View Full Version : Has anyone ever missed an opportunity to thru-hike?

04-02-2015, 09:29
It's been a dream of mine to thru-hike since I have been a teenager. A few years ago I was laid off from a job at the beginning of the year. I also race mountain bikes and had been training that whole winter for the new years season. Right there in front of me was my opportunity to jump and the trail never crossed my mind. Later in that year on a weekend trip my wife says me "I don't want to upset you, but you never even thought about a thru hike this summer"

I stopped in my tracks. It never even thought of it. I had my head so far up my bike's a** that I missed the most obvious opportunity. (I had a great year on the bike btw)

But, that being said I believe 2020 is the year.

Anyone else ever miss an opportunity?

04-02-2015, 09:42
I don't think there's ever a "right" time to attempt something like this. Even now, I just retired from the military, I should be looking for a job. But I'm not going to miss the opportunity to at least try to thru. Just before I enlisted, I wanted to go but in a way I'm glad I didn't get that opportunity. I don't think I would have made it back then, especially equipment choices, researc, and practice hike I've done since then.

04-02-2015, 09:55
My x-wife fill a position in Vermont for her residency, 3 years later we were divorced.
She moved her residency closer to her mother.
I decided to move closer to family also.

At the time I actually considered the trail. Sending my stuff and walking home (Alabama).
It never happened and I am thankful.

I did not realize the time but I was a Debbie downer. The divorce hit me hard and I don't think I would have made it.

04-02-2015, 10:05
Not one of the three "long trails", but I missed an opportunity in 1993 to thru hike the JMT and did a short section in Yosemite instead. I wanted to earn some more money that summer while I was in college, not because I had any urgent need for it but to add it to my savings. In general I have no regret over the years regarding prioritizing savings heavily as it has given me the ability to pursue many things since then still at a relatively young age, but I do regret not thru hiking the JMT that year. It would be 20 years before I actually thru hiked the JMT in 2013. The compounded value of the money saved in 1993 would have been substantial by 2013 but I still somehow regret missing that opportunity when it presented itself.

04-02-2015, 10:30
in 89 i had a uncle that was going to thru-hike and he ask me if i wanted to go as a high school graduation kinda thing never even thought about it, until 92 thats when i started to plan my 96 flip-flop since then i thru'd 2 more times.

04-02-2015, 14:54
In my opinion, the hardest part of a thru hike is getting there in the first place. It takes much longer than the hike itself unless the opportunity drops right into your lap. Even then... getting started can still be the hardest part. Thru hiking was not so hard because I loved it so much.

Hiker Faith
04-02-2015, 21:33
Sometimes God says "yes", sometimes He says "no", and sometimes He says "not right now". For eight years I was frustrated that every time I tried to do my thru hike something would come up to cancel it. I kept feeling like I was being told "No" and that I would never have the opportunity to go. But I wasn't being told "no" I was being told "not right now". When the time was right, everything came together so naturally and seamlessly that I was blown away. Don't worry about missing the opportunity. Keep thinking, keep planning, keep dreaming (and, if you are so inclined, keep praying) and when the time is right to go, nothing will stop you.

04-02-2015, 22:41
We all kind of miss an opportunity every spring. But most have more compelling things to attend to.

I followed through once in 1976. Made it to Damascus. Thought about it again in 1991, and passed knowing that the outcome would likely not have been different. I get bored easily. I'll think about it again next spring. And probably pass again.

Bird Dawg
04-03-2015, 23:14
This year was the "missed opportunity" for me. I retired in 2013 and spent over a year researching, planning, buying gear, etc. Was scheduled to leave Springer on 3/23/15 after a mountain weekend / "send off party" with several of my closest friends. But, I suffer from a fairly serious case of plantar fasciitis - and I had several "flare ups" during my final shakeout hikes. After a discussion with the orthopedic MD, we agreed that it would be in my best interest to postpone the trip until next year. In addition, some unexpected issues with my truck resulted in the need to spend a good portion of my "AT nest egg" for engine repairs. I was bitterly disappointed - but upon further reflection realized that it was probably all for the best. My shakeout hikes made me realize that I needed to do more physical conditioning before attempting a thru hike. I also need more practice with my gear. The additional time will allow me the opportunity to do sections of the trail to get "real world experience" I cannot duplicate in the section of the state where I live. So, Hiker Faith, I agree with you. I think He said "Not right now" and I'll settle for that. Meanwhile, I'll be on White Blaze for the next year - learning from those who've gone ahead.

04-04-2015, 09:53
I missed my opportunity when I was young and relatively debt free. I was just getting ready to finish college at Christmas and going to thru hike beginning as soon as the weather got a little better. My plan was to start in early February after I sold my house. This was a second trip through college and I bought a great little cabin up there when I moved there. Anyway, then in June the summer before I met an awesome woman. And that stopped my hike. We fell in love and I stayed for a semester of grad school to be with her. Then we got married and moved on with real life. I always regret not going on my hike. I had dreamed of doing it for years and had a second chance to go. I had worked for a few years after graduating college the first time, then went back for a second degree and a new future as a teacher and coach. I was so excited to start that chapter of my life but was planning the hike to finish right before football started in August. Then I met the love of my life. She was ready and supportive of me going. But I was afraid I'c lose her while I was gone. So I didn't go. Now we've been married 14 years, have 2 awesome kids, and she still supports my career and dreams like the day we met. I'm working til retirement in 15 years or a lucky lottery windfall, then I can go!! And Go I will!! I have her support. I plan to do the AT first then the PCT, then the Colorado trail! Can't wait. Just hope the good Lord let me see the day I can Go!

04-04-2015, 11:40
Every day that I'm not hiking is when I'm missing an opportunity.

04-04-2015, 20:01
Thru-hiking the AT has been on my mind for over 30 years. Right up there with a long, extended cross-country "memory lane" road trip. Couldn't do either during my working/family-raising years. Now I'm retired, and planned to do the road trip and then the AT. So, last fall I did the road trip. It lasted 3 months, and 20,000 miles and I did lots of day hikes in many different states and had a great time. However, I never counted on how much I was gonna miss the grandbabies! There is NO WAY I'm gonna be away from them for that long again -- at least till they're teenagers.
So, my next opportunity to thru-hike the AT is now at least 10 years away...when I'll be 78... :)

04-05-2015, 00:31
Yeah, in 2010 I was unemployed, and just gone through a breakup. Was feeling so low it was hard to leave the house or do anything productive, ended up in a downward spiral pity pit or something for a while. Took a long time to right the ship and get headed in the right direction.
I contemplated doing a thru hike or something structured and productive, just to get my mind off how bad I was feeling. Had the time, but couldn't make it happen. Just too hard to pick up and move on. Even thought about selling all my hiking gear to clear a bit of debt, but took too much effort to do that.

Anyways, finally moved on (literally and figuratively), slowly got back into hiking on long weekends and the like, took some longer trips when I had the time, and ended up doing a thruhike last summer after a bunch of other outdoor travel. Had a great time. Dreaming of the next adventures. :)