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  1. #1
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    Default 100 Days at 50 years old, possible?

    Hello everyone. I am planning to attempt a thru-hike in 2016 in 100 days which would end on my 50th Birthday November 7th in Georgia. That means I would be leaving Maine on July 31st, a little different than most as it is a very late start. Any words of advice or encouragement would be greatly appreciated. Can this be done, is 50 too old? Has anyone out there done a south bound in 100 days? I used to be a serious hiker and rock scrambler up until my 30's, but then my Corporate life took over and I forgot what made me happy. This coming year I am walking away from all that and walking back into the woods. Doing the AT in 100 days is my pilgrimage and my way to detoxify my soul. I plan on doing a 6 month training program to get back in shape mentally and physically .

  2. #2
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    I'm pretty sure that 100 days at 65 would be possible... I wish I could find out! In any event, it looks like there isn't a real problem if your 100 days becomes a few days more. No harm in having a goal! The best news is that your schedule is pretty perfect for a fast SOBO -- not too cold, not too hot, not too buggy... just right.
    Lazarus

  3. #3
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    Welcome to WhiteBlaze, HansKris! I hope you are successful with your journey.

    Many of the people we meet on the trail are 50 or older, as are many of the fine folks here on WB (myself included). I can't speak to whether or not 100 days is doable for you - I hike much slower than that! It works out to an average of 22 miles per day, which does sound really high when you consider time in town to resupply, clean up, and rest. Also, it appears that your planned start time leaves you no leeway for unanticipated delays. If the November 7 birthday finish is important to you, you might need to start earlier.

  4. #4
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    Yes, it is very possible. Can you do it? Who knows. I did the PCT in 98 days in 2011 at the ripe age of 45. I am completely confident I could do a sub 100 AT hike but I also have dozens of 40+ mile days under my belt which gives me that confidence. I will caution you that there is a huge difference between excel hiking and real hiking. many have grandiose plans that look great in excel only to find out its a bit harder.

    check out Swami's blog. Google Hikinglife he did a very fast SoBo in under 80 days. But he was a young pup at 42 or so.

  5. #5

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    Hard tell'en, not know'en.

    So long as your in really, really good shape with no health issues, age shouldn't be much of a factor.

    The very late start and short time frame is going to be the problem. 100 days means a minimum of 22 miles a day, every day. Since that will not always be possible, your looking at many days of well over 22 to make up for the short days. Doing those kind of miles later in the fall as the amount of daylight decreases and the weather deteriorates, will become difficult. Avoiding injury will be a concern. Your going to be under pressure to do consistently big mile days right from the start and your starting on the most difficult part of the trail. That can lead to all kinds of problems like stress fractures, tendon problems, slips and falls.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  6. #6
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    Good words, and I am grateful for them especially from an experienced hiker. 98 days at 45 makes me feel better. I have a lot of experience under my belt and 35+ days as well, but they are a decade and a half behind me. I only live 3 hours from Baxter Park so it was my playground. I only hope that my muscles have memories and will come back to me as I start to get in shape over the next year. If after 3 months of practice hiking in Maine, I am not feeling confident, I will change my start date and give myself more time.

  7. #7
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Go for it! Build a mileage cushion whenever & where ever possible. Limit time off the trail. You may have to carry more food than you would like to avoid lengthy off trail resupply trips. Well planned mail drops could help in that regard too.
    Good luck! We will be cheering for you.

    Wayne
    Eddie Valiant: "That lame-brain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon."
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  8. #8

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    Barring injury, what's the worst that happen? You'll fall short of your goal, but still have an incredible 100 day hike.

  9. #9
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    You let us know... we'll wait.

  10. #10
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    On my last section hike, I had just limped into a camp site, barely able to walk, after doing 37.5 miles in 3 days. Had there been any traffic on the forest service road by the camp site/creek (or cell phone service), I would have gotten a ride to civilization. Instead I had to figure out how I was going to "walk" over the next mountain the next day to where there was a hostel where I knew I could be rescued. Anyway, just as I was at an emotional low point, this guy comes cruising down the trail. He stops to chat for minute. I find out he was a NOBO thru hiker. As this was mid July in central VA, I asked if he thought he could make it in time. He said he was doing about 25 miles a day, so he thought he would be OK. I then found out he was my age (55 yo), which of course made me feel even more inadequate. So I would say -

    yes, some of us old people could do that kind of fast thru hike

    but...

    no, I'm not one of them.

