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View Full Version : Thru-hiking questions. Serious answers only please.



Smoky Spoon
10-01-2015, 12:55
​:banana1. Have you completed a thru-hike? If yes, what year, and what kind? An end to end in one attempt, a flip flop or section hike etc? If a section hike or flip flop, where did you begin and where did you end? Why did you take that route? Also for all, what time of year did you start? Why did you choose that time?
:banana2. Have you attempted a thru-hike but were unable to complete it? If yes, why weren't you able to complete it? What kind of thru-hike did you attempt? How far did you get? What time of year did you start and why did you choose that time?

:banana3. Are you currently attempting a thru-hike? If yes, what kind? How far have you done? When do you expect to be done? Where and when did you begin? Why did you choose that route?

:banana4. For those who completed their thru-hikes, what did you learn about yourself after and during your hike?

:banana5. For those who attempted a thru-hike but were unable to finish what did you learn?

:banana6. What would you do differently on your thru-hike, whether you completed it or not, or are still in the process?

:banana7. What are the top three pieces of advice you would offer a new person attempting their first thru-hike?

:banana8. What are the top ten pieces of equipment you would advise a new person attempting a thru-hike to have and why?

Thank you in advance to any who choose to answer these questions. I do politely ask that we try to stick to just answering the questions being asked and that we don't venture off topic please. Again, thank you.

Starchild
10-01-2015, 13:48
1- AT thru hikers class 2013, GAME, I wanted to be part of the bubble, to experience the combination of the social + natural journey that the AT is known for, to be part of something much larger then myself. The date 3-18-13, was when my friend and personal trail angel had off from work and offered to drive me down to GA. She came into my life about 5 months earlier and offered to drive me then, answering my big 2 questions how and when to get to GA. (also the 3rd how to get home from ME).

4- I learned that humanity is worth it, the value and goodness of humanity, the gift of giving and receiving, and how much different one can make in both persons' lives if we allow that kindness to be extended to us, and offer that kindness to others. Being valued and loved for who one is and what one is doing. Also learned that having wet feet is not the worst thing in the world. That the path is tested and true and one does not need to look any further then their next resupply and only worry about their next step. I confirmed what I already knew, plan too much and miss the magic that is there for everyone, we are not suppose to plan as we are taught to. We are far more dependent on others then we care to admit to ourselves (if we go against this we just make it harder for ourselves), and a hiker on the trail is very much childlike in needs. The trail is a great teacher and parent for her children (the AT thru hikers), but not everyone is her child, but could be a child of a different 'parent' and those people will be gently steered towards where they should be in life, as such there is no failed attempts, just direction and love for the future success.

6 I would blue blaze more, possibly aquablaze, experience more of what the journey offers, including more town entertainment options.

7 - 1:For anyone who has the drive to do the AT, to grab any chance they get as it is so hard to get the 6 months off or so. 2: follow your heart and trust if you are going to make the journey you will, if not you will be directed to where you need to be 3: Don't plan too much, never look past your next resupply and be open to whatever comes up.

8 - I would advise them to go on as many group backpacks from various groups and clubs, see what works and what doesn't for them and to select accordingly.

Bronk
10-01-2015, 14:41
I did 850 miles in 2002...I started out thinking it was going to be a thruhike. It took me 4 months to get that far. I learned that while I like hiking, I like camping just as much, so I wasn't in much of a hurry. Just about everybody passed me. There were 3 people that I met my first week on the trail that were in Waynesboro the day I quit...and they weren't in any kind of hurry either...one was a hobo who was working his way up the trail and spent much time in towns looking for odd jobs, the other two were a couple who slackpacked and towed a car behind a van so that they didn't have to carry packs and they spent a good amount of time towing their car to the next trailhead and then driving back to retrieve their van. Hundreds of others passed me by. But I figured I probably wouldn't get another chance to take a vacation of several months long and I was going to enjoy it, not turn it into some kind of race. Once I was in shape I could do 20 mile days, but they weren't much fun and I didn't want to do it. So I mostly did 10 to 12 mile days...if I hiked 2 miles and found a cool spot, I might camp there for two or three days. Others would pass by thinking it was too early in the day to stop.

