Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Max Daily Mileage and Why?


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Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Max Daily Mileage and Why? on 04/15/2010 18:47:14 MDT Print View

I'm sure there are some interesting stories out there on some very high mileage days and the various reasons why. I know the tru hikers have pizza crazed road marches to get into town. Let's hear some stories.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Not that interesting, but... on 04/15/2010 19:16:27 MDT Print View

My highest mile day was a week and a half ago. Did 35 miles as part of a training regimen to get myself in shape to do an ultra/speed hike in a couple of months.

I learned a lot about regulating body temperature, the amount and type of calories I need, and how much water I need to treat, carry, and drink. A lot of these were details I never picked up on smaller hikes, because I never hiked 12 hours without a legit break before.

I have to say, I felt pretty ill toward the end of the hike. This was because I realized the morning of that I had less food than I thought I did and needed to hit the trail early, so didn't have time to go shopping. I ended up bringing only 1500 calories, and it was stupid. I should have waited until the store opened, grabbed something, and then bit the bullet and hiked a couple of hours in the dark instead. Lesson learned.

The good news is that I discovered mental fortitude that I didn't know I had. There was a section at mile 32 that gained 600 feet of elevation in a half mile. Not so bad under normal circumstances, but after 32 miles and on a very empty stomach...

It was super hard, but I was proud of myself for pushing through it.

Also saw some cool wildlife on this trip, that I obviously would not have seen on a shorter one. I nearly stepped on two separate black racers about 12 miles apart, one was around four feet long. Saw a HUGE wild turkey -- biggest one I've ever seen. Spotted a Pileated woodpecker, which is a bit of a treat around here.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Max Daily Mileage and Why? on 04/20/2010 21:28:48 MDT Print View

My two highest mileage days on the PCT had nothing to do with pizza.

I hiked 35 miles one day simply by psyching myself into it. I decided that 30 miles was probably a psychological barrier so rather than think of the miles I was completing I decided to change my focus and think instead of chipping away at the miles remaining to the next town. Toward the very end of the day, I passed by a place I could have camped, and then I was stuck hiking for another hour through an area with absolutely nowhere to camp. Finally, just as the sun was setting, I reached the perfect campsite and my first 35 mile day.

I hiked 36 miles one day in Oregon. It was a relatively flat area of trail between Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood. I just kept hiking. I didn't feel like stopping. I finally only stopped because I needed the final waning minutes of light to kill any mosquitoes that might follow me into my tent. The next morning I hiked easily to Timberline Lodge where I stood on the balcony and looked in absolute amazement at Mt. Jefferson way in the distance, thinking to myself, I can't believe I walked all that distance in only two days. I knew not a single other person there would understand that feeling. It was one of the best moments of the hike for me.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Max Daily Mileage and Why? on 04/21/2010 05:55:06 MDT Print View

High mileage is alittle different here in New England with the terrain but did 24 miles once in the Whites b/c I wanted a hamburger and 26 miles on the Mondanock Sunnapee Greenway b/c I just wanted to be done. Can't really imagine doing 30+ mile days here. I am sure it is possible but not fun at all.

Total pack weights for the 24 miler was prob around 16lbs and 25lbs for the 26 mile day.

Edited by Jkrew81 on 04/21/2010 07:38:53 MDT.

Jack Newton
(figster) - F

Locale: Central Arkansas
30 miles on 04/21/2010 07:13:42 MDT Print View

I enjoy my thirty minute coffee sesssions in the morning and longer lunch breaks to even consider doing 30 miles in a day!
Twenty or so miles is all I care for in a day.

Han Ngiam
(hanngiam) - F
Insightful on 04/21/2010 07:22:08 MDT Print View

Great topic of discussion. Since this is backpackinglight - it'll be good to also include your pack weights.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Max Daily Mileage and Why? on 04/21/2010 07:35:33 MDT Print View

I did thirty mile days all across Oregon. And I don't think that I ever went over 33 miles per day. That was around my daily maximum without turning it up to another level of hardship.

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Re: Re: Max Daily Mileage and Why? on 04/21/2010 07:46:48 MDT Print View

>>>High mileage is alittle different here in New England with the terrain but did 24 miles once in the Whites b/c I wanted a hamburger and 26 miles on the Mondanock Sunnapee Greenway b/c I just wanted to be done. Can't really imagine doing 30+ mile days here. I am sure it is possible but not fun at all.<<<

I've wondered myself about high mile days in New England vs. other areas. It seems not too many people outside the Skurka's and Thompson's of the world are regularly pulling off big miles up here, but lot's of people do it in other parts of the country.

My highest mile day in New England was ~ 20 miles (1 day traverse of the Bonds) and my normal planned backpacking days are around 15 miles. And 15 miles can really kick my butt up here but I'm hoping to push some bigger miles later this summer and see what happens.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Re: Re: Max Daily Mileage and Why? on 04/21/2010 08:02:27 MDT Print View

I agree John, 10-15 mile days is prob the norm for UL hikers up here and freakin ridculous for standard heavy hikers. Like you said, people do put in 25+ mile days in the Whites but normally they are ultra runners out training for races.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Max Daily Mileage and Why? on 04/21/2010 08:20:57 MDT Print View

Max day: 45 miles in a day
Max multiple days: ~30 miles/day

Why? Because I wanted to know what I *could* do. It wasn't fun.

