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  1. #1
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    Default Timing and Mileage Advice

    This summer I'm stoked to be attempting a flip-flop hike this summer starting May 24th at Harpers Ferry and going North to Katahdin. I am hoping to finish around late August - early September.

    I don't want to blow by towns and the cool experiences along the trail, but at the same time I know I'll need to move relatively quickly. I am a long distance runner so I'm not too concerned about the pace or the long miles.

    Does anyone have any general advice or insight regarding timing and mileage for my timeframe?

    Thanks so much, happy trails!

  2. #2

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    Do the math. You have about 100 days to cover 2200 miles. Therefore, a minimum of 22 miles per day.

    In reality, there will be days you can't do 22 miles, so you really have to do a lot of 25 to 30 mile days and that starts to get tough. You can't rely on shelter spacing to achieve those kinds of daily mileages, so you have to become an expert at camping off the side of the trail. You'll be doing the southern end during the hottest part of the summer.

    Or you can take your time and enjoy the trip by just doing Harpers to Katahdin. Now your looking at a leisurely 11 MPD average.
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  3. #3
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Adding to what Slo-go'en already said, I assume that by saying it's a flip-flop hike you'll flip back to HF after Katahdin and then finish at Springer? It's going to be tough on a ±100 day thru-hike to spend much if any time in towns - you'll have to blow by them to keep on pace. If you take 10 zero days in towns to shower, launder clothes and gear, resupply, rest, etc., you'll have to average closer to 25 mpd. Which means lots of 30+ mpd days to make up for all the 15 mpd days in the Whites and Maine. Logistics - travel, resupply, hiker services, and possibly even park/trail restrictions, etc. - may also be more difficult than normal this year depending upon when the current public health issues and restrictions get resolved as well.

  4. #4
    Registered User evyck da fleet's Avatar
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    I finished in 133 days with 22 zeros. A lot of those were overuse or rest days from only being a middle distance runner and enjoying some but not all towns. I did hike with people who did what you’re setting out to do.

    First, you’ll have plenty of daylight to hike twenty five to thirty mile days which you will do. I did about 25 marathons and 8 days over 30 miles. Where they differed from me was they would nero in and out of most town stopping to shower, resupply and do laundry before leaving around five pm.

    Secondly, limit your days off. They were more capable of stringing those big mile days together where I had to take a zero after three of them or drop into the teens every other day. The long distance runners who pulled off your goal had marathon backgrounds. They hit the trail capable of doing twenty mile days so stringing 25s together with limited days off wasn’t too difficult.

  5. #5

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    From the ATC website. ”Most thru-hikers take between five and seven months. The average is a week or two shy of six months.”

    May 24th to late August, or early September, would be a very fast pace.
    May 24th to mid-November would be about average.

  6. #6

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    A 100 day thru hike is certianly possible - more then a few have done it.

    But to do it you have to be 100% focused on the miles. A flip flop would be the wrong way to do it, as you loose 2 to 4 days in the flipping and add un-necessary expense. Although the break might be welcome. Start at Springer and go light and go long. You will need to be able to pound out those miles from day 1 and every day thereafter. Once you start slipping behind, it gets harder and harder to make up those lost miles.

    A fast thru hike is physically and mentally challenging. If your up for that, give it a try. If you find you can't achieve or maintain that pace, you can always slow down and smell the roses.
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  7. #7
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    Default Timing and Mileage Advice

    Thanks guys for all the advice! I am by no means an Eliud Kipchoge or a Joe McConaughy.
    And because I'd rather take a bit of time to enjoy things Id rather not make my hike be consumed by mileage counting.
    An idea Im seriously thinking about is to do HF to Katahdin this year and HF to Springer another year.
    Again, thanks for all your help!

  8. #8
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethan McNary View Post
    Thanks guys for all the advice! I am by no means an Eliud Kipchoge or a Joe McConaughy.
    And because I'd rather take a bit of time to enjoy things Id rather not make my hike be consumed by mileage counting.
    An idea Im seriously thinking about is to do HF to Katahdin this year and HF to Springer another year.
    Again, thanks for all your help!
    Yeah, the FKT type guys/gals don't smell many roses, if any, but of course that isn't their intent. You didn't mention the nature of your long distance running. Is it road running, trail running, trail running in the mountains? While all of them put you in great CV shape, obviously the latter gives you the biggest advantage towards doing a fast hike on the AT. It's not just the CV fitness, it's the greater strengthening of joints and soft tissue and also the increased eye/foot coordination/balance on the footpath that comes with mountain running experience. Whatever you decide, and whether it turns out to be a long section or a thru-hike, enjoy yourself. Don't get injured pushing too hard too soon. Have a great hike!

  9. #9

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    In a lot of ways the 50% one year and 50% the next makes a lot of sense. Enjoy your 100 days on the trail. Meet new people, see new things. That's what it's all about.
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