View Full Version : How a Thru-Hike will change your life.

01-04-2016, 20:59
I put together this video of changes I saw in myself after completing my Thru.

I would love to hear other thru hikers thoughts. Did you notice the same? What changed in you the most?


01-05-2016, 07:53
Hi I liked your video. I met you several times along the way-so happy to see you finished. I did too-and yes- the big changes I expected are apparently going to be like hiking the trail. I'm going to have to work for them. There have been a few though-My biggest change has been my stress re-set. I just don't get stressed out. I am more accepting and less critical- hallmarks of burnout. My staff thinks I am a different person. I also spend a lot of time trying to connect with the trail- online, looking at pics, reading other hikers journals and blogs. I miss it so much. So funny because there were definitely days that I hated the trail. Not as many as the days I loved it though. When my foot completely heals I will be hiking again, and that thought makes me very very happy;)

Pedaling Fool
01-05-2016, 09:30
I've noticed that what most people come away with after an AT thru-hike is what I came away with from my countless deployments overseas during my 23 years in the navy. So, I guess I'm lucky in a way, because it allowed me to focus on other things.

A thru-hike (or any other endeavor) doesn't teach/change you. You're attitude, thoughts, reflection is what teaches/changes you after your thru-hike. Many of my lessons I learned, I didn't learn until much time after my hike. A lot of the stuff I learned I had an inkling of at the end of my hike, but didn't really get an appreciation, nor a full understanding until I spent time reflecting on these things. You don't come away from any endeavor with being changed, because you need time to digest. You may feel you've been changed, but that's mostly emotions fooling you (barring of course an epiphany, which is rare).

I'm surprised that more thru-hikers don't learn the lesson of being in total physical fitness and wanting to improve on that after their hike. I know this sounds kind of vain or fill in your own adjective, i.e egotistical, self-complacent, trivial, trifling... Think what you want, but it is the foundation of quality of life.

I'm also baffled by why people think that a thru-hike destroyed their metabolic system. If that's what some learned from their thru-hike, then I can only conclude that thru-hikes can end up being a reason for people becoming less enlightened --- or not changed at all or possibly changed for the worst.

01-05-2016, 11:43
Thanks for sharing. Interesting perspectives and thoughts on contentment and appreciation.

01-05-2016, 12:15
After my thru hike I simply don't expect or need much, and if I find myself overreaching I dial it back. The year following my hike is where the most profound changes came. I was able to go back to work with the realization that there was no use in killing myself in a career, that much grander things are found far away from urban centers and office buildings. I see people in their 40s, 50s, 60s still obsessed and desperately searching for fulfillment from their career, working all hours of the night for a hint of recognition. I am no longer poisoned by that, and when I leave the office I don't think about it or answer the phone. "Let em fire me," I say to myself, "I'll go back to the trail." I am going through the process of stripping away old acquaintances, much like the process of shaking down a pack. I have a few hobbies and material possessions which bring me a tremendous amount of joy and balance. Another somewhat morbid but real effect of the thru was that, if I were on my deathbed this afternoon, I could tell myself that I truly lived life to the fullest and have no resentment for that. Powerful stuff.

01-06-2016, 19:28
Awesome comments and good points!
Ive enjoyed reading the responses so far!

01-06-2016, 19:38
Eventually, I seem to find that I regress to my old ways after a few years.
Immediately after a thru: I get rid of a lot of stuff, prefer to sleep on a floor or outside, walk more to get somewhere, in general, simplify my life.
Takes about 4 or 5 years and I seem to regress back to my old ways.
So, a thru-hike every 5 years is necessary to maintain the proper lifestyle.

But, I do travel more now, and am more adventurous.

01-07-2016, 01:27
I would guess that like most things, what you get out of it are the things you work for.

01-07-2016, 04:13
I put together this video of changes I saw in myself after completing my Thru.

I would love to hear other thru hikers thoughts. Did you notice the same? What changed in you the most?


Hi friend,
I like your video.Hiking makes us happy.

01-07-2016, 08:36
I was in the process of a life transition when I did the thru, the thru set the pattern I'm still on. One day at a time, one step at a time, knowing the path is true and trustworthy and I don't have to know how it gets me there, just take the next step.