Venchka
10-01-2015, 15:19
Disclaimer: Ain't done it. Probably won't do the AT. The CDT is calling my name. That said, #7 applies to the AT and #8 applies to any long hike.

7.
A. Do NOT miss a meal at the Smoky Mountain Diner in Hot Springs, NC. Breakfast is FABULOUS. The pies are to die for. If they serve breakfast all day, come back for 2 or 3.
B. At the opposite end of Hot Springs, across the river on the right, is the Mecca of Junk Food. Frozen, Baked, Bars, Chips, Candy, Dips. And more.
C. When in Hot Springs, do not stay near the train tracks-river. Unless, for budgetary reasons, you must stay at the campgound behind the Junk Food Mecca.

8.
A high quality down sleeping bag suitable for weather on either end of the AT in Spring/Fall. A good down bag is literally a lifetime investment. I bought my first down bag in 1974 from REI. It was the lightest bag in the catalog at the time. 3" of top loft places it in the 10įF to 20įF range. It served me well in the Rockies in late August theu early October. My granddaughter has it now and has used it in the Grayson Highlands the past two summers. Don't cheap out on a good down bag.
A proper fitting quality backpack that fits YOU and is comfortable on YOU will make your hike possible. It should hold all of your stuff which is why you buy it last. Break it in for at least 100 miles before starting the hike. Purchase far enough in advance so that you can exchange it if the first one doesn't work for you.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
ps: The bananas are more than my old eyes can take. :banana

Wayne

CarlZ993
10-01-2015, 15:39
1. 2013 NoBo; 3/21/13; wanted to finish before my birthday in late Aug (I did)
4. I don't like hiking in the rain... and I hiked a lot in the rain in 2013; I thought I was a strong hiker before I started... I wasn't as strong as I thought; there were some hiking machines out there & I wasn't one of them.
6. I'd be tempted to start later to avoid the really cold stuff that I encountered (birthday be damned).
7. My advice: start hiking early in the day, carry a light pack, and just worry about making the next town/resupply (string enough towns/resupplies together & you'll finish a thru-hike). Bonus piece of advise - budget a lot more money than you expect to spend.
8. I had some nice stuff on the hike - Cuben fiber tent, ULA backpack, down sleeping bag, titanium pot, etc. Equipment helps but it is your drive that causes you to finish the hike. Just show up every morning & start hiking (unless you're taking a Zero; & don't get crazy w/ the Zeroes).

The Phoenix
10-01-2015, 16:10
I am opting to skip #4, because I would be writing all day & night.

1)I completed a thru-hike in 2009. It was a flip-flop, originally intended to be a standard NOBO. I started April 10th in Georgia. In Maryland (Pine Knob Shelter to be exact) I was joined by a raccoon in my sleep that decided to chomp my cranium. This lead to a series of rabies shots and a few weeks off the trail. I ended up finishing the trail SOBO, Maine back down to Pine Knob Shelter, Maryland. I finished in October.

It was honestly perfect. I enjoyed Spring on my NOBO and Fall on my SOBO. If I had to pick NOBO or SOBO, Iíd probably pick ME>GA.

6) Take it slower in the Mid-Atlantic & VA. I averaged around 25 miles a day thru those states and some areas were really nothing more than a blur. I regret that and have since gone back and revisited those areas and taken things more slowly.

I would have not had a girlfriend (long distance) who took up too much of my time and energy while hiking. Thatís truly my biggest regret. Having to find cell reception and dilly-dally with a galÖ it was simply a distraction. She joined me on the trail a time or two, but all things considered, I woulda broken things off before hand and avoided the headaches.

