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1/2 of the AT in a month?


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My friend wants to convince me to go walk the Appalachian Trail from the West Virginia/Virginia border all the way up to Maine with him during the summer. It’s approximately 1170 miles. He wants to do this in a month.

We are both in great shape (because of boxing, running, biking, working out, etc), but neither of us have ever attempted anything close to this. It would require us to walk 40 miles or so every day for a month.

So my question is: is this even possible?

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Mark Wetherington

It could certainly be done, but given that you all do not have any experience background in long-distance endurance hiking, I would say that it is unlikely that it could be successfully done by you guys while maintaining even a modicum of comfort. Being in great shape for the activities you mentioned is helpful, but they don't prepare you for putting on a 10-15 lb backpack (assuming you are traveling fairly light with modern gear) and hiking 40 miles over uneven terrain with lots of elevation gain/loss. To do this for 40 days without a day to rest would just not be anywhere close to enjoyable in my opinion and I think you guys would be setting yourself up for a pretty tortuous trip and a high potential for injury.

I'd suggest cutting the distance in half and ensuring you have time to savor the trail and the experience and not rush through it. If you end up working up to longer distances per day, that's great -- maybe you get 2/3 of the 1,170 miles done in the month. But I think starting out at 40 mile days without coming from a background of long-distance hiking would be a mistake and could potentially ruin your summer if one or both you got injured.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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