The first thing for a person planning to reality hike this route to do is start walking. It can take thousands of miles to find the Easy Glide stride that doesn't cause fatigue or injuries.My estimate is it takes about 1,000 hours of walking to get in shape for this hike. That's about 3,500 miles of walking. Then a person needs to go to the next level so they can walk for about eight hours a day, not counting breaks, without fatigue or injury. That will take about another 1,000 hours of walking. In other words, in my opinion, it takes about 10 miles a day for two years to prepare for this hike.
This may sound like too much preparation. My feeling is a person may only get one shot at reality hiking the 48 states, and I feel it's a waste to set aside a year and not be able to complete the hike. I observed one guy on Facebook who turned his life upside down to walk across the United States. He quit in the first week.
Upping Mileage Goal to 25 miles a day
Originally, I planned Mar 15th as the starting date. Now I'm changing it to Apr 15th.
Unfortunately, it would be tough to get through the Wolf Creek Pass if a person leaves on Mar 15. The temperatures are too cold until about May 1st. It's possible a person could stay in motels through that section, but I haven't looked at it yet. However, there is another problem. The snow may not be cleared enough from the sides of the road for walking to be safe.
The later starting date means it will be warmer in the desert. It's not enough to cause a problem. The problem is on the other end. I figure a person needs to be south of Massachusetts by about Nov 15th. Even this is pressing the limit. It's not as critical on the east coast as it will be easier to find a motel for refuge.
This 25 mile goal assumes no zero days. This may be unrealistic for most people as weather and fatigue happen. All I can say is use them judiciously. If possible, try to earn them before taking them.
In most books I've read about hiking long trails, the hikers say it takes about 30 days to get trail legs. Because of the tight schedule, a hiker won't have that luxury on this trail. If a person wanted to, they could start and end east of Pueblo and do 30 days of the hike there. Once hitting Pueblo, they need to start averaging 25 miles a day.
The Chances of Success are Slim
The probability of completing this hike is small, and it is meant to be. The walker will have to be in great shape and be lucky enough to avoid overuse injuries. The weather will have to cooperate all the way around the route. My theory is the further a person gets into the route, the more the miles will speed by. I expect 30 miles a day will be possible after a couple months.
Walking before Breakfast
Assuming normal health and if a person doesn't go to sleep hungry, they should have enough food left in their small intestine to give enough energy for about an hour and a half before breakfast. Most roads through at least Oregon have broad shoulders and are safe to walk before sunrise.
My plan is to get up and go as quickly as possible in the morning. If there is no danger of rain, I'll toss my gear in the cart and leave within about 10 minutes of waking. During the first part, I'll drink some water to rehydrate from the night.
If the hiker completes the first 15 miles in the first 4 or 5 hours of the day, they have the rest of the day to do just 10 more miles. Then they may decide to do a couple bonus miles just before dark. Even one bonus mile a day will add up over a year.
Pictures from last Night