PDA

View Full Version : Advice on finishing the trail with no money



LShuman024
08-09-2021, 16:20
I could use some advice from those who may have been in a similar situation. My boyfriend and I started hiking the AT NOBO in March and we had a few setbacks like injuries, total gear replacement, and sometimes we got sucked into the town vortex, especially when we were hurting from our feet issues (plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis). We knew we were behind and at the end of July, we were only 1/3 of the way to Katahdin and our funds were too low to continue and we went home to reevaluate. Weve been home three weeks so far and we were hoping to get back out on trail starting at Katahdin and heading back south to our stopping point in Virginia. The reason were taking so long to get back out on trail is because of our money situation. Weve been trying to do quick odd jobs, sell things, and we even started a GoFundMeeven though we HATE the idea of asking folks for money. Weve been through the worst stress/post Trail depression since weve been home and we want nothing more than to get back out because our goal is to finish the trail before the end of this year. We have a unique living situation and cant wait until next year. On the trail, we met a guy who was hiking with his car. He would work for stay at hostels, and when he could hike, hed drive forward to the next gap, slackpack, then hitch a ride back to his car. We thought about this being a possibility and possibly make money in the meantime doing shuttles or food delivery service. However, with Maine being so remote, we worry about being able to hike with our car and hitching rides to it.
Has anyone ever been faced with such a unique problem? We are trying anything at this point. All we know is that our trail friends/angels have all told us to get back out as soon as we can or else we may never get back there. We know this was a one time adventure for us before we start building a life and the lack of support back home has been hard.
Advice, if any?
Thanks

Gambit McCrae
08-09-2021, 16:40
Its not very unique, its just part of being broke. I have not run into this situation thankfully, but I also did not thru hike. I completed the trail in manageable sections and then went back to work

JNI64
08-09-2021, 17:19
Gee I just don't know how you are surviving this terrible tragedy!
You'll are going to need therapy for this or atleast a therapy dog.

gpburdelljr
08-09-2021, 18:43
Get a job, and save your money. If you really want to complete the trail, you’ll figure out a way to do it in the future.

Jonnycat
08-09-2021, 18:58
...we HATE the idea of asking folks for money.

And yet here you are, asking for money by posting your gofundme link and sponging off of trail enablers. Get a job like the rest of us; every store I walk into has a big "Hiring" sign by the front door, or you could go old school and offer to wash dishes for your meals.

Dogwood
08-09-2021, 19:59
You're not looking to finish the trail. If you were you'd be open to being a section hiker, as Gambit McCrae. You're specifically seeking to finish a thru hike.

Your spending pattern is to get sucked into the town vortex, through Consumerism, a rampant U.S. trait. Even if some funds become available what makes you assume you wouldn't go back to that pattern? I say constantly our off trail habits follow us to our on trail lives. You likely had this same spending pattern off trail.

There are innumerous threads on this website with many many insights into how to reduce on trail spending. Yet, I see no evidence of you availing yourself of these resources. I see more of the same - Consumerism and a it's all about me attitude.

If you're still reading, I stopped several times to work on an AT thru hike - NC, WV, NJ, and VT. I did it also while thru-hiking the PCT and CDT too. I expanded my comfort xones to stay on trail and avoid Consumerism even through injuries. When I did have debilitating shin splints on one of my PCT thru hikes I stayed for a week at a trail angels home for a week donating $10 per day while hobbling around doing chores. On a CDT thru hike I stopped and worked for three weeks in Las Vegas and two weeks in Denver. I always hitch hiked.

Daybreak
08-09-2021, 20:28
"Past behavior = Future performance" - an extremely accurate predictor
You will not get sympathy or even much information here. Every line screams that you will not changed anything because you have not changed anything or even done simple research. You are begging for money to extend a 5 month vacation with IMHO no hope of completing a thru. Come back next year and ...
1. Plantar Fasciitis lingers and will come back. Been to the podiatrist? Changed hiking shoes, inserts, habits... This alone will likely stop your hike. The trail is soft in the South while hard, rooty and rocky in the North.
2. People in the same situation make it about as far as you do. They like town, like to party, like to spend money, fail to plan financially, need the latest gear and hang with others who are similar. They demonstrate by their behavior that they don't really like camping, don't prefer spending time in the woods, don't want to skip towns, don't ever challenge themselves to get in and out of towns quickly, and can't make or stick to a budget.

3. You have no money and want to slackpack? Cars are expensive and enable you to go to town and spend money. Hitching from a trailhead back to the car takes lots of time. You can calculate the miles on Mapquest. Expensive. Backpacking requires no car, no car expenses and hitching only once every 4 to 8 days. You are also not pounding your feet in town.

4. The town life is pretty much over by now. So prove the trail is for you. Start south from PA with a plan to do maildrops and money drops (so you can't spend it). Preplan your $$ and ride home. Ditch a phone or two. Use whatever gear you have (except use good footwear), Use the food in the house and cheap food. Carry a lot extra food and avoid the town binge. Deal with setbacks. Remember you have to start with low mileage again so carry a real book or two. You will not be hiking in sync with others. Change your attitude.

Durwood
08-09-2021, 22:14
I really don't want to dump on the OP's request for help...BUT this is a generational use of resources.

