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A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
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  1. #1
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    Default How long before itís a LASH?

    I ...was... planning to wait until retirement in a few years and then jump straight into thru-hiking the AT. Although I have backpacked hundreds of days, the longest trips have been just over two weeks, and never in hot, humid conditions (my trips have all been in the West)

    It seems prudent to ease into longer trips and also learn how I handle the weather, terrain, bugs, and society of Appalachian trails.

    For those who have done Long Ass Section Hikes (LASH), how long is enough to settle into the thru-hiker routine? 4 weeks off work at a time is about the limit for me.

    Jim

  2. #2
    Registered User greenpete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimqpublic View Post
    I ...was... planning to wait until retirement in a few years and then jump straight into thru-hiking the AT. Although I have backpacked hundreds of days, the longest trips have been just over two weeks, and never in hot, humid conditions (my trips have all been in the West)
    It seems prudent to ease into longer trips and also learn how I handle the weather, terrain, bugs, and society of Appalachian trails.
    For those who have done Long Ass Section Hikes (LASH), how long is enough to settle into the thru-hiker routine? 4 weeks off work at a time is about the limit for me. Jim
    Hi jim...the term "LASH" is new to me, which probably shows how out of touch I am with the latest AT hiking subculture jargon! The longest section I did was 8 days. But I've been told it takes a good three weeks to get into prime hiking condition. I'll find out in May, when I start my thru-hike. If you decide to retire "early," like me, let me know. I'm starting May 2 from Amicalola.

  3. #3

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    In a month you can cover 300 or 400 miles, maybe more if you really push hard. That's a pretty long hike

    Unless I've been doing a lot of hiking prior, I figure it takes about 2 weeks to get in to thru hiker shape, aka "trail legs". As for a "routine", not long at all. In fact day 1, but I have a lot of experience and it's like I never left...
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  4. #4
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    Just another vote, and totally arbitrary, but I would call 250-300+ miles a LASH, a little over 2 weeks. 2 weeks or less, falls short of my working definition.

    Just so happens we're heading out in May to get about 280 miles done in 2 weeks for my wife's AT progress (~1000 to go). I'm reluctant to call this a LASH, though it's right on the edge. Pure semantics.

  5. #5

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    The length of a LASH is personal and depends on the size of your A, but that isn't really what you are asking is it?

    I find that the more I go on trips of any length, the easier it is to fall into the rhythm one finds on a LASH or thru hike. If I do enough 2 night trips when I go out for a few weeks the patterns are all familiar. It really only takes me the first two days to adjust and by the third day it is just a matter of cruising towards the next food bag because the mechanics are all worked out in advance. I just need to make the mental adjustment and that is a lot easier going out there than it is when I come home heh.
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  6. #6

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    Since a LASH is a long arse section hike, it has to be several sections, I suppose?

    It seems to me that if someone is working fulltime and then uses at least two weeks vacation to do a hike, it sounds like a LASH whether they cover 150 or 400 miles. For retired or someone not supporting a family, it would feel more like a month to me.

    If someone does the AT in three 30 day LASHes over a 6-7 month period, can they call themselves a thruhiker? Do they get the badge....

  7. #7

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    Personally I think 3 weeks is the minimum, in my mind, to become a LASH. If you take a "standard" 2 weeks vacation (yes, I know, most people do 1 week at a time but many have at least 2 weeks/year to take) and add in the weekends and maybe even plan it to get a long weekend at the end so you also have an extra Monday off, that works out to about 17 days. That's a really long vacation but not a LASH. If you take a full 3+ weeks, to me, that's a LASH. Totally arbitrary but I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility for someone to take a 2 week vacation from work whereas going past that amount of time puts you into that other category of LASHers.
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  8. #8
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    Certainly depends on what kind of shape you are in to start.

  9. #9
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    What no federal government LASH distance requirement or guidelines.

    thom

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheyou View Post
    What no federal government LASH distance requirement or guidelines.

    thom
    Already there are folks who think it doesn't count if you don't get a Gold Star from the ATC.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  11. #11
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    So I guess my 2 week/150-180 mile AT hikes would be MASHes then?
    It's all good in the woods.

  12. #12
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    You can "identify " it as anything you want. Heck these days you can "identify" yourself as a unicorn and be the first unicorn to thru hike.

  13. #13
    Registered User greenpete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    You can "identify " it as anything you want. Heck these days you can "identify" yourself as a unicorn and be the first unicorn to thru hike.
    Best answer yet. Thanks for that dose of truth, JN164.




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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    You can "identify " it as anything you want. Heck these days you can "identify" yourself as a unicorn and be the first unicorn to thru hike.
    Does that come with two gold stickers?

  15. #15
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    Does that come with two gold stickers?
    Everybody gets a trophy!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10-K View Post
    Everybody gets a trophy!
    Thank you for the trophy . I just want world peace
    Thom

  17. #17
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    All these definitions are arbitrary but if the question is when I start to feel like I'm in full "thru hiker mode", the answer for me is about two weeks. There's a big difference between a one week hike and a three week hike in terms of mindset. The resupply and town stop in the middle is a big part of it, getting from trail to town and town to trail, etc. My longest hike to date was roughly the southern 1/3 of the Pacific Crest Trail over about 6 1/2 weeks. My second longest hike was my 4 week Colorado Trail thru hike. In both cases, there was a difference for me after about two weeks.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    All these definitions are arbitrary but if the question is when I start to feel like I'm in full "thru hiker mode", the answer for me is about two weeks. There's a big difference between a one week hike and a three week hike in terms of mindset. The resupply and town stop in the middle is a big part of it, getting from trail to town and town to trail, etc. My longest hike to date was roughly the southern 1/3 of the Pacific Crest Trail over about 6 1/2 weeks. My second longest hike was my 4 week Colorado Trail thru hike. In both cases, there was a difference for me after about two weeks.
    Are you saying it takes that long to feel it or that the trip needs to be that long for you to feel it? Do you feel it earlier in the long hike because you know you are out there for a month or does it really take two weeks to get there mentally?

    No right or wrong answers as far as I am concerned. I am just curious to understand other perspectives
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneStranger View Post
    Are you saying it takes that long to feel it or that the trip needs to be that long for you to feel it? Do you feel it earlier in the long hike because you know you are out there for a month or does it really take two weeks to get there mentally?
    I haven't thought about it that way but you're right that maybe the mindset is different from the beginning knowing that it will be a longer hike. The PCT section was supposed to be a thru hike so for sure that was very different knowing that I was going to be on trail for a very long time. But I still think that it takes a week or so of time to get into "thru hiker mode" whatever that is. That first resupply, hitching into a town, doing laundry, resupplying etc, makes it feel more extended.

    That all being said I have a one week trip without resupply next month and looking forward to that section. Either Rockfish Gap through SNP, which I've done before, or Daleville to Rockfish Gap, most of which I haven't done before.

  20. #20
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    I'm fairly burnt out on thru hiking long-long trails. The last few years I've hiked the Tahoe Rim Trail which is 165 miles. It's great in that it takes about 8 days including a zero and since you're hiking in a circle you end up right where you started. To me this feels like a long section hike. Compared to Atkins to Pearisburg which I just finished at 90 miles felt more like a long weekend.

    I doubt very seriously I'll ever go on a hike that's more than 2-3 weeks again.

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