7) a-Hike your own hike: do what you want to do, hike how you want to hike, too many know-it-alls out there that want to tell you how to do things out there.
b-Donít overthink it. Itís just a walk in the woods. Donít over-prepare, donít over-stress, donít over spend/buy/etcÖ enjoy the process, but donít become a crazy person over it. You will learn more in a few weeks on the trail than any book, forum, or expert can teach you.
c-Soak it all in. Iíve lived a damn good life. Traveled the world, wander through Africa, Europe, and been to all 50 statesÖ The AT is still far and away my best adventure. Enjoy it and donít take anything too seriouslyÖ unless itís death or somebody got pregnantÖ those things are both pretty serious.

8)


Polar pure
Whatever you are comfortable wearing. I thru-hiked in nothing but a pair of the original crocs, gym shorts, and a Carolina Panthers football jersey. You donít need to be decked out in the entire REI store to have a successful hike. You want stuff that is comfortable and dries quickly. I didnít buy a single piece of clothing before or during my hike.
Snickers bars
Summer sausage
In the summer, deet is nice to have (especially in the NE)
A good adventure book or two... i.e. Huck Finn, Moby Dick, etc
A good headlight, especially if you plan to night hike.
Indestructible Nalgenes are nice
A nifty knife/tool
Dr. Bonnerís magical hippie soap

Smoky Spoon
10-02-2015, 15:42
Starchild, thank you for responding, I appreciate the time and effort you put into your answers.

Just a few follow up questions if you have the time please?
What is aquablaze? That one is new to me.

So you feel that thru-hikers have to rely on others more when hiking or am I misunderstanding? And if yes, why? Can you clarify that for me please?

Again thank you so much, i really enjoyed reading your answers and thank you for sharing.




1- AT thru hikers class 2013, GAME, I wanted to be part of the bubble, to experience the combination of the social + natural journey that the AT is known for, to be part of something much larger then myself. The date 3-18-13, was when my friend and personal trail angel had off from work and offered to drive me down to GA. She came into my life about 5 months earlier and offered to drive me then, answering my big 2 questions how and when to get to GA. (also the 3rd how to get home from ME).

4- I learned that humanity is worth it, the value and goodness of humanity, the gift of giving and receiving, and how much different one can make in both persons' lives if we allow that kindness to be extended to us, and offer that kindness to others. Being valued and loved for who one is and what one is doing. Also learned that having wet feet is not the worst thing in the world. That the path is tested and true and one does not need to look any further then their next resupply and only worry about their next step. I confirmed what I already knew, plan too much and miss the magic that is there for everyone, we are not suppose to plan as we are taught to. We are far more dependent on others then we care to admit to ourselves (if we go against this we just make it harder for ourselves), and a hiker on the trail is very much childlike in needs. The trail is a great teacher and parent for her children (the AT thru hikers), but not everyone is her child, but could be a child of a different 'parent' and those people will be gently steered towards where they should be in life, as such there is no failed attempts, just direction and love for the future success.

6 I would blue blaze more, possibly aquablaze, experience more of what the journey offers, including more town entertainment options.

7 - 1:For anyone who has the drive to do the AT, to grab any chance they get as it is so hard to get the 6 months off or so. 2: follow your heart and trust if you are going to make the journey you will, if not you will be directed to where you need to be 3: Don't plan too much, never look past your next resupply and be open to whatever comes up.

8 - I would advise them to go on as many group backpacks from various groups and clubs, see what works and what doesn't for them and to select accordingly.

Smoky Spoon
10-02-2015, 15:57
Bronk, thank you for your responses.

Do you think you may try to finish your thru-hike or are you satisfied that you accomplished what you achieved and that was just living in the moment for four months doing whatever it was that you pleased? Which by the way sounds like you had the time of your life.

And do you think the couple that pulled a car behind their van spent more time getting the vehicles in order or more time on the trail? It felt to me that they were being counter productive, not really being on the trail and dependent on their selves as much, or am I completely off base here? The car being used is a new concept to me, I have only spoke to one other poster regarding it. I am curious.