So many of us have faced the same issue and worked near the trail, asked grandma to send a check or simply went home. Now, being proficient in reaching forums, gofund, vlogging for monetary gain, repping or "ambassador" for hiking websites is the key to free $$$.

I do feel the request here is misplaced because so much info has been shared on not getting into this situation. Get Off My Lawn only works if one is aware that this IS the new version of raising free money. As for me, I'll provide info but no dollars.

Durwood
08-09-2021, 22:17
If you're already back home at least you saved that expense. Try being destitute in Maine and needing a hitch to TX. Haha

LShuman024
08-09-2021, 23:08
Although I did link the page, in no way do I expect anyone here to donate whatsoever.
I was honestly asking if anyone has ever done the car thing as a possible means of making extra money while on trail or if they think it might be a burden to have along. Im leaning toward the latter.

LShuman024
08-09-2021, 23:14
Yes, we do want to finish our thru hike. We have thought about section hiking, but as several family members and friends have told us, continuously leaving jobs to hike the trail is irresponsible.
Go ahead and call me a snowflake, lazy, or whatever else. Maybe I am trying to squeeze blood from a stone. Maybe I was foolish in asking a community of hikers where we clearly dont seem to belong.

Jonnycat
08-09-2021, 23:26
I really don't want to dump on the OP's request for help...BUT this is a generational use of resources.

So many of us have faced the same issue and worked near the trail, asked grandma to send a check or simply went home. Now, being proficient in reaching forums, gofund, vlogging for monetary gain, repping or "ambassador" for hiking websites is the key to free $$$.

I do feel the request here is misplaced because so much info has been shared on not getting into this situation. Get Off My Lawn only works if one is aware that this IS the new version of raising free money. As for me, I'll provide info but no dollars.

So you justify people monetizing our few remaining wild areas because it's just the new "generational use of resources"? Some things deserve to remain free from monetization, and if it is not our wild areas, I can't think of what those things would be. But then again, many people today have become conditioned to accept that someone selling her body as a sex worker (online or in the real world) is an acceptable method of employment, so maybe it shouldn't be too surprising that those same people would be able to justify whoring out our natural areas as well.

Durwood
08-09-2021, 23:40
Yes, we do want to finish our thru hike. We have thought about section hiking, but as several family members and friends have told us, continuously leaving jobs to hike the trail is irresponsible.
Go ahead and call me a snowflake, lazy, or whatever else. Maybe I am trying to squeeze blood from a stone. Maybe I was foolish in asking a community of hikers where we clearly dont seem to belong.

Aint mad at ya. Setting aside funds and budgeting over the course of a thru is an essential part of pre-hike prep.

It's very hard to do if that budget is razor thin. Be in good shape, have adequate gear, do trail research and TRIPLE check your finances. If any of these are neglected the chances of a successful thru are greatly diminished...might hadta come back. Generating income on trail while staying committed to the hike is very difficult.

Durwood
08-10-2021, 01:34
So you justify people monetizing our few remaining wild areas because it's just the new "generational use of resources"? Some things deserve to remain free from monetization, and if it is not our wild areas, I can't think of what those things would be. But then again, many people today have become conditioned to accept that someone selling her body as a sex worker (online or in the real world) is an acceptable method of employment, so maybe it shouldn't be too surprising that those same people would be able to justify whoring out our natural areas as well.

Flat ridiculous. I'm not justifying anyone's anything. By resources I mean using technology to reach out. In the olden days did the po' hikers lick 10k stamps and send them to strangers? Different times like it or not...wanna change how things evolve? Go for it-I'll hide and watch.

I never got near the subject of our wild areas.

Durwood
08-10-2021, 01:50
An analogy to a prostitute using their body?!?! I take great exception. Like the OP, I walk away from this trashy forum.

Good luck to some of my favorite posters. I'll DM or PM some of you...keep sharing the wisdom because it serves wannabes very well.

Durwood, NOBO 02/18-08/06 class 2018.

hobbs
08-10-2021, 02:16
I never knew that about your hikes. I am genuienly greatful for the advice I got from you posting when I went on my section hike in 2015 from Georgia to Happers ferry and friends that were former sobos that hiked in 2014...But your right In your post people need to research and also hitch when you can work for stay and have finances in place and watch what you spend and how.

LShuman024
08-10-2021, 09:17
So you justify people monetizing our few remaining wild areas because it's just the new "generational use of resources"? Some things deserve to remain free from monetization, and if it is not our wild areas, I can't think of what those things would be. But then again, many people today have become conditioned to accept that someone selling her body as a sex worker (online or in the real world) is an acceptable method of employment, so maybe it shouldn't be too surprising that those same people would be able to justify whoring out our natural areas as well.

Wow. How dare you.
I’m not for people selling themselves online like that either. But did I EVER in that link post nudes or anything like that? I initially created the page because I had friends of family offer to send me some funds to help along the way while my parents updated them with my stories on trail. I’m not here begging folks for money. None of you have any obligation to! The matter at hand was advice to do what I could to continue. I’m not done stupid entitled millennial who want everything handed to her, i am willing to put in hard work. Just as it has taken me 4 years to save for this hike. I know inevitably I’ll have to go back to work again. Is it wrong to want to see how far I can get on trail before then?

