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Author Topic: Trip report unsupported thru hike of the Shetowee in 9 1/2 days  (Read 1401 times)

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I.B.ME

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My son Chanse and I planned to thru hike the Sheltowee during his spring break. He secumed to blisters at 174 trail miles. I pushed on to my fasted thru hike yet. I completed the 319 miles in 224 hours and 24 minutes. I believe this to be a record time. If someone has completed it faster, I am unaware of it.
I wore a Fitbit to see the step counts required for a 40 mile day. I also used the Fitbit to keep an eye on my 52 year old heart.
Here is the data for the trip:

Rick and Chanse's Sheltowee thru hike (Dubbed "Insanity 2016")
Summary: Northern Terminus to Southern terminus 319 miles in 9 1/2 days (224 hours and 24 minutes to be exact)
Started at 05:20 3/11/2016
Finished 14:44 3/20/2016
Rick finished but Chanse did not.
753,080 Fitbit steps total (note the steps are hard to assign to specific days due to hiking past midnight on several occasions.)
Trail conditions were mostly good. Much better than my 2009 thru-hike. 
Rain during the early days of the hike contributed to the blister problems that ended Chanse's hike and slowed my pace drastically. I did learn a lot more about blister care on the trip.

Day 1 Northern terminus to Cave Run lake.
38 trail miles (mm0-mm38)
0  bewilderment miles
1.5 extra miles to pump water.
5:20a-10:20p minus 1 hour lunch and 1 hour Supper at Wendy's.
86,987 Fit bit steps
Trail conditions very good to excellent.   
Reroute through Moorehead was a welcomed change.

Day 2 Cave Run to Gladie .
28 trail miles (mm38-mm66)
0 miles bewildered
7:12a-1013p
64,840 Fitbit steps.
Trail conditions couple dozen blow downs between clear creek and furnace arch. A few afterwards. A lot of mud from horse traffic. Otherwise trails were good.

Day 3 Gladie to big sinking creek
31 trail miles (mm66-mm97)
0 bewildered miles
1 extra mile (Miguals Pizza👍)
5:49a-11:20p -4 hours wash up and pizza.
73,738 Fitbit steps
Trail conditions very good. Soggy day...

Day 4 Big Sinking Creek to Resurgence Cave.
29 trail miles (mm97-mm126)
0 bewildered miles
0 extra miles
7a-11p
70,432 Fitbit steps
Trail conditions good except Todds road to resurgence cave overgrown.  Half dozen blow downs to negotiate.
Soggy muddy day.
Blister control stage 8. A few miles off of our intended pace. Should be able to make them up when the rain stops.

Day 5 Resurgence Cave to Hwy 490
36 trail miles (mm126-mm162)
0 bewildered miles
0 extra miles
7:30a-12:30p
~78,000 Fitbit steps
Trail conditions very good but muddy near S-Tree.
Dry day. Made up a couple miles.

Day 6 hwy 490 to Holly Bay
40 trail miles (mm162-mm202)
1 bewildered miles
0 extra miles
7:30a-2a
~89,500 Fitbit steps
Ice damage but otherwise good trail conditions.
Chanse succumbed to blisters at Hwy I-75 (mm174)

Day 7 Holly Bay to Hwy 27
35 trail miles (mm202-mm237)
0 bewildered miles
0 extra miles
7a-1:30a
~82,000 Fitbit steps
Trail conditions good. Ice damage between Hwy 700 & Hwy 27. Below Cumberland falls worst conditions so far on trip. Hurt feet worse climbing over and through many blow downs.

Day 8 Hwy 27 to Peter's Mountain
28 trail miles (mm237-mm265)
0 bewildered miles
0 extra miles
8a-12a
~70,500 Fitbit steps
Trail conditions much improved. Some ice damage Hwy 27 to Yahoo Falls. Blisters not going away.

Day 9 Peter's Mountain to Bandy Creek
32 trail miles (mm265-mm297)
0 miles bewildered.
0 extra miles
5a-11p
78,101 Fitbit steps
Trail conditions great. Slow pace due to blisters.

Day 10 Bandy Creek to Burnt Mill Bridge
22 trail miles (mm297-mm319)
0 bewildered
0 extra miles
2a-2:44p (early start because temps dropped into 20's.  If you get cold, get up and walk.)
58,441 Fitbit steps
Trail conditions great. Pace down to 1 mph as day progressed due to blisters.

Fitbit data for (224:24):
752,573 steps
90,350 calories
9,292 active minutes
365.07 miles walked
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KYhiker40

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Re: Trip report unsupported thru hike of the Shetowee in 9 1/2 days
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2016, 07:11:56 AM »

This is a pretty neat report.  Do you have some specifics concerning water sources along each section of hike, or more specifically sections that simply do not have water access?

What map did you use?  Any issues?
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I.B.ME

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Re: Trip report unsupported thru hike of the Shetowee in 9 1/2 days
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2016, 01:01:09 PM »

My previous thru hike (2009) I carried a voice recorder around my neck. The recorder made for a much more detailed trip report when I came home. This trip was all about crunching out as many miles per day as possible so I didn't take a lot of notes. We had a lot of rain early in the trip so water sources were not an issue. We did have to backtrack on the first day to pump water from Cave Run lake. We excitedly passed up the lake to make camp only to discover we didn't have enough water to cook supper.
This was my 6th time walking the trail so I have my water sources pretty well memorized. Also the spring cooler weather helped to not have to pump as much water as a July hike.

