Hiking Plan Breakdown

To be clear up front – I find planning a trip to be as fun as being on the trail. So preparing a daily schedule for a thru-hike is thrilling on its own. But, anyone who has hiked long-distance will tell you that day-to-day travels rarely if ever follow a preset plan, no matter how perfect it looks on paper. Everything from inclement weather to injury to spontaneous “zero” days with friends can set a tangential path. And that’s not a bad thing! But, a baseline is still important, especially as it relates to planning meal drops and town stop budgets.  The schedule below outlines my preliminary expectations for this trip each day, broken down into the following data:

  • SEC – Section of trail (from Map Man)
  • ST – State
  • DATE – Date
  • DAY – # of total days on the trail
  • MILES – Miles hiked that day
  • DIST – # of total miles on the trail
  • DESTINATION – End-point and accommodation for the night
  • POINTS OF INTEREST – Interesting milestones to see during the day
  • MAILDROP / RESUPPLY – Location to pick up maildrop or resupply
  • NEARBY AIRPORT – Closest airport for traveling to/from town stops
  • MEALS – Meals for the day (associated with Meal Plan)
  • BUDGET– Budget for Food (FD), Room (RM), Town Meal (TM) and Total (TOT)

In addition, row colors help identify major milestones in the planning schedule:

  • Yellow – A resupply day, usually signifying a major town stop.
  • Orange – A maildrop pickup day, usually signifying a town or hostel stay.
  • Green – A “Zero Day”, when no miles are hiked
  • Blue – A “Nero Day” (Nearly Zero Day), where very few miles are hiked

16 thoughts on “Hiking Plan Breakdown

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  2. Oh you compulsive guy- I’m so appreciative of this. I’d wanted to do something similar but didn’t know where to start. I will be going slower than you – your NERO ‘s are 11 miles!! Mine will probably be 3. But the distance to restock, town meals, shelters is so helpful. I am following you (on the blog and on the trail) – so remember on tough days how you helped out a fellow newbie.


    • Thanks Donna! It is an aggressive schedule, and definitely in constant flux as I learn and prepare more, but my goal was to set a high bar and then know I have some flexibility to adjust on the trail without adding too much time and money. Thanks for following!


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  5. HellowNeiman: I too am impressed with your hike plan. I noticed above that you offered to send downloadable copy to Paul. Any chance of doing the same for me, it would be appreciated.


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  7. Great Plan, Love how detailed your info is, would like a email of document also if possible. How is the 44: Pack holding up. Was considering the Exos 58, however now rethinking the size. Great Job


    • I can send you the file, sure. Jut email me from the “about” page and I’ll reply with it. The Talon 44 is holding up very well but with 4 days of food it just barely fits everything. I also regret not having a air vent for my back. I’d go with the Exos or Levity if I was buying new. But 58 liters would be too much for me … then you start adding stuff you don’t need!


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