Recently I was asked at what pace I hike in comparison to the Durango Seniors Outdoors pace descriptions. That’s a good question and one that it appears can be difficult to answer satisfactorily if you’ve never hiked with the person. My moderate pace could be quite speedy for some or slow for others. I know I go more slowly than some hikers uphill but faster down. I also know I can clip along off-trail faster than many. So to really answer this properly I think you need a yardstick for comparison. I propose that yardstick is a single timed hike that everyone knows and probably does at least once a year (if they can deal with the crowds). That hike would the loop from the Coal Bank Pass trailhead to the social rock on Engineer Mountain and return.
That’s a super common hike with enough elevation (1145′) and distance (4.67 miles) to assess speed relative to many on-trail San Juan hikes.
Having now suggested this, I decided to time my hike this morning by walking at my normal pace for this loop. My results for this loop are almost exactly 2 hours total. That pace is 2.33 mph which is my moderate speed. I didn’t attempt to make it speedier or slower, but just walked at the pace that I normally clip along at.
So what Seniors Outdoors pace is that and how close do the SO paces match up with your expectations? To get a real answer you need substantive comparison to other hikers against the proposed metric and then build speed categories within some timed percentage of common hike times.
For instance if many hikers fell within plus/minus 5 to 10 percent of this, that might be a category. Building an accurate category list would be dependent on having sufficient data points (individual timed hikes). To that end I’d suggest the next time you do this hike…time it and send me the results either by email (wimberosa at gmail) or posting a comment on this blog. I’ll add it to the following table and see if we can come up with good speed categories.