Map, Stats & Journals

Starting photos of the final three hikes of the 12 Long Walks – Clockwise from L – Pacific Crest Trail; Continental Divide Trail, and; Appalachian Trail.

On December 28, 2012, I finished what was the longest journey of my hiking life. A 14,342 mile (23,081 km), almost 18 month odyssey around North America called the 12 Long Walks.

As the name suggests, the trip consisted of a dozen consecutive long distance or thru-hikes ranging in length between 200 and 2700 miles. The series began with the Pacific Northwest Trail on July 2, 2011, and finished some 545 days later on the summit of Springer mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. During the peregrination I passed through 29 US states, 4 Canadian provinces, and wore out 28 pairs of trail running shoes.

Below is an overview map of the journey, followed by the names, dates and final distances of each of the 12 Long Walks in the order in which they were completed. To access the respective journals for each of the hikes, click on the name of the hike in which you are interested. Following the summaries is a compilation of 12 Long Walks miscellanea, including mileage stats, animal sightings and food consumed.

12 Long Walks Overview Map (map by Brian “Beardoh” Ristola) 

1. Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) – 1184 miles (1905 km)

  • Start Date:   7/2/2011
  • Finish Date:   8/16/2011
  • Total Days:  45 days
  • Daily Average:  26.3 miles (42.3 km)
  • Rest (Zero) Days:  2

Click here for more up-to-date information regarding the Pacific Northwest Trail.

Due to an historically heavy winter, the Olympics (pictured above), Mount Baker and Cascade sections of the PNT were mostly still snowbound when I passed through in early July, 2011.

2. Great Divide Trail (GDT) – 606 miles (975 km)

  • Start Date:  8/16/2011
  • Finish Date:  9/3/2011
  • Total Days:  19.5 days
  • Daily Average:  31.1 miles  (50 km)
  • Rest (Zero) Days:  0

Click here for the excellent Great Divide Trail Association website.

Mount Assiniboine – Canada’s answer to the Matterhorn.

3. Sierra High Route (SHR) – 205 miles (330 km)

  • Start Date:  9/7/2011
  • Finish Date:  9/17/2011
  • Total Days:  11 days
  • Daily Average:  18.6 miles (30 km)
  • Rest (Zero) Days:  0

Virginia Peak – Final day of the SHR.

4. International Appalachian Trail (IAT) – 624 miles (1004 km)

  • Start Date:  9/30/2011
  • Finish Date: 10/19/2011
  • Total Days:  20
  • Daily Average:  31.2 miles (50.2 km)
  • Rest (Zero) Days:  1

Solo on a snowy Mount Katahdin | October 19, 2011.

5.  Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) – 235 miles (378 km)

  • Start Date:  10/23/2011
  • Finish Date:  10/31/2011
  • Total Days:  8.5 days
  • Daily Average:  27.6 miles (44.4 km)
  • Rest (Zero) Days:  0

Sunset over Lake Superior.

6. Southeastern Serpentine Trail (SST) – 583 miles (938 km)

  • Start Date:  11/5/2011
  • Finish Date:  11/29/2011
  • Total Days:  24.5 days
  • Daily Average:  23.8 miles (38.3 km)
  • Rest (Zero) Days:  2

Click here for more information about the Southeastern Serpentine Trail.

Final Day of the Southeastern Serpentine Trail.

7. Florida Trail (FT) – 1326 miles (2133 km)

  • Start Date:  12/10/2011
  • Finish Date:  1/20/2012
  • Total Days:  42 days
  • Daily Average:  31.6 miles (50.8 km)
  • Rest (Zero) Days:  1

Click here for up-to-date information regarding the Florida Trail.

Meeting up with old friends in the swamps of Big Cypress.

8. Ouachita Trail (OT) – 223 miles (359 km) *

  • Start Date:  1/28/2012
  • Finish Date:  2/4/2012
  • Total Days:  8 days
  • Daily Average:  27.9 miles (44.9 km)
  • Rest (Zero) Days:  0

*Click here for up-to-date information about the Ouachita Trail.

