The Data

  • Total Miles hiked: 2653.2
  • Completion percentage: 100%
  • Hikingdays: 129
  • Full Hiking days (no time spent in town): 102
  • Marathon Days (>26.2 miles hiked): 40
  • Neros: 27
  • True zero days: 16
  • Days off trail due to injury and travel:15
  • Towns stopped in: 36
  • Average daily milage when hiking: 20.6
  • Days precipitated on: 37
  • Pairs of shoes used: 6
  • Lost items: 2 (massage stick and sun hat)
  • Total Ascent: 462,084 Ft.
  • Total descent: 461,555 Ft.
  • Notable injury count: 1 (left knee interfrateller fat pad swelling)
  • Lost toenails: 1
  • Longest stretch without a blister: 1140.4 (Tehachapi to Sied Valley)

Over the course of my hike I kept notes on my daily milage, as well as a few other metrics. If you are interested in looking at this data in more detail, it can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/15UF6YSyGeq_ERHRX8wMAmIitd1I7tIsOdaLEb_4348w/edit?usp=sharing

This plot tells the story of my hike the best. When analyzing the daily milage, there is just too much noise to look at each individual day. Observing a five day average yields much better results and is what is presented here. A note: when calculating the average, all non hiking days were removed from the data set. As expected, there is a strong overall upward trend, meaning I got a lot stronger while on the trail. Additionally, my milage dropped in the sierras at the end of my hike for two reasons. First, the sierras are more difficult due to the elevation (spending a lot of time hiking at over 10000 feet). Second, I wanted to slow down a bit and enjoy what is arguably the most beautiful part of the trail. 

It’s nearly impossible to determine which section of the trail is the hardest because there are so many factors. Trail conditions, water availability, weather, etc. all effect how difficult a section is are are difficult to quantify. Vertical movement per mile is a traceable metric that gives you a sense of how difficult that part of the trail is though. This is calculated by adding the ascent and descent and normalizing over the distance hiked that day. Again, a 5 day average is presented to reduce the noise. What’s interesting here is that the Sierras are the most difficult section according to conventional wisdom. The data shows that they are only a little above average per this metric though. Looking into it at a bit higher level we get the following numbers:

By this metric Washington is the clear front runner for difficulty, Oregon is the easiest (as expected) and the other three sections are clumped together in the middle. If the Sierras really are the most difficult to hike through, its due to other conditions like snow and altitude. 

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