View Full Version : Who got you hooked on hiking?

09-07-2015, 05:50
I am just wondering who got people hooked on hiking the AT? For me it was my Dad. When I was a kid we hiked together most of the AT in Connecticut and parts of Vermont and New Hampshire all the while grilling me on my math facts. He took me camping, canoeing, skiing and hiking. He taught me to see the beauty around me in the woods. Standing on many bluffs he would tell me the name of every peak we saw or the name of all the constellations. It was not until he died that I learned that he was petrified of heights.

09-07-2015, 07:56
I got myself hooked on hiking the AT.
It was something I decided I wanted to do while I was in the service during the first half of the 70’s. Although my attempt at a thru-hike was unsuccessful, I have returned many times to do and redo sections I enjoyed the first time around. It brings back memories of people and events that come back as clear as if they happened yesterday instead of decades ago.
Hiking in general is something that goes back as far as I can remember.
Growing up, many family vacations were to the Smokies or Shenandoah National Parks. We got out of the car. A lot. Closer to home, the county I live in is blessed with a nature preserve, and the Indiana Audubon Society has a 600+ acre tract of woods and fields (Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary) that have many trails. One county over there is a state park with several miles of trails.
Currently I am wearing down the trails of the state park in preparation for a hike from Davenport Gap to Erwin. I should be thirty or so miles into that little trek in less than two weeks.
If I can get all the problems worked out I will be headed north from Springer next spring for another thru attempt. I will be 41 years older than the last time, but I will also be 41 years wiser. I know what I did wrong the first time around. Barring injury or something going sour at home, I think this time I’ll make it.

kayak karl
09-07-2015, 08:15
My Dad in the 50's. Pennypack Park in Philly.

09-07-2015, 08:43
I did the 72 miles in the GSMNP in when I was thirteen with the BSA. My Dad was the Scout Master so I would have to give him the credit for that and a lot of other things as well.

09-07-2015, 08:49
Hunting terrorist in Afghans peaks...

09-07-2015, 09:26
Maine and God's creation of Maine. I have memories as far back as 4 years old of going for long walks in the woods with my 2 older sisters. I have pictures of me on top of hills when I was about 6. The woods has always called to me. Most of that walking did not have a path on it. To be honest, the first time I walked on the AT it felt a little weird following a long path. It felt unnatural, like there was going to be a parking lot every 2 miles or something. I love it now. It was not what I would call hiking growing up. It is what I call hiking now.

Edit: I should add that my step-father took me hunting and fishing a ton. He got me hooked on those activities. I took up trapping on my own. He was never a hiker. Most of my family think I am nuts for wanting to walk off into the walks and sleep there.

mark schofield
09-07-2015, 10:02
the boy scouts. that's why when a bunch of scouts show up at a camping area or shelter now, I try not to get too much of an attitude.

09-07-2015, 10:25
Bill Bryson. Sure I was in the Scouts and have also hunted but until that book the idea of long distance hiking never really seemed an option, thank you Sir.

09-07-2015, 11:14
Climbing Mt. Moosilauke and the Franconia Ridge with some house-mates in college.

09-07-2015, 12:55
Dad. 60's and 70's

09-07-2015, 13:00
My Scout Master when I lived in Johnson City, TN in the early to mid 1970's. Ed Garvey's book got me interested in hiking the entire trail when I read it in 1975 or 1976.

09-07-2015, 13:28
My dad used to drag me and my sister on day hikes up at the Delaware Water Gap all the time being that we were from NJ. He also dragged us out to Jacksons Hole to hike in the Tetons, hiked a good way up Mt. Rainier a couple years later, also hiked up in Glacier when I was a bit older but still young.

I guess it comes from that. I used to hike in boy scouts also but the Scout leaders didn't approve of me bringing six pack of Bud along on the trips! I mention hiking to my dad now and he think I am nuts! Funny how people can change.

09-07-2015, 13:44
A friend of mine from work took me and a couple of other first timers up to Camels Hump in Vermont on Columbus day weekend. I believe it was 1979. It was a full moon weekend and we hiked up in a light misty rain. The rain cleared out late in the afternoon with a cold front which put a glaze of ice on everything. Even so, we hiked up from the cabin (at the time located 0.3 miles from the summit called Gorham Lodge, but is now gone) with the full moon reflecting off the glaze of ice. Truly magical, exactly how I pictured Middle Earth to look like. Even though we were ill prepared for the cold and wet, we lived and I was hooked.

The next couple of hikes were to the Gray Knob cabin for Thanksgiving, New years and Washington's Birthday. It's really amazing we lived through those trips with the poor gear we had at the time. Good thing there was a wood stove in the cabin!