    Of course after a good night's rest I felt better, made it over the next mountain and had a good section hike. I just have to remember that it's not a competition, but that's my problem to solve. If you can hike 25 miles per day, then go for it. It can be done. Just be sensitive to the rest of us old farts who are feeling sorry for themselves

  11. #11
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    I'm in better shape today at 41 than I was at 21. I think that it all depends on the individual. 50 isn't old age, it is merely the early-mid stages of being middle aged.

  12. #12

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    Hey if you could shave a few days off that 50, you'd set a new AT record.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HansKris View Post
    Good words, and I am grateful for them especially from an experienced hiker. 98 days at 45 makes me feel better. I have a lot of experience under my belt and 35+ days as well, but they are a decade and a half behind me. I only live 3 hours from Baxter Park so it was my playground. I only hope that my muscles have memories and will come back to me as I start to get in shape over the next year. If after 3 months of practice hiking in Maine, I am not feeling confident, I will change my start date and give myself more time.
    if you have done those mileage in the past then you have a much better feel for what it takes than most. Your plan sounds very good. The advantage of your age is the wisdom that years brings. that counts for a lot IMHO. I also have found that I can take many months off between super long (50+ mpd) and my body remembers how to hike. It's been a lot longer for you but I suspect your body still has a distant memory of doing the distance. You also have the perfect training ground to get some serious elevation gain. I did my PCT training on the AT in GA. the elevation gain combined with the distance really helped. you may find my journal has a nugget or two. different trail but it was written mainly for other future hikers that are looking to do a faster schedule.

    http://postholer.com/journal/viewJou...entry_id=20018

  14. #14
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    Muscle Memory, no such thing. I know I wasn't in better shape at the start of my 2011 (in my 50's) thru than I was in my 20's, but my mind was. Only 20% make it, but I'm sure it's mostly because they don't want to, not that they're not physically able to, granted some aren't able to do so for physical reasons. Sounds to like you're able to do it in 100 days, the question is will you want to once you start hiking and if you hit physical limitations will you push yourself beyond them risking long term issues. I wanted to thru hike, just had no desire to do it on a tight deadline. I enjoyed my hike it wasn't an ordeal.

  15. #15
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    Mileage is a hard thing to predict. I'm just a weekend warrior, so take this with a grain of salt, but I find it's better to underestimate your daily mileage than overestimate. If you get done early, it's usually not a big deal.

    I can think of 3 hikes in the last year that I planned to be 3 day trips and ended up being 2 day trips because I simply ran out of hiking to do. My dad and I just did 32 miles in 2 days on the CT, which we budgeted 3 full hiking days for. But, when you're feeling good and have nothing to do but hike all day, sometimes the miles can fly by.

  16. #16

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    One bit of warning - if you are going SOBO, do not worry as much about your early mileage. Maine is a difficult state, and you will still be developing your Trail legs. Do not worry about falling behind a desired average miles per day, you should be able to make up a bit as you get further south on the Trail.
    2005 SOBO Attempt (500 miles)
    2017 SOBO Planning

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the encouragement. I started reading your journal and will continue to do so.

  18. #18

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    It really depends on the person.
    When I was 51, I feel I was at my best shape for hiking.
    But, that came from experience, and training for an ultra (which I completed the Leadville 100 that year)
    So, for me, someone who likes to push themselves to the limits, I could have done it at that age.
    I think most could not. Up to you! (and your body of course)
    .
    now? at 65? could I do it in 100 days? Possibly.
    Would be nice to find out actually.
    But, I have a son now so, must wait a few more years.
    Good luck and have fun.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  19. #19
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    for any of these "fast" hikes a lot of things have to click, near perfectly and consistently - this is not normal on a distance hike, issues of health, weather and the laid back lifestyle that trail towns hopefully embody do not jive with perfect efficientcy - either you have your own support, or you are leaning on others to give you "special" treatment

    the AT is not the German rail system

    about 4 months - 18 average per day IMO more realistically allows for setbacks/ holdups - and is still a damn fast hike (not exactly smelling the roses)

  20. #20

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    I believe it was Gene Epsy who did his second thru hike at the age of 75. Maybe someone can validate this?

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