Smoky Mountains Help

3:57 p.m. on July 16, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm a pretty inexperienced hiker planning on doing a six-day sixty-mile loop through the Smokies next month. I'm in pretty good decent shape, but I'm still wondering if I should try to shave about 10 miles off my loop to get my average down to about 8 miles a day. I'm hoping that someone familiar with the Smokies, particularly the North-Central area (Jakes Creek, AT, Mt. Leconte) can give me an idea of what to expect so I can plan accordingly.

5:39 p.m. on July 16, 2009 (EDT)
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How "inexperienced" is "inexperienced"? That is, how many multi-day hikes of what length (time and distance) in what kind of terrain? If this is your first backpack longer than a Sat-Sun weekend, and if it is the first backpack more than, say, 20 miles, a 6-day 60 miler is probably pushing it. It also depends on what sort of physical shape you are in - emphasis on the muscles used when backpacking: legs, shoulders, back.

What sort of activities have you been doing to get/stay in shape - hiking, running, running up hills, walking around the block, bicycling, ....?

It is hard to give an answer without knowing where you are at, in terms of experience and physical condition.

7:47 p.m. on July 16, 2009 (EDT)
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This will be my first time doing anything longer than a weekend trip. On my last trip, we covered about 45 miles in 2.5 days, but that was in northern Michigan where the terrain is almost completely flat (although climbing sand dunes does take a lot out of you). Anyway, I was pretty burnt out by the end of that trip, something I don't want to happen this time around.

I've been trying to get in a little better shape over the past few weeks and still have close to a month before the trip. I've been bicycling or walking on the treadmill with the incline cranked up at least three times a week.

I know I can do the sixty miles, I'm just not sure if I can do it without feeling like I'm falling apart by the end of the week.

11:36 p.m. on July 16, 2009 (EDT)
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You can always start at Clingmans' Dome or Newfound Gap, hike west, and down Jakes Creek.. Elkmont is a very very interesting 'development' within the GSMNP

October 1, 2014
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