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What are your daily hiking mileage goals?
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Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Vertical effects... on 11/22/2013 08:44:58 MST Print View

Most trails have you start off going up 1000 ft. minimum but many times even more. The up needs to be accounted for. Depending on knee problems, so should the down.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Re: Wow! Good responses! on 11/22/2013 09:42:16 MST Print View

What are my daily mileage hiking goals?

My hiking goal every day: To hike as few miles and as few hours as I can to get to a beautiful place to take off my pack and enjoy.

If you want to enjoy goals... set some.
If you want to enjoy the mountains, leave the goals at home.


Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Re: What are your daily hiking mileage goals on 11/22/2013 11:11:17 MST Print View

Although I am in complete agreement with Bill D, I do recall Colin Fletcher (The Complete Walker) pointing out one should have daily hour goals, not mileage goals. I.e. you should plan to hike a certain number of hours, not a certain number of miles (not always possible, I know). This accounts for variations in weather, terrain, fitness, beauty of the scenery, unscheduled navel-gazing stops, etc.

I suppose some people thrive on mileage goals, I'm not one of them.

Robert Perkins

Locale: The Sierras
Daily Mileage Goals on 11/22/2013 11:40:10 MST Print View

It depends on the trip. I like picking one longer trip, usually the JMT, to push myself and see what I am capable of doing. I usually range anywhere from 22-32 miles a day on those trips. When working out during the winter months, I need to have a personal goal to work for or I lose motivation quickly!

I also plan at least 2-3 shorter trips where I am exploring new terrain, usually mixing in some cross country and fishing, where mileage means nothing! I pick my destinations from other trip reports or just plop down where I'm at if its that nice!

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
Goals and Mileage on 11/22/2013 15:41:49 MST Print View

Goals are good as long as one does not become obsessed. I spent 25 years racing, meeting checkpoints and reaching time that I am older and not racing my goals are different. I like to have goals still but they are much more relaxed, life has a way of interrupting man made goals.

My mother in law broke her back in the summer, then had a stroke four weeks ago and since hubby and I are caring for both his father and his mother (they are 87 and 93) this necessitated my scaling back my pre imposed goals of this year a bit until I could hire nurses to care for them at home.
Previous to this I was training five miles every 48 hours of mountain climbing and hill work, plus extensive heat training, which was very successful, I managed to drop 40 pounds and improve my cardio and endurance. Now I am forced to scale back to two times a week of my five mile loop and do one hard day a week of 15-20 miles, usually on weekends. This is all in preparation for a thru hike in 2014.

Interestingly enough I began to see my hikes as not in terms of milage, but in terms of getting to a particular place with no thought to time other than maintaining a good average pace, including rests to take care of my feet and to eat and test out gear. I found my contentment increased as I got away from thinking in terms of mileage mainly because where we live, the terrain can be pretty strenuous and very rocky and frankly quite brutal if one gets obsessed with "putting on the miles". All that does is damage joints and wear one down, and there is a fine line between gaining fitness and tearing oneself down.
So I go by the 10% rule, never do more than 10% more in time or distance per week. And it seems to have worked well when I desire to do more should the opportunity present itself, like two days ago when I did 20 miles of the roughest terrain down here and felt the glow of success reached when I got to my particular "goal" place of my planned exit spot. I am elated! The mileage did not matter, the area where I ended did. It did not matter that I was forced to average 1.5 MPH, what mattered was that in 12 hours I completed my goal.15 miles to Patagonia on the Arizona Trail

In one day I made it to the mountains you can see thru the pass on the right.

Edited by Drusilla on 11/22/2013 15:43:27 MST.

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
What are your daily hiking mileage goals on 11/28/2013 12:16:06 MST Print View

Over perhaps 100 trips of 3 to 40 days each, over the past 30 years, we have consistently averaged 18 or 19 miles per day on trail. That's 9 to 10 hours of hiking, and an hour for lunch, and arrival in camp with a few hours of daylight left. On days when we need to travel 22-24 miles, I feel like pushing and it doesn't feel leisurely. When we walk 18 miles it feels relaxed. For me, there's a big difference between 18 and 22 miles, the extra 2 hours of hiking means I feel rushed through lunch, don't set up camp in time to take a sponge bath while the sun is still shining, etc.

When hiking off-trail distances are irrelevant, as it all depends on the terrain and obstacles. And trails with no maintained tread (say the northern 100 miles of Vermont's Long Trail, or the description earlier in this thread of trails in New Zealand) -- those are slower and variable.

I think of it this way --
A leisurely walking pace on a good trail is 2 or 2.25 mph. A fast pace is 2.5-3.5 mph. That's assuming a good trail tread, so you can just stride and not worry about footing.
A full but not long walking day is 9-10 hours of walking (start at sunrise, hour off for lunch, end 1-4 hours before sunset, depending on season).

So a full-duration leisurely-paced day is 18-20 miles (9-10 hours at 2mph).
Or a short-duration fast-paced day is 18-20 miles (6-7 hours at 3mph).
Either way, 18-20 miles is a very reasonable target for somebody who has reasonable cardio-vascular fitness and hikes enough that all of their leg muscles are used to the effort.

People who want to sleep late, cook breakfast, stop often for breaks, stop early, or any combination of those -- if they also want to walk at a leisurely pace -- then 20 miles per day will be impossible.

For Jim and me, our sweet spot is 18 mpd, taken in the all-day, leisurely-pace style. We start walking at sunrise, walk at about 2.25 mph, but have brief frequent stops for birds, flowers, vistas, such that our actual pace is 2 mph of walking. We stop an hour for lunch, and walk until 2-3 hours before sunset. For us, that a is leisurely, comfortable, no-stress, no-rush, no-pain day.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Goals and Mileage on 11/28/2013 14:32:23 MST Print View

This thread reminds me of something of Skurka's I read recently -- his comment was that the way to cover a lot of distance in a day is not to hike faster (hard for most to do) -- rather it is to hike longer. He also commented on his goal -- he likes to *hike*, so camping is only an incidental he does to recharge so he can hike again the next day.

It seems to me that he has a point -- you need to decide what your goal is. If you mainly enjoy the actual hiking, then long hours make a lot of sense. I doubt that is the main goal for many, though, as a number of people in this thread have already said.

Fitness -- it seems to me that to do long days you need to be fit enough for two things:

1) You need to be able to keep walking at a reasonable pace for many hours per day. Perhaps a nice lunch break, but not a lot of other total stop time.

2) You need to be able to maintain a good effort on the uphill stretches. If you are slow on the uphill stretches, it is just about impossible to make it up on the downhill stretches. If you doubt that, do the math. Here is where a light pack really helps.

Getting going anecdote -- I spent one summer leading canoe trips for 13-14 year old boys. We had no trouble getting going in the morning once I made their already packed pack be their ticket to breakfast. Groups can work ... you just have to figure out how to motivate them.

Edited by blean on 11/28/2013 14:49:17 MST.