LShuman024
08-10-2021, 09:20
Aint mad at ya. Setting aside funds and budgeting over the course of a thru is an essential part of pre-hike prep.

It's very hard to do if that budget is razor thin. Be in good shape, have adequate gear, do trail research and TRIPLE check your finances. If any of these are neglected the chances of a successful thru are greatly diminished...might hadta come back. Generating income on trail while staying committed to the hike is very difficult.

Sorry for getting defensive. That seems to be all I’m met with lately. Thank you for your advice. I know my budget continuing from here on is small, but I’m willing to do what I can to at least make it to Katahdin and the 100 mile wilderness heading south. I should at least get through Maine with the budget I currently have. Beyond that, who knows. Thank you.

JNI64
08-10-2021, 09:54
Wow. How dare you.
I’m not for people selling themselves online like that either. But did I EVER in that link post nudes or anything like that? I initially created the page because I had friends of family offer to send me some funds to help along the way while my parents updated them with my stories on trail. I’m not here begging folks for money. None of you have any obligation to! The matter at hand was advice to do what I could to continue. I’m not done stupid entitled millennial who want everything handed to her, i am willing to put in hard work. Just as it has taken me 4 years to save for this hike. I know inevitably I’ll have to go back to work again. Is it wrong to want to see how far I can get on trail before then?

Yes you're begging for money and yes it's wrong to want to continue if you're broke.

rhjanes
08-10-2021, 10:27
Here is one car method. You've already seen above and considered the expense and wear and tear on the car. If not, consider that on one of Jennifer Pharr-Davis's FKT hikes, her husband supported her from a van. It was a used family van to begin with, but she wrote it was junk when it went up and down forest service roads for a few months.

So this car method, you won't be hiking together but you could finish the trail. You will also be able to hike with just a day's worth of food and minimal survival gear. So you drive at 5 AM to a trailhead. One of you hops out and starts hiking. The other person drives the car to some other trailhead and parks. Then starts hiking in the direction the first person will be coming from. So say the first person is hiking north. The car is driven north some distance. The second person, who parked the car, is hiking south. You wind up meeting in the middle, perhaps for lunch. SWITCH KEYS if both of you don't already have a key. I'd each carry a key, just in case. So the one person then reaches the car and drives back to the starting point where the second person is sitting waiting for you. You have both hike the same 20 mile day (or whatever), but in opposite directions. It can work well but then the major downside for you is that you won't be together during the day.

To some of your relatives saying it would be irresponsible to keep quitting. I see what they are saying, but you can perhaps work a year, live very frugal and then hike again the next year. If you still don't finish, just do that a third year. Or work 2 years, quit and finish it. I know a young lady whose current life style is just that. She works doing stuff like teaching climbing skills, axe throwing, escape room, all winter long. Living very cheaply. And in her time off, she is planning her next adventure. She thru hiked the AT one summer. She's hiked New Zealand. I've not seen her in a year but I'm sure there was a PCT, or a CDT, or a Camino the past year. But know that her frugal life style also is that on the trail. Minimal town stops. When they are, it's minimal drinking and staying at a hiker hostel or sharing a room split four ways and back on the trail the next day. Remember the goal.

4eyedbuzzard
08-10-2021, 10:45
I could use some advice from those who may have been in a similar situation. My boyfriend and I started hiking the AT NOBO in March and we had a few setbacks like injuries, total gear replacement, and sometimes we got sucked into the town vortex, especially when we were hurting from our feet issues (plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis). We knew we were behind and at the end of July, we were only 1/3 of the way to Katahdin and our funds were too low to continue and we went home to reevaluate. Weve been home three weeks so far and we were hoping to get back out on trail starting at Katahdin and heading back south to our stopping point in Virginia. The reason were taking so long to get back out on trail is because of our money situation. Weve been trying to do quick odd jobs, sell things, and we even started a GoFundMe ( https://gofund.me/09037445 ) even though we HATE the idea of asking folks for money. Weve been through the worst stress/post Trail depression since weve been home and we want nothing more than to get back out because our goal is to finish the trail before the end of this year. We have a unique living situation and cant wait until next year. On the trail, we met a guy who was hiking with his car. He would work for stay at hostels, and when he could hike, hed drive forward to the next gap, slackpack, then hitch a ride back to his car. We thought about this being a possibility and possibly make money in the meantime doing shuttles or food delivery service. However, with Maine being so remote, we worry about being able to hike with our car and hitching rides to it.Has anyone ever been faced with such a unique problem? We are trying anything at this point. All we know is that our trail friends/angels have all told us to get back out as soon as we can or else we may never get back there. We know this was a one time adventure for us before we start building a life and the lack of support back home has been hard.Advice, if any? ThanksReality checks are painful, both physically and psychologically. Based on what you posted here and in your gofundme posts, you started March 15 and got off the trail roughly July 18. You went 750 miles in 125 days, averaging 6 mpd (miles per day). Yes, I know there were foot problems, gear swap outs, and weather delays. Most hikers experience some, if not all of these to some degree. But the reality is still 6 mpd (miles per day). Ask yourself, "did we spend 60+ zero days because of foot problems and weather?" Because a 12mpd average is pretty much a bare MINIMUM for successfully thru-hiking in a single season.

