We have been using Quicken, a money-tracking program, for several years so saving receipts for money spent is a habit. We mailed receipts out with our guide and maps for the area that we completed hiking. Then, back home, we sorted maps, guides and receipts and entered numbers in Quicken. The numbers are pretty accurate but we had $2000 cash spent that was not accounted for which we assume went for fast food, snacks, cokes, dining and possibly a motel charge.
The figures do not include most gear because it had been purchased for earlier hikes on other trails.
The grand total spent for two people on an eight-month hike was $17,162. This ADT hike was far more expensive than earlier long-distance hikes because of its length and because of urban areas where we had to pay more frequent and higher motel charges rather than camp. The weather also contributed to more motel stays: why tent it in a thunderstorm or snow when a motel is right down the road.
The breakdown of the $17,162 is as follows:
|Clothing and Replacement Gear||3,386|
Groceries and dining
Groceries total included both food purchased at home to mail and additional food purchased on the trail. Dining included restaurant meals, McDonalds or mini-mart meals.
Clothing, replacement gear
We did not ask for gear donations from gear companies.
Most of our gear had been used on prior long hikes. New gear included heavier fleeces to accommodate an earlier season start and fashionable sunglasses and bandana, maps, digital camera and flash memory, some (but not all) batteries. Gear replaced along the hike included shoes, a new rain jacket to replace my Frogg Toggs jacket that crumbled away (after 7000 trail miles) to plastic dandruff, new water filter to replace our filter left on Mt Jefferson, a hat at Canaan Valley to replace the hat lost on Dolly Sods and Ken’s shirts that disintegrated due to sun. We each bought a new pair of zip-off pants/shorts simply we were disgusted by our first grubby, stained too-big pair.
Gossamer Gear who supplied our packs for our ADT hike and the earlier Continental Divide and Appalachian Trail hikes gave us complimentary replacement backpacks and z-rests. Tilley hats replaces worn out hats for all customers. ADT sent new Patagonia capilene shirts with the ADT logo to us in Hanksville, UT. Thank you!
Hats, packs and shirts all fade and fray rapidly from sun damage when hiking in the open farmlands, western deserts and mountains
Shipping costs were for boxes from home to trail, trail box bounced along the trail and boxes from trail to home or helpers. We had mail drops along the entire trail. Every mail drop contained fuel, maps and guide and favorite foods. Mail drops from Denver west contained all our food so postage was much higher in the west for heavier boxes. We bounced a box along our route using Priority Mail. Postage for mailing our photo flash memory to Linda is included in this figure. We also mailed used maps and guides and unwanted items from the trail to Harv Hisgen.
We replaced our water-destroyed PocketMail and bought card readers to download photos.
Travel expenses included air tickets from Oakland to Baltimore, Anderson Ferry from KY to OH, ferry tickets across the San Francisco Bay, Metro Link into St Louis, taxis and an occasionally gas to get us back to the trail from town (we offered gas money and were very rarely taken up on the offer). We did not have travel expenses from Pt Reyes home.
The expense for motels varied from a low of $30 along the C&O Canal and in Kansas to a high of $182 at the Hilton in Washington, DC. Redstone Lodge in CO, a B&B in Rocheport, MO and Holiday Inn in Mill Valley, CA were also about $175 each night.
Cost per mile
The rule-of-thumb for hiking costs on long distance trails is figured by cost per mile. Our cost turned out to be close to $1.75 per person per mile. When we started hiking in 2000 the figure commonly used was $1.00 per mile but that was an old figure even then.
Hikers will be able to hike the ADT for less money than $1.75 per mile by staying in town less frequently when possible. Weathercarrot hikes for significantly less per mile. Check Trail Forum archives to see what strategies he uses.
Our at-home expenses such as our insurance, housing and utilities continued while we hiked and are not included in our hiking expenses. All of our accounts are on auto-pay. We checked on the status of accounts at libraries or motels with internet access.
We did not solicit donations because, to us in our position, asking for donations for our hike seemed like asking for vacation allowance! But on the ADT we were guests in houses and at restaurants more frequently than we would ever have imagined. We will always remember the sharing and warmth from our fellow Americans with gratitude, appreciation and amazement at the American generosity.