09-07-2015, 13:52
A guy I was dating in the late 70's who introduced me to camping and hiking. We spent one New Years at Amicalola and nearly froze, but hiking the approach trail got me hooked. Thanks, Raymond!!

09-07-2015, 14:24
My dad and mom. Scouting did its best to squash my interest, so I quit.

09-07-2015, 14:25
Harpers Ferry ATC Office when they handed me that looooongg map. I tucked away the map in a drawer as well as somewhere in the back of my brain.

09-07-2015, 15:05
I grew up during an age when children were encouraged to be outside more untethered from electronics and all things man made without constant supervision by adults that were paranoid and fearful of Nature and society. My childhood generation were not sedentary couch potatoes. Since childhood all my friends led very active lifestyles. We were always in the woods exploring, hiking, building tree forts, out fishing, boating, later hunting, trouncing up creeks, walking on the Atlantic Ocean beach, exploring the seashore out on jetties and docks, swimming in lakes and creeks, riding bicycles, walking a lot, climbing mountains, finding/eating berries, making tea from what we found in Nature, getting rained on and dirty/muddy, and feeling the sunshine on our faces. We came back to the house with occasional scratches, scrapes, insect bites, poison ivy, and the rare broken bone. We felt alive.

Later the Boy Scouts introduced me to camping and hiking. For all the derogatory things said about the BSA by narrow minded individuals with an axe to grind I see the BSA being instrumental in many of my childhood friends and myself's embracing of Nature and the outdoors. From an early age, as early as 6 or 7 yrs old, I always sought out adventure and exploration. This need in my soul has just magnified to greater degrees. I love to learn and experience new things, places, people, languages, culture, etc. I have learned to enjoyably embrace the unknown not be frightened of it. I travel a lot too. I constantly put myself in new place and predicaments; I love it. To this day I still love to walk despite having motor vehicles, mountain and road racing bikes.

LD hiking with its simple frugal way of living with constant movement, adventure, and exploration is a prime fit for me.

09-07-2015, 15:39
The first Boy Scout troop I joined was super boring; all we ever did was work on badges. Later I joined a troop sponsored by our church and it was totally different. We camped a lot, and went on multi-day hikes and canoe trips. So BSA hooked me on hiking and canoeing.

09-07-2015, 16:29
My Dad :-)

09-07-2015, 16:49
My parents gave me the bug from a young age, camping and hiking in New England. Dad was a grad. student at Middlebury College in the 60's, and we spent a summer in Ripton, Vt, in the mid 60's. The Long Trail is just a few miles from there, and the whole family would do little day hikes on and around the Long Trail that summer. I think I was 6. Most summers, we would take extended camping trips, some for the entire summer. Around 1970, we spent the summer, camping and hiking, in the Greens and Whites. We hiked the Presidential's that summer, as a family, staying in the AMC huts. I remember being annoyed whenever I would see cars with their "This Car Climbed Mt. Washington", bumper stickers. It was kind of a let down to see all the people at the summit, who had taken the Cog Railway, or had driven up in their cars , after we had humped it up there on foot.
The EMS store on rt. 9, in Hadley, Mass. was my favorite store for years. I used to spend hours in there, looking at all the cool gear.

09-07-2015, 18:01
When they took my license away.......

09-07-2015, 18:03
Jus kidding!

Odd Man Out
09-07-2015, 18:39
My dad was a backpacker when I was a kid. I recall him telling me about climbing Katadyn via the knife edge (this would have been in the 60's). When I was about 8 he took me on a weekend on the AT in MD. Didn't do much hiking for a long time but getting back into it now.

09-07-2015, 18:40
Day hiking in Thailand.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed that is the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead, Anthropologist

09-07-2015, 19:14
I too learned a huge portion of wilderness camping and hiking skills in the Boy Scouts. We had a great scoutmaster and did everything from sub-zero Klondike camping, canoeing the boundary waters to many great camp outs and hikes.
My grandson is about to advance into Scouting however, the local Troop is not nearly as outdoor active as our troop once was in Michigan. We are still actively looking for the right mindset on a troop that is actively involved in outdoor adventure.

Different Socks
09-07-2015, 19:43
No time clocks, stop signs, bills, certain types of people, etc, etc.

09-07-2015, 20:31
What factored into getting hooked on hiking is that childhood family trips, although usually involving much car travel, also centered on interests in Nature and MUCH walking whether it was a camping trip, animal park, zoo, botanical garden, Museum Of Natural History in NYC, Washington DC, Acadia NP, Niagara Falls, Walt Disney World, aquariums, sea parks, and fishing, hunting, and skiing trips.

