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  1. #21

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    Look up Follow Bigfoot on YouTube. He did his Thru hike in 100 days last year and has a lot of post hike videos talking about strategy, planning, etc. Can it be done? Sure! The biggest observation I have is people who have never hiked on the southern or northern portions don't/can't grasp the difficulty of it. It's not impossible but knocking out 25-30 miles a day requires experience, conditioning, and a very dialed in kit.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by evyck da fleet View Post
    Let's see, a 2200 mile trail /25 mpd is 88 days. Add a day at the start and end for travel equals 90 days with no leeway. That seems like more of a hassle than whatever getting the 6 month visa will cause. I would think a 3-4 month hike would be more enjoyable than having to worry that if anything goes wrong you'll run out of time.

    Maybe you'll surprise yourself and average more than 25 mph or maybe you won't. As with money, just because you have six months doesn't mean you have to use it. But I'd rather have six months if I could.
    and that math requires no days off...basically a marathon a day for 88 days straight.
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  3. #23

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    It's possible to thru hike in less then 90 days as a handful of people have shown. But it's really, really hard to pull off. Having to average 25 MPD, everyday for 85 days puts a big strain on the body. Keep in mind you have to maintain this average even on days when you need to go to town to resupply and shower. And of course, there aren't convenient places camp more or less 25 miles apart, so you often end up having to less then 25 MPD, which have to be made up by doing 30+ mile days.

    Many of those who try to maintain that kind of pace right out of the gate end up with injuries before long, like massive blisters or other foot problems, tendon problems, shin splints. You'll also loose a lot of weight since you can't possibly eat enough and after a while that saps your energy.

    Rather then beat yourself up trying to do the whole thing in less then 90 days, consider taking your time and enjoy what you can in that time period. Another option is to skip the less interesting part of the AT (the middle section) and just do the south and the north. Doing Springer to Marion, VA, then bumping up to NJ would eliminate a lot of the drudgery and save a lot of time.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Many of those who try to maintain that kind of pace right out of the gate end up with injuries before long, like massive blisters or other foot problems, tendon problems, shin splints. You'll also loose a lot of weight since you can't possibly eat enough and after a while that saps your energy.
    Have to listen to your body when you're going for months.
    Know lots of hikers that can easily go 30 miles on any given day (or week) on the AT but know they can't sustain it

    Nothing wrong with giving it a go though, and if you don't make it, it's not a failure (just an attempt). It's just a reality that your chances are lower as you reduce your time window and flexibility

  5. #25
    Registered User English Stu's Avatar
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    Hi bishbash, Firstly it will be doable if you can keep your strength up but with few town visits to boost your calorie intake regularly I reckon it could pay on you. I have done 18 of the 19 GB National trails. the C-C is not like the AT. I am retired marathoner and an elite vet triathlete, the fitness will help.
    I am in the UK and done over 1000ml in three sections of the AT, the most being 715 mile in ten weeks. Another section was coming halfway home from the John Muir Trail; the other the 100 mile wilderness + some. On my ten week hike the best thing that happened was that I hooked up with a guy for seven weeks who introduced me to Zero and Nero days in towns mainly to get food. I had intended to move faster but the enjoyment is vastly increased by living the dream and not just walking.
    Managing food and water,a light carry with being flexible was the big lessons I learnt from the AT. Keeping your own schedule can be lonely and that can take effect.
    In the 100 mile wilderness I met a fellow Brit with a six month visa who was completing and openly admitted he had broken down three times sobbing during the trip with a bit of homesickness and at those times the enormity of the trail ahead. It is different for us; we are a long way from home- so are some of those from the US but least they are still on their home continent and some get family visits, can take in a TV game in a town which is familiar.
    Yes the internet/social media is great but that for some can make things worse as they get messages. I forgot all that and said to her indoors I will get in touch when I can, which I did.
    Whatever enjoy your hike.

  6. #26

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    With your resume of endurance activities, I think you're well suited to make an attempt at a sub-90 thru. The major difference, as others have pointed out, is that this is an every day activity, not a one-day or one-week activity. Absolutely heed the advice of others concerning a May start date. If you start in April, a snowstorm or other weather event is likely to become the "excuse" you need to bail.

    Keep in mind that it is just walking. You need to start walking early and keep walking late. You will see as much of the trail and views as everyone else, and likely much more wildlife due to starting hiking earlier and continuing hiking later. I would recommend you consider going with no stove. You will likely be tired at the end of the day and taking the time to cook and then clean will seem like a major chore.

    There are a few things you need to keep in mind. You will be hiking all day in the cold rain multiple times. Being up early, you will be the first down the trail, getting covered in spider webs, likely until you make it to the next shelter or two. You will want to aim for 30 miles per day, with 20-ish miles per day on town resupply days. You can count on a 3mph average, possibly slightly more, but you will not hit 4mph. In NH and southern Maine this will drop.

