Hiking Time Comments

Hiking times for Webmaster trail guides do not include sit-down breaks. They do include short pauses to enjoy views, snap photos, or catch my breath. I tend to make all-day excursions out of even short and easy hikes so I felt it would be greatly misleading to include my non-hiking time when I can happily sit on a summit for a couple of hours.

Hiking times for non-Webmaster trail guides are usually total elapsed times including both hiking and short breaks while on the trail. The times should not include the "destination" (summit, pond, etc.) breaks. Reading the trail report narrative will often clue you in to what the time refers to.

So how do you judge how much time to allow? I advise to always allow a lot more time than you think you're going to need. Take your time walking and enjoy the journey as well as the destination.

I find it preferable upon reaching a destination, not to just gobble down lunch and then leave, but rather to sit and relax and soak in the peaceful surroundings. I also walk around and thoroughly check out my surroundings. I look around for interesting plants, try to identify summits and areas in the vistas available to me, and watch the wildlife.

There's always the possibility of a mishap: a wrong turn or an injury can easily throw a schedule off. Or perhaps the trail is muddier or more snowy than expected, thus slowing your pace. Or maybe a storm caused blowdowns that are cumbersome to get around. Unless you're prepared for hiking in the dark, you need to add a "cushion" time to your schedule for unforeseen complications.

So whenever possible I recommend allowing for plenty of time plus "cushion" time so you don't feel rushed while walking and so you can fully delight in your destination and then safely return home.

Check out the Hiking Time Calculator for help with estimating your actual hiking time.

White Lake and Sandwich Range (photo by Webmaster)


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