I do not know how old you are but have read a book by David Ryan regarding hiking for older folks on the AT. He regards older folks I believe as 45 and older, which means me. :) He said he recommended that they walk closer to ten miles a day, he said they sustain less injuries and seem to see more what the trail has to offer. He also said they spend more time e on the trail and less time in hostels, regardless of your age, do you think that was how you decided to see the trail once you started hiking? I only ask because it is the way I am leaning towards.

Thank you again for your responses, I really did enjoy reading them and appreciate that you shared them with me.





I did 850 miles in 2002...I started out thinking it was going to be a thruhike. It took me 4 months to get that far. I learned that while I like hiking, I like camping just as much, so I wasn't in much of a hurry. Just about everybody passed me. There were 3 people that I met my first week on the trail that were in Waynesboro the day I quit...and they weren't in any kind of hurry either...one was a hobo who was working his way up the trail and spent much time in towns looking for odd jobs, the other two were a couple who slackpacked and towed a car behind a van so that they didn't have to carry packs and they spent a good amount of time towing their car to the next trailhead and then driving back to retrieve their van. Hundreds of others passed me by. But I figured I probably wouldn't get another chance to take a vacation of several months long and I was going to enjoy it, not turn it into some kind of race. Once I was in shape I could do 20 mile days, but they weren't much fun and I didn't want to do it. So I mostly did 10 to 12 mile days...if I hiked 2 miles and found a cool spot, I might camp there for two or three days. Others would pass by thinking it was too early in the day to stop.

Starchild
10-02-2015, 16:12
Starchild, thank you for responding, I appreciate the time and effort you put into your answers.

Just a few follow up questions if you have the time please?
What is aquablaze? That one is new to me.

Approximately 150 miles of AT trail can be substituted by about the same mileage on a multiday kayak or canoe trip near Shanadoa and businesses are set up to provide that service. I believe another potential aqua blaze could be done in MA to CT going SoBo, however I have not heard of anyone doing it as part of the AT journey.


So you feel that thru-hikers have to rely on others more when hiking or am I misunderstanding? And if yes, why? Can you clarify that for me please?
The supplies a hiker has are minimal and in many ways insufficient as they need to be supplemented along the way. It is common for hikers to need rides, places to clean up, laundry, etc. As this they are very much in need of society, a support system which allows their minimalist level of travel. On the whole a thru hiker is much more dependent on society and help then a week long hiker. A thru hiker is much more child like in this way, with the kindnesses extended to thru hikers pretty much in line with the treatment of children from caring adults. Thru hikers need help that off trail people could easily solve themselves.


Again thank you so much, i really enjoyed reading your answers and thank you for sharing.[/QUOTE]

Smoky Spoon
10-02-2015, 16:13
Venchka, thank for responding. I had a few questions that if you could find the time to answer I would really appreciate it.

You said you are considering the CDT, I too am fascinated with it, in fact a new item on my bucket list is the triple crown. AT, PCT and CDT. In my research it is highly recommended to do a thru-hike with much more accessibility to resupplies and water like the AT first, so just wondering why you are considering the CDT first instead? No judgment here at all, just completely fascinated at your consideration on taking a more strenuous, less populated, less accessibility to water and resupplies and less marked trail when you have no actual thru-hiking experience under your belt? Or maybe I am living vicariously through your decision. LOL, I too have been bit by the CDT bug but still strongly feel the lure or the AT.

I appreciate the heads up on the pies at the diner, another person mentioned that to me in pm, amazing was their description and they justified taking a whole one with me. I did not have the heart to tell them I would love to but pretty sure my diabetes dictates differently. :(

Thank you again, it's not easy sharing on here and I am grateful that you took the time and effort to do so and so honestly. Happy trails.


etQUOTE=Venchka;2008453]Disclaimer: Ain't done it. Probably won't do the AT. The CDT is calling my name. That said, #7 applies to the AT and #8 applies to any long hike.