Max "normal": ~20 miles. More than that and I typically ache the next day. Planning more than ~20 miles / days makes me feel "chased" were I worry about mileage rather than the hike.

My "normal" days are around 15 miles. I found that's just right for me.

There have been a couple trips where the last day was in the mid-20 miles. Typically I was and I was within 5 miles of the trail head and had a reason to exit (typically either wet, hungry, or in pain). The thought of the unpleasantness ending and getting a nice meal, good beer, and a soft bed encouraged me to push to finish.

--Mark

Edited by verber on 04/21/2010 08:21:48 MDT.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Re: Max Daily Mileage and Why? on 04/21/2010 08:45:35 MDT Print View

My max is 29 miles in one day. It was part of a trip on the AT where I did 105 miles in 4 days. My pack weight was around 18 pounds.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: max mileage on 04/21/2010 08:45:55 MDT Print View

On the hikes where I've gone for big miles, sore and tired feet always seem to be the limiting factor (as opposed to daylight). Doing more than 30 in a day for consecutive days requires some willpower. Doing more than 40 (mostly or all on trails) is possible for me when I'm fit but requires a LOT of will power, and I'm not sure it's all that sustainable.

In summary, 30 seems to be the usual ceiling, I only go above it under special circumstances. I've wondering if getting really backpacking fit might change this. Hope to find out this summer.

My personal day hiking record is 62 miles in 19.5 hours, but that involved some serious suffering.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Max Daily Mileage and Why? on 04/21/2010 08:55:33 MDT Print View

single day solo non race effort :
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim
Bright Angel - North Kaibab - Bright Angel
47 miles (46.6 miles on trail and .5 miles to the restaurant)
12,000 ft elevation gain
7 lb pack
Why ? Because its a spectacular setting.

Edited by asandh on 05/06/2010 07:36:34 MDT.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: re: max mileage on 04/21/2010 08:57:29 MDT Print View

"My personal day hiking record is 62 miles in 19.5 hours"

that makes me hurt just thinking about it!

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Re: Re: Max Daily Mileage and Why? on 04/21/2010 09:02:46 MDT Print View

Wow, some of you guys are crazy. My dream "death march" is a one day Mahoosuc Traverse (31.1 miles, 10,750ft elevation gain) which would apparantly be a warm up for some of you.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Max Daily Mileage and Why? on 04/21/2010 09:17:24 MDT Print View

Max Mileage - 31 miles
Pack weight - approx 25 pounds (pre-enlightenment)
Why - stupidity

I took a wrong turn which added 10 miles on to my planned route. I had to walk the extra distance to make my scheduled pickup point (ride home). Sporting new-ish boots, my feet were a mess and I was beat.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Pack weight on 04/21/2010 17:54:21 MDT Print View

Just to add:

My weight on my 35 mile day was about 16 lbs. I completed the hike in 11 hrs, 55 minutes, so right around 3 MPH. It was difficult.

I'm definitely going to do another 30+ miler in the month of May, and hopefully a 40+ miler. The Robert Frost trail in Massachusetts is 47 miles, and I'd like to try and dayhike that. The terrain isn't too bad by New England standards, so I think it's doable. I imagine it'd take me a good 17 to 18 hours.

My big test is coming up quick. In two months I'll be attempting to do 116 miles over three days, unsupported. Can't wait!

David Loomis
(taughtmepatience) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Max Daily Mileage and Why? on 04/23/2010 13:37:48 MDT Print View

My longest day was climing glacier peak. Woke up at 2am, climbed about 5,000 feet to the summit. Summited at about 9am. Returned to camp and packed up and hiked another 10 miles to the car. I was a walking zombie by the time I got there.

I recently did a 15 mile hike of half dome with a day pack. By the time I was done, I was in severe pain. Of course, this is a very strenuous hike.

I'd say my comfort zone is about 8-10 miles before I start not having much fun...

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Re: "Max Daily Mileage and Why" on 04/23/2010 15:18:55 MDT Print View

My daily max was 23 miles on the first day of a GSMNP NOBO thru hike on the AT, which was a total distance of 72 miles in 3 days, 3 hrs. Had to make it to Davenport Gap at a certain time for pickup. Pack weight was 14 lbs. This was STUPID!!! By far the most physically challenging thing this 51 yo has ever done & my 27 yo hiking buddy agreed. We now refer to it as the Bataan Death March. I now find that 12-15 miles daily is about right for me.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Max Daily Mileage and Why? on 04/24/2010 02:49:05 MDT Print View

Max mileage: 35 miles - Between Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood

Max mileage days I am most proud of: 30 miles in the Glacier Peak Wilderness in freezing weather / also a 31 mile day in the Sierras near Echo Lake.

Why? Because I needed to get to the post office before it closed for the weekend.

Dirk