Thursday, January 28, 2016

2184.9 Miles! (give or take)

That's the cumulative milage of hiking the AT in five sections. At least the way I did it. Last June I got back on the trail at VT11 in Vermont, where I got off from my 2012 southbound section, and 76 days later I hiked into Harper's Ferry, WV where I got off the previous year. Thus connecting the final two dots in the 4 year odyssey.

All the geeky details, including why that number doesn't match any Official ATC Numbers, after the jump!

That flipping back and forth from nobo to sobo made me a flip-flop, flip-floopin' long-ass section hiker.

The table above shows how long each section was based on the ATC's data for that year. Every year the trail clubs relocate sections of the trail to get it off roadways and private property and onto  federal property. And they cut switchbacks into mountains, where there were none, to prevent erosion. Those actions change the length of the trail.

The Appalachian Trail Distance Calculator allows one to determine the distance between any two of hundreds of known waypoints. And one can choose the year the section was hiked. So, adding up the lengths of the sections I hiked, for the year I hiked them, yields 2184.9. Of course that doesn't count hiking off trail for water, or missing a turn and having to hike back ...

Not that it ever happened to me ...

This last section was a great hike. I started really slow with 5-7 mile days. Built milage steadily, took zeros, lightened my load along the way, and hiked 628 miles without taking any "Vitamin I." I averaged 8.26 miles per day with all the zeros I took, but I was pushing several big mile days towards the end, with my first 20 the day before my finish. I didn't have to leave the trail with an injury or other medical issue, I stayed at the Doyle, saw Alice's Restaurant and the Church, took lots of photos, I hooked up with several old friends along the way, and met lots of new ones.

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