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squeezebox
12-21-2013, 01:20
So what happened to you to make you leave the trail and not finish your thru hike. I'ld like to know so I can fend off the same problem and I have a better chance of success.

tarditi
12-21-2013, 10:32
You may find a lot of reasons, but mostly due to personal injury/illness or logistics (cost, trouble with supplies, etc.), with a fair amount of life circumstances arising (death/illness in the family, etc.).

Everyone has their own hike - everyone has their own reasons for starting, everyone has their own reasons for stopping.

johnnybgood
12-21-2013, 11:09
I'll preface this by saying that I am only a section hiker
First thing that many attempting a thru do wrong is starting too fast before getting physically comfortable hiking with a loaded pack. This causes injuries , praticularlly knee issues from expecting more from your body too early on. Start slow with low mileage days and low expectations ,setting your own pace.
The other aspect of hiking long distances for months on end is to take one day at a time and not quit after having a lousy day on the trail.There will be plently of bad days but that is in anything you ever attempt in life .
Conquer the mental demons and find fun in every day that comes along , even when you feel tired of hiking.

Additionally, listen to what your body tells you. If it no longer fun and you want to go home, then by all means do it.

Grampie
12-21-2013, 11:13
Most folks who leave their thru-hike because they soon discover "it's not what they thought it would be." A thru-hike is a hard job. You have to show up every day for a hard dirty job with no pay. The food is bad and the bed is hard. Rain or shine, cold or hot you still have to do the job day after day, week after week.
Those who stick with the job soon discover the freedom you have and the spirit of independance you aquire. Not to mention the people you meet and all the wonderfull experiences along the way.

Lucy Lulu
12-21-2013, 12:12
I attempted a SOBO thru-hike this year, and had to leave the trail in NJ. I've had the good fortune of doing other hikes over the years, and this was the first one I had to end prematurely. I was asked to come home because my family was not able to keep up with responsibilities at home due to a recent promotion at work that required a lot of traveling for them. Although it was tough to leave the trail, I was fine with the decision. I have had unconditional support on all of my other adventures over the years, and the support needed to be reciprocated.

I've seen other hikes ended over the years due to some of the following reasons...many already mentioned above.

Loneliness - Depending on trail, direction, and time of year, lack of people is a real game changer for many.

Home Sickness - Many find being away from their family is tough. My family has always been actively involved in my hikes as the base of support, which has made the absence easier.

Injuries - My last hike consisted of a foot infection, bed bug bites (yuck), and a bad wrist sprain. All were frustrating, but manageable. I've found many aches and pains have decreased with my pack weight over the years.

Safety - I knew of two individuals that stopped this year because they did not feel safe, but I think they started their journeys fairly uncomfortable with the situation. I've always felt safe, but am pretty careful about trying not to put myself in unsafe situations.

Finances - I think some people think they will be living out of towns most of the time, so expense will be minimal. If not accustomed to weather, pain, bugs, etc., the towns become very attractive. Heck, even if accustomed to these things, town comforts are pretty attractive. I myself have a hard time staying away from food. There are also the bonds that develop, that result in hikers wanting to stay with their friends and head for towns when they go to town. This can become expensive.

Expectations - The AT is a tough trail. The pictures we see are the "best views," "best friends," "best moments," etc. There are many of those, but there are just as many or more tough times...spending multiple days in the rain with damp gear, mosquitoes followed by black flies, mud, cold, heat, climbs of over a thousand feet, climbs that are hand over hand and a little scary depending on conditions, etc.

Mental - There are numerous times when many just want to stop, and a gazillion ways to justify the decision, with numerous places to end the journey and walk off the trail. I have heard many say "I am not having fun." Personally, many of my most rewarding accomplishments have required effort, work, and in some cases a little pain, so I never expected my hikes to be any different. The rewards along the trails, and the sense of accomplishment are what got me "hooked," and keep me coming back in between "life." I never expected the hikes to be easy.

I've already said too much, so I will hush now, but have a great hike and enjoy the time.

MuddyWaters
12-21-2013, 12:52
1. Not as much fun as they thought it would be
2. Injuries
3. Money
4. Family circumstances

Unitic
12-21-2013, 14:06
I had to come home last week with about 3 weeks and 300 miles to go on my AT SOBO. The fostering arrangements for my dog ended on short notice and I did not want to kennel him for three weeks (elderly fella who could not join me on the trail). At the same time I had been struggling with a persistent giardia infection for more than a month. I thought I was making progress after two weeks of antibiotics, but about three days after I got home I got much worse and developed a complication called reactive arthritis that made it hard to even climb stairs. I file this under the "all things in their own time" category, since I could have been in the middle of the Smokey Mtns. when I got worse, and it was already a challenge to hike with my lingering physical issues from a year+ struggle with chronic Lyme disease.

4eyedbuzzard
12-21-2013, 14:24
"I'm pretty tired, I think I'll go home now" - Forrest Gump

I hiked from Springer to Damascus in 1976 with all the intentions of thru-hiking that year. It was a typical mix of cold, wet, tired, sore, etc. The trail was quite a bit different back then - and not nearly as crowded. But those weren't the reasons I stopped. I honestly just got bored with hiking every day and wasn't having fun. My "short attention span personality" is probably better suited to section hiking.