7.
A. Do NOT miss a meal at the Smoky Mountain Diner in Hot Springs, NC. Breakfast is FABULOUS. The pies are to die for. If they serve breakfast all day, come back for 2 or 3.
B. At the opposite end of Hot Springs, across the river on the right, is the Mecca of Junk Food. Frozen, Baked, Bars, Chips, Candy, Dips. And more.
C. When in Hot Springs, do not stay near the train tracks-river. Unless, for budgetary reasons, you must stay at the campgound behind the Junk Food Mecca.

8.
A high quality down sleeping bag suitable for weather on either end of the AT in Spring/Fall. A good down bag is literally a lifetime investment. I bought my first down bag in 1974 from REI. It was the lightest bag in the catalog at the time. 3" of top loft places it in the 10įF to 20įF range. It served me well in the Rockies in late August theu early October. My granddaughter has it now and has used it in the Grayson Highlands the past two summers. Don't cheap out on a good down bag.
A proper fitting quality backpack that fits YOU and is comfortable on YOU will make your hike possible. It should hold all of your stuff which is why you buy it last. Break it in for at least 100 miles before starting the hike. Purchase far enough in advance so that you can exchange it if the first one doesn't work for you.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
ps: The bananas are more than my old eyes can take. :banana

Wayne[/QUOTE]

Smoky Spoon
10-02-2015, 16:26
CarlZ993, thank you for your responses, I appreciate that you took the time e and effort to do so.

You said you were determined to beat your birthday and did but now wish that was not a factor, is that correct? Is that because you wish you had more time to explore the trail instead too as well as avoid some of the more unpleasant weather?

I was on the trail for a short time in 2013 and saw some rain too, when you said your date I cringed. I knew there was definitely some rain that year. I watch the weather all the time and say a little prayer for the folks on the trails when hurricanes and loads of crazy weather hits. I am impressed you finished your hike before your birthday. Congratulations.

You are the second person to suggest to just concern myself with making the next resupply stop, I have to keep that in mind.

Thank you again for responding, I really am grateful.




1. 2013 NoBo; 3/21/13; wanted to finish before my birthday in late Aug (I did)
4. I don't like hiking in the rain... and I hiked a lot in the rain in 2013; I thought I was a strong hiker before I started... I wasn't as strong as I thought; there were some hiking machines out there & I wasn't one of them.
6. I'd be tempted to start later to avoid the really cold stuff that I encountered (birthday be damned).
7. My advice: start hiking early in the day, carry a light pack, and just worry about making the next town/resupply (string enough towns/resupplies together & you'll finish a thru-hike). Bonus piece of advise - budget a lot more money than you expect to spend.
8. I had some nice stuff on the hike - Cuben fiber tent, ULA backpack, down sleeping bag, titanium pot, etc. Equipment helps but it is your drive that causes you to finish the hike. Just show up every morning & start hiking (unless you're taking a Zero; & don't get crazy w/ the Zeroes).

Smoky Spoon
10-02-2015, 16:45
The Phoenix, thank for your responses, I appreciate it and understand not answering number 4, it is kind of a personal question and I suspect most could probably write a few pages on it alone.

I am sorry you were bit and had to get rabies shots, those suck. I am glad you were able to finish your thru-hike and put in some high mile days. It's impressive and wearing only what you wore. I have a feeling I might need a little more clothes. I am a total girl. :) Fortunately my clothes weigh next to nothing.

You also said that you would consider a SoBo hike over a NoBo because spring was nicer and easier beginning in Maine? What time would you suggest starting if so? I guess in my mind I thought spring would be colder in Maine than Georgia. Is Mt. Katadyn open early enough to begin in March or April? I may have to look that up, I am trying to convince my editor to let me go SoBo.

I been all over the world too, Africa is on my list of places to see. I am jealous! Thanks for the gear list, but what is polar pure? :confused:

Thanks again for answering my questions and for being so forthright. I appreciate it a lot and really am grateful. Happy trails and good luck in your career decision, I am following that thread...


