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Thread: northern PA mpd

  1. #1
    Registered User tagg's Avatar
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    Default northern PA mpd

    My next section is from Duncannon to somewhere in New Jersey. I'm well aware of the rocks, but am curious how much (if at all) they changed your mileage. Section hiking from Springer to Duncannon, so far I've averaged a little over 16 miles per day. For planning purposes, can I expect to be around my average?
    -tagg

  2. #2

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    Yes you can expect to be around your 16 mpd, it will just take you a little longer to get there. You do have to slow down a little and think about your steps but doing so is a 10th of a second per step so we are talking an hour or so longer per day to get your MPD. I still have to do Duncannon to Little gap, but am planning to do that in 4-5 days however I have set aside 8 days to complete it.

    I have been around the 18 MPD thus far on my sectioning and I actually exceeded that in Northern PA which I am told is the rockiest.
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
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    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

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    International Man of Mystery BobTheBuilder's Avatar
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    It is definitely a good question. My next section is from Palmerton north, so I'm planning for slightly shorter mileage days just because the rocks slow you down. My philosophy is that if I plan to be slowed down, it's a lot less frustrating than if I plan to make a destination and am getting slowed by rocks. I don't want to get careless or try to hurry. Just my thoughts on it.
    "Waning Gibbous" would be a great trail name.

  4. #4

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    Mostly it's just hard on the feet and ankles. Be sure to have a good rock plate in your shoe/boot. It is a little tiring. The rocks are a little too close together and a little too big to step between, but their in random places and distances apart so your constantly staggering left and right trying to stay on top of them. You have to pay attention to where you put your feet. If it's wet, the rocks can be slippery which adds to the amount of effort and care you need to expend.

    In any event, 15's are not unreasonable. It does depend on weather/time of year. I would definitely recommend doing it in the cooler, wetter months rather then the height of summer. If you do it in the summer, plan to get up before dawn and take the afternoon off.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobTheBuilder View Post
    It is definitely a good question. My next section is from Palmerton north, so I'm planning for slightly shorter mileage days just because the rocks slow you down. My philosophy is that if I plan to be slowed down, it's a lot less frustrating than if I plan to make a destination and am getting slowed by rocks. I don't want to get careless or try to hurry. Just my thoughts on it.
    Palmerton North as I have taken it is the rockiest. I know that what I walked from Little Gap to the jersey boarder was indeed very rocky. DWG to Wolf Rocks is actually rockless and an enjoyable old road bed from long ago. But as you approach wolf rocks, and on past them sobo, it is rocky as it can be

  6. #6
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    On my thru through that section, I still was able to stick to my average. The rocks weren't as bad as I thought, but you do have to pay a little more attention to where you step is all. Didn't slow me down much, if any. Just be careful where you step, every step.
    - Trail name: Thumper

  7. #7

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    I did my biggest miles of the trail in PA. It was my least favorite state to hike through, but it went by very quickly.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by James GAME2009 View Post
    I did my biggest miles of the trail in PA. It was my least favorite state to hike through, but it went by very quickly.

    Being the closest stretch of the AT to me, this section is the most familiar to me.

    On day hikes with a lumbar pack, summer daylight hours, 25-30 is entirely possible.
    Overnights with a full 25# pack usually yields 14-20 with plenty of time to setup camp. Less daylight, less miles. Far too dangerous to risk night hiking, unless twisted or broken ankles are your thing.

    It's far less enjoyable mostly cause 99% of your hike is planning your next step. For some that can be mentally exhausting, and more importantly takes away from the enjoyment of hiking. For some (like me) it's kinda stimulating and adds a little degree of cleverness to getting from point A to point B.

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    I have seen no drop off in mileage in PA vs. other AT states. Rocks may slow you down but the easy terrain offsets the hit.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  10. #10

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    As Malto said, the rocks are tough, but most of it is ridgeline walking. Basically you go up and down gaps, so 700 to 1000 foot ascents and descents, but in between is often 10 or more miles of nearly flat ridge walking. This is my home base, so I find it very overrated. I started by trail running on them, so backpacking wasn't that tough. First ever backpacking trip, I did close to 19 miles in day two from Smith Gap Road to the Kirkridge Shelter. I think I was slower through Roan Highlands last fall than I am around here.

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    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    I did Pennsylvania as far as Wind Gap NOBO last September. I'm generally a slow hiker, but I was able to get days of 15 miles or over with a couple of 20+ mile days. There are some interesting field walks, which are nothing but grass and some parts of the trail outside the fields are rockless or nearly so, too. The last part of PA is probably the rockiest. Have fun with the Knifes Edge and the boulder scramble at Lehigh Gap. I'm told the latter is a preamble to what you will get in the Whites (I'll find out this year).

    Aside from watching where you place your feet on the many rocky parts of the trail in PA, watch where you put your trekking poles if you use them. I broke the tips off both of my carbon fiber poles over the nearly three weeks it took me to do MD & PA. The poles got caught in crevices between rocks and the tips broke off before I realized what had happened.
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  12. #12

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    I did big miles in PA too and the rocks were not a problem. I actually did more miles because there were no water sources for long stretches. That was July and August.
    A Human Being.

  13. #13

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    Oh, and watch for snakes! They like to hide under rocks and lounge in the sun on the trail. Copperheads, rattlers, and black (King or Rat) snakes. There are many many snakes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durunner View Post
    As Malto said, the rocks are tough, but most of it is ridgeline walking. Basically you go up and down gaps, so 700 to 1000 foot ascents and descents, but in between is often 10 or more miles of nearly flat ridge walking. This is my home base, so I find it very overrated. I started by trail running on them, so backpacking wasn't that tough. First ever backpacking trip, I did close to 19 miles in day two from Smith Gap Road to the Kirkridge Shelter. I think I was slower through Roan Highlands last fall than I am around here.
    I also trail run on the AT here in Pa so I am right there with you. Most of the trail south of the Pinnacle is very runnable. Even some bits further north.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malto View Post
    I also trail run on the AT here in Pa so I am right there with you. Most of the trail south of the Pinnacle is very runnable. Even some bits further north.
    I run in the extended Hamburg reservoir area as well. Good for the ankles.

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