Distance wise, I like to aim for 5-8 miles if it is just me or me and another adult. If my daughter comes along, I usually aim for 3-6 miles.
Obviously, I try to make sure the hikes with her are less strenuous. Hikes without geocaching average higher MPH because there isn't so much stopping for treasure. But the treasure hunts help motivate the little one, and make hiking an enjoyable experience for her.
I think that as long as you are putting forth your best effort, bringing all you got, that's respectable. Today I only did a twenty minute jog through the woods, but I feel great and respect the fact that I did anything.
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I'm relatively new to hiking since my endurance didn't allow me to do as much in previous years. This year I found a hiking buddy and my husband and youngest son got into hiking, too. When my son is along, we like to go about 6-7 miles (that's what he likes) but last year I was training for the MS Challenge Walk in my state (50 miles over 3 days) and did a lot of hiking while training for distance because it seemed to be MUCH more interesting than walking around town. We have a ton of trails around here in varying lengths and difficulties so there's incredible variety. My longest hike was 12 miles and I believe it took us about 5 hours but I'm not sure. I can't WAIT for it to get warmer so we can go again! I can't do much outdoor hiking in winter due to my asthma.
I love hikes that are say in the range of 5-7 hours. Mileage varies with terrain. I love a good climb and getting my heart pumping and the sweat flowing. Layers are a must for me as well as plenty of water. My hikes are very often alone. I would say that 60% of them are alone, 35% are with groups and 5% are with a family member. My distance is usually longer when I am alone.
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What I do is buy Ordnance Survey Explorer maps and look for trails between two stations. So the walk from Royden to Loughton (which I finally did yesterday), starts just 100 m from Royden station, follows the Stort Valley Way for a bit, then another clear footpath across a common, picks up the Three Forests Way, ends on an unnamed woodland track in Epping Forest, across the road from the edge of Loughton and about half a mile from the tube station. As I can't drive, the starts and finishes of my walks have to be accessible by public transport, or I have to walk all the way.
We visited Munich, Germany last year and LOVED the frequent occurrence of train stops! We found Europe to be much more pedestrian friendly (in terms of pedestrian lanes, traffic signals, etc) than here in the states. It gave us the freedom to walk all over Munich, knowing that if we became too tired to walk back to the hotel we could just take the train. But it hadn't occurred to me that it would be the same way in the country - that's good info to have!!
Where I'll be hiking (in the UK) is part of the Three Forests Way, a designated trail It's mostly flattish across farmland and indeed I have done the second half of it before, from the other direction. One advantage to the Home Counties (the area around London) is you are never more than a couple of miles from a village or a road, and most of the roads have bus routes. It would be unusual in the extreme not to have mobile contact.
I think this is probably very different from what you have in the States. I may not see many people around tomorrow, but there would be people available if I needed them, and there's a railway station every few miles for the early stages too.
Another great plus is that by early afternoon I should be at the tea hut in Epping forest, which means if I've run out of food and drink I can get something there. A real luxury, places like that!
I think it depends on the terrain and also the elevation gain. I have done a 15 mile hike with only about a 2000 foot elevation gain in 6-7 hours. I have done a 20 mile hike with a 4500 foot elevation gain in 12-14 hours. On moderate elevation gains, I average 2-2.5. Also, as a last poster said, you should only hike alone if you are very familiar with the terrain and route and you should always leave detailed instructions with someone as to where you are hiking and what time you are expected back.
Our last hike recorded us at an average of around 1.5mph but it was a 18 mile hike and that average includes breaks. We probably went close to 2.5-3.0mph average in the beginning, then dropped the last 5 miles to 1.5-2.0mph. I think it's best to do what your comfortable with in the terrain that your on, because you don't want to go to quick and fall, then be injured in the middle of the woods.
Also, are you sure it's the smartest thing to go alone on a 10 mile hike? Unless the trail you are going on is a really popular trail where people are always passing...Or you have cell service in the area your going. If something were to happen would you be able to get help?
If you've seen my blog from last week, you'll know that my hiking buddy and I did 14 hilly miles on rough paths. I find it hard to gauge how this compares with what other people do. We went quite slowly last week - average 2mph - because bits of the path were very muddy or uneven. Tomorrow I'm off hiking again, on my own as my hiking buddy isn't well. On a 10 mile hike, would you expect to go 3mph? Less?
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