Wandering Daisy wrote:I have a spreadsheet that calculates estimated travel time given miles, elevation gain, and my own personal travel rate, based on previous experience with trail, off-trail, etc. )
LOL - we should exchange spreadsheets. Mine also have elevations, gain/loss, etc, broken down & subtotaled by day and detailed individual sections. Like you said, if you're really honest with yourself & conservatively pad it on the down side, you can be fairly confident of what you can accomplish and where you should be at the end of the day.
It's funny when you see/say something like walking out 20 miles on the last day, but it really is true for certain trails. A great case in point is heading north over Donahue with a planned stop by the bridge. If you've already done 10-11 miles, and for some reason blew over the pass and find yourself sitting there @ 2-3pm, the idea of humping it quickly to TM becomes pretty alluring. Easy slight downgrade, maybe get up to 3mph, and you could find yourself back in civilization in under 4 hours.
Shepherd also falls in this category, as does Cottonwood (pass) from Rock Crk: 10-12 miles of down/flat/semi-grade trail with visions of car, food & shower @ the LP hostel beckoning you forward. Even if you roll in around 8-9pm, it's all gravy when you turn the engine over.