View Full Version : How did you decide 2015 would be your year to hike the trail?

08-20-2014, 16:28
So I am trying to decide if I could save enough money by April 2015 to try a long hike on the AT. It would require a drasstic change in lifestyle. I would have to live with my parents for 6 months and find a job in my hometown. By the way I just turned 30 so living at home would definitely be tough. I am currently working odd jobs and don't have a steady career at the moment. So I am thinking if I could find a job for the next 6-7 months in my hometown my reward would be taking a trip of a lifetime. Has anyone else done anything drastic life moving back in with their parents in order to hike the trail? I got some big decisions i need to make here soon.

08-20-2014, 17:53
Didn't have to do anything like move back home, but my decision to hike next year was almost entirely motivated by financial concerns. Probably could have set out this year and made it but I would have finished broke or nearly so. With over a year of saving I'll be starting with plenty of money to hike comfortably and not have to scramble for a job when I finish because I can't even feed or house myself. It also helped me a lot because I've been slowly amassing (and getting comfortable with) the gear I need when I can get a good sale price, have probably saved close to $1,000 from that alone.

Our situations are very different but your decision sounds like a tough one. You don't seem thrilled about the prospect of moving back home, if you put the hike off a little longer could you find a more steady job where you are and live frugally to save for the following year? Is there something other than the understandable desire to go sooner than later motivating you to go in 2015? Also would this be your first long distance hike? If you start hiking and find out it's not what you thought it would be, the reality of subjecting yourself to a tough living situation for half a year for something you don't enjoy after all could weigh pretty heavy.

08-20-2014, 18:40
By 30 I was entrenched in my business, married, and had a mortgage (although we had it close to paid off by age 30). If you are free of those constrictions, I'd say gamble on a year off and do the AT in 2015 ... because life will get in the way very, very soon for you most likely. My wife & I are retiring in February and doing the AT next year (turning 50 on the trail) - but that was with a bit of life luck, and some tough financial planning, choices, and discipline (lots of discipline). So much can go wrong in life that I wouldn't advise on our strategy (to wait until you're retired) ... if you can pull it off now, and the only 'pita' factor is living with your supportive (hopefully) parents - do it.

08-20-2014, 18:54
Not my first time backpacking i've done a lot of trips on Superior Hiking Trail in northern Minnesota. I'm guessing close to 900 miles with a pack on my back in the last 5 years. My longest trip being 23 days. I learned a lot on the 23 day trip and replaced a lot of gear and have gotten comfortable with my systems. I love life out on the trail. Another stipulation right now is that I just had my car brake down. So now I don't have to worry about car payments, insurance, gas money, or worrying about a place to store a car while i hike. My parents also live four hours south of northern Minnesota where I'm currently living. So the weather is a little warmer. The thought of living in Duluth where I currently reside without a car for the winter makes me feel cold just thinking about the idea (Duluth had 23 days in a row below zero last winter) .I'd be about in the same situation after the trail as I am right now. I've been thinking a lot about the AT in the last few years. Every thru hiker i've talked to said to do it sooner rather than later.

Most of my backpacking has been done on solo trips so the thought of meeting all different kinds of hikers in another thing pushing me to possibly attempt to do it this year if I can find a job and save enough money. I've just been thinking attempting to hike the trail might be another 2 or 3 years out if I decide to buy another car and continue paying all of my current bills. I feel like heading out on the trail might be a good way for me to network to maybe meet more people in the outdoor industry and see what kinds of jobs other people have had. I studied Recreation and Tourism in college never graduated but still have an interest in the industry. I've been working at a bar for the last few years so I could get closer to a longer trail to cure the itch. Now I feel like I want to move on to see a whole other part of the country. I've only been out east 2 times in my life and that was in Virginia. Plus I haven't traveled outside the midwest in 5 years. So I feel like it's about time I get out and see the east.

