When you've been hiking in the rain for five days straight and everything you own falls somewhere on the continuum between damp and wet, and it's so cold you can't get the Nutella out of the jar, and your feet are wrinkled and pruny and ache all day, and you come out of the woods and Ron Haven's hiker shuttle bus is waiting to take you into town for a warm dry motel room, a hot shower, and a steak and a beer at the local watering hole, it's awfully hard to say "No thanks, I'll keep walking and sleep in my smelly damp sleeping bag again tonight, after eating another pot of Lipton sides with a slice of Spam. Y'all enjoy your time in town."
But that doesn't mean it CAN'T be done.
"Off-Grid" sounds like an absolute term, but I suspect most are less absolute and more like, "kinda-off-grid." And then it just becomes a matter of degree. If one picks up mail drops at the post office, they are certainly not "off-grid" in the absolute sense. Nor would be hitching into town, showering in a hostel, using an iPhone, eating at Pizza Hut ...
I suspect I'll be more off-grid than normal for the length of the hike. Call it "reduced grid." Cause, I'll be taking overnights in town every 4 days or so to recharge batteries, take a shower, eat a big meal or three, do laundry, dry out gear, go shopping ...
I plan to go for more days between resupplies to minimize time off trail. I'm thinking of hiking thru Shenandoah and GSMNP, as well as the 100 Mile Widerness. I like to hike a good chunk of the day to get to a road crossing in time to get into town in the afternoon. Then shower, eat, do laundry, shop for food, get some sleep, eat a big breakfast, and get back on the trail as early as possible the next morning to make more miles. I like taking zeros in the woods.
The Laughing Dog Blog
"The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness." - John Muir
The REAL cost of any hike, section or thru is a lot more then you think it will be...
"Your eyes will be opened to a world full of beauty, charm, and adventure"
No there is nothing wrong with said comforts.I dont remember such comforts as a kid camping with dad in northern cali.I hope to leave the comforts that I also have become to used to behind for awile.jump in lake once in a while.have been 7countries and the level of needs are quite different.thank y'all for the convo.does help.peace love dove.
You are going to NEED to take showers, you are going to NEED to do your laundry, you are going to NEED to have your tent and other things dry out because they won't dry out in the shelters. Now when you are so sick of trail food that you're ready to kill a black bear and trade him for a cheeseburger - I just hope you remember this and hold up your sign. I'll buy you dinner.
Wow kinda harsh bro! Was entertaining idea of taking this months worth of supply and go.not to town.to be alone.its sounding like there wont be peaceful alone with people all around at every turn.not cool dude.
Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either, just leave me alone.
Ran out of food??? CANABALISM!!!! Yea it's free!!! (it's a joke and spoof on where this thread has gone)
REAL cost of hiking the AT?
Everyone looks at it WRONG.
What is most commonly meant is "HOW MUCH MONEY DO I HAVE TO HAVE SAVED TO SPEND WHILE HIKING THE AT"
That is much different from the real cost.
It doesnt cost anything significant to actually hike. You have to eat every day anyway, whether hiking or not, so food costs really dont even count.
What other expenses do you have that still have to be covered? Lost income is a very significant real cost if you have expenses of maintaining a household, etc. Not working while still paying out bills is cost prohibitive for most, easily putting the cost into the $20,000-$50,000, which is why those persons dont thru hike.
But , another thing to consider is retirement savings. When you first get out of school, the money you save for retirement is the most important you will ever save because it has the longest to compound with interest. You need to start saving aggressively the day you get out of school and begin working.
So, instead of working and saving , you go play and hike the AT. Instead of saving $8000 toward retirement your first year out of school, you save $2000. Assuming a real return only 3% above inflation, what is the difference after 40 yrs? your AT hike cost you $19,500 in retirement savings
I understand the doubts.about the previous entries.I take the cost.of drops.the food being shippded. The phone service.the gear.yes the trip will cost money.I oversimplified the whole thing.the need to be "alone"also isn't totally true.love meeting new people.just tired of meeting them in current forms.am looking forward to taking a walk every day.set up tent rest.up and off for another day.for the summer. But not like homeless in street.hope to see one of natures last stands.I will start a journal.as far as showers go I remember the south having hot humid summers,and the said rain will.work at.times.its not "endless summer"any more but can be as close as I make it.thank y'all for the.info and food for.thought.I promise there's not a kookooburry loose on the trail.lol?ps.apologies for harsh words you know who.I would feel as if I owed dinner.before I knew you were a woman.that had no bearing on convo..thank you for your kind words.put me.back on trail so to speak.welcome any convos about starting in late may early june?any convos at all will.be more.rewarding. shakabra
But if you are retired, you might spend less when hiking than at home (no utility bills, no auto insurance, rent your house, etc). So some might make a profit.
-There was a retired Major (O-4) in the Army down at Ft. Bragg who was homeless I think he just backpacked everywhere you saw him....had to have banked mucho dinero
I guess I'll be the one to contend the experience of thru-hiking the AT will allow a person to determine what is the minimal amount of money necessary to be happy. That, alone will be worth WAY more money and savings than $19,500 over the course of a lifetime.
Example: Shortly after finishing my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, I paid off the remaining loan amount on my car (the Datmobile). Since that time I haven't had a car payment and I still drive the 15 year old Datmobile today.
Contrast that with what I might have done for the economic class I'm in -- I might have bought or leased a Beemer at say $40,000 at the time when I thru-hiked the AT. Imagine the cost of buying or leasing a new BMW every five years since the time of my AT thru-hike.
Same thing for televisions, stereos, fancy cell phones.
They don't make me happy so I don't spend any money on them (although I finally got a fancy television just recently).
All that "keeping up with the Jones" cost is either gone or significantly diminished after completing a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.
I concur.who has It worse the wall street tycoon,the village that they just now found?
Another example of the value of thru-hiking the AT: Personal experience and acceptance of diversity. Most with a daily life back in civilization won't ever intentionally divert away from their comfort zone in dealing with people of different types than themselves. There is a distinct value in learning to appreciate different ways of thinking, different backgrounds, different means of accomplishing the same thing, different outlooks.
On the AT most will be outside their comfort zone -- dealing face to face with people of different age groups on a daily basis (some of wildly different ages may actually become close friends on the AT). A thru-hiker from say a very confined and rigid background may have daily and direct contact with those who have a let-be-what-will-be attitude. Each might learn from the strengths of the other. Men who have always thought of women as the weaker/fairer sex, ha, may be in for one rude awakening to their ego when thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.
I guess the point to be made is the value of completing an AT thru-hike is not measured in dollars.
I've just touched on the surface of the value from thru-hiking the Appalachian -- maybe some other past thru-hikers will chime in.
Oh...one more thing (that's my Columbo impersonation by the way) -- it would not be uncommon for someone who has thru-hiked the AT to get it in their head that they're going to hike another long-distance trail. Either to recapture the astounding sense and feeling they had from being on the AT or possibly to find out if the AT thru-hike experience was just a fluke and people of this world are only that way -- friendly, compassionate, giving, kind -- when they're on or near the AT. I suppose those who are accountants looking at this picture better be figuring on the cost of doing a 2nd or a 3rd long-distance hike in a thru-hikers life and well, you know how that kind of expense can really add up over time.
If one had unlimited resources one could just hike till didn't want to?