Trail Statistics – My Hike by the Numbers

OK. Now that I’ve been off the trail for a while, my inner geek is beginning to surface. Actually, I wore a Fitbit Surge for the entire trip, so I guess my inner geek was never very far away, even while out in the woods!  Now that I have all this data, what does it tell me?

This is an exercise in data discovery. Nothing useful may come out of this, but – what the heck, let’s see where it goes.

Ian and I spent from May 24th (summiting Mt Katahdin) until December 4th (summiting Springer Mountain) on the trail. That’s 196 days. During that period, we spent 177 days actually on the trail. We had 19 days off-trail to attend meetings for work (me) and to attend a Phish concert (me and Ian). Those days off were as follows:

  • May – 1 day “off” trail (first day driving to BSP and camping at Katahdin Springs on 5/23)
  • June – 7 days off trail (sprained ankle and meeting in Baltimore)
  • July – 5 days off trail (meeting in Philadelphia)
  • August – 2 days off trail (Phish concert in Philadelphia)
  • September – 4 days off trail (meeting in Philadelphia)

On those 177 days on the trail, we did the following according to my Fitbit Surge:

  • we hiked 2,189 “trail” miles, Katahdin to Springer
  • we hiked 6,242,914 steps
  • we hiked 3,029 “fitbit” miles
  • we went up and down 505,890 ft in elevation – the equivalent of climbing up Mt Everest 17 times.
  • we burned 817,361 calories
  • we took 12 Zero days (on trail, but staying in hostel)
  • we spent 111 days camping in shelters
  • we spent 16 days tenting/hammocking
  • we spent 51 days in hostels or motels
  • we had 18 “Nero” days (less than 8 trail miles – usually involving town and re-supply
  • On our trail days, we averaged 7.8 hours of sleep a night (better than I did at home!). According to my Fitbit Surge, our “awake” time was divided as follows:
    • 5.3 hours of fair to high activity
    • 3.5 hours of light activity
    • 7.3 hours of sedentary activity

I think Fitbit decides the level of activity based on your heart rate. I know we didn’t sitting around “sedentary” for 7 hours a day!


I calculated “Trail Miles” based on our start and stop points. The “Fitbit Miles” are based on the number of steps we took. Obviously, we walked additional miles: to and from shelters; to and from side trails to views; to and from towns for resupply; once or twice from getting lost (just a little bit…). So it makes sense that the total miles we walked would be more than the total “Trail Miles”. I was surprised that it was an additional 840 miles – almost an additional 40% in terms of total trail miles! But, thats what Fitbit came out to.

The following is a histogram of our daily mileage. On our best day, we did a tad over 21 miles.  Maine and New Hampshire accounted for a lot of our low mileage days.


Trail Miles (hist)


The following shows our trail miles per day.  It tends to be all over the place, but the trend line shows that our mileage tended to increase as we moved along (I suppose it would be weird if it decreased!).

Trail MilesDay

Calories Burned

I burned about 4,618 calories per day on average when I was on the trail. It varied from 3,000 to 6,000. It was easy to see the the elevation change was a factor, but that wasn’t the only one. We burned a lot of calories at the beginning when we were working our way through a lot of blowdown and water in Maine. The following chart is a histogram of calories burned by day. It is color=coded by mileage (denoting Zero Days and Nero Days). Note that the maximum calorie day – over 6,500 – was also a Nero Day. That was the day we summited Katahdin. Only 5.2 trail miles, but clearly strenuous!


Calories Burned



We did not do this cheaply.  I had money set aside for this trip and did not need to pinch my pennies. Furthermore, I am in my 60’s and have the tired knees and hips of someone who spent too many years playing as an ice hockey goalie. I know Ian would have spent more time on the trail and less time at hostels, but he obliged me when I was really feeling wiped out. My overall expenses for the entire trip were $8,936. They are broken gown as follows:

Expenses by Category
Resupply is primarily groceries bought for food on the trail.  Food is restaurant food eaten in town.  Gear is replacement gear bought on the trail.  I went through 3 pairs of shoes and Ian went through 2 pairs.  We bought some wool base layer clothing in southern Virginia, and Ian bought three pads (he was cursed and everyone of them developed a leak – usually the day he bought it.  I was lucky and completed the trail with only one air mattress- A NeoAir).  Entertainment includes three movies:  Jurassic World, A Walk in the Woods, and Everest.  Travel was our train tickets to and from New York City and to and from Philadelphia.  Out travel to BSP and home from Georgia is not included.  Permits are for GSMNP.  Hostel includes hostel and hotel fees, showers, and laundry.  The following charts show my expenses by month and by state:


Expense by Month

Expense by State
In the above graph, Virginia is the most “expensive” state. That makes sense when you think of how long Virginia is and how long it takes to get through it.

That it.  I don’t know how useful this will be to anybody.  Maybe your (trail) mileage won’t vary, but I expect everything else will!


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Comments 13

  • Kira Thornley : Jan 18th

    this is awesome!!!

  • George Turner : Jan 18th

    Do you miss it at all? What’s next?

  • Marlene Drane : Jan 18th

    Lol! This is exactly what I would and hope to one day do! I love this kind of stats. Great job!

  • bill : Jan 18th

    GEEEEEKKKKKKKK !!!! wow, geekieness is kinda fun. Please do not show this to the CPA I’m married to. Glad your doing it with your son. Going lighter is MORE $$$$$$. but the final tally is I was there and your were not.The older we get the slower I go I’m retiring at 62, 4 more years. I’m going to cheat the CDT, I live close by so Ill hop on and GO.Either way is fine with me. So will you do a vid on food please. Meat & taters not the dried beans and scourers( sick ) for the next day. Anyway happy trails.

  • Carol Fullerton : Jan 18th

    GREAT information! Thanks for sharing. Hope you and Ian are doing well since your finish.

  • pete lane : Jan 19th

    Are the costs for one person or two?

  • Jay : Jan 19th

    Excellent comprehensive breakdown and analysis of your (apparently well kept) data!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Messenger : Jan 19th

    How much of Ian’s trip does that $9k cover? Did you keep up with how much was spent solely on you versus both of you together (food, travel, lodging, etc.)?

  • Terry Gandy : Jan 19th

    Very good information, thanks!

  • Kelsey : Jan 19th

    Very interesting! Being an accountant, I loved every bit of this!

  • Jeff : Jan 19th

    It would be interesting to see the trend in sedentary hours. Did it increase over time as your fitness improved to the point that easy hiking minimally raised your heart rate.

  • Mike : Aug 9th

    Really great information and gives an idea of what can be expected on the trail.

  • amber adams niven : Jun 3rd

    This is sooooooo fascinating. Thanks for sharing! And for collecting all of this data!!


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