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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at MaineOutdoors@aol.com.

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Posted: December 14, 2015

An Appalachian Trail thru-hike by the numbers

Written by: Carey Kish

2,189 miles, 14 states, 189 days, 465,000 feet of elevation gain and loss. Those are the big numbers from my recent Appalachian Trail thru-hike, which began March 18 on Springer Mountain in Georgia and ended October 4 atop Katahdin. Back home and with time on my hands, I ran a few more numbers on the long walk just for yucks. Here are a few of those statistics…

McAfee Knob, Virginia. I averaged 13 miles and 7 hours on the trail per day. CMK photo.

McAfee Knob, Virginia. I averaged 13 miles and 7 hours on the trail per day. CMK photo.

Hump Mountain on Tennessee-North Carolina border. I hiked at least some miles on 173 out of 189 total days, or 92%. CMK photo.

Hump Mountain on Tennessee-North Carolina border. I hiked at least some miles on 173 out of 189 total days, or 92%. CMK photo.

Mount Moosilauke, NH. I slackpacked - carried a light day pack - 305 miles over 23 days, or 14% of the total hike. CMK photo.

Mount Moosilauke, NH. I slackpacked – carried a light day pack – 305 miles over 23 days, or 14% of the total hike. CMK photo.

Mt Race, Massachusetts. On my longest day I covered 21.3 miles; my shortest mileage day was 3.2 miles. CMK photo.

Mt Race, Massachusetts. On my longest day I covered 21.3 miles; my shortest mileage day was 3.2 miles. CMK photo.

Whitecap Mountain, Maine. I hiked more than 15 miles in a day on 56 of the total 189 days, or 30%. CMK photo.

Whitecap Mountain, Maine. I hiked more than 15 miles in a day on 56 of the total 189 days, or 30%. CMK photo.

Old Cheese Factory Campsite, Georgia. I spent 107 nights of the 189 total outside. 42 of those nights (22%) were in a tent. CMK photo.

Old Cheese Factory Campsite, Georgia. I spent 107 nights of the 189 total outside. 42 of those nights (22%) were in a tent. CMK photo.

Carter Gap Shelter, North Carolina. 60 nights (32%) were spent in shelters. CMK photo.

Carter Gap Shelter, North Carolina. 60 nights (32%) were spent in shelters. CMK photo.

Elmer's Hiker Hostel, Hit Springs, North Carolina. I stayed indoors at a hostel, motel, hotel. cabin, hut, private house, lodge or other lodging on 82 nights (43%) of the 189 days. CMK photo.

Elmer’s Hiker Hostel, Hot Springs, North Carolina. I stayed indoors at a hostel, motel, hotel. cabin, hut, private house, lodge or other lodging on 82 nights (43%) of the 189 days. CMK photo.

Pulpit Rock, Pennsylvania. I walked an estimated 200 extra miles to springs, shelters, viewpoints like this one, around towns and elsewhere during the trek. CMK photo.

Pulpit Rock, Pennsylvania. I walked an estimated 200 extra miles to springs, shelters, viewpoints like this one, around towns and elsewhere during the trek. CMK photo.

La Barranca Restaurant, Pearisburg, Virginia. I consumed 136 restaurant meals over 189 days, not quite a meal a day average, but darn didn't I try! CMK photo.

La Barranca Restaurant, Pearisburg, Virginia. I consumed 136 restaurant meals over 189 days, not quite a meal a day average, but darn didn’t I try! CMK photo.

Laundromat, Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I was able to do laundry 48 times. By the way, shouldn't every laundry be paired with a liquor store?! CMK photo.

Laundromat, Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I was able to do laundry 48 times. By the way, shouldn’t every laundry be paired with a liquor store?! CMK photo.

Prospect Rock outside of Manchester Center, Vermont on a hot and sweaty August day. I took 103 showers over 189 days. Stinky stinky. CMK photo.

Prospect Rock outside of Manchester Center, Vermont on a hot and sweaty August day. I took 103 showers over 189 days. Stinky stinky. CMK photo.

Trail shuttle courtesy Ron Haven, Have's Budget Inn, Franklin, North Carolina. Over 189 days on the trail, I took 82 car or shuttle rides between towns and the trail, some paid but most free. CMK photo.

Trail shuttle courtesy Ron Haven, Have’s Budget Inn, Franklin, North Carolina. Over 189 days on the trail, I took 82 car or shuttle rides between towns and the trail, some paid but most free. CMK photo.

Woody Gap, Suches, Georgia. I was on the receiving end of trail magic, like the burgers, Hot dogs, and beer here, on 74 occasions from Georgia to Maine. CMK photo.

Woody Gap, Suches, Georgia. I was on the receiving end of trail magic, like the burgers, Hot dogs, and beer here, on 74 occasions from Georgia to Maine. CMK photo.

Kittatinny Ridge, New Jersey. I consumed enough beer (actual beers per mile classified) to be more than worthy of the trail name "Beerman." CMK photo.

Kittatinny Ridge, New Jersey. I consumed enough beer (actual beers per mile classified) to be more than worthy of the trail name “Beerman.” CMK photo.

Rain on Roan Mountain, Tennessee-North Carolina border. The weather was unny 60% of the time, it rained 10% of the days, and was mixed the rest of the time. Can't complain. CMK photo.

Rain on The Priest, Virginia. The weather was unny 60% of the time, it rained 10% of the days, and was mixed the rest of the time. Can’t complain. CMK photo.

Somewhere in the Green Mountains, Vermont. Incredibly, I had no blisters - that's none, zero, nada - over 2,189 miles. CMK photo.

Somewhere in the Green Mountains, Vermont. Incredibly, I had no blisters – that’s none, zero, nada – over 2,189 miles. CMK photo.

 

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