09-07-2015, 20:36
The U.S. population has turned into a group as a whole that walks less than it used to living more sedentary lifestyles largely apart from and afraid of Nature. When we do take to the outdoors it so frequently involves rolling along on wheels giving little time, notice of, and respect to Nature.

09-07-2015, 22:00
My Dad was the one who first introduced me to "THE OUTDOORS", but even though he was the one who took me on my first "long" hike (a day hike of about 16 hikes along back country roads from "near our house" to "near the summer farmhouse"...with a support vehicle carrying most of our gear), he was primarily a hunter and fisherman. He loved the outdoors and taught me that it was to be used and enjoyed, but CONSERVED for future generations. I loved to fish, was a LOUSY shot, but found that I really enjoyed walking from place to place - just to see what was over the hill! My Dad never quite "got it", although he could see a long hike to get to a good trout stream, and maybe even an overnight for more fishing the next day....

09-07-2015, 22:06
Myself. I used to go visit my aunt when I was a young teen at her house in the mountains. She and her husband ran a tennis court community with homes and town houses for long term or short term rental. I would weed eat, mow, paint, etc. during the day. Then as soon as I got off I would go hike the grandfather mountain Profile trail which connected to the back of the property. I always went by myself, I found out I loved to hike and the mountains called my soul.

09-08-2015, 00:02
The Boy Scouts got me started. Over 3 summers, I hiked the entire C & O Canal Towpath. I got some really cool memories and a whole lot of blisters.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

09-08-2015, 02:56
A book I read by an English adventurer...Sir Francis Chichester, "Romantic Challenge". First guy to sail solo around the world. I'm not into sailing, but was really turned on by his account -- all his trials and tribulations. Not long after I read the book, I became aware of the A.T. -- so, the A.T. has always loomed in my mind as my "Romantic Challenge".

09-08-2015, 08:37
Lots of mention of Dad above, only one so far of Mom. For me, it was my mother who encouraged my long solo walks around Chicago where I grew up. She'd help me pack my lunch, plan a route, and learn how to stay safe. She had done the same as a child during the Depression. She was very good at cutting the apron strings (it probably helped I was her fifth child!). Dad, a WWII veteran, was a scout leader, and curiously that did little for my love of walking. Scouting taught me a few tools for overnight trips, mostly obsolete stuff I no longer use but it was good at the time. Thanks to both my parents, who are still alive and walking!

09-08-2015, 10:41
When I was a little girl of about 5 or 6, I lived in a trailer along side a creek and the next door neighbor would take me fishing with her every day. That was my introduction to the woods. We later moved to an A-frame house situated on a few acres of woods with huge rocks all around and those woods and rocks were my playground. In my childhood, kids were to go outside and play so mom could watch her "stories", so I spent my days climbing trees and rocks and creekbeds and the like with my trusted schnauzer, Muffin.

I moved in with my dad at age 8, into a suburb, but when I stayed with my grandparents, which was daily in the summers, the 3 of us would go for walks in the woods behind their house and pick and eat muscadines. To this day, the smell of wisteria vines makes me feel 10 years old again.

As I grew into the teen years, the woods lost their appeal, as boys and other silly teenage obsessions took precedence. After "a lot of living" I met my husband. He was a Army Drill Sergeant and a hunter. He has a Harley Davidson and we began to get outside and ride out in the country. It was exhilarating! Then our lives got busy, with 2 young kids busy with football and school activities, we had no time for riding motorcycles anymore. One Christmas my children went to spend the holidays with their dad and they flew to California. Christmas without my kids was no Christmas at all for me, so we decided to go camping over Christmas. We had the whole campground to ourselves in the North Georgia Mountains, not far from Helen, and we had the best time ever! We hiked 2 very small mountains and fished and bummed around Helen and it was blissful. I was then hooked on camping. This was my first ever camping experience. We went as a family a few more times. Spent Spring Break at Stone Mountain one year and had a blast. Got to walk around Stone Mountain, which I loved. Then another football parent asked if we wanted to spend Thanksgiving at Vogel State Park, camping. We went and had a great time. We hiked up and back down Blood Mountain. That hooked me. We traded the motorcycles in for a Travel Trailer and we go camping every chance we get, and my only stipulation is that there are hiking trails, but ever since doing Blood Mountain last November, I have been itching to do (sectional only) the AT.

I said all that to say this.... Since I was about 5 years old, I have loved to walk in the woods and it seems to have never worn off.

