Eastern Continental Trail 2021: Key West to Canada By The Numbers

  • Updated: January 26, 2022
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

In 2021 I hiked the Eastern Continental Trail all the way from Key West Florida to the northern tip of Nova Scotia. I covered roughly 5,000 miles over the course of 302 days making this the biggest hike I'd ever attempted. And it was done just 3 months after finishing the Pacific Crest Trail.

While I wasn't meticulous about tracking every aspect of my hike I did keep a daily mileage spreadsheet (linked above) and thanks to credit card statements I was able to compile general cost numbers.

Overall Stats

First off we have the raw stats breaking down each section of my hike. I generally only tracked mileage on the trail itself so the occasional days where I had to walk 7 miles back to the trail because I couldn't get a ride from the hotel in a remote area of Florida aren't recorded. So while my actual mileage total is well over 5,000 miles I've generally referred to it as a 5,000 mile hike.

When I had access to a Guthooks Guide for the section I recorded the start / stop mileage marker each day. For the non Guthook sections like the Alabama Roadwalk I used Google Maps. I tried my best to be as accurate as I could be taking into account things like the COVID closure in the Seminole Reservation in Florida and the various roadwalk reroutes around Lake Okeechobee. 

I tended to take zeros in between sections since it was a natural break. For the purposes of stats I included those with the section I was just finishing vs the one I was just starting.

Also for the purposes of stats I called any day I did less than 4 miles a zero. This seemed to make the most sense looking at the data since any days shorter than that with mileage were generally just a relaxed meander into town to get a place to stay.

For comparison sake here is how the hike compared to my PCT thru hike the year before. I broke out the AT stats but keep in mind that for me it was just a middle section after I'd already done 1,900 miles. 

Daily / Weekly Mileage

Looking at my daily mileage I'm once again struck by just how cyclical I tend to be. Despite trying to focus on more sustainable mileage vs big days followed by having to recover I still seemed to be doing that fairly consistently.

All the road walking through the Keys and early sections of the FT did a number on my feet and I didn't really settle into a routine until north of Lake Okeechobee around day 27. Also the time pressure came off in New Brunswick around day 268 causing me to stretch things out more than I would have otherwise.

As with my PCT hike I find it makes more sense to look at things on a weekly basis since the odd zero or weather issue tends to even out a bit more. 

For reference here are what weeks I was on what section:

Weeks 1-2   Keys Everglades Roadwalk
Weeks 3-12  Florida Trail
Weeks 12-13 Alabama Roadwalk
Weeks 14-17 Pinhoti
Week  17    Benton MacKaye Section
Weeks 18-36 Appalachian Trail
Weeks 37-38 Maine
Weeks 38-39 New Brunswick
Week  40    PEI
Weeks 40-41 Nova Scotia
Week  42    Cape Breton
Week  43    Sydney to Meat Cove


Then of course there is the big question everyone always asks: how much did your hike cost.

Please keep in mind these are very very rough numbers. My actual cost was higher by thousands of dollars due to a combination of sometimes using cash (which I didn't track) and also the donations people made along the way which ran the gamut from cash to food to lodging to gear.

Also keep in mind I'd already bought most of my gear for my PCT hike. I ended up swapping out a few things like my insulating jacket and sleeping bag before I left but most of the gear costs were things just wearing out.

My girlfriend Jen joined me for the section between Shenandoah and the Presidentials which meant we had twice the food costs and roughly the same hotel costs.

As a result of all of this I'm hesitant to draw too many conclusions. While it looks like I had a fairly consistent cost between the PCT and the ECT I didn't get much in the way of outside support on the PCT.

You Might Also Like