Drybones
12-21-2013, 14:25
I'll preface this by saying that I am only a section hiker
First thing that many attempting a thru do wrong is starting too fast before getting physically comfortable hiking with a loaded pack. This causes injuries , praticularlly knee issues from expecting more from your body too early on. Start slow with low mileage days and low expectations ,setting your own pace.
The other aspect of hiking long distances for months on end is to take one day at a time and not quit after having a lousy day on the trail.There will be plently of bad days but that is in anything you ever attempt in life .
Conquer the mental demons and find fun in every day that comes along , even when you feel tired of hiking.

Additionally, listen to what your body tells you. If it no longer fun and you want to go home, then by all means do it.

Agree...learned this leason the hard way, I have torn miniscus in both knees, started hiking too many miles and too fast the first week, the knees sent me home after 415 miles, believe I would have been okay if I'd done the downhills at a reasonable pace and kept the miles under 15/day for the first couple of weeks.

Malto
12-21-2013, 14:35
1. Not as much fun as they thought it would be
2. Injuries
3. Money
4. Family circumstances

would agree with these. I also think there is a huge difference between what people say the reason they leave and the real reason. I don't believe injuries are nearly as common as sited. They provide a convenient "excuse" for those that discover a thru hike isn't all peaches and cream all day everyday. I think this is also true of "family circumstances" as well. It is a face saving excuse. But the good news is that there is a way to avoid this. Get out and hike prior to a thru hike attempt and see if you like to hike day after day, in the rain, snow, heat and cold.

Sugarfoot
12-21-2013, 15:01
I celebrated 20 consecutive years of section hiking by attempting to thru-hike this year. I didn't make it three weeks. I've had arthritis in my knees for years but it had been relatively quiet. The cold wet weather of this Spring, compounded by the LONG descent down to NOC in Wesser did me in. I was pretty much crippled by the time I got down. I flew home the next day and it was over a month before I could walk without pain even on level ground. I'll be back out in 2014, sectioning, wearing two humungous carbon fiber knee braces. I need to name them. As always, the hardest part of leaving the trail is leaving your friends, in my case Team Mofo.

hikerboy57
12-21-2013, 15:06
this other thread goes hand in hand with your question. its largely a mental game.shroomers post is on point

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?98512-Psychological-musings-and-thoughts

MuddyWaters
12-21-2013, 15:46
this other thread goes hand in hand with your question. its largely a mental game.shroomers post is on point

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?98512-Psychological-musings-and-thoughts

It is completely a mental game......if there are no other real issues.

I too can believe many that "lose" the mental game would blame other reasons to save face.

Im not sure why. A fair excuse to quit is simply that someone isnt enjoying themselves any more. Case closed. But because a lot of folks arent enjoying themselves, but still feel driven to complete it may make them feel inferior if they just quit.

However, some do have real issues obviously.

Coffee
12-21-2013, 15:53
So here's a question. How long does one need to have been on a trail and still liking it before knowing that a 5-6 month thru hike is something they would enjoy and be mentally equipped to deal with? I did a 18 day hike this year (my longest to date) and after a day in a motel felt like I could keep going indefinitely. There are many reasons for a long thru hike to end but I'd like to make sure that leaving because I'm just sick of it doesn't end up being a factor. I'm planning a continuous month of hiking in 2014 and thinking that if I still want to hike at the end of that the PCT is on for 2015.

Don H
12-21-2013, 16:10
Well if you make it half way that would be a good indication that you might be able to go all the way.
At some point you have so much invested in it you don't want to quit even if it's no fun any more.
Some people (like me) are just to stubborn to quit.

mikec
12-21-2013, 16:19
I'm not sure if I agree with 'If you make it half way, you might be able to go all the way.' The trail is much tougher up north than it is down south. I've been section hiking now for about 18 years. All I have is about 330 miles in NH and ME. The problem for me is that the trail is tougher and I am 18 years older.

Nick P
12-21-2013, 16:22
I'll be back out in 2014, sectioning, wearing two humungous carbon fiber knee braces. I need to name them. As always, the hardest part of leaving the trail is leaving your friends, in my case Team Mofo.

Sugarfoot; might you recommend a brand of knee brace? I tore a ligament in my knee, and broke a hip, many years ago, and worry about them in my SOBO attempt them next year.
Thanks

peakbagger
12-21-2013, 16:34
Over the years of sectioning if was quite obvious that the general attitude of the crowd was different pre and post Trail Days . A much higher percentage of the party crowd pre Damascus, folsk post Damascus were still having a good time but they were a lot more determined. I expect Virginia in generally is major hurdle, it just goes on for weeks and after awhile the green tunnel get old to some. I also have run into many in the whites that have run out of money and time, they set the whites as an intermediate goal but they then zero a day or two in Gorham and then realize they have a month go with no easy out, while the Concord Trailways bus head out of town every morning.

yellowsirocco
12-21-2013, 21:03
So here's a question. How long does one need to have been on a trail and still liking it before knowing that a 5-6 month thru hike is something they would enjoy and be mentally equipped to deal with? I did a 18 day hike this year (my longest to date) and after a day in a motel felt like I could keep going indefinitely. There are many reasons for a long thru hike to end but I'd like to make sure that leaving because I'm just sick of it doesn't end up being a factor. I'm planning a continuous month of hiking in 2014 and thinking that if I still want to hike at the end of that the PCT is on for 2015.

I can do 6 weeks and then I get bored. I will never be able to do a thru-hike, but I love doing these long sections.

