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[pct-l] AT mileage
I can probably give you some idea of comparison as I have
hiked the entire AT and also been out west and hiked 150
miles of the JMT, and have had trips to the Wind River
Range and Glacier.
You don't say how many miles you generally hiked on the
PCT/CDT, but you should expect to hike about the same daily
mileage on the AT, with the exception of the White
Mountains of NH and the Mahoosics of western Maine. They
are both very challenging with frequent 1000 ft. per mile
climbs up and over boulders and rock slabs. Many times I
had to toss my trekking poles to scramble up a rock with my
hands free to grab roots and handholds or slide on my butt
down a really steep piece of trail. THe descents are very
hard on the knees with lots of long steps off of rocks and
can be extremely difficult if wet. There are NO switchbacks
anywhere in ME or NH - well maybe 2 or 3 over 200 miles.
THe trail is quite rugged and rocky. During that 150 - 200
mile stretch most people cut their mileage back about 5
miles per day. Even most 20 - 25 mile a day people get
their butt kicked there and drop back to 15 MPD. I like to
do about 12-16 miles per day and cut the Whites back to 10
or less. Part of the reason though is because they are so
spectacular that most people want to enjoy them - they are
the rewards for the less than desirable parts of the Trail.
However, anywhere else on the Trail, you should be able to
hike as much or even a little more than the PCT/CDT.It will
somewhat depend on your age and agility, as some places
are very rocky - like PA.
I found the JMT was definitely easier hiking than NH and ME
and was comfortable doing mostly 10-16 mile days, which was
very comparable to the AT south of New Hampshire.(I
backpack about 2mph unless the trail is extremely easy when
I might up it to 2.5) I am rarely in a hurry and like to
take time for sidetrails, beautiful spots,and lots of
pictures, so I choose to keep my 20 mile days to a
minimum). If I can help you in any other way as you plan
for the AT, let me know. It will be a very different
experience for you after the PCT/CDT but will be unique and
incredible in its own way!
Susan Faidley "Butterfly"
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