Please consider that the trail will NOT get easier in the north and that goes doubleplus for Maine and New Hampshire, where your daily mileage will drop due to difficulty of the terrain, possible bad weather at higher elevations, and logistics of where you can resupply and camp.

I don't think the car plan will work, especially starting SOBO at Katahdin. You'll be spending both precious time AND money moving the car around, and Maine is likely not a place you'll likely even break even on gas money. You'll spend more money fueling AND more time driving the car around (and NOT hiking) than you'll take in. How would people even contact you for services given the spotty at best cell service? Then add in the possibility of a car breaking down and requiring repairs in a remote section of Maine - when you are on a razor thin budget. By the time you get back on the trail, even if just a week from now, Maine's realistic summer will be almost over (Labor Day, Sept 6), and daylight hiking hours will start getting much shorter, especially in ME and NH. The weather will start to turn as well, with cold rain and even frozen precipitation at higher elevations in the Whites as early as mid-September. Later season NOBO thru-hikers will be going the opposite direction from you, and within a few weeks they'll all be well north of you. I don't see them needing shuttle rides or such anyway - they'll likely have resupply and other such needs already planned for.

Given your prior history in regards to average pace, the increased difficulty of terrain, seasonal weather and daylight changes, potential for foot problems, etc., I just don't see you completing this hike this year. Hey, you hiked 750 miles. You are part of the very large majority of people who planned to thru-hike and never completed their thru-hike due to a myriad of reasons, and running out of money is a common one. You made it farther than most people do. And you can always go back and finish, either in a single season or over multiple years.

illabelle
08-10-2021, 10:59
Sorry for getting defensive. That seems to be all I’m met with lately. Thank you for your advice. I know my budget continuing from here on is small, but I’m willing to do what I can to at least make it to Katahdin and the 100 mile wilderness heading south. I should at least get through Maine with the budget I currently have. Beyond that, who knows. Thank you.
First, a thank you to those who responded in a civil and helpful manner, like rhjanes above. Kindness is always praiseworthy.

LShuman, if I understand correctly, you've completed the trail from Springer to somewhere in Virginia, and you plan to get up to Katahdin and go SOBO until you run out of resources, wherever that puts you. Since you live in Pennsylvania, you're in an ideal location to finish up the trail over time in weekend trips. My husband and I did almost everything south of PenMar in short trips of 2-5 days, usually 3. We got really tired of driving up and down I-81 through Virginia! But we did it. While it cost more in extra gas and vehicle wear and tear, the cost was spread over a longer time period and was manageable. Section-hiking may not be what you dreamed of, but it can get the job done. Best of luck to you!

LShuman024
08-10-2021, 11:25
First, a thank you to those who responded in a civil and helpful manner, like rhjanes above. Kindness is always praiseworthy.

LShuman, if I understand correctly, you've completed the trail from Springer to somewhere in Virginia, and you plan to get up to Katahdin and go SOBO until you run out of resources, wherever that puts you. Since you live in Pennsylvania, you're in an ideal location to finish up the trail over time in weekend trips. My husband and I did almost everything south of PenMar in short trips of 2-5 days, usually 3. We got really tired of driving up and down I-81 through Virginia! But we did it. While it cost more in extra gas and vehicle wear and tear, the cost was spread over a longer time period and was manageable. Section-hiking may not be what you dreamed of, but it can get the job done. Best of luck to you!

Thank you so much for your kindness and information. I know sections aren’t our first choice, but realistically that seems the best option. We’ve put a lot of our life on hold to do this hike and we honestly can’t see us putting it on hold for much longer.

Traveler
08-10-2021, 13:18
For what its worth....

The triad of long distance hiking is rarely defeated, which are: Finances, Fitness, and Time. Losing any one of these to the vagaries of circumstance will certainly cripple a thru hike or end it completely. By your original post, it would appear you have lost the first two with short funds and injury, with the third likely being lost to the seasons. While the ambition and emotional yearning to complete the hike from Katahdin south is high, it may be time to step back and survey the landscape.

As mentioned above, plantar facetious, the scourge of the backpacking community, coupled with tendonitis can be recurring without proper rest and rehab exercises. Most all of us have had one of these if not both and have tried to speed recovery to continue long distance hiking only to fail again a little while into it. A Katahdin restart into the 100-mile wilderness into the Mahoosic's, quickly followed by the White Mountains are probably the most difficult stretches of the AT. If you or your partner is not at 100% the likelihood of failure on the trail is high with few bail out points that complicates things. On the fitness aspect alone, I would suggest your attempt window has closed, leaving the potential for another either next year or beyond open for exploration.

Finances are problematic. Conventional wisdom suggests about $5,000 should be set aside for an AT thru hike (more if you like hotels and hot meals in town), though it has been done for far less if one suffers 5-months with ramen noodle soup as a staple. Point being, there comes a time when the thru hike attempt cannot be sustained and has to be abandoned. Again, this sets the stage for experience to lend a hand with future attempt planning. Keep in mind, jobs come and go, careers are different and require significant time investment that make a thru hike problematic from an economic standpoint.

Time is the last of the triad. Time is running out and you will likely start the colder months still on the trail, though with luck south of the Whites. Even if you've the gear for it, without funds and injuries in the recent past will make this a torturous time. I would suggest working some jobs until you have enough saved up to start again next year or even the year after. A lot of us have had to pull ourselves off the trail and due to obligations and become a section hiker to completion (more difficult in my view than a thru hike), some can do it nearly immediately the following season, some kick it down the road to retirement.