MuddyWaters
12-21-2013, 21:34
I think every hiker I have met within several weeks of the end of their thru hike, has admitted they were ready for it to be over.

Sad, but glad, reluctant, and excited, all at the same time.

Everyone gets tired of hiking I think at some pont.

That alone isnt a reason to quit.
Multiple factors probably add up for many until its just not worth it anymore in their mind.

You have infected blisters, your best trail buddy drops out, your GF broke up with you, the dog died, and its raining, and all of a sudden hiking really sucks.

Drybones
12-21-2013, 22:10
It's like fishing....all it takes is a good day every now and then to keep you going back...meet a hiker you really like, see a view you'll never forget, wake up the morning after the worst day you ever had with a euphoric high from just knowing you survived, have a cheeseburger and beer that tastes like nothing you've ever had before. You don't have to walk Springer to Maine...you just have to keep taking the next step.

minda
12-21-2013, 22:19
My hiking partner was experiencing complications from a heart condition. It was terrifying.

Malto
12-21-2013, 22:55
I think every hiker I have met within several weeks of the end of their thru hike, has admitted they were ready for it to be over.

Sad, but glad, reluctant, and excited, all at the same time.

Everyone gets tired of hiking I think at some pont.

That alone isnt a reason to quit.
Multiple factors probably add up for many until its just not worth it anymore in their mind.

You have infected blisters, your best trail buddy drops out, your GF broke up with you, the dog died, and its raining, and all of a sudden hiking really sucks.

Everyone goes through stuff like this. Some can overcome and some will quit. I remember talking with a guy who bail on the PCT the same year as I hiked it. I ran into him in Stehekin and he said the foot pain was too great to continue. I just remember shaking my head as I limped away and finished two days later.

I can remember two low points, both lasting a couple of hours. My feet were killing me, the snow was never ending and I had enough. But hours later, it was skipping down the trail, marveling at the sunset and enjoying the world. I think one thing that helped me was making it a point to not have one of the five toughest days of hiking occur on myth thru hike, I wanted that to occur in my prehike training. For the most part that is what happened. Those very tough training hikes gave me the mental toughness to overcome some unexpectedly tough conditions. I firmly believe that you can training for mental toughness. You can see the lack of it when you read through many of the early journals from 2013 on the AT. Folks were bailing at the first sign of adversity.

Marta
12-22-2013, 16:19
To turn it around...when I was considering getting off the Trail I would picture myself at home trying to explain to people why I had quit. None of the scenarios I could imagine allowed me to keep my pride. Maybe that's shallow, but it worked.

Also, hiking the whole AT was a life goal for me. Period. If I quit and went home I'd have to come back, so I figured I might as well finish it up while I'd gotten all my ducks in a row.

ChinMusic
12-22-2013, 16:30
To turn it around...when I was considering getting off the Trail I would picture myself at home trying to explain to people why I had quit. None of the scenarios I could imagine allowed me to keep my pride. Maybe that's shallow, but it worked.

Also, hiking the whole AT was a life goal for me. Period. If I quit and went home I'd have to come back, so I figured I might as well finish it up while I'd gotten all my ducks in a row.
This is pretty close to me.

Mrs Baggins
12-22-2013, 19:50
A pack that was far too heavy and didn't fit me and the excruciating pain of collapsing arches.

4shot
12-22-2013, 20:25
To turn it around...when I was considering getting off the Trail I would picture myself at home trying to explain to people why I had quit. None of the scenarios I could imagine allowed me to keep my pride. Maybe that's shallow, but it worked.

Also, hiking the whole AT was a life goal for me. Period. If I quit and went home I'd have to come back, so I figured I might as well finish it up while I'd gotten all my ducks in a row. Marta, this is truth. it's extremely hard for all but a very lucky few 9 and those few like to come on here and boast on how it's nothing but a vacation). You hear all the reasons that people get off the trail, but deep down inside you don't believe them. and some of us know that we might fool others but we won't be able to fool ourselves. finishing it brings about closure.

4eyedbuzzard
12-22-2013, 21:48
Marta, this is truth. it's extremely hard for all but a very lucky few 9 and those few like to come on here and boast on how it's nothing but a vacation). You hear all the reasons that people get off the trail, but deep down inside you don't believe them. and some of us know that we might fool others but we won't be able to fool ourselves. finishing it brings about closure.
I know a lot of people, including me, who definitely classify thru-hiking in the vacation category. At the same time, I would also acknowledge that it is a difficult accomplishment that one can be proud of. Same goes for climbing Everest or other high peaks, or sailing around the world, etc. And there is definitely a great feeling when you successfully complete any such undertaking, and a low feeling when you don't. I've experienced both the highs and lows of that. But just because they are passions and life goals, and just because they are difficult, doesn't take them out of the vacation or leisure category. People take time off from both their careers and other responsibilities to do such things. People use vacation time and leaves of absence to do it. No one has to do it, and no one gets paid to do it - quite the opposite - people choose to pay to do it. Except for those who are retired or independently wealthy, those same people would normally be at work or in school. So if it isn't a vacation, exactly what are such endeavors?

I'm just trying to keep it in a realistic perspective. For myself, not completing the trail sucked. But I certainly didn't find myself or others who chose not to finish as somehow unworthy or lesser than those who finished. It isn't a competition except perhaps within oneself. It's not the equivalent of earning a college degree, or raising a family, or having a successful business or career, or a myriad of other endeavors people do. Do people learn things about both themselves and the world while hiking? Sure. And for some it may lead to changes or directions in life they might not have otherwise taken. But in the end, it's a long hard walk done while on a 6 month vacation.