I used my memory to stay on the trail but I did carry a new set of OutrageGIS mapping trail maps. The only time I actually got off the trail was about MM163 and I just couldn't find a trail marker and ended up on Winding Blade road a couple miles from where the trail intersects.

I really wish my son Chanse could have stayed on the trail. His blister issues were the result of a poor footwear choice a couple months before the actual hike. He bought new boots while shopping with his female friend and I suspect he was distracted and bought 10 1/2 instead of 11 1/2. He didn't actually put them on his feet until 2 weeks before the big hike. He hiked a 45 mile prehike (Divide road to Southern Terminus) while stepping on his little toes the whole time. He switched the boots out for the correct size (thank you Dick's for kindly allowing the used boots to be returned) but the damage to his pinky toes was already done.
I have a lot of photos but primary use of the phone camera was to prove that we stayed on the actual trail and didn't take any short cuts.

My MSR water pump did have a few issues. We have had a few of those in our troop and we don't seem to understand how to back flush them properly. Any ideas would be appreciated.
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Mark W

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Re: Trip report unsupported thru hike of the Shetowee in 9 1/2 days
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2016, 07:27:14 PM »

Congrats on your accomplishment! That's awesome.

Mind sharing any pre-trip fitness routines you did? I'm guessing you're in pretty decent shape and didn't just hop off the couch and do this trip. I'm thinking about trying to do longer trips (mileage wise, not necessarily duration of the trip) this year and would be interested in any tips about staying in good shape for hiking long distances with a pack.
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I.B.ME

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Re: Trip report unsupported thru hike of the Shetowee in 9 1/2 days
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2016, 10:21:14 PM »

Mark I have a job that keeps me in decent shape plus a Trail Life troop (TL is like Boy Scouts on steroids). I'm 52 years old and spend about 30 nights a year in the woods. Hiking is my favorite outdoor activity but our group does a lot of mountain biking too. In July we will bike the 444 mile Natchez Trace Parkway in 8 days. I guess I'm saying I don't find myself on the couch much. I don't eat well but I make up for it by staying very active. My Fitbit last summer averaged about 17,000 steps per day. The easiest way to get ready for a big hike is to shoulder a pack and start hiking. In the weeks before the hike I walked 8 miles to and from work many times. I'm sure my neighbors thought I was a little off but I had a plan to toughen up my feet and stretch my endurance.
Also many prehikes to get our pack weights as low as possible.
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ShifuCareaga

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Re: Trip report unsupported thru hike of the Shetowee in 9 1/2 days
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2016, 10:33:56 PM »

This is awesome. I was just trying to convince my father, who is 62, to do something similar, but I really don't think he could go that fast or far per day, although heck I don't know if I could... you seem pretty tough.
38 miles a day is awesome.

Still 10-20 days off I think I have to plan for the future...

Wow this is all really handy and if you have more useful info from your 2009 hike we'd all love to hear about it.

Really inspirational work!
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I.B.ME

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Re: Trip report unsupported thru hike of the Shetowee in 9 1/2 days
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2016, 08:45:17 AM »

To clarify. That last thru hike was in 2007. I typed it wrong before.

62 depending on his shape may require a lot slower pace. I usually start out at a slower pace and get bored and start testing my limits. Both of my thru hikes have been products of the amount of time I can get off work. I only had 10 days off so I had to go as far as I could in that amount of time. A lot of jobs now days ppl can't get off for 20 days straight.

There is also the Sheltowee Trace Association group. They hike a smaller section each month and complete the trail in a year. That is how I would start out because the more experienced hikers can give you hints about equipment and such.

I have been at this a few decades so I have had time to work out exactly what I need to carry and what I can survive without. Example: the last night (3/26/16) the nighttime temps dropped into the 20's after being in the 50's the whole trip. I didn't have adequate clothing or sleeping bag for the colder nights sleep. I found a pine thicket and pulled dry pine needles up all around me. I didn't sleep very long but I didn't freeze either. When I get too cold to sleep, I just pack up and hike. I do caution about hiking at night in unfamiliar territory. You can get really lost really quickly. Also there is the bear concern of night hiking in the BSF but I guess they took mercy on me. I was probably hungrier than they were. Lol

My 2007 thru hike write up is on this site too. It has a lot of information about my homemade backpack and clothes that I make myself. Hiking can be a frugal sport if a person can sew just a little bit.

Feel free to ask me any questions you have. I will do my best to answer them.
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r.grider

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Re: Trip report unsupported thru hike of the Shetowee in 9 1/2 days
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2016, 01:59:20 AM »

Awesome accomplishment !  I hiked around 25 miles of the AT in VA, the first day climbing Mt Rogers, about a 2500 ft climb, carrying a 30# pack, raining the entire 2 days and one night. I like you, walked to stay warm. I could not keep up your pace ! My knees are no good, could barely walk for a week after that.
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