Mental fitness is a big part of the fitness quotient, by the sounds of it you appear to be pushing recovery and with insecure money sources a solution that may not exist at this moment in time due to finances, injury, and time. I do understand the emotional toll turning back before reaching the end can be, but keep in mind only about 10% of those starting out make it, with only a fraction of the balance trying again. Age and experience says you may want to reconsider this attempt, regroup, and once the injuries have been addressed for sure, gear is up to snuff for each season you anticipate, and finances are at a level that will support you (with or without town vortices), you will be in a much better place both mentally and physically to select the best date, leave jobs behind, and do the entire trail.

I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck.

Jonnycat
08-10-2021, 13:42
Flat ridiculous. I'm not justifying anyone's anything.

Yes, that is exactly what you did. In a nutshell, you justified begging and selling out the trail because everyone is doing it. In case you missed it, here are the highlights:


I really don't want to dump on the OP's request for help...BUT this is a generational use of resources.


So many of us have faced the same issue and worked near the trail, asked grandma to send a check or simply went home. Now, being proficient in reaching forums, gofund, vlogging for monetary gain, repping or "ambassador" for hiking websites is the key to free $$$.


...this IS the new version of raising free money.



An analogy to a prostitute using their body?!?! I take great exception.

The analogy may be considered to be vulgar, but it is appropriate when you consider that people are actively monetizing our trails and wild areas, while others, such as yourself, condone that behavior. To myself (and an increasingly small number of people), our trails and wild areas are sacred places that should be off limits to such behaviors, which I see as a violation every bit as crude and demeaning as the one given in the analogy.

Daybreak
08-10-2021, 13:47
How you ask or don't makes a big difference. Your Gofundme page is much better written than your OP here. Yogiing is an integral part of trail lore whether intentional or not. Hikers get a shower, stay in houses, get rides, work for stay, food, etc. simply by being patient, letting people come to them, letting people feel safe and having solid conversations without even asking.

You now have learned some cold weather experience but experience is still a bad teacher. My two bits. Always carry extra fuel and a sturdy water bottle/coke bottle. A hot water bottle in a sock will warm your bag and you for half the night. When you wake reheat. This is for cold nights you don't expect. Keep the stove at a safe distance.

Dogwood
08-10-2021, 14:59
I was honestly asking if anyone has ever done the car thing as a possible means of making extra money while on trail or if they think it might be a burden to have along. I’m leaning toward the latter.
Pros and cons to most everything. The "car thing" as you've laid it out is no exception. On a balance sheet, as it applies to you, I see it as a net negative within the context of a completion of a thru hike this yr. However, in context of getting back on the AT this yr completing more miles as section hikers I see it as having greater merit.

Be careful what you believe. The belief that completing the AT as a section hiker is lower on the totem pole than a completion as a thru hiker is erroneous. It takes greater long term commitment, adaptability, and resiliency to complete the AT as a section hiker. Thru hiking the AT as a first ever 2000+ mile hike is over romanticied with resulting mounds of historical AT statistical evidence clearly indicating in hindsight that most who fail to complete the AT as thru hikers perhaps would have been better preparing off planning for a section hike. AT thru hiker completion rates are about 1 in 5 or 80% These stats have largely stayed flat over the decades.

I too once gave greater creedence, largely because of ego and ignorance, to those who thru hiked or labeled themselves as such. I was incorrect getting caught up in identity labels. Identity labels as applied to so many aspects of life constrain us. Don't let them box you in defining who you are or want to accomplish or how you can contribute!

I was also incorrect, as you now believe, that section hiking required constant quitting of jobs. I found this wasn't necessarily the case on my second AT and PCT completions, both completions achieved as a section hiker or primarily LASHer(long arse section hiker). I am currently still section hiking the CDT to accomplish two TC's. I have never quit a job to engage in those section hikes. I had different, and in many ways, more fulfilling experiences hiking these trails a second time in different seasons under different approaches with less of a stressed beat the clock it's a race against time and so many other constraints thru hiking places on the hiking/backpacking experience. If you truly love to hike/backpack and deeply desire to accomplish an AT or other trail completion I implore you to reevaluate section hiking as a different possible approach. Any hike can be a positive memorable experience IF YOU LET YOURSELF DEFINE IT THAT WAY!

The only times I've aborted a hike whether it be a weekender, 200 miler, or greater is due to PF. It was hard for me as it's not in my psychological make up to have to sit the bench or quit. I even tested the PF some three times - two Foothills Tr thru hikes and a Mountains to Sea Tr thru hike. I had to stop as the pain became overwhelming. But I did not lay down. I got back up more than a yr later to finish these hikes. You can do the same! This is possibly your time to regroup and better prepare! We expect to hear from you again on how you are no longer depressed but excited about your future, moving forward, and redefining.

CalebJ
08-10-2021, 15:01
Yes, that is exactly what you did. In a nutshell, you justified begging and selling out the trail because everyone is doing it. In case you missed it, here are the highlights:










The analogy may be considered to be vulgar, but it is appropriate when you consider that people are actively monetizing our trails and wild areas, while others, such as yourself, condone that behavior. To myself (and an increasingly small number of people), our trails and wild areas are sacred places that should be off limits to such behaviors, which I see as a violation every bit as crude and demeaning as the one given in the analogy.
You need to slow your roll.

