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  1. #1
    Registered User sadlowskiadam's Avatar
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    Default Slowest Known Thru Hike

    There has been a lot of attention lately about FKT's on the AT. Does anyone know whether there is a slowest known thru hike? For example, has a hiker started on January 1 and finished at the end of December that same year? Just curious if a hiker has tried this "alternative" record before.

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    Not sure if it could be done. Isn't Katahdin closed both Jan 1 and Dec 31?
    But if it doesn't have to be a calendar year, just any 12 month period, then probably several who have done it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    Not sure if it could be done. Isn't Katahdin closed both Jan 1 and Dec 31?
    Not closed, you just have to have a special permit and have decent weather.

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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    Not sure if it could be done. Isn't Katahdin closed both Jan 1 and Dec 31?
    But if it doesn't have to be a calendar year, just any 12 month period, then probably several who have done it.
    Could do a flip out of anywhere but Katahdin to solve that
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    Thanks for this thread. I'm most interest in Slowest Known Times for the AT or for any foot trail.

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    Technically you just need to reserve a section of the thru hiker to be on trail NewYear's 'eve' 2 years in a row, so it's sort of a meaningless, more of a mental exercise in semantics the way a thru hike is defined.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    Technically you just need to reserve a section of the thru hiker to be on trail NewYear's 'eve' 2 years in a row, so it's sort of a meaningless, more of a mental exercise in semantics the way a thru hike is defined.
    agreed. one in theory could make up some sort of specific terms like have to walk on consectuve days without stopping (the way a speed hike would be) and see who took the longest but the likely answer to that question is it was a failed attempt at being fastest, as just about anyone else takes days off.

    could you make up something like no more than x% of days off? sure, i suppose, but at that point its starting to get silly.

  8. #8

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    Not the slowest thru hike, but the slowest thru hike for me that had me walking the whole trail in under one year.
    Started on May 1st, 2004 and finished on April 20, 2005.

    Took a little time off from that hike to do the JMT in the fall and then again to hike most of the Florida Trail in the early part of 2005 before finishing up the AT.
    I call the days it took me to hike those other two trails my zero days on the AT.

    And yes....the ATC says that is a thru hike of the AT.
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    Not sure why the obsession with a calandar year. No requirement a thru be done in a year. Just a continuous hike, whatever that is. Hike 2 miles every day for 1000 days, it's a thru hike.

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    If there were such a thing, I would be a serious contender.
    " Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. "

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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    Not sure why the obsession with a calandar year. No requirement a thru be done in a year. Just a continuous hike, whatever that is. Hike 2 miles every day for 1000 days, it's a thru hike.
    agree. back in the 90s a guy named Coyote claimed a 400 day +/- thru hike at the Gathering in Hanover

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    Quote Originally Posted by sadlowskiadam View Post
    There has been a lot of attention lately about FKT's on the AT. Does anyone know whether there is a slowest known thru hike? For example, has a hiker started on January 1 and finished at the end of December that same year? Just curious if a hiker has tried this "alternative" record before.
    How's surviving on the trail while walking it's entirety for 2 1/2 years and spending less than 30 days in a bed, with a hand full of support deliveries to trailheads?

  13. #13

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    I'm not sure what the ATC's stance is on this, but the people that string together multiple section hikes to complete the trail are the ones that I admire most.

    I met a couple of hikers that did just 100 miles a year during their vacations.
    These two were doing their 21st year of 100 miles and weren't going to finish until the following year.

    To me, that would be way harder physically and logistically than any actual thru hike where you just wake up and walk each day.

    I wonder who might have taken the most time to completely finish the AT.
    I'll bet there are some that have taken longer than the 22 years of those two I mentioned above.

    A section hike of the AT is way harder than a thru hike of the AT for me.
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    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    Not sure why the obsession with a calandar year. No requirement a thru be done in a year. Just a continuous hike, whatever that is. Hike 2 miles every day for 1000 days, it's a thru hike.
    Of more interest to me would be continuous time on the trail (regardless of distance).
    Yo-Yo's or even bouncing up and down as Ward Leonard did...might be an interesting tale.