09-08-2015, 10:59
The Discovery Channel show called "Everest: Beyond the Limit". I decided that if those people could just walk up Everest, so could I. I figured the best way to practice was to hike in the mountains, in the winter, with a backpack on. I still try to convince myself that I'm training for that...

09-08-2015, 11:07
Scouts first reignited by the Bill Bryson book. I hate to admit it but it is true.

It also helps living 1 1/2 hours from Springer Mountain.

09-08-2015, 13:27
I too learned a huge portion of wilderness camping and hiking skills in the Boy Scouts. We had a great scoutmaster and did everything from sub-zero Klondike camping, canoeing the boundary waters to many great camp outs and hikes.
My grandson is about to advance into Scouting however, the local Troop is not nearly as outdoor active as our troop once was in Michigan. We are still actively looking for the right mindset on a troop that is actively involved in outdoor adventure.The obvious best option would be to find a Troop that fits, but if that is not possible you might find one that is in need of adult help and be able to suggest such activities that way by volunteering as a leader.

09-08-2015, 13:55
B.S.A ! early 80s...

09-11-2015, 23:31
For me...

i I grew up around the forest before I got into gaming. Gaming took away my forest habits.

Five years ago, while living with a roommate, I found some camping gear. It made me think about camping. So I found a trail, called the hounds, and we took cans of food up a mountain! Bad mistake. It rained. We were cold. The fire wouldn't stay lit. At one point I realized I forgot my tent poles and had to make some with sticks.

Still...I was okay. I wasn't upset or tired. My friends found out fast they hated hiking while I found my new passion.

09-12-2015, 08:24
Nobody got me hooked on hiking the AT but myself. On the other hand, I have my German foreign exchange friend's dad, and my own parents to thanks for my love of the outdoors and hiking in general. I got to take a beautiful three day trip through the Alps (I wore cotton everything, didn't have a jacket, and wore shorts...). After that, my travel and hiking bug never abated, and here I am almost 12 years later with little to show for my life except bumming around outdoors and doing a little 600 mile section of the AT, with plans on hiking the PCT next year. Thanks Dieter!

09-12-2015, 09:45
For me it was my mother. She was a explorer and loved adventures. Dad was in the army and always gone. So mom loved walking in the woods and showing me wild animal tracks and the beauty of the trees. I remember she sewed me my first backpack from a torn piece of canvas tarp my grandfather threw away. Her, me & my little brother and a uncle camped out and I was hooked. Sitting by the campfire eating weenies on a stick with mustard squirted on them was heaven. The stars were so close it looked like you could reach up and touch them. Later on when Dad was deployed to Germany I joined the base boy scout troop and the scout master took us hiking and camping every month. He was a awesome mentor to us boys. We hiked into wherever we camped and most times it mattered not weather it was raining or snowing we went. So Sargent Williams a Black man who was our scout leader put the idea of hiking the AT as a goal every scout should achieve in his life. It stuck with me all my life......

09-13-2015, 12:51
My GF's high school crush who always dreamed about hiking the AT. GF took up that dream and now that we are in our 50's, we are doing it, but it's not the only trail we hike. Lots of trails in Maine and New Hampshire to hike.

lemon b
09-13-2015, 13:13
The Ranger from the South. Who I called Daddy.

09-13-2015, 14:48

Tuts' videos inspired me.

09-13-2015, 18:35
Colin Fletcher and Eric Ryback, combined with Boy Scouts doing the "four state hike", WVA, VA, MD, PA. This was about 1971-73.

09-13-2015, 19:31
Now, how many have mentored someone and gotten them hooked on hiking? Twenty or 30 years from now, will you be the one remembered in a thread like this?

09-13-2015, 19:45
Now, how many have mentored someone and gotten them hooked on hiking? Twenty or 30 years from now, will you be the one remembered in a thread like this?
I'll remember that for you Tuckahoe. :) good job!

August W.
09-15-2015, 18:53
It was a combination of people who got me into hiking. Listening to owls and crickets while watching the stars from our front porch with my mom.... hunting and fishing with my grandfather.... an uncle who, when i was a kid, told me I couldn't be an environmentalist (key word "mental") if I have never been backpacking. I have never been happy spending much time indoors, and though I had been on some day hikes, that first backpacking trip showed me exactly where I wanted to be.... I will never forget looking out from that chilly mountain top and seeing the town lights off on the horizon, the gazillion stars above, and then waking to one of those awe-inspiring sunrises where only the tallest peaks rise through the valley fog while while the thin clouds across the sky change all shades of purple, pink, yellow, and gold. I have revisited that mountain many times and shared it with several friends over the years.