Durwood did NOT suggest that was something he agreed with or encouraged. Merely that it's become another way of raising money lately.

LittleRock
08-10-2021, 15:08
Yes, we do want to finish our thru hike. We have thought about section hiking, but as several family members and friends have told us, continuously leaving jobs to hike the trail is irresponsible.
You don't have to leave a job to hike the trail. I've been continuously employed by the same employer for 11 years and section hiked 2/3 of the AT while doing it, using a week or two of leave each year. Lots of other people on this forum have done similar. Heck, if you're in Pennsylvania you could hike a pretty good chunk of the trail on weekend trips.

rhjanes
08-10-2021, 17:19
Here is today's posts about a 16 year section hike.....

https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/140342-Completed-my-16-year-quest Well done!!

Maineiac64
08-10-2021, 22:16
Exactly how are peole monetizing our resources.

Also, The OP seemed to ask a legit question and was seeking your wisdom. Why is everyone so quick to stomp on someone else in online and social media platforms?

JNI64
08-10-2021, 23:10
Exactly how are peole monetizing our resources.

Also, The OP seemed to ask a legit question and was seeking your wisdom. Why is everyone so quick to stomp on someone else in online and social media platforms?

Keeping it real!!

Jonnycat
08-11-2021, 07:07
Also, The OP seemed to ask a legit question and was seeking your wisdom. Why is everyone so quick to stomp on someone else in online and social media platforms?

OP showed with a story about needing money to complete her thru, which is something we can all relate to. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but the fact that she posted her gofundme link reveals that her true intent here is to harvest some cash from people who don't know any better.

FreeGoldRush
08-11-2021, 10:05
Accomplishing a thru hike requires that you overcome *many* challenges, some of which must be overcome before your hike begins. Doing the work to properly fund your hike is one of those challenges. If you get past every obstacle, then winner winner chicken dinner. You've got yourself a thru hike. If you don't pass all the hurdles then try again another year. The great thing about hiking is that it rhymes with real life in so many ways.

You will enjoy this more if you try again another year. The northern part of the trail is logistically challenging and expensive. Personally, I'd go for the full thru hike on a future attempt. You clearly want it to be a thru hike so make it one. No need to plan on section hiking if you want a thru. But I will add that after completing my thru it was apparent that people taking 2 or 3 years to hike the entire trail did just as much work. Doesn't really matter if you do it in a year.

Alligator
08-11-2021, 10:48
I removed the link to the gofundme account. I would also have removed the discussion on it but it would have been quite abrupt. We don't allow fundraising for non-trail related charities. Personal charity isn't what we have in mind there either but it was stated originally that was not really the case and I will take the OP's word on that.

LShuman024 I admire perseverance and pluck but as you have stated and it's been noted by others, you have only completed 1/3 of the trail and the southernmost portion at that. Today is 8/11, which is 60% of the way through the year. If injuries were slowing you down, what you have done to ameliorate that situation? Step back and take a hard look at what you have done to address the factors that placed you off pace. The weather will not be getting better do you have the gear to finish in the cold?

Regrettably, you only asked limited questions here before your thruhike. We would have surely given you a shakedown of your intended gear purchases prior to leaving. Whether the different opinions you would have gotten would have helped you is uncertain but we are lot cheaper than Mountain Crossings! And contrary to what may be said elsewhere, the depth of AT hiking experience of the membership of Whiteblaze.net by far outpaces any other website on the interwebs bar none! Particularly any hodgepodge, ragtag AT thruhiker class that forms on FB or other group there as well.

As far as raising funds through working on trail with the vehicle, you are approaching the latter part of the NOBO thruhiker season. Everyone's funds are dwindling. Many SOBO's have left already. If you are interested in finishing the trail, consider section hiking. You are located in a great spot to finish it over time. You may not get the same social experience, but you will get to experience the beauty of the trail in all the seasons you choose to hike while benefitting from periodically refreshing your souls in the great outdoors. When God closes a door she opens a window, so they sorta say.

JackieO
08-11-2021, 10:51
I feel your pain, and can completely relate to the strong desire to thru hike. However, with an 11-year-old, dogs, and a career, I had to accept that is off the table…for now anyway.

My husband and I started section hiking the AT in 2016, and I have to say it has a lot of positives. One is that we get to look forward to the next section of trail for the whole year. The anticipation also keeps me in good shape (mentally and physically) since I spend hours hiking and running trails around home each week, knowing I’ll need to be as trail-leg ready as possible. Also, I look forward that time alone in the woods with my husband each year, it has been a source of strength in our marriage and has created so many memories. Yes, a thru hike has real appeal, but I think you might find a lot of pluses in section hiking too.

Also, we don’t spend much money preparing for or while hiking. Boarding three dogs is probably the most expensive part. We already have equipment, so just have to replace gear as needed. We eat macaroni & cheese for almost every meal (I break from keto while section hiking, so I can’t get enough of it). We know a shuttle will be about $100-130, and the only time we stop in town is midway or for replacement food.

Good job on getting as far as you did. Best wishes on whatever you decide.

