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Re: How long...

Wow Blake good question. When we began the lastest round of 
planning for our through hike we finally had real numbers
to plug into the formulas. That being we know that we
will begin our hike of March 27 (if the lord is willing
and the creek don't rise) and it will have to end on or
before September 27 (job requirement) for a total of 184
days for the hike. So using that number we used Wingfoots
formula to calculate the average daily mileage needed to
make it in the alloted time. The formula:

  1.2 x (2159 divided by # of days available) = miles per day
ours:  1.2 x (2159 / 184) = 14   
(note 2159 changes depending on current trail length)
At first that number scared us, so we decided to sit it
aside and not really pay very much attention to it when
drafting our "rough schedule". We then drafted our daily
schedule. To calculate the number of miles we "think"
we can hike on a particular day we used many different
sources of information including not if any order ;
Topo maps
thru-hiker handbook
previous AT hiker experience
personal experience
realistic evaluation of our physical condition
what day is it  ie. is it the first day out of a
 maildrop when our packs are at the heaviest or
 the last before we get to the maildrop

We realize that this is at best a 'rough schedule'
and do not consider it a must do , but it is useful
in planning mail drops and town stops. After doing
the schedule we were pleasantly surprised that our
average was 15 miles per day, including days off the
trail, and allowing for some extra days off just in
case of (well just in case). So that 14 average doesn't
scare us as much as before. Of course as soon as we
hit the trail this schedule will be invalid as we
tend to be free spirits and hike at the pace we feel
comfortable with at the time, but at least it does
give us some assurance that timewise we should be 
able to make the trail. 

Sandy and Alison (no trail names yet)
"The Smiths"
Ga to ME '97