View Full Version : Traditional Thru-Hike
I here this term "traditional thru-hike" often, what does it mean?
First you gotta DEFINE "through-hike." To me that means GA-ME or ME-GA with no days off cuz if you take a day or two or three off in town you've broken the continuity of a "through" hike. A thru-hike is just a bunch of section hikes thrown together.
How about this:
If you ATTEMPT to hike the entire trail in one trip, and plan to do it on the trail without yellow blazing. That would make you a through hiker. I consider HH a thru-hiker although she has had to drop out a few times.
If you do it then you are a successful thru-hiker. I could care less if a person takes zero days or takes a loop trail to a shelter. Honestly I could care less how someone else hikes, it is their own hike. I think that is what I'll use as my definition anyway.
The only person I've heard use the phrase "traditional thru-hike" is Wingfoot, and he's usually using the phrase while criticizing or chastising others for hiking in ways he disapproves of. If folks were more concerned with their OWN journeys rather than finding ways to criticize the journeys of others, or to tell others what they ought to be doing on their hikes, we'd all be a lot better off. Of the thousands of folks who've done the Trail, no 2 have done it the same way. And this is how it should be.
Most of know who Ray Jardine is. He is an absolute nut if you followed his web site long enough you would understand what I mean. But despite his spewing of utter nonsense sometimes, and his tendency to belittle people that didn't agree about gear, one thing he had a policy never to do (as I remember it) was to never make negative comments about other peoples' adventures and trips.
Somewhere I read that the defination of a thru-hiker is an individual who hikes the entire AT in less than 12 months.
No distinction as to direction, flip flop, leap frog, etc.
When you complete the entire trail in more than 12 months, you become a "2000 miler."
Given your intimate knowledge of the thru hiking scene as it has existed over the past decade, I am wondering if you would agree with Wingfoot's premise that many people don't really "hike thier own hike", because they are influenced by some kind of pack mentality and (I'll dare say it) some peer presure from thier class of thru hikers.
I don't know the answer to that, and am asking out of a genuine curiosity. I think the question is also key to understanding WF, but that is beside the point. In my own experience (way out of date) my hike was most certainly very much impacted by values shaped by other thru hikers. And that was in an environment with all but one going the other way, or who I just knew thru registers.
At the time, the mentality I saw along the trail definitely respected hikers who hiked faster. People who spent time in hotels would have been looked at rather suspect and not much respected for doing so. Yellow Blazers were definitely held in disdain, and super-frequent resupply would have been seen a sign of weakness, rather than inteligent planning. And if that wasn't "really" how it was, that was my perception and it rubbed off on me.
In other words, my hike was shaped by whole lot of crap and flawed values. At the time, of course, I would have denied the influence of the Nobo's. Everyone likes to think of himself as an independent thinker, and perhaps thru hikers more than most. But I was influenced, right down to howw I crossed a road.
Jack, does that still happen, albeit in a different way? And if it does, are there any pit falls worthy of a hiker's consideration before a hike or is just the way things are, and will always be.
(While your answer may be relavant to a discussion of WF's promotion of a "traditional hike", I promise this board I won't go into debate mode. I can get carried sometimes, but not here :-))
Rick I can answer what I saw in my 203 miles of trail last year.
Yes most definatly others were influenced by what others were doing.
I saw most folks trying to catch up with so and so, or who has the weed, or wheres the pretty lady etc...
About 250 hikers passed me from my start on Febuary 10th till Easter Sunday at Gatlinburg. It seemed people like to group with whom they start with for a whole bunch of reasons.
I wouldn't go along with this.
1) because I don't like hiking high miles.
2) because I liked being in the woods as much as being in strange towns and miles didn't matter.
3) I had a woman at home (things changed)and had no need to chase one.
4) I don't smoke weed anymore nor need the parinoia anymore
5 and the main reason) because most of those hiking someone elses hike are under 30 years old.
so i guess to wrap this up IMO, the younger crowd will be influenced by the same younger age group than those older. However now that I am single I might follow some young ass next year.
As far as the word traditional means : it means to respect and follow the old ways.
However most of us are not going to carry caned goods and hike with a ruck sack without a stove. Also with no dis-respect we don't know that Earl would have not hiked with-out a cell phone had he had the chance on his first hike (yes we know he could of on the second).
So in conclusion to this, the minute you put some new scientific fabric on or even throw a internal frame pack on ...... you have ruined a traditional hike.
Tradional thru hike?
I guess i am in the "young-dumb-and fill in the blank" crowd. but for me the hike is going to be a personal expericance. Who cares what other people say or do. I am a happy go lucky kid. I plan on taking zero days...i have a history of stress fractures from my track days. so i need to rest here and there. In my mind that makes me no different than someone who hikes 120 days straight. When i make it from GA to ME that is a thru hike...days off...side tracks in PA to visit my family i am still heading north.