I am opting to skip #4, because I would be writing all day & night.

1)I completed a thru-hike in 2009. It was a flip-flop, originally intended to be a standard NOBO. I started April 10th in Georgia. In Maryland (Pine Knob Shelter to be exact) I was joined by a raccoon in my sleep that decided to chomp my cranium. This lead to a series of rabies shots and a few weeks off the trail. I ended up finishing the trail SOBO, Maine back down to Pine Knob Shelter, Maryland. I finished in October.

It was honestly perfect. I enjoyed Spring on my NOBO and Fall on my SOBO. If I had to pick NOBO or SOBO, I’d probably pick ME>GA.

6) Take it slower in the Mid-Atlantic & VA. I averaged around 25 miles a day thru those states and some areas were really nothing more than a blur. I regret that and have since gone back and revisited those areas and taken things more slowly.

I would have not had a girlfriend (long distance) who took up too much of my time and energy while hiking. That’s truly my biggest regret. Having to find cell reception and dilly-dally with a gal… it was simply a distraction. She joined me on the trail a time or two, but all things considered, I woulda broken things off before hand and avoided the headaches.

7) a-Hike your own hike: do what you want to do, hike how you want to hike, too many know-it-alls out there that want to tell you how to do things out there.
b-Don’t overthink it. It’s just a walk in the woods. Don’t over-prepare, don’t over-stress, don’t over spend/buy/etc… enjoy the process, but don’t become a crazy person over it. You will learn more in a few weeks on the trail than any book, forum, or expert can teach you.
c-Soak it all in. I’ve lived a damn good life. Traveled the world, wander through Africa, Europe, and been to all 50 states… The AT is still far and away my best adventure. Enjoy it and don’t take anything too seriously… unless it’s death or somebody got pregnant… those things are both pretty serious.

8)


Polar pure
Whatever you are comfortable wearing. I thru-hiked in nothing but a pair of the original crocs, gym shorts, and a Carolina Panthers football jersey. You don’t need to be decked out in the entire REI store to have a successful hike. You want stuff that is comfortable and dries quickly. I didn’t buy a single piece of clothing before or during my hike.
Snickers bars
Summer sausage
In the summer, deet is nice to have (especially in the NE)
A good adventure book or two... i.e. Huck Finn, Moby Dick, etc
A good headlight, especially if you plan to night hike.
Indestructible Nalgenes are nice
A nifty knife/tool
Dr. Bonner’s magical hippie soap

Smoky Spoon
10-02-2015, 16:45
The Phoenix, thank for your responses, I appreciate it and understand not answering number 4, it is kind of a personal question and I suspect most could probably write a few pages on it alone.

I am sorry you were bit and had to get rabies shots, those suck. I am glad you were able to finish your thru-hike and put in some high mile days. It's impressive and wearing only what you wore. I have a feeling I might need a little more clothes. I am a total girl. :) Fortunately my clothes weigh next to nothing.

You also said that you would consider a SoBo hike over a NoBo because spring was nicer and easier beginning in Maine? What time would you suggest starting if so? I guess in my mind I thought spring would be colder in Maine than Georgia. Is Mt. Katadyn open early enough to begin in March or April? I may have to look that up, I am trying to convince my editor to let me go SoBo.

I been all over the world too, Africa is on my list of places to see. I am jealous! Thanks for the gear list, but what is polar pure? :confused:

Thanks again for answering my questions and for being so forthright. I appreciate it a lot and really am grateful. Happy trails and good luck in your career decision, I am following that thread...


I am opting to skip #4, because I would be writing all day & night.

1)I completed a thru-hike in 2009. It was a flip-flop, originally intended to be a standard NOBO. I started April 10th in Georgia. In Maryland (Pine Knob Shelter to be exact) I was joined by a raccoon in my sleep that decided to chomp my cranium. This lead to a series of rabies shots and a few weeks off the trail. I ended up finishing the trail SOBO, Maine back down to Pine Knob Shelter, Maryland. I finished in October.