Marta
12-22-2013, 21:57
I don't think anyone disputes that it's a voluntary endeavor, aka a "vacation." That very fact is part of what makes it hard to stick to when things go badly. If you're in pain, or cold, hot, lonely…a little voice whispers in your ear "You don't have to do this," and from there it's easy to hop back home in hopes of getting away from whatever was bothering you.

But while you're avoiding whatever pain was plaguing you, you will also never know what joys you will miss. That was another thought that kept me on the Trail.

canoe
12-23-2013, 08:06
It's like fishing....all it takes is a good day every now and then to keep you going back...meet a hiker you really like, see a view you'll never forget, wake up the morning after the worst day you ever had with a euphoric high from just knowing you survived, have a cheeseburger and beer that tastes like nothing you've ever had before. You don't have to walk Springer to Maine...you just have to keep taking the next step.

Believe me... its nothing like fishing. Fishing you can sit your fat azz down all day long, catch nothing and go home that afternoon happy. LOL

4eyedbuzzard
12-23-2013, 10:28
I don't think anyone disputes that it's a voluntary endeavor, aka a "vacation." That very fact is part of what makes it hard to stick to when things go badly. If you're in pain, or cold, hot, lonely…a little voice whispers in your ear "You don't have to do this," and from there it's easy to hop back home in hopes of getting away from whatever was bothering you.

But while you're avoiding whatever pain was plaguing you, you will also never know what joys you will miss. That was another thought that kept me on the Trail.
To quote from the movie 'A League of Their Own', "The hard is what makes it great".

As I like to tell everyone regarding my attempt, the reality of a long hike is far different than the romantic vision.

I just worry when reading some posts here on WB, that sometimes people (those who have thru-hiked, those who didn't finish, and even those just planning for next year) get so consumed with it that they equate not finishing or leaving a thru-hike as some sort of major failure in life. They worry that they will "be a failure", about what they will tell family and friends, that they can't face people due to embarrassment, etc. IMO, they simply found out that hiking for THAT long just wasn't for them - but hey, they couldn't have found that out unless they tried.

Perhaps that is par for the course given that WB is a community of avid hikers. I think there are a lot of us here though, who have found that we enjoy section hiking, but stop enjoying it after more than a week or two or _____. It becomes the very thing we are trying to escape - and not recreation. I just hope people keep hiking and the AT in perspective - that hiking and the trail are meant to be recreation, that people should enjoy it and feel good about themselves, regardless of how far or how long they hike.

4shot
12-23-2013, 11:04
To quote from the movie 'A League of Their Own', "The hard is what makes it great".

As I like to tell everyone regarding my attempt, the reality of a long hike is far different than the romantic vision.



this speaks to why I dislike the term "vacation". is it voluntary? sure - but outside of death and taxes, what isn't. The word paints an unrealistic picture of a 2200 mile hike for most (not all) hikers. But who "quits" a vacation? No one. As you say,at the end of the day, it is really not that important how far one gets. However, to paint a false picture of it doesn't help, imo, those setting out to thru-hike. I cringe when I see hikers use the word in reference to a thru hike and find it to be almost scornful of others. as has been said here 1,000's of times....it's just walking.

HikerMom58
12-23-2013, 11:09
To quote from the movie 'A League of Their Own', "The hard is what makes it great".

As I like to tell everyone regarding my attempt, the reality of a long hike is far different than the romantic vision.

I just worry when reading some posts here on WB, that sometimes people (those who have thru-hiked, those who didn't finish, and even those just planning for next year) get so consumed with it that they equate not finishing or leaving a thru-hike as some sort of major failure in life. They worry that they will "be a failure", about what they will tell family and friends, that they can't face people due to embarrassment, etc. IMO, they simply found out that hiking for THAT long just wasn't for them - but hey, they couldn't have found that out unless they tried.

Perhaps that is par for the course given that WB is a community of avid hikers. I think there are a lot of us here though, who have found that we enjoy section hiking, but stop enjoying it after more than a week or two or _____. It becomes the very thing we are trying to escape - and not recreation. I just hope people keep hiking and the AT in perspective - that hiking and the trail are meant to be recreation, that people should enjoy it and feel good about themselves, regardless of how far or how long they hike.

I agree with you!! :)

The word "vacation" is used very loosely here by some people. It really gets on my last nerve when some come on here & boast about how it's not hard, EVER..... I hear ya 4shot.

I've never attempted to do it but I can just imagine the highs and lows of such an endeavor.

I admire the ones that dig deep, during the low times, to pull it out & finish the trail. Woo hoo!!

It's great for those hikers to come back and share how they pushed through.

ChinMusic
12-23-2013, 11:27
vacation

noun:
1. an extended period of recreation, esp. one spent away from home or in traveling.

Marta
12-23-2013, 11:32
We will have to agree to disagree.

For some of us completing an AT thru-hike is an obsession. Not completing it would be failing. I, for one, would have kept at it until I succeeded. I've met a number of repeat offenders who came back several times until they finally finished the job.

You obviously have a different take on this. Lots of people do. My husband, for one, cares not one iota about things like thru-hiking. But had I not finished my hike, consoling words about it not being important would not have helped me. I had to finish.

