An aspect of the East Coast Trail that makes it particularly suited to a first time thru hike is the amount of development that can be drawn upon. There is no other trail of it’s length in the region that can boast it’s level of infrastructure, ease of route finding and availability of raw data.
When combined with some of the more unique characteristics of the ECT – specifically the frequency with which the hiker passes through small towns while en route – it’s pretty much unmatched in terms of suitability for a first-time distance hiker. Add equal parts of fitness + lightweight kit (with knowledge and experience for proper use) + a good attitude … and you’ve got an adventure perfectly suited to a distance-hiking novice.
One of the more useful types of data to have on a trip such as this is water source availability. If you’re the type of hiker that wants to minimize pack weight, the Water Report tab in the ECT Thru Hike Spreadsheet will be perhaps the most weight-friendly item you’ll carry. Those equipped with a good method of water treatment can conceivably carry as little as 1 litre (or 1 kg / 2lbs 3oz) of water at any given time. Those hydrating at water sources and sleeping near a stream can carry even less if they so choose.
You could of course access this data on your smartphone, if so equipped. While I’m all for using technology to it’s fullest potential, I’ll also readily acknowledge when “going old-school” is better. Having the Water Report at your disposal in printed form can really save screen-on time (and therefore battery) on your phone.
A ready-to-print PDF copy of the Water Report has been linked from the top of the tab. This copy will fit on one double sided page, but for those who’d like to do their own print formatting, the suggested settings are below. Note that you need to print using the Menu from within Google Sheets, not the one for your browser (view image).
Print: Current sheet (with the Water Report tab selected)
Paper Size: Letter (8.5 x 11)
Page Orientation: Landscape
Scale: Fit to Width
Formatting: (select only the following, all optional)
* Document title
* Sheet name
* Current date
* Current time
Row & column headers: (select only the following, optional)
* Repeat frozen rows
Those settings, when combined with the Print: Selected Cells (Column A-Q) & Scale: ~48% can also be used to print the Camping tab on one double sided page. That’s a tonne of data on two pieces of paper.