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Brianle - Appalachian Trail Journal - 2010

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Brian "Gadget" Lewis
City: Bellevue
State: WA
Country: USA
Begins: Feb 25, 2010
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Mon, Aug 2nd, 2010
Trip Distance: 2,179.1

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 926
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Guestbook Entrys: 106

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Appalachian Trail Map

Some Statistics


I took about 5 months total to hike the trail, with almost a month (25 days) off along the way due to going to Trail Days (5), getting Giardia or something akin to it (16), and getting a leg strain in NH (4). Factoring out those 25 days, but leaving in all Zero and Nero days it took me 4 months and one week to walk the entire trail.

That works out to about a 17 mile per day average for the entire trip, including a somewhat more challenging than usual start in snow and a lot of blowdowns in the south.

Read on if you want additional details on how I arrived at the above (or stop reading here, as that’s the gist of it!).


I started on Feb 25 and ended on July 29

So the total days including all time off: 154

Total weeks including all time off: 22

Basically 5 months plus a day or two

Total (large chunks of) time off, not counting Zero or Nero days along the way: 25 days

--- Essentially 5 days for Trail Days in Damascus in mid-may --- 4 full days off and shorter days on both ends, calling this 5 days off seems about right to me.

--- 16 days for Giardia in New York starting in late may --- technically 15 days, but short days leading up to this, culminating in 8.8 miles the day I got off trail, just under 10 miles for a full day of hiking the day before that, and short days starting back on trail after --- this was a least a 16 day hit in total

--- Essentially 4 days off in Gorham for a quadricep (leg) strain

So without those days, 154 – 25 = 129 days, or 18.4 weeks, or 4 months and one week of hiking. Given that includes all zeros and neros and that it also includes an early start with associated snow and blowdowns --- I’m not at all dissatisfied.

Zeros and Neros:

I count 6 total zero days, treating Trail Days as a sort of zero day (as I certainly did have time off to recover and eat there). I don’t treat Giardia as a zero day given that I was weak going into and back onto trail from that --- IMO a true Zero day leaves you strong and ready to do solid miles. The leg strain I treat as a Nero; kind of ambiguous that, as the rest of my body had a lot of rest and time to eat, but my leg(s) had minimal time, apparantly, to recover there.

My zero days were: Gatlinburg, Pearisburg, Waynesboro VA, Trail days interruption in PA, J.B.’s house in NY, and Stratton ME.

Nero days are a bit trickier to count. At a minimum I get 16 Neros, but in fact another 8 could be included for a total of 24. The more ambiguous ones are mostly cases where I slept in a motel or hostel or the like, and yet still did decent mileage both coming in to the town and going back out of it. Examples of this include the Dutch Haus April 19th, the Mayor’s house May 20th, Cheshire PA June 18th, and Glenncliff June 29th.

Not factoring out Zeros or Neros but removing the 25 days of off-trail (Trail days, sickness, injury) leaves 129 days to hike 2179 miles, 2179 / 129 = 16.9 miles per day.

If one were to remove zero days (and not double count for Trail Days) but leave in the Neros, that’s 2179 / 124 = 17.6 miles per day. I don’t know what the average mileage would be for just strictly full trail days; obviously something higher given the number of Neros taken.

But since Zero and Nero days are an important part of the overall picture of how many miles I can hike on the other (full) hiking days, I think it’s best to simply include them in the total. I.e., taking out the Zeros and/or somehow removing some aspects of the Neros from the statistics is perhaps misleading to any conclusions thus reached. So I’m comfortable saying that --- including some tough hiking in the snow and blowdowns early on --- I averaged about 17 miles per day in thru-hiking the AT this year.

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Gadget's AT Journal

The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is more than 2,175-mile long footpath stretching through 14 eastern states from Maine to Georgia. Conceived in 1921 and first completed in 1937, it traverses the wild, scenic, wooded, pastoral, and culturally significant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Learn more:


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