To me, long-distance hiking is something like playing a musical instrument. You don't pick up a violin for the first time and start playing Kreisler's Souvenirs. You have to make a lot of unpleasant, sometimes humorous mistakes before you are any good at all. Eventually you make it look easy. And it's beautiful.

4shot
12-23-2013, 12:25
vacation

noun:
1. an extended period of recreation, esp. one spent away from home or in traveling.

ok I'll play too; from a quick Google search - vacation "a period of suspension of work, study or other activity" or " a period of time devoted to pleasure, rest or relaxation". Did I have fun? Yes. would I like to do it again? maybe one day. Did I feel like I was on vacation? No and believe me, I've taken plenty of great vacation here in the US and elsewhere. Never felt like I had suspended the work or was devoting the 5-1/2 months to rest and relaxation.As Marta says, I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this.

HikerMom58
12-23-2013, 12:36
http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/what-does-the-word-vacation-mean-to-you.cfm

This is what I'm talking about.... ^

I know you considered your hike a vacation, time spent away from home, Chin. You had a long break from your "job". I know many others feel that same way too.

I know of other people hiking the trail, using their vacation time to do it, wouldn't say... I'm going on a "vacation". More like, I'm using my vacation time to hike a section of the AT etc... There's a difference. Obviously, they find some joy in it or they wouldn't do it. :D It's all what each one considers a true vacation.

ChinMusic
12-23-2013, 12:50
I know you considered your hike a vacation, time spent away from home, Chin. You had a long break from your "job". I know many others feel that same way too.

I know of other people hiking the trail, using their vacation time to do it, wouldn't say... I'm going on a "vacation". More like, I'm using my vacation time to hike a section of the AT etc... There's a difference. Obviously, they find some joy in it or they wouldn't do it. :D It's all what each one considers a true vacation.
To me my AT thru was in line with most of the vacations that I have done in my life.......just longer and much harder. I don't equate vacation with relaxation. I do equate it with recreation. I can relax at home and can do so with the best of em. When I am on vacation I want to do something I cannot do at home. To me the AT thru was an epic vacation and I treated it as such.

I DO take issue with the it's-just-walking crowd. Maybe "it's sometimes walking" but it is FAR from "just walking". Walking does not require pulling oneself up and over rocks all day long.

4eyedbuzzard
12-23-2013, 12:59
"To walk, to see, and to see what you see"
"A footpath for those who seek fellowship with the wilderness."
Some see nothing short of Katahdin's summit as being enough.
Others don't need quite that much.
It's all good.

hikerboy57
12-23-2013, 13:00
"To walk, to see, and to see what you see"
"A footpath for those who seek fellowship with the wilderness."
Some see nothing short of Katahdin's summit as being enough.
Others don't need quite that much.
It's all good.


its all good:)

ChinMusic
12-23-2013, 13:01
its all good:)

As long as we understand that "good" sometimes means "sucks".

Malto
12-23-2013, 14:09
Lets all agree that a thru hike is work.

"honey, I'm leaving for work, see you in four months!" :)

-Animal
12-24-2013, 08:42
Itís cool that we can see hiking in so many ways. What hiking or thru-hiking is can be different for all of us. I think this is the essence of HYOH. For me setting rules for my hike and then going all the way without breaking the rules was a test and a personal goal. Iíve been testing myself all my life with challenges. I learned a lot about myself on my thru-hike and if I would have quit or been forced to stop by injury I still would have learned and considered it a successful hike. The difficulty of the trail, the challenge of thru-hiking, can promote personal growth if you let it. The benefits and friendships of hiking can be experienced in a single day on the AT. I classify the AT as an epic adventure and quest. Hiking the AT has no resemblance to walking or a vacation in my book.

brancher
12-24-2013, 08:49
I've left the trail several times. Seems like I was always (except once) at the end of my section, and daggonnit, I had this whole 'Job' thing going on so I had to leave. Now that I am retired, I hope not to leave 'til the end of the BIG section (Maine).

I have never considered my time on the trail not to be worth it.

HikerMom58
12-24-2013, 09:40
To me my AT thru was in line with most of the vacations that I have done in my life.......just longer and much harder. I don't equate vacation with relaxation. I do equate it with recreation. I can relax at home and can do so with the best of em. When I am on vacation I want to do something I cannot do at home. To me the AT thru was an epic vacation and I treated it as such.

I DO take issue with the it's-just-walking crowd. Maybe "it's sometimes walking" but it is FAR from "just walking". Walking does not require pulling oneself up and over rocks all day long.

I'm not with the it's-just-walking crowd either OR it's all good... that's just not the truth at all. Embrace the suck is good! ;)

Hey Chin- we better stop agreeing so much! ;) I can go with- all things recreation being a vacation. :D

hikerboy57
12-24-2013, 09:53
I'm not with the it's-just-walking crowd either OR it's all good... that's just not the truth at all. Embrace the suck is good! ;)

Hey Chin- we better stop agreeing so much! ;) I can go with- all things recreation being a vacation. :D

when you can finally really embrace the suck, you'll come to the conclusion"its all good."
even the suck.

HikerMom58
12-24-2013, 10:09
when you can finally really embrace the suck, you'll come to the conclusion"its all good."
even the suck.