A misty Ouachita Trail in the winter.

9. Southwestern Horseshoe (SWH) – 1782 miles (2867 km)

  • Start Date:  2/24/2012
  • Finish Date:  4/29/2012
  • Total Days:  66 days
  • Daily Average:  27 miles (43.4 km)
  • Rest (Zero) Days:  2

Click here for more information about the Southwestern Horseshoe.

Rock Surfing in Bryce Canyon, UT | The 1782 mile Southwestern Horseshoe combined the Hayduke, Arizona and Grand Enchantment Trails. A week after finishing in Albuquerque, NM, I was at Campo, CA, ready to begin the final three hikes of the trip.

10. Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) – 2668 miles (4293 km)

  • Start Date:  5/6/2012
  • Finish Date:  7/30/2012
  • Total Days:  85 days
  • Daily Average:  31.4 miles
  • Rest (Zero) Days:  9 (5 days in Ridgecrest, CA with Poodle Dog Bush rash; 4 in OR & WA with knee issues)

Sunset over Mount Jefferson, OR | Due to an unusually cool spring, the snow in OR and WA didn’t melt out until very late in 2012. As a result approximately 750 of the final 1000 miles of the PCT was hiked in snowbound terrain. A challenging, but very beautiful part of the journey.

11. Continental Divide Trail (CDT) – 2632 miles (4236 km)

  • Start Date:  8/3/2012
  • Finish Date:  10/15/2012
  • Total Days:  73.5 days
  • Daily Average:  35.8 miles  (57.6 km)
  • Rest (Zero) Days:  1

Three Grizzly bears on the Highline Trail | A memorable encounter on Day 1 of the CDT | Glacier National Park, MT.

12. Appalachian Trail (AT) – 2181 miles (3510 km)

  • Start Date: 10/17/2012
  • Finish Date: 12/28/2012
  • Total Days:  72.5 days
  • Daily Average:  30.1 miles (48.4 km)
  • Rest (Zero) Days:  3 (all of which were taken in NH during Hurricane Sandy)

A chilly summit of Mount Moosilauke in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

12 Long Walks – Miscellanea

  • Total Distance:  14,342 miles (23,012 km)
  • Total Days:  545  (July 2, 2011 to December 28, 2012)
  • Daily Average:  26.3 miles (42.3 km)
  • Total Hiking Days:  460
  • Rest or Travel Days Between Hikes:  65 (approximately 25 travel-related, 18 injury-related, 7 weather-related, 3 robbery-related and 12 weariness-related)
  • Rest Days During Hikes:  20
  • Daily Average, not including Rest Days:  31.1 miles (50 km)
  • Total Distance Walked Solo:  13,380 miles (21,533 km)
  • Total Distance Walked with Others:  962 miles (1548 km) – 693 miles (1,115 km) of which were with ‘The Gambler’ on the Hayduke section of the SWH.
  • Total Distance in Calendar Year 2012:  10,244 miles (16,486 km)
  • Calendar Year Triple Crown (PCT, CDT & AT):  236 days
  • Daily Average Triple Crown:  31.5 miles (50.5 km)
  • Daily Average Triple Crown, not including Rest Days:  33.4 miles (53.7 km)
  • Total Weight of Dehydrated Beans Consumed:  123.7 lbs (56.1 kg)
  • Total Number of MealPack Bars Consumed:  Approximately 600
  • Total Number of Snickers Bars Consumed:  Approximately 620
  • Total Bear Sightings:  48 (including 22 grizzlies)
  • Total Moose Sightings:  17
  • Total Wolf Sightings:  1
  • Total Mountain Lion Sightings:  2
  • Total Coyote Sightings:  6
  • Total Pairs of Shoes:  28
  • Total Cartilage Left in my Knees:  Just enough to last me another 60 years worth of hiking.  😉

The End – Yours truly on the summit of Springer Mountain, GA. The southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, as well as the finish of the 12 Long Walks.