I also love alpine skiing and have been doing it my whole life and grew up watching Warren Miller ski films as a kid. He always had a quote that I've been thinking about when it comes to making a decision to attempt a hike on the AT. The quote is "If you don't do it this year, you will be one year older when you do."

What other types of situations are other kind of life situations are other hikers going to be in pre and post hike? Anyone else in the same boat as me right now?

08-20-2014, 19:05
Well now, I have been hiking, camping, and hunting for 30 plus years. One kid is starting collage the other High School. I have done the Boy Scout thing (both as a Scout and an adult leader). I have done small sections of the AT, PCT, and CDT. Retirement is close at hand and I want to do the distance while I still have the energy to do so. I wish luck and safety to all.:sun

08-20-2014, 20:00
Another thing I just thought of is that I will have to leave a job to hike the trail. So if I get a job that I don't really care about as much for 6 months then quitting won't bug me as much. Then I can get the urge to hike out of my system and then start planning more for my future and looking for a more stable job. It may be strange but it almost seems like my car breaking down may be a blessing in disguise. It all depends if I can find a job that will allow me to save for the trail.

08-21-2014, 14:10
Another thing I just thought of is that I will have to leave a job to hike the trail. So if I get a job that I don't really care about as much for 6 months then quitting won't bug me as much. Then I can get the urge to hike out of my system and then start planning more for my future and looking for a more stable job. It may be strange but it almost seems like my car breaking down may be a blessing in disguise. It all depends if I can find a job that will allow me to save for the trail.

The question begs to be asked: What then do you do when you finish the trip, supposing you do, and you are once again broke? There are jobs to be had that can keep you in close contact with the trail, and you could in theory land a job with the NPS or NFS. However, if your focus has to go back to just merely surviving once you return, it can be a difficult thing to manage.

08-21-2014, 21:44
I have had the calling for a few years now, and recently it has reached a fever pitch. So I decided to take the plunge and make 2015 the year I hit the trail! As of now heading out solo but hoping to find a partner or group to hike with. Planning on a April fools day launch.

08-21-2014, 22:04
I'm in a similar situation. Living with my folks and working in a crappy job. I was going to hike the trail last spring but life got in the way. In fact, I've been meaning to hike the trail for going on a decade now and every spring it seems like something keeps me from doing it. I would suggest looking into a winter job, maybe at a ski resort? some places even offer housing for seasonal employees. Check out http://coolworks.com for seasonal jobs at national parks and resorts.

08-21-2014, 23:26
Sounded like a good challenge.

08-22-2014, 09:43
Because I couldn't start this year, and I'm not getting younger.

08-23-2014, 12:35
I'm retiring, raking in a bunch of cash, so I can afford it, easily. Kids are grown. Time is mine. Wife is supportive. Why not? After 30 years of serving the public and giving generously to all around me, I'm ready for some trail magic. This one is just for me.

You have some tough choices to make. It is awesome that your parents are giving you the option to save the money you need. If you need encouragement, I say make those tough choices in a positive direction and do whatever you need to make it happen as soon as you can. Standing triumphant atop Katahdin, it will all be worth it.

08-23-2014, 18:24
I am switching careers, I am turning 30 and I want children soon, my wife is telling me to go for it. I am in a huge transition in life and want to do this before things become more complicated and I get tied up with even more responsibility. The time is right.

Del Q
08-23-2014, 18:57
you are 30
move home sleep in the backyard save money
then thru hike
a new life will probably appear

09-19-2014, 10:49
Minnesota Rambler go for it. I recall discussing the AT with a fellow dreamer at work, when the company was being sold and downsizing was on the horizon. Well now i'm retired, trying to get my health to the point i can do this. However, Tom, he died of brain cancer. While i won't being hiking in his memory, i certainly will be thinking of him.

09-19-2014, 11:17
Been a desire since my Boy Scout days at Philmont many moons ago. Anyway just retired for the second time this past summer and now's the time. Financially solid, sons are grown and on their own, so its time to check this item off the bucket list.