I can agree with you on that one, hikerboy. I've always liked ur- it's all good attitude. It works! luv ya! :sun

swjohnsey
12-24-2013, 10:27
I left the trail in '11 in Pennssylvania after spending several days in Hershey with annaplasmoisis (think Lyme). Made it in '12.

4shot
12-24-2013, 10:43
when you can finally really embrace the suck, you'll come to the conclusion"its all good."
even the suck.

this really hits home with me. I stayed at the church hostel in Waynesboro. Was lucky to be there for the hiker feed. afterwards, went to the evening service....only one other person went besides myself. The guy there spoke from Romans. Peter talked about how he rejoices in his sufferings and how it helps him (and us). after that, I quite looking at the maps and dwelling on the elevations. I just got up each day and walked. quit hoping that the trail would be easy. just took each day as it came. That really helped my attitude and approach for the rest of the hike (and I carry that philosophy off the trail as well). I think Peter tells us to embrace the suck (maybe a little more eloquently) but the message is the same. To the people in Waynesboro, thanks for running such a great hostel. to the guy who spoke that Wednesday in June 2010 ...thanks.

Coffee
12-24-2013, 11:04
A vacation doesn't have to be defined as "rest and relaxation" and can instead be viewed as an opportunity for personal challenges. I find challenging vacations more interesting than "beach" vacations personally even if at times the experience may not be so much fun in the moment. It has never occurred to me that calling a hike a vacation would be considered a derogatory or offensive statement.

4eyedbuzzard
12-24-2013, 11:41
A vacation doesn't have to be defined as "rest and relaxation" and can instead be viewed as an opportunity for personal challenges. I find challenging vacations more interesting than "beach" vacations personally even if at times the experience may not be so much fun in the moment. It has never occurred to me that calling a hike a vacation would be considered a derogatory or offensive statement. My sentiments exactly. Well stated.

HikerMom58
12-24-2013, 11:56
A vacation doesn't have to be defined as "rest and relaxation" and can instead be viewed as an opportunity for personal challenges. I find challenging vacations more interesting than "beach" vacations personally even if at times the experience may not be so much fun in the moment. It has never occurred to me that calling a hike a vacation would be considered a derogatory or offensive statement.

I agree with you...

Using the word "vacation" has only become derogatory or offensive when some people like to give off the vibe or use the word in a more boastful way to say that, hiking the trail is "no biggie". That's fine if some people feel that way. No prob. After a while of hearing this over & over, tho, it can get on people's nerves.

The truth is, for most, it's not like a "walk in the park" or a freakin "vacation". The personal challenge, that you speak of, is removed from the whole deal, for some.

That's what we're talking about....The personal challenge gets to be too much & can be one of the reason's for "leaving the trail".

hikerboy57
12-24-2013, 12:01
for some its all about the challenge, for others its a vacation. either way its a break from the outside world to pursue a personal goal.

hikerboy57
12-24-2013, 12:09
when you can finally really embrace the suck, you'll come to the conclusion"its all good."
even the suck.
http://blog.appalachiantrials.com/six-degrees-of-suck-a-2013-thru-hiker-shares-chronological-trials-of-the-appalachian-trail/

kayak karl
12-24-2013, 13:43
a friend told his significant other it is WORK! Vacation... NO, NO, NO..it is hard, hard work physiclly and mentally. It is not a vacation.......Until she saw the facebook pics of him partying in town :)

when i work i have other people effecting my life all day long. weekends its the family and other responsibilities. hiking i only need to worry about ME. now that's " a freakin "vacation"." :)

Son Driven
12-24-2013, 14:01
Had to leave trail for poison plant treatment near Loft Mountain VA, again at Swatara Gap, PA. Being very careful, wearing long sleeves, and creek washing self, and clothing every night (down stream of course). I allowed a friends dog get the best of me. early in the day his dog brushed up against my shin. by the end of the day I had a serious deep rash. Dogs are in & out of the brush and their fur holds onto plant oils. I love dogs, as hard as it is for me I need to keep my distance from them on the trail. After the Dr. at the VA hospital ordered me off the trail until my Swatara Gap Rash healed, I decided to travel to Katahdin, and hike back to Swatara Gap. It all worked out. Not near as many poison plants in New England, and by the time I got back to PA the plants had dried out some.

25402

Robin2013AT
12-24-2013, 17:14
Hay Son Driven did you hear your name on the Animal Planet episode?

ekeverette
12-24-2013, 19:54
alcohol..... I'm a recovering drunk, but all I did was want to get a town to drink..... made it 650 miles. going back again hopefully this year. going to take my BIG BOOK.

kayak karl
12-24-2013, 20:07
alcohol..... I'm a recovering drunk, but all I did was want to get a town to drink..... made it 650 miles. going back again hopefully this year. going to take my BIG BOOK. there others out there. talk about it and you will find them. there are also meeting in towns. get an app :) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.appiction.onerecovery&hl=en

Astro
12-24-2013, 21:22
this really hits home with me. I stayed at the church hostel in Waynesboro. Was lucky to be there for the hiker feed. afterwards, went to the evening service....only one other person went besides myself. The guy there spoke from Romans. Peter talked about how he rejoices in his sufferings and how it helps him (and us). after that, I quite looking at the maps and dwelling on the elevations. I just got up each day and walked. quit hoping that the trail would be easy. just took each day as it came. That really helped my attitude and approach for the rest of the hike (and I carry that philosophy off the trail as well). I think Peter tells us to embrace the suck (maybe a little more eloquently) but the message is the same. To the people in Waynesboro, thanks for running such a great hostel. to the guy who spoke that Wednesday in June 2010 ...thanks.