    I think that a 90-day thru is an excellent way to see the trail. If you accomplish your goal, you will truly feel that you have accomplished something, as you will have absolutely earned it! Give it a go!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bansko View Post
    You could do it, but you wouldn't enjoy it. Either get the longer visa or use the loophole and zip to Canada for a day and start the three month clock again. With the money and time wasted going to Canada I strongly recommend that you pay the money and get the extended visa up front. It will give you much more flexibility.
    How do you know if he would enjoy it?
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hikingjim View Post
    Have to listen to your body when you're going for months.
    Know lots of hikers that can easily go 30 miles on any given day (or week) on the AT but know they can't sustain it

    Nothing wrong with giving it a go though, and if you don't make it, it's not a failure (just an attempt). It's just a reality that your chances are lower as you reduce your time window and flexibility
    Here's my rule of thumb to address whether you can sustain the pace. You should be able to do 150% of your max single day mileage and get up and walk the next day. So, if you are shooting for 28mpd out the gate which is what I would do in your case then I would train IN SIMILIAR TERRAIN to be able to comfortable do a 42 mile day. I have used this rule of thum for the last 8 years to get a pretty good idea what I would be capable of doing on a trail like the Colorado Trail this summer.

    The above rule of thumb also lines up with Swamis advice of not pushing yourself beyond about 70% on a multiday hike. I will also throw another one out. Don't overdo the miles today if it will keep you from doing your average tomorrow, that is all about multiday pacing which is going to be the biggest learning that you haven't seen in your training.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bishbash View Post
    The reason I am asking is that it is much easier to get a 90 day visa. My experience is I've done a few coast 2 coast walks in England they are about 200 miles and quickest I did it in was 8 days I think, It is only 11 of these in a row, no big deal.
    Why limit yourself to 85 days of walking 3-4mph for 15-20 hours? Just run half the time and you can do it in 60 or maybe beat the record of 45! Seriously, if you're trying to get it done as quickly as possible you might as well trail run it. All of those who have attempted and completed the AT in 100 or less days have no time to stop and enjoy anything. They all lament this once they've completed it or quit. So, calling it a hike isn't accurate, it's more of an endurance challenge for the body and the definitely the mind.

    If you want a more prestigious accomplishment just sign up or the Barkley Marathons next year. It's only 100 miles.
    "Though I have lost the intimacy with the seasons since my hike, I retain the sense of perfect order, of graceful succession and surrender, and of the bold brilliance of fall leaves as they yield to death." - David Brill

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Rush- View Post
    Why limit yourself to 85 days of walking 3-4mph for 15-20 hours? Just run half the time and you can do it in 60 or maybe beat the record of 45! Seriously, if you're trying to get it done as quickly as possible you might as well trail run it. All of those who have attempted and completed the AT in 100 or less days have no time to stop and enjoy anything. They all lament this once they've completed it or quit. So, calling it a hike isn't accurate, it's more of an endurance challenge for the body and the definitely the mind.

    If you want a more prestigious accomplishment just sign up or the Barkley Marathons next year. It's only 100 miles.
    ***? Do you always make up statements and pronounce them as fact?

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalebJ View Post
    ***? Do you always make up statements and pronounce them as fact?
    I'll bite. Since you quoted the whole post, I'm not sure which part you are referring to. Surely you're not referring to the entire post.
    "Though I have lost the intimacy with the seasons since my hike, I retain the sense of perfect order, of graceful succession and surrender, and of the bold brilliance of fall leaves as they yield to death." - David Brill

  12. #32
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    It can be done, but I would question if one can get the AT thru hiking experience in that time. The AT in traditional NoBo form is a traveling community, you know many of the hikers and will see them time and time again. It is part of that experience and what attracts many to do the AT Thru and what is in some opinions causing a overuse issue on the trail, in other opinions is much better for the trail, expanding its appeal and benefits to many more people. If you want to experience this part of the AT Thru hike your timeframe will not work and in 90 days you will have to just do a long section hike and become a LASHER (Long Ass Section HikER), or find some way of doing the thru by extending the time.