One Half
08-11-2021, 13:15
Yes, we do want to finish our thru hike. We have thought about section hiking, but as several family members and friends have told us, continuously leaving jobs to hike the trail is irresponsible.
Go ahead and call me a snowflake, lazy, or whatever else. Maybe I am trying to squeeze blood from a stone. Maybe I was foolish in asking a community of hikers where we clearly don’t seem to belong.

If you get a job where you get a 1 or 2 weeks paid vacation every year, or even if you can get the time off unpaid, you can section hike without "leaving your job." Nothing irresponsible about that. Many of us have had to postpone a thru hike UNTIL WE WERE FINANCIALLY ABLE or even postpone sections for $, family, health, or job considerations.

If you can't afford it, you can't afford it.

4eyedbuzzard
08-11-2021, 17:54
Yes, we do want to finish our thru hike. We have thought about section hiking, but as several family members and friends have told us, continuously leaving jobs to hike the trail is irresponsible. Go ahead and call me a snowflake, lazy, or whatever else. Maybe I am trying to squeeze blood from a stone. Maybe I was foolish in asking a community of hikers where we clearly dont seem to belong.With the exception of a couple of posts here that I agree were out of line, I think you got a lot of honest answers given your particular situation. You're basically broke, and want to pursue an activity that costs money and doesn't create money. The two desires, making money and thru-hiking are pretty much mutually exclusive, with some very unusual exceptions. People here were honest in saying there is very little opportunity to make money while you hike, and especially so this late in the season. Your average pace is also not conducive to hiking frugally. Slow hikes cost more than fast hikes due to requiring more food, fuel, town, and other expenses.

You could drive the car to Monson and hitch (or park at Millinocket and hitch back when done) to Millinocket/Baxter SP, climb Katahdin, and hike the 100 mile wilderness. You may have to figure a way to resupply at Jo Mary Rd in the middle of the 100 mile. Then move the car to Caratunk, then on to Stratton, then on to Rangeley (or do the hitch back stuff again), etc., creating 30+ mile sections with resupplies. There are other folks here who can probably supply better details of exactly where to park and such. It will require planning. You've raised $695 via gofundme and you said you had some money left when you got off the trail. So, you could simply head north and hike SOBO until you have $100 left - just enough gas money to get back home. You might want to increase that by $50 dollars for food and drinks on the way home. It's a long drive. Gorham NH to Jersey Shore PA is 566 miles/20mpg x $3.50/gal = $99.05Sadly, after that, it's probably the end of your hike this year. That is the harsh reality.

As far as quitting jobs goes, if it isn't a career job, nobody cares. Employers are desperate for warm bodies with pulses. It is, and will likely continue to be, a job seekers market for several years to come. Work this winter, live with the relatives, don't eat out, don't spend money on anything non-essential, and you should be able to save enough to finish the hike next season. There are lots of $12 - $15/hr entry level "just a job" jobs out there right now. If you both work 6 months full time, October thru March, you'll gross $12 to $15K each. Save $3K each, and you'll have $6K, more than enough to hike. Then, after finishing, you can "get on" with your life.

But please refrain from the "maybe I was foolish", and "don't seem to belong" stuff. We've offered you HONEST advice - it just may not be what you wanted to hear.

Slo-go'en
08-11-2021, 18:38
There's always next year. This one is done and gone. In your heart, you know that and are just grasping for straws.

You learned a few things on this first go around. You now have proper gear and know how to use it. If you wait until April and pick up where you left off, you'll miss all the bad weather which eats up money down south. If you finish early enough, you could flip back down south and redo the beginning to make it an official thru hike.

In the mean time, get a throw away job, live as frugally as possible (you can find a lot of advice on that here), save up as much money as you can and stay in shape.
Good Luck!

JBodean
08-11-2021, 23:56
To LShuman024 Respectfully, I suggest you consider selling your car to fund the remainder of your thru-hike. Living car-free is liberating in many ways, and the car is in all likelihood costing money even when not in use via insurance, any payments, etc. None of the suggestions made thus far in this thread seems to have appealed to you, so perhaps a paradigm shift is needed. Sell the car and get back on trail.

NY HIKER 50
08-12-2021, 09:24
Yes, we do want to finish our thru hike. We have thought about section hiking, but as several family members and friends have told us, continuously leaving jobs to hike the trail is irresponsible.
Go ahead and call me a snowflake, lazy, or whatever else. Maybe I am trying to squeeze blood from a stone. Maybe I was foolish in asking a community of hikers where we clearly dont seem to belong.

I had to wait a few years since I was looking for a job myself. However< if you finally work you get a vacation and I took 3 weeks on the trail at a time. The real problem is you have to be in a certain place at a certain time. Of course, storms and other items thrown in may change that a bit. The trail will be there when you finally go It's best to put off quick gratification for a while.

Gambit McCrae
08-12-2021, 10:09
"Add thread to ignore list*

KnightErrant
08-18-2021, 00:39
Not sure this a generational thing-- the GoFundMe may be a young person's medium for begging their way up and down the trail, but it's the same thing I've seen older hikers do with cardboard signs.

To OP, I understand the desire to get back out there, but if you only made it a third of the way in 4+ months, I don't see you finishing the remaining (more difficult) portion in the 2-3 months that remain before winter sets in, regardless of finances! The math just doesn't add up. So I'd definitely recommend saving up through the fall and winter and hopping back on again next year-- a "thru in two" if you will.

