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  1. #1
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    Default Fastest First Timer?

    I'm preparing for my first thru hike attempt and I've seen the records, but they are all repeat attempts. Does anyone know the fastest time recorded for a person that completed the entire trail on their first attempt? I'm looking to set realistic goals for an unsupported attempt and 58 days by Matt Kirk is a bit out of my reach.


    Many thanks,
    CharlieMike

  2. #2
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    There is no such thing. There may be one for the fastest person with two first names though... never mind Matt got that one too.

  3. #3
    Garlic
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    If you've never hiked a long trail before, a realistic fast hike is probably on the order of four months, give or take a couple of weeks.

    Mapman may have a better answer.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieMike View Post
    I'm preparing for my first thru hike attempt and I've seen the records, but they are all repeat attempts. Does anyone know the fastest time recorded for a person that completed the entire trail on their first attempt? I'm looking to set realistic goals for an unsupported attempt and 58 days by Matt Kirk is a bit out of my reach.


    Many thanks,
    CharlieMike
    there is absolutely no way to know what a realistic goal would be for your trip. Unless you have trained extensively for a fast hike you won't know until you get out there how you stack up vs. other hikers. For example, how much previous experience do you have, what is your fitness level, pack weight, tolerance for discomfort etc. The best way to know what you are capable of doing is by doing it, or at least getting as close to the expected conditions as possible.

    If you decide that you are going to do a 100 day hike then I would expect you would have had experience doing back to back 30+ mile days and lived to talk about it. Generally I believe that you can expect to average about 2/3s of you maximum day hike mileage GIVEN SIMILAR conditions. So back to the 100 day scenario. That would be a 21 mpd average but you will likely have to average 24 mpd from the start to realistically be able to maintain that average for the duration. Could you go out and knock off a 36 mile day with full pack under similar conditions. If so then that would appear to be a realistic goal. If you can't answer the question then you don't have the information needed to make the evaluation.

    Remember, just because someone else can do something doesn't mean you can. But the reverse is equally true, just because someone else can't do something doesn't mean you can't.

  5. #5

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    I agree that there is no such thing, but I wonder if Karl's attempt might at least put him on a short list as a contender for this non-record. http://www.whereskarl.com/

    But then someone might come up with a fastest first time thru-hike for a non-athelete criteria. Maybe that's what the op meant

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedaling Fool View Post
    I agree that there is no such thing, but I wonder if Karl's attempt might at least put him on a short list as a contender for this non-record. http://www.whereskarl.com/

    But then someone might come up with a fastest first time thru-hike for a non-athelete criteria. Maybe that's what the op meant
    I also immediately thot of Karl. But his attempt was supported and the OP is asking about unsupported.

  7. #7

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    Four months, (120 days) I think would be a realistic time frame for a "fast" first timers hike. That about a 18 MPD overall average. Throw in some zeros and you'll have to do a bunch of 20+ mile days to keep up the average, but that's not unrealistic for the mid-atlantic states.

    To do it much faster than 120 days you really can't aford to learn on the fly since you have to start out with big miles and do them consistantly the whole time. That means you have to have your act together, be in tip top condition at the very start and have absolutely nothing go wrong along the way.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  8. #8
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    I do have extensive experience hiking and 20+ a day is easily attainable so we'll say 4 months is a good and 3 would be great. Thank you folks very much for the insight!

  9. #9

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    You probably know of this site, but if not here it is http://fastestknowntime.proboards.co.../19/read-first

  10. #10
    Garlic
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    If you can sustainably hike 20s, the bigger effort will be the logistics and your gear. Keep a sustainable pace and you won't need zero days except maybe to meet a spouse or friend who comes out to see you.

    Trail life takes a few weeks to get used to, and learning the art of the "near-o" is part of it. Get up early, hike 10 miles into a town by mid-morning (preferably not Sunday or a holiday), get a good meal, shop for groceries, buy new socks or tent stakes or whatever you broke or lost, stop at the library for internet, get another good meal and some take-out, then hike another ten miles out of town in the evening to camp and end up with 20 miles after all. Or time your motel/hostel stays to arrive at the end of the day and leave early the next. This is not as easy as it sounds!

    You probably won't start out with the perfect shoes and shelter and hat, etc. You'll see someone on the trail with something you'd like to have. So you call Campmor or Zappos and arrange shipping to someplace ahead that will hold gear, and then you have to time your arrival for open business hours. (Same issue with mail drops for food, if you go that route). Again, not so easy. Many hikers have tried that and ended up at the door at 5:05 pm on Friday on a three day weekend. Ask me how I know.

    It helps to be flexible and to have tried-and-true gear. You'll save many days that way.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieMike View Post
    I do have extensive experience hiking and 20+ a day is easily attainable so we'll say 4 months is a good and 3 would be great. Thank you folks very much for the insight!
    Just Bill nailed it. Set a personal goal and then go out and set personal record. Prepare as best you can within your lifestyle constraints and time and money available. Make the preparation part of the journey, by making a fun and healthy and active lifestyle the foundation of your training. Also make the journey part of the journey by making plans on continuing a fun and healthy and active lifestyle after your hike. Best wishes.

    Looking forward to seeing a new record for someone with a trail name made up of two first names from the phonetic alphabet.
    Watch out for JulietVictor. She may well prove to be the Billy Jean King of your record attempt. ;-)

  12. #12

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    In 2010 first timer Galilee Man made an attempt at Ward Leonard's unsupported record...just missing the mark.

    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=308189
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  13. #13

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    Here are links to the journals for a couple first-time thru hikers who hiked the AT in under 100 days:

    Highlander II, 2003: http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=36287

    Wag Daddy, 2005: http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=99234

    Maybe browsing through them might give you a little idea of what is involved with a speedy hike for a first-timer (although Highlander had section hiked the AT previously).

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    In 2010 first timer Galilee Man made an attempt at Ward Leonard's unsupported record...just missing the mark.

    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=308189
    I can't believe I forgot this guy.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieMike View Post
    I do have extensive experience hiking and 20+ a day is easily attainable !
    Ok, if you have all this "extensive experience hiking" why are you unable to figure out how long it would take you ?? me think your "extensive experience" isn't so extensive. my guess is pog military.

  16. #16
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Jennifer Pharr Davis' first hike took about four months. She had a more than a few problems, and took time off to visit family and friends along the way, but was in Ironman shape to start with, and soon discovered that she preferred walking all day to hanging around in camp.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

    ME>GA 2006
    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=3277

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  17. #17
    Registered User Mosquito Bait's Avatar
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    I'd love to see how fast I could hike the AT, but definitely would not want to try to do this my first time. I have to walk slow and enjoy the views/sights.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    .....There may be one for the fastest person with two first names though... never mind Matt got that one too.
    Is there a category for who thru-hiked the AT the fastest while wearing a red hat and who's 6'4" ? If so I got that record. This record thing has gotten WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY out of control.

  19. #19
    Registered User kofritz's Avatar
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    Eustace Conway in the "last american cowboy" claims 4 months, but i am not sure if that is actual trail miles...and the trail length has changed over time. sort of like does 1000 yards in the NFL mean the same at 12, 14 or 16 games. hard to compare except for the total....

  20. #20

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    My first hike (which was unsupported) was completed in 107 days. May 26, 2013 to Sep 9, 2013.

    I know of 2 others (first timers) who finished the trail around the 100 day mark. Funny ... I passed one of them by Pearisburg, he passed me in Pennsylvania, I passed him in NJ, then he took off from there. His buddy was about 15 days ahead, so his buddy probably completed the trail in under 90 days.

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