4shot, good points, but please note it was Paul not Peter who wrote Romans.
I always considered Romans 5:3-5 (suffering -> perseverance -> character -> hope) the Steel Magnolias section of the Bible (those things which do not kill us make us stronger).

4shot
12-24-2013, 22:32
4shot, good points, but please note it was Paul not Peter who wrote Romans.
I always considered Romans 5:3-5 (suffering -> perseverance -> character -> hope) the Steel Magnolias section of the Bible (those things which do not kill us make us stronger).

Astro...thanks.lol. I've never been good with names. wasn't Peter his trail name? or was that Silas?;) anyways, the message remains the same.

Son Driven
12-25-2013, 08:58
No, I have not had a TV since 11/12.

Son Driven
12-25-2013, 09:03
Hay Son Driven did you hear your name on the Animal Planet episode?

No, I have not had a TV since November of 2011.

coheterojo
12-28-2013, 19:04
I have never, ever, ever been happy that the hike was coming to a close. On the contrary.

JohnnySnook
09-08-2014, 06:19
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/images/Eloquent/miscgreen/quote_icon.png Originally Posted by Drybones http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/images/Eloquent/buttonsgreen/viewpost-right.png (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?p=1827015#post1827015)
It's like fishing....all it takes is a good day every now and then to keep you going back...meet a hiker you really like, see a view you'll never forget, wake up the morning after the worst day you ever had with a euphoric high from just knowing you survived, have a cheeseburger and beer that tastes like nothing you've ever had before. You don't have to walk Springer to Maine...you just have to keep taking the next step.



Believe me... its nothing like fishing. Fishing you can sit your fat azz down all day long, catch nothing and go home that afternoon happy. LOL

LOL Canoe! If you are sitting down all day you are not fishing. I find your comment insulting to any real fisherman.

Canoe? Have you ever been around serious fisherman or fished with them? I think you'll change your mind.
If you are really fishing and not sitting on your a$$ an excuse to not be at home or places you don't want to be than its not fishing. It's just an excuse. Probably similar to those that quit the AT use to justify not finishing.

When I fish I'm constantly reading the water, scanning for birds that may be over fish, any debris in the water that may hold fish,watching the radar to see if its marking birds out of your line if sight, and looking for fishy areas. If using bait constantly checking lines. Here in Florida we often kite fish mostly to catch sailfish. This means flying two kites with 3 baits hanging from each kite. It usually takes 2 experienced anglers to man the 3 lines hanging from each kites so that the baits stay on the top of the water spacing around. If not the baits may be flying 20 in the air during wind gust and when the wind dies down the baits may be 20 feet under water. Both of which are no good. It's a lot of work. During tournaments most of the time 6 lines is the most you can fish. If just out fun fishing a crew of 4 to 6 guys may be fishing 10+ lines.
Many people think trolling is just putting out lines till the fish hit. Again that is not the case. You have to constantly watching each line. Making sure none have weeds on the lure. If so catching anything goes down. Constantly making sure all lures/baits are working properly. Adjusting them if they are not running properly. When trolling baits you have to be constantly looking to make sure the baits aren't spinning or washed out.
Some of the most fun and hardest jobs is running the boat while kite fishing. You're up in a tower some 25 to 50 feet above the water. Most of the times the wind has to be blowing so the seas are nasty and your just trying to hang on a 5 to 7 foot wave means your swinging 20 to 50 feet per wave hanging onto the tower or wheel while hoping to keep the boat straight into the waves so line don't get tangled. Another reason of being in the tower is to spot the fish before it bites so you can let the anglers below know which bait the fish is going after till they can see it. Its a lot of work and running a boat from the tower takes its toll on the whole body. Your legs are shot after a day up in the tower due to just trying to brace yourself from slamming from one side of the tower to the other. One of the funniest things about running the boat is when you do a sailfish on you get to chase the fish down in reverse and soak the angler fight the fish when backing down or many times multiple hookups when you may 3 to 5 sailfish on at a time.
I also laugh when people say surf fishing is easy. You just have to throw out a line and wait for the fish to bite. This isn't how you catch fish. Surf fishing is actually really hard. I fish 4 rods with 3 to 5 hooks each. Each rod is 20 to 30 yards from each other. You have to constantly checking each rod to make sure that the crabs or small fish haven't taken your bait. Thats a 75 to 100 yards of walking or running back and forth. It gets really crazy when multiple rods are going off.
Same thing goes for fishing rivers or lakes. Just sitting there doesn't catch fish. You have to go find them. Try different lures and areas to find the fish. Fish don't come to you. You have to find them and what they want to eat.

This is fish! Not sitting around hoping to catch something when your baits been stolen for the last 4 hours.

Sorry if this is off topic but I think it goes well with this thread. Quiting the trail and making excuses as to why you didn't finish or why you didn't catch anything seem to go hand in hand in my opinion. You have to work hard to accomplish both.

JohnnySnook
09-08-2014, 07:05
Canoe, You don't end up being in this picture by being lazy or making excuses or not working hard.