  13. #33
    1,617 miles and counting earlyriser26's Avatar
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    Like everyone else, it is possible, but unlikely. Also, a thru hike can become a job. This seems like a very bad job. The only good thing I can say about a speed hike is that you will only have to carry about half the consumable supplies of a typical hiker, because you will hit resupply points often. Get a longer visa or cut out northern pennsylvania (belive me you won't regret it).
    There are so many miles and so many mountains between here and there that it is hardly worth thinking about

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by bishbash View Post
    The reason I am asking is that it is much easier to get a 90 day visa. My experience is I've done a few coast 2 coast walks in England they are about 200 miles and quickest I did it in was 8 days I think, It is only 11 of these in a row, no big deal. That was a few years ago. I am much fitter and slimmer now than then. I have done ironman triathlons, 5 mile swims 41 mile ultra runs and a 3:28 marathon in the last few years. While I accept this is different to walking 25 miles day in day out up and down hills with a rucksack, It still makes me far better prepared than when I did those coast to coast walks. So a 90 day visa, a day getting to start and from finish to airport, plus a few zero days. 3 months off work will be much easier to sell to my boss than 5 or 6 months. I've got a good pair of legs on me, I can travel quite light and, touch wood, I don't pick up injuries as a general rule - even when doing 20 hours of exercise a week for ironman training. The AT is something I have wanted to do for 20 years, I will be 40 next January and I fancy doing the Brighton marathon on April 15 then getting a flight to Atlanta on April 16th and then trail day 1 = April 17th. All done and dusted and get a flight back to blighty about July 15th, back in work soon after. Am so excited about it, I am feeling like I might actually do this.

    So is this a reasonable aim, bearing in mind most people take a more leisurely 5-7 months.

    (Note: The only answer I want to hear is "yes")
    yes. totally reasonable. go for it

  15. #35
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    I won't say yea or nay, because you do have a very respectful resume behind you and I would never take someone's dream away from them. I would suggest a trip to the Scottish Highlands where you can get in some decent mountain work and see if you can do 25 MPD there. The other thing I would suggest is talking to your boss now instead of waiting until it is almost time to leave. You may be surprised to learn he/she would give you a 6 month LOA. If not, you can try for the 90 days then. I would float the 6 month thing first and ask him/her to think it over. If his/her answer is no, wait a few days and ask him/her if 90 days would be possible. If they are familiar with your current activities they may go either way. Best of luck to you.
    Blackheart

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by bishbash View Post
    The reason I am asking is that it is much easier to get a 90 day visa. My experience is I've done a few coast 2 coast walks in England they are about 200 miles and quickest I did it in was 8 days I think, It is only 11 of these in a row, no big deal. That was a few years ago. I am much fitter and slimmer now than then. I have done ironman triathlons, 5 mile swims 41 mile ultra runs and a 3:28 marathon in the last few years. While I accept this is different to walking 25 miles day in day out up and down hills with a rucksack, It still makes me far better prepared than when I did those coast to coast walks. So a 90 day visa, a day getting to start and from finish to airport, plus a few zero days. 3 months off work will be much easier to sell to my boss than 5 or 6 months. I've got a good pair of legs on me, I can travel quite light and, touch wood, I don't pick up injuries as a general rule - even when doing 20 hours of exercise a week for ironman training. The AT is something I have wanted to do for 20 years, I will be 40 next January and I fancy doing the Brighton marathon on April 15 then getting a flight to Atlanta on April 16th and then trail day 1 = April 17th. All done and dusted and get a flight back to blighty about July 15th, back in work soon after. Am so excited about it, I am feeling like I might actually do this.

    So is this a reasonable aim, bearing in mind most people take a more leisurely 5-7 months.

    (Note: The only answer I want to hear is "yes")
    Sure, you can do it. Maybe. Depends on the weather. And a host of other variables. But, I have a question. Why would you want to do something so ambitious and then get...oh...200 miles from the end on day 85? Or would you figure you were a goner long before, and just give up on your "dream" somewhere before New York? What is the major impediment to obtaining a 6 month visa?

    Finally, since I am the ScareyBear, there is another variable you must consider. Elevation gain/loss, but primarily elevation gain. What is your maximum elevation gain in a single day? Have you looked at the elevation profiles for Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee yet? How used to climbing 1000 feet per mile are you? Descending 1000 feet per mile? Can you do a 10,000 foot elevation gain/loss in a single day? That's almost two miles...

    You seem to have the potential. I'd love to see you blog/vlog your effort!

  17. #37

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    Not sure why we assume nobo. Most speed hikers go sobo.
    If you go home for the winter and come back in early spring, it is officially a thru hike (within a 12 month window). So no trip to Canada required.

  18. #38
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Big difference between hiking the AT in 85 Days, and starting a thru having to hike the AT in 85 days.

    All the people who have done the former get my respect.

    Any new hiker who does the latter gets my sympathy.

  19. #39
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    So you have a 90-day visa, 85 days to thru-hike the AT, your hiking experience is all in the UK it seems. You are talking about hiking 25 miles per day every day. Figure you take NO zero days..85 days x 25 miles per day comes out to 2125 miles. The AT is closer to 2200 miles (2175 or so back in 2006).

    Let me spell it out for you about your odds of your accomplishing your stated goal:

    NOT.GONNA.HAPPEN!!!!!

  20. #40
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    bishbash, listen to nobody. you do your thing. big mistake asking advice on here

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