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  1. #1
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    Default Ideal time to start a hike (East to West)

    Hey guys

    I had a good question, seeing as I couldn't find the information anywhere online: when would be the best time to start a thru-hike of the american discovery trail (going east coast to west coast). Obviously there are several factors to keep in mind like the rocky mountains being difficult to cross in colorado unless in the summer, but what is your opinion on the matter?

  2. #2

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    Hey, so made a little mathematical model for this. I assumed a conservative hiking speed of an average of 10 miles per day on hilly terrain, and 20 miles per day on flat terrain, where Hilly=CA, UT, CO, Mo, KY, WV, MD; Flat= NV, NE, KS, IA, IL, IN, OH, DE. The north route has you reaching CO after 160 days, and the south route after 182 days. I assume you'll want to hit CO around June 1st at the absolute earliest, so that puts a start date around December 1-23. Sounds like you should enjoy a nice warm Christmas at home with your family before setting off on the trail.

    But this is an armchair theoretical model I made up in about 20 minutes, so take it with a whole shaker's worth of salt.

  3. #3

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    Hey, so made a little mathematical model for this. I assumed a conservative hiking speed of an average of 10 miles per day on hilly terrain, and 20 miles per day on flat terrain, where Hilly=CA, UT, CO, Mo, KY, WV, MD; Flat= NV, NE, KS, IA, IL, IN, OH, DE. The north route has you reaching CO after 160 days, and the south route after 182 days. I assume you'll want to hit CO around June 1st at the absolute earliest, so that puts a start date around December 1-23. Sounds like you should enjoy a nice warm Christmas at home with your family before setting off on the trail.

    But this is an armchair theoretical model I made up in about 20 minutes, so take it with a whole shaker's worth of salt.

  4. #4
    Registered User SawnieRobertson's Avatar
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    The best answer doubtlessly varies from year to year, but I would go to the experts for this question. The experts are those who have hiked the ADT ocean to ocean as well as those who did not, but tried.
    You never know just what you can do until you realize you absolutely have to do it.
    --Salaun

  5. #5

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    When we lived near the ADT in Maryland, several people started their hikes January 1. It means several months of hiking in winter conditions, but in order to do the trail in one year, that's a given in any case. Just be aware that for the C&O portion in Virginia and W. Va, they turn off the water at the campgrounds in the winter. But you go through or near a lot of towns, so it isn't that big a problem.

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