We began our thru-hike on May 1st, 2021 at Maine Junction the eastern terminus of the North Country Trail in Vermont. Our goal was to go as quickly and hike as strongly we could for the entirety of the NCT, which ended up turning out to be 4833.4 miles. We finished November 3rd, 2021 at the western terminus in North Dakota. which was averaging 25.84 miles a day consistently for 187 days consecutively, including all rest, resupply, nearo and zero days. Excluding all zero/nearo days our average would be 30+, yet since the entire "moving time" is considered the totality reflects that. The vast majority of our days were 30+ mile days hiking, we would say about 85-90% of our time was spent stepping off the miles as hard and quickly as we could while the remainder was using town to rest and stop along the thru hike. Everyday that we were fully hiking we were pushing ourselves consistently to go further and harder.
We began our tracker every morning before we left camp, and ended our tracker every night when we set up camp.
Regarding resupply with food, multiple times we carried food for 200+ mile sections to be able to walk directly into trail towns to resupply. Regarding water we used filters and natural sources for the majority of the time, and would fill up our waters in town when our miles linked up. We resupplied and used town as anyone on a thru-hike does.
We connected every single step, which can be seen on our tracker as well as our YouTube channel. Even if we had to walk into town a few miles, we would always make sure we walked out to the exact same spot and then began our "trail miles" from the exact same location that we had entered.
We filmed daily vlogs of the hike. If you go to HikingAmerica on YouTube, you will see we documented every day of our thru-hike.
We held ourselves to a rigid and almost militant schedule to push our limits mentally and physically as much as we could along this journey.
Simply stated; we hiked a lot.... a lot.... a whole lot!
Please let us know if you need any other information from us. Thank you.
-Ryan Bunting and Dana Burkett
(Constantine and Magpie)
Editor's note: The Mackinac Bridge, which is part of the NCT route, is open to foot traffic only on Labor Day each year. Ryan and Dana sought and accepted a ride across the bridge from a local supporter of the trail when they reached it in August. They then sought and accepted shuttle rides from local trail supporters back to the bridge to walk it on Labor Day, and back to their current location on the trail. Because this type of assistance is equally available to other hikers, it fits within the guidelines for a self-supported FKT.