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h232/Spear_em/sailfishtourney.jpg (http://s65.photobucket.com/user/Spear_em/media/sailfishtourney.jpg.html)

The boat pictured above would never be the bait boat. Not enough room to fish 5 rods with 15 hook rigs each, or be able to afford the fuel bill. This boat burns 35 to 45 gallons of fuel an hour at cruising speed. We always bait fish out of 25 foot open fishermans. Meaning no where to hide from the weather or spray from the ocean swells crashing into the boat except some rain gear.

Countless Sleepless nights out catching bait. Mostly goggle eyes which sell for up to $120 a dozen during tournament season. They really only bite at night so bait fishing from sunset to sun up for days or weeks is normal. Also remember this is a winter fishery for fishing in for bait or sailfish the weather is usually cold, the winds are blowing and the seas rough. You may go thru 50 to 100 baits or more in a day. Only the really rich can afford buying bait and then not knowing if it was caught and cared for correctly is another issue. Catching the bait yourself is the best way. If one goggle eye falls off the bait rigs and hits the deck it better not go in the live well. Often times we pen up the baits and feed them. Many take care of their baits better than their kids. Feeding them daily and making sure none are dead or sick. If so they are removed ASAP. You still need to have many other bait options that these fish feed on requiring many more days of bait fishing. Then add in making 500 leader rigs, re-spooling 20+ rods with new line the work is endless. This is all without even thinking about making sure all systems are a go on the boat. Losing your live wells means thousands of dollars in lost bait plus not being able to fish.

Sorry to rant on about fishing being easy comments but it pi$$e$ me off when people joke about fishing being so easy.

I kind of like seeing it hiking on during the rain. Not wanting to to leave a shelter cause its cold and raining. Its the same with fishing for me. Its never fun know its 50 degrees out and raining but we need to bait fish. Now add in 6 to 10 foot seas bashing the boat around and your constantly being rained on mixed with the sea water spraying into the boat for hours on end.

Canoe - This is real fishing! Just like I'm sure hiking the AT is real hiking. I can say I've slept on the deck of a boat at sea many a night. When commercial fishing we would spend nights sleeping on a small boat at sea dealing with rough seas, high winds, and rain. Coming in to unload and head right back out.

Sorry for any typo's!

rafe
09-08-2014, 08:16
I'm an expert on leaving the trail. I've done it many times. In fact I can say, regardless of the planned length of my hike(s), I'm usually happy when they're over.

As for facing your friends back home after you've bailed on a thru-hike: your friends back home have no idea what the experience was like. For me, that wasn't reason enough to keep going.

I bailed on my (attempted) thru hike at 650 miles or so, in southern Virginia, a day or two shy of Catawba. In the back of my mind I still wanted to finish the trail, some day, somehow. And I did, but it took seventeen more years. On my last long section (about 600 miles) I willed myself into a now-or-never mindset. Fortunately all went well -- relatively easy trail, good weather, light pack, etc. But even on that hike, I was happy when it was over.

Different folks come to the trail with all sorts of expectations and all sorts of ways of dealing (or not dealing) with the inevitable hardships. Hiking is a voluntary activity, after all, and that's what makes it tough to stay with it when it stops being fun. So if there's some magical formula for success, I'd say... find some way to keep it fun. It takes a certain sense of humor, a lightness of heart. Or something like that.

elray
09-08-2014, 10:48
My wife and I attempted to thru this Spring and only made it 300 miles, our reasons for leaving were varied but after 10 plus years of "sectioning" I'd like to emphasize that a thru is a whole different animal. I'm pretty sure that I was a little more disillusioned with the hike than she was but we had agreed from the beginning that we would finish together or not at all, but I still feel guilty about not hanging in there a little longer. Shortly after leaving the Trail her only brother suffered a stroke and my elderly father a heart attack so our hike was destined to be cut short though I had no way of knowing this. We've suffered some depression since leaving and dearly miss the friends we made those first hard weeks, unfortunately we've lost touch with them not knowing how they themselves fared and wish now we had made better connections with them. Our Summer has been filled with the details of family matters but we couldn't help but look at the calender from time to time and wonder "where would we be about now" and it has caused us to long for the hike. So for that reason we're headed back to the point where we left the Trail just outside of Erwin and we'll continue north as long as the weather permits. It won't be a Thru but we're determined to finish the hike no matter how many seasons it takes. www.trailjournals.com/elrayluckycharm (http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=16643)

rafe
09-08-2014, 16:55
We've suffered some depression since leaving and dearly miss the friends we made those first hard weeks, unfortunately we've lost touch with them not knowing how they themselves fared and wish now we had made better connections with them. Our Summer has been filled with the details of family matters but we couldn't help but look at the calender from time to time and wonder "where would we be about now" and it has caused us to long for the hike. So for that reason we're headed back to the point where we left the Trail just outside of Erwin and we'll continue north as long as the weather permits. It won't be a Thru but we're determined to finish the hike no matter how many seasons it takes. www.trailjournals.com/elrayluckycharm (http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=16643)

That's the spirit!

CrumbSnatcher
09-08-2014, 17:53
i,ve left the trail a time or two, when my dog was not having fun anymore

ChefATLTCT
09-08-2014, 18:06
I took too many 0 days, I left Springer March 1 (2000) by oct 10 I was south of Stratton, when the snow started I took the old AT to top of Surgarloaf and walked down ski slopes and maintenance road to ski village then hitched to Stratton. Next year I returned to SL in september and hiked back up and finished my hike to Baxter. And was honest about it when i reported it to the ATC, unlike some names I saw on 2000 list.(DOAH)