Re: the advice you were given that it's a bad career move to take time off multiple times, I think that only applies to certain fields. Contract work, seasonal work, hourly work-- these kinds of jobs don't look twice at a gap in your resume. Plus, if you include an Appalachian Trail thru-hike in the timeline to explain the period of unemployment, it can even help! I list my hike in my resume, and throughout a somewhat varied employment history since my 2018 hike (#thanksCovid), it has landed me a few different jobs, both in outdoor-related fields and my "real" job of teaching. You don't mention your career path, but in general, it has become increasingly common to change jobs more frequently than in decades past, so saving up for a few months off between jobs is much more "acceptable" than it might have been 30 years ago.

Odd Man Out
08-18-2021, 17:11
FWIW, I met a guy in central VA who was hiking the AT with no money. His gear was all from junk stores. His "shelter" was a blue tarp he used as a blanket when it rained, not very effectively it would seem as I met him when he had all his gear layed out in the sun to dry after getting soaked in the previous night's rain. He cooked over wood fired so his only expense was food. For that he would write a friend and tell them he was hiking the AT and ran out of money, and asked them if they would mail a food drop to the next PO up the trail. He figured that he had enough friends to make it to HF without asking the same person twice.

JNI64
08-19-2021, 00:15
FWIW, I met a guy in central VA who was hiking the AT with no money. His gear was all from junk stores. His "shelter" was a blue tarp he used as a blanket when it rained, not very effectively it would seem as I met him when he had all his gear layed out in the sun to dry after getting soaked in the previous night's rain. He cooked over wood fired so his only expense was food. For that he would write a friend and tell them he was hiking the AT and ran out of money, and asked them if they would mail a food drop to the next PO up the trail. He figured that he had enough friends to make it to HF without asking the same person twice.

This sounds like a great idea. I think you should go for it!

Bobby
08-19-2021, 07:35
Has anyone ever been faced with such a unique problem? We are trying anything at this point. All we know is that our trail friends/angels have all told us to get back out as soon as we can or else we may never get back there. We know this was a one time adventure for us before we start building a life and the lack of support back home has been hard.
Advice, if any?

I was in a similar situation when I first started doing long trips. I screwed up the financing on my first thru hike and my money didn't last as long as I thought it would. I made it through, but had to change my spending and hiking habits - here's what I did.

I sold my car and used the money to hike. ( I had to ride a bike for a few months when I got back before I could get a car on the road again.)
I used mail drops (food in bulk was cheaper and better than what I could buy.) And I spaced them out.
I carried 7 to 10 days worth of food at a time and limited my town interactions.
I hit up all hike boxes for possible food and other needs.
I included an allowance in each mail drop in stead of having access to all my money at once.
No more town stays unless I could do a work for stay.
I couldn't hang with people anymore when they went to town. It wasn't fair to be a mooch.
Town visits became "Neros". Sleep a couple of miles outside of town and hike in when the PO opened. Pack up and head out in the same day.
Sleeping and eating in the woods is cheap. It's the town visits and travel to and from the trail that will get you!

I say - get as much money together as you can and get back out there!

Maybe you'll be able to finish - maybe you won't. Only one way to find out!


Go Fund Me accounts set up for funding a hike are NOT popular around here and will get heavily criticized.

general refrain - "why should we pay for your vacation?!"

RockDoc
08-19-2021, 11:25
Life lesson dudes...

Plan the run, and then run the plan.

stephanD
08-22-2021, 18:03
A few advices:
Work for stay where available (you already know it)
Many hostels gives you the option of paying only for shower and/or laundry, the usual price is 5.00 dollars each
I you have to stay, camp instead of paying for a bunk
some hikers finance their hike by creating a YouTube channel and documenting their hike
The trail will always be there. what's important is to learn from your mistakes and what's went wrong so you won't repeat the next time
Good luck.

rickb
08-22-2021, 21:53
Credit card or loan.

Unlike the purchase of a car (for which society says debt is totally acceptable even though I would disagree) finishing a thru hike with a potential life partner is not a depreciating asset.

RevDrDan
08-22-2021, 23:08
No! That is not irresponsible. I took almost 10 years. I took vacation and section hiked. Sometimes, I ran into another section hiker and made arrangements to meet at another place next year. I found many wonderful shuttle folks who I paid to shuttle me from my car back to the last place I got off of the trail. It is doable. A very novel approach I ran into for slack packing was a senior adult couple who slackpacked with 1 car. One would let the other off at the last exit and drive to a trailhead parking within a day's walk then walk back toward the other. When they met in the middle, they had lunch together and went their way. When the one let out first got to the car, he or she drove back to where the other was waiting. Then they either camped in the woods close to the next place for the next day or went to town and got a motel or a hostel and often went to campgrounds.

You may not make it as a thru hiker this year, but if you keep at it you can finish. Irresponsible Absolutely not. Go for it when you can and eventually you will finish.

RevDrDan

RevDrDan

Daybreak
08-23-2021, 09:30
8/13/21 update posted elsewhere:

Great news! We finally got a reservation to camp in Baxter State Park and summit Mt Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and the highest peak in Maine.