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  1. #1
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    Default Speed over the course of the trail...

    How much does your speed decrease over the course of the trail, heading Northbound? I understand everyone goes at their own pace, but I'd love to hear opinions and feedback! Does anyone feel they've gained their trail legs enough at this point that they continue making the same mileage on the rougher terrain? If you have a chart showing your miles per day, that would be awesome to see too!

  2. #2

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    If do 20 in south, 12-15 is reasonable. But spacing of camps and lack of other legal areas becomes a factor in how far you go each day. So will water if dry, and resupply options you choose . 20 mpd hikers are common. But very few have done it in 14 days or less, 20 isnt that uncommon.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 07-10-2017 at 15:01.

  3. #3
    Registered User Kembo's Avatar
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    My limiting mileage factor in the north was the amount of sunlight in the north in September and October. Compare that to the length of the day in Virginia in June along with easier terrain in much of Virginia.

  4. #4

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    Trail legs take 3-6 weeks to come in... so 150 miles ain't going to do it.

    If you're mainly in shape and you're talking about that shake down/settle in week most of us need to settle in after being off trail... I'm with Muddy. The terrain and other factors are too dramatic that at any fitness level you would plan on matching your pace.

    If your time is tight... you might consider a SOBO hike. Since you're pretty locked in to what the trail will give you on the north half... you could ease in and whip yourself into shape on the north half and realistically pick up the pace as you settle in.
    Getting to and from the North Terminus is the sketchy and hard to reach side as well... so starting up there can be easier logistically as once you hit Maine Junction/Inn at the Long trail you're basically on the public bus routes and can more easily exit early or finish on a random day and easily book trips home. If you happen to finish on the wrong day up north you might easily lose a day or more coordinating your transportation.

    21 days is a nice timeframe but if that's tight doing the north half is the more interesting experience IMO... you can always bail early going SOBO but there are so many unique sections and sights on the north half that it's worth making sure you have time to see them.

  5. #5

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    I vote sobo, early sept, hit trail in shape...ie.. be a runner. Keep total pack at 20, and youll have no problem
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 07-10-2017 at 15:18.

  6. #6
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    Although correlated the distance one can hike and the rate(avg) in which one covers that distance are two different variables. There are many variables that can further influence both that rate and distance. While getting into general hiking shape and then further "advanced" thru-hiking shape affects both potential rate and distance variables like weather, more strenuous terrain, altitude, trail conditions, seasons, experience with trail routines and trail life, etc can have as much or more of an effect depending on your baseline. And, when I say shape that doesn't just refer to physical abilities but emotional and psychological shape.


    For my first AT NOBO I hit AF SP in typical questionable AT LD hiking condition(not in LD hiking physical condition) as I'd say a typical 06 NOBOer with a typically heavy wt kit hauling 64 lbs(measured my pack at AF SP on the hanging scale). I was in better hiking and LD "shape" emotionally and psychologically though. This helped immensely! I still had to bring my mental game up several notches though! In this regard I leraned to get myself engaged in the now, the moment, walking in a Zen like flow, in the Zone, always grateful and patient, always mindful of my thought life to keep it positive. I got some great advice from the Saints and Pilgrim at the Hiker Hostel I took to heart -"Don't go out too fast too hard;Work your way into hiking and then thru-hiking shape." I did that. Shut up mostly. Always observed. Heard people out. Observed. Considered deeply. My learning curve was steep and fast. Adjusted as needed. First day I went a hard 14 miles. Was sore for a wk after. Slowed. Went a whopping 18 miles later that week when feeling capable. Started learning FAST how to lighten the load. Adjusted. Always adapting. Learned better walking technique. Learned to employ lower impact less energy robbing ways. I walked each day emotionally attempting to have the same emotion I would when I hit that Mt Katahdin Summit sign LONG BEFORE I got there still 2000 miles away ENJOYING WHERE I WAS AND WHAT I WAS DOING IN THE NOW. This gave me strength. By the time I hit VA I was avg 22-23 a day. I mostly maintained that avg into and through New England with a willingness to adjust as needed not feeling stressed over miles. I finished with a 23 MPD avg.


    With so much great info now available on how to do a faster hike and being more physically fit at the starting TH I rarely ever start a LD hike way out of physical shape or start with a more than a 22 lb pack. Then again, my life now is built around LD hiking.


    So for that AT NOBO based on where I was at - my baseline at the time - my potential rate(hiking pace) that could be consistently sustained and my avg MPD increased as I went deeper into the hike. .


    Now, where I'm at, taking an honest inventory of abilities(skill set), prolly the variable that affects me the most is terrain/trail conditions. Each one of us has to make that determination for ourselves.

    Hope you get something from this.

  7. #7

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    Once north of Lincoln Gap, don't expect to do much more then about 1 MPH. 1.5 tops. South of Lincoln gap, you can probably hit 2 MPH in most places.

    A lot of it is how well adapted you are to LT tread. It's a dance which you have to keep planning the next three steps ahead.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  8. #8
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    Below Rte. 4 ("Maine Junction") the LT is a piece of cake. North of there, it starts getting more strenuous, in a big hurry. The northernmost fifty miles or so are every bit as gnarly as the White Mountains or the Mahoosucs. If not more so, due to the mud, overgrown vegetation, etc.

  9. #9
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    All killer info, thank you! I've been feeling a bit antsy as the trip comes up and this definitely helped. It's good to hear hap it's been handled, and also having the northern half compared to the gnarlier parts of the Whites, as that's been my playground in the summers!

  10. #10
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    like Slo-go'en said ...
    the LT north of Lincoln gap is like a different trail than the southern section
    some say north of Brandon Gap is where the terrain challenge ticks up

    I recall 10-K describing it well on his LT hike a few years back
    the southern LT section was more familiar AT rocks n' roots,
    and north of Lincoln Gap is like a different trail

    Gray Jay had best advice for hiking the LT
    take extra socks
    and have fun

  11. #11
    Registered User Southerner's Avatar
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    I purposefully slowed down during the most scenic sections of the LT, which also (mostly) happen to be the hardest sections. That gave me plenty of time to wait for fog to pass at Camel's Hump, spend about three hours on the Chin of Mt. Mansfield, swim a long time at Sterling Pond, and etc. It also saved my ego since perhaps I would have been forced to slow down, anyhow. Actually, I sped back up north of Johnson, and I found myself getting grumpy.

    Here were my mileages:
    20.7 (starting from Williamstown), 21.1, 17.5 (Manchester Centre), 19.9, 23.2, 6.3 (Stop at Rutland), 26.0, 23.6, 9.9 (Mt. Abraham to App. Gap), 10.5 (Waiting for rain to stop before Camel's Hump), 17.1, 14.3 (Mt. Mansfield), 12.9 (Sterling Pond), 8.2 (Stop at Johnson), 22.0, 23.5.

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