i finished alone, their was a few days here and there that i hiked with someone but not often, in 2012 i basically did the trail solo, if you are a faster hiker and enjoy hiking fast i would plan on being a solo hiker that way if you find someone that can keep up with you fine if not that's fine too.

10-08-2013, 00:18
Maybe for a few days, then you both hit your next resupply, find you have a different schedule, and go your own ways. Get used to hiking alone and never seeing the same person twice. As Malto said, it's more common on the PCT because resupply points are well defined, people tend to be faster/lighter/experienced, but once again, hiking with others creates stress (someone has to alter their pace).

I hiked with a guy on the AT for 2 weeks. We had *almost* the exact same pace. After an 2 hours of hiking, he would stop, and I would catch him literally 30 seconds later. But neither of us wanted to change our pace, and frankly, I can't carry a conversation for hours on end.

Just Bill
10-08-2013, 09:05
IF the speed is more important than the partnership, you won't find a partner. It's tricky for a 10 mile per day hiker to partner with an 11. Even harder for a 25MPD to partner with a 30MPD. Folks who want partners, regardless of speed, will find them. Partnership is a compromise, and each partner adjusts their style a bit to make it work. While it's possible, and the trail has a way of working things out that are mathematically impossible, showing up and finding a speed partner along the way is pretty unlikely. As Malto mentioned, towards the end when everyone has their style down your odds get better.