It was honestly perfect. I enjoyed Spring on my NOBO and Fall on my SOBO. If I had to pick NOBO or SOBO, Iíd probably pick ME>GA.

6) Take it slower in the Mid-Atlantic & VA. I averaged around 25 miles a day thru those states and some areas were really nothing more than a blur. I regret that and have since gone back and revisited those areas and taken things more slowly.

I would have not had a girlfriend (long distance) who took up too much of my time and energy while hiking. Thatís truly my biggest regret. Having to find cell reception and dilly-dally with a galÖ it was simply a distraction. She joined me on the trail a time or two, but all things considered, I woulda broken things off before hand and avoided the headaches.

7) a-Hike your own hike: do what you want to do, hike how you want to hike, too many know-it-alls out there that want to tell you how to do things out there.
b-Donít overthink it. Itís just a walk in the woods. Donít over-prepare, donít over-stress, donít over spend/buy/etcÖ enjoy the process, but donít become a crazy person over it. You will learn more in a few weeks on the trail than any book, forum, or expert can teach you.
c-Soak it all in. Iíve lived a damn good life. Traveled the world, wander through Africa, Europe, and been to all 50 statesÖ The AT is still far and away my best adventure. Enjoy it and donít take anything too seriouslyÖ unless itís death or somebody got pregnantÖ those things are both pretty serious.

8)


Polar pure
Whatever you are comfortable wearing. I thru-hiked in nothing but a pair of the original crocs, gym shorts, and a Carolina Panthers football jersey. You donít need to be decked out in the entire REI store to have a successful hike. You want stuff that is comfortable and dries quickly. I didnít buy a single piece of clothing before or during my hike.
Snickers bars
Summer sausage
In the summer, deet is nice to have (especially in the NE)
A good adventure book or two... i.e. Huck Finn, Moby Dick, etc
A good headlight, especially if you plan to night hike.
Indestructible Nalgenes are nice
A nifty knife/tool
Dr. Bonnerís magical hippie soap

Smoky Spoon
10-02-2015, 16:57
Sorry for the double posts, not sure why that is happening.:(

dudeijuststarted
10-02-2015, 17:36
1.) Yes. Alternative thru 3/22-10/10/2014. Started out NOBO, couldn't really mesh with anyone, and did this: GA-NC, PA-VT, WV-NC, ME-VT, PA-WV. I had the time and money to hike my own hike. My final leg repeated the very first AT section I ever hiked. A celebration.
2.) N/A
3.) N/A
4.) I'd rather encourage people to join the journey and find out for themselves. It's a mindbender.
5.) N/A
6.) I love every part of my first thru. I'd either head NOBO much earlier, or another alternative route ending at either Harper's or somehow Mt. Washington.
7.) a.) Have a reason to finish b.) Have a home and income plan for when you're done c.) Prepare to be changed forever
8.) I'm not sure I carried ten pieces of equipment. It doesn't matter what you start out with. If its your first thru you're going to change out 50% of it anyway. The best piece of equipment is a devoted mind.

