Any long-distance/thru-hikers here?

LongHiker

11B
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With the surge in popularity of thru-hiking in these last few years I was curious if anyone here is into long-distance hiking. I'm especially curious as to how that experience translated into Special Operations selection and training. I've met quite a few prior-service military folk on the trails and I have a friend from the CDT who is currently joining Navy Special Warfare so there seems to be a decent overlap in the populations.

I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2016 and hiked 1,860 miles of the Continental Divide Trail in 2018. Those experiences really re-lit the desire to pursue SF. I figured if I LIKED being out in the woods for months getting rained on, snowed on, being dirty, tired, hungry, and carrying a 35-55lb pack the whole time then there was a fair chance I would really enjoy life in SF.

Now I'm in the process of getting back in to pursue the dream. As part of my train-up I'm planning to do two long sections if I can swing the time off this year. I'm thinking 400 miles on the AT in May focused on building up strength and endurance with a 45lb total weight(yuck) and aim to cover 20-25 miles/day. Probably start somewhere in Virginia and go south. Some really gnarly long climbs in there. Then consolidate those gains at home with lifting/CrossFit and head back out in August on the Colorado trail with an ultralight set-up. Aim to jog the first 10 miles of my day and try to cover 30-35 miles/day up in elevation. Hopefully time this about a month before attending SFAS. Give myself 2-3 weeks to let everything heal back and be consolidated again after and hopefully go into selection with absolute monster rucking endurance and tough as nails feet.

I'd really love to hear other people's experiences with selection/hiking. If anyone's gone and done a thru-hike after the military or joined up after a long hike. How'd the two compare? I have a little basis being a former 11B but I'm really curious to know how long-distance hiking experience would translate into the long rucks and land nav at selection.
 

LongHiker

11B
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I live in Minnesota and am working my way through the Superior Hiking Trail. Typically I take a couple weeks every year and continue to work at it, sadly I don't know that I'll ever be able to take the time off to do it all in one run.

Trail Sections - Superior Hiking Trail Association
That looks like a beautiful trail. I'll have to add it to the list! When's the best time of year to hike it?
 

Ooh-Rah

Semper-Fi
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That looks like a beautiful trail. I'll have to add it to the list! When's the best time of year to hike it?
Fall.

It's nearly impassable during the winter, a muddy mess during the spring, and a tic/mosquito/fly invested jungle during the summer.
 

LongHiker

11B
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Feb 25, 2019
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Fall.

It's nearly impassable during the winter, a muddy mess during the spring, and a tic/mosquito/fly invested jungle during the summer.
Makes sense. Last July in Montana right after the snow-melt was horrendous. Could hardly even stop to take a break to eat because you'd be swarmed with mosquitoes and black flies.

We have the Ozark Highland Trail here in Missouri and Arkansas. There's a tiny window in the Fall where it's nice but otherwise it's storms, Lyme carrying ticks, and cold rain.
 

Devildoc

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I've done some on the Appalachian trail, and a little bit in a couple other places.

Not much to say about navigation, unless you go off trail in the wilderness areas; even if you use a topographical map and take side trails those are usually marked okay as well.

As far as long rucks go, carrying heavy stuff fast is carrying heavy stuff fast, regardless if you're in the military or not. But you are a former 11B so you already have a foundation of street cred.
 

LibraryLady

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You might look at:

The Wonderland Trail - Mount Rainier National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

It's only 93 miles long, but it has some serious elevation gain/loss, as in a cumulative 22,000 ft. I know periodically teams from 1st Group will walk/run it. Average time to complete is like 10-14 days, but it's been done much faster.

Downside, it's fairly highly regulated, though through hikers get priority. Upside, it's fairly highly regulated and the caching system is pretty solid.

ETA - the entire hike is within MT Rainier Natl Park, so park rules apply with additions like no dogs at all.

LL
 
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LongHiker

11B
Verified Military
Joined
Feb 25, 2019
Messages
20
You might look at:

The Wonderland Trail - Mount Rainier National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

It's only 93 miles long, but it has some serious elevation gain/loss, as in a cumulative 22,000 ft. I know periodically teams from 1st Group will walk/run it. Average time to complete is like 10-14 days, but it's been done much faster.

Downside, it's fairly highly regulated, though through hikers get priority. Upside, it's fairly highly regulated and the caching system is pretty solid.

ETA - the entire hike is within MT Rainier Natl Park, so park rules apply with additions like no dogs at all.

LL
Oooo I bet that trail is beautiful! Another one for the bucket list. That's the dream right there. Get paid to go hike on these amazing trails as part of training!
 

LibraryLady

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Oooo I bet that trail is beautiful! Another one for the bucket list. That's the dream right there. Get paid to go hike on these amazing trails as part of training!
Not much of the park isn't stunning. I've tromped over lots of it in my life. Never through hiked the Wonderland though. It's on my bucket list. 😎

She says having just a half hour prior made a date for a knee replacement...

LL
 

ShadowSpear

ShadowSpear.com
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Didn't @ShadowSpear climb that route also?

Nah, I did the 5 day Coca Cola route because this was my first mountain and I had no idea what I was doing. I literally booked through Groupon 😆 In hindsight though, Kili is a great starter mountain with an unmatched view. I don’t recommend the “tourist route” though, because you’re just begging for altitude sickness.
 

Florida173

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Nah, I did the 5 day Coca Cola route because this was my first mountain and I had no idea what I was doing. I literally booked through Groupon 😆 In hindsight though, Kili is a great starter mountain with an unmatched view. I don’t recommend the “tourist route” though, because you’re just begging for altitude sickness.

I had a little AMS on a previous hike in Colorado, so figured the newer Lemosho route would be a good option. I also took diamox and combivent.. while drinking towards 6 liters and eating around 5-6k calories every day. Only had a light headache a couple of days that went away by morning.

I also intentionally went during a new moon so I could take some astrophotography. Below are two pictures prior to some lightroom adjustments. You get the idea though.

DSC00061.JPG
DSC00112.JPG
 
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