    That said... the concept is silly all around.
    What if you take a zero in town...you've 'gotten off trail'.
    What if you choose to zero in the woods... technically you're not hiking (making forward progress daily.)
    You could hike from Georgia to the whites and take a cru position in a hut for several months and still be 'on trail' in some fashion.

    If you take a job at a Neel Gap you technically are on trail too.


    So many ways to drag out something... to no purpose.
    Nothing against the OP as it seems an honest question from him, just one that pops up every season. Like it or not... an FKT at least has some sort of purpose or objective.
    Slowest known hike really doesn't mean a thing.

    If you'd like to admire something...any of the lifetime section hikers who use their one week a year vacation over 15-30 year spans to complete the trail are far more impressive than slothful quasi homelessness on the AT. I'd say three decades is pretty impressive dedication.

    If you want to be a wilderness bum... go do it and live off the land in a remote place.
    If you want to just be a homeless drifter... more power to you. The key word being drifting.

    Think yer Daniel Boone reborn... The AT isn't wilderness, you're just squatting in a state park without paying the fee.
    Nothing wrong with laying around along the AT and filling your days with side trips, exploring, fishing, or flat out navel gazing.

    Just call it your version of enjoying the trail and leave it at that.

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    i think the barefoot sisters must be contenders... it ain't quick work walking the AT barefoot, even for parts of it. i vaguely remember from their book, like, nine months...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    Technically you just need to reserve a section of the thru hiker to be on trail NewYear's 'eve' 2 years in a row, so it's sort of a meaningless, more of a mental exercise in semantics the way a thru hike is defined.
    Another ditto here...

    I assume the original intent of the question was trying to determine the longest time someone has taken to hike the full AT without "leaving" (i.e. returning home for an extended period).
    But it quickly becomes a sticky mess trying to define "without leaving" such that you disqualify what we traditionally call "section hikers" from those that simply leave the trail to go into town for a resupply. After all, where is the cut off... just those that leave the trail to resupply? What about someone that needs to go see a doctor, or spends two weeks in a hotel (or anywhere else) to get over a minor injury before continuing.
    You also couldn't simply cut it off at a year. So long as you can manage the winter conditions of say northern Virginia thru New Jersy, you could start in GA in early 2019, hike an average of about 3 miles per day, hike thru the winter, and then continue on the trail until the Fall of 2020.

    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    Not sure why the obsession with a calandar year. No requirement a thru be done in a year. Just a continuous hike, whatever that is. Hike 2 miles every day for 1000 days, it's a thru hike.

    So yea, what he said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    Not sure why the obsession with a calandar year. No requirement a thru be done in a year. Just a continuous hike, whatever that is. Hike 2 miles every day for 1000 days, it's a thru hike.
    ATC defines a thru hike as completed in a calendar year, since it's their puppy they get to make the rules.

  18. #18

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    I think Earl Shaffer was one of the first , slowest thru hiker on the AT. I tend to remember he didn't finished until Nov. (??)

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    ATC defines a thru hike as completed in a calendar year, since it's their puppy they get to make the rules.
    By a proclamation of the board? Or by a vote of the membership?

  20. #20

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    I was intrigued a couple years ago by the numbers game---how long would it take to hike the AT at 2 miles a day with no zeros.

    34.5 months or 150 weeks or almost 3 years. What a trip.

    Or let's do it at 7 miles a day with one zero per week. Equals 300 days of hiking and then add around 50 zero days---a good full year to hike the AT. What an excellent experience this would be---to see all four seasons in a year of hiking.

    Slowest Known Times? Sure, why not?

    The beauty of these low mile trips is the ability to carry a 30 day food load and only resupply 10 times during the trip. Neato. The extra food weight could easily be handled by 7 mile days.

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