Bronk
10-02-2015, 18:29
I was 25 when I hiked the AT...I'm close to 40 now. And you're right...I just enjoyed the simple freedom of it. I stopped to take a shower at a hostel one time and decided to sweep the floor and clean the kitchen... something I hadn't done for awhile...the proprietor said "oh, you don't have to do that." I just smiled and said "I know. I don't have to do anything I don't want to do. Its great." I didn't carry a watch. I didn't care what time it was. I never knew if it was Tuesday or Saturday. I simply didn't care. I was doing what I wanted to do. That is what made all the difference. To this day I tell people "Some of the best times I've spent in my life were spent homeless and unemployed." I'd love to do something similar again...maybe when I retire at 55. Though I don't think I'd go back and finish the AT. When I hiked I only remember seeing someone with a cell phone twice. Now everybody has them. I think it would be a much different experience nowadays. And I don't think I'd want to do a whole four months. Maybe do several 3 to 6 week trips. I'd like to do some large sections on the Continental Divide Trail. I spent far less time in towns and hostels than many of the other people I met out there hiking. My strategy was to get into town and back out within a couple of hours...shower, laundry, restaurant, grocery store, and then back on the trail...even if that only meant hiking a few hundred yards up the trail and setting up my tent. I only spent about 1600 or 1700 dollars in 4 months on the trail and I credit that to the fact that I took almost all of my zero days on the trail and only spent a few nights in town. I think the people that towed the car did spend a lot more time moving the cars around...but they seemed to be enjoying themselves...its not the way I would want to do it but it seemed to work for them. I hiked shorter days because I liked to spend a lot of time in camp. I also didn't want to feel like every day was a push to meet a mileage goal. I didn't want to be afraid to stop and spend a couple of days if I found a really cool camping spot. I once spent 4 days hiking only 3 miles. Some days I'd sleep in until 9am and then spend the rest of the day in my tent reading a book.

Venchka
10-02-2015, 19:56
Smoky Spoon,
Thank you for taking the time to ask in depth questions that I haven't actually asked myself. You and I deserve thoughtful answers. I have a 3 day weekend ahead of me which includes a 500 mile road trip. Plenty of time to ponder the answers to your questions.
Details to follow. Film at Eleven.
Take care.
Ps: D.D.&Dives featured the Monte Cristo Liquor & Steak House in Albuquerque tonight. Are you familiar with it? You go through a liquor store to get to the restaurant. Looked like a cool place.

Wayne


Sent from somewhere around here.

The Phoenix
10-02-2015, 20:01
The Phoenix, thank for your responses, I appreciate it and understand not answering number 4, it is kind of a personal question and I suspect most could probably write a few pages on it alone.

I am sorry you were bit and had to get rabies shots, those suck. I am glad you were able to finish your thru-hike and put in some high mile days. It's impressive and wearing only what you wore. I have a feeling I might need a little more clothes. I am a total girl. :) Fortunately my clothes weigh next to nothing.

You also said that you would consider a SoBo hike over a NoBo because spring was nicer and easier beginning in Maine? What time would you suggest starting if so? I guess in my mind I thought spring would be colder in Maine than Georgia. Is Mt. Katadyn open early enough to begin in March or April? I may have to look that up, I am trying to convince my editor to let me go SoBo.

I been all over the world too, Africa is on my list of places to see. I am jealous! Thanks for the gear list, but what is polar pure? :confused:

Thanks again for answering my questions and for being so forthright. I appreciate it a lot and really am grateful. Happy trails and good luck in your career decision, I am following that thread...

I left Maine in late summer/early fall. I took about 2 months off for the rabies ordeal & then jumped up to Maine to finish going south. I liked the Southern route better, because the crowds were subdued. I'd probably start in Maine in early July and finish down in Georgia in late October/early November.

It's tough... can't go wrong. If you start in spring, I'd say start a little before or well after the main rush. That wouldn't be awesome to be stuck in, unless you want the full social experience (which you should get anyways, without the major congestion)...

You can start and Georgia and catch that spring-time wave and ride it all the way up to mid Virginia (where summer will inevitably catch you)... or start in Maine, catch fall in Vermont, Southern New England, and the Mid-Atlantic and ride the Autumn wave southbound... you win either way... truly.

Polar Pure is this (http://www.amazon.com/Polar-Pure-Disinfectant-Purification-Effectivley/dp/B00N5AGT1Q)...It is a cheap, easy, and long lasting water treatment system. I used my first bottle throughout my Appalachian Trail trek, on the JMT, LT, and two dozen canyoneering trips in the Rockies. I just had to buy my second bottle. If I'm not mistaken, it was taken off the market for a while because some knuckleheads had found a way to make meth with it. Don't quote me on that though... I only heard that through the grapevine.