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rickb
08-14-2007, 21:13
Just wondering what made you all realize, "Hey, I could actually do that".

7Sisters
08-14-2007, 21:23
What do you mean by "that"? It's a pretty ambiguous question as worded now. Please redefine it.

Thanks

Jan LiteShoe
08-14-2007, 21:30
Just wondering what made you all realize, "Hey, I could actually do that".

Ha!
Rick, I don't see a "I was over half-way through my Long Trail End2End when I realized "hey, I could actually do that!" option.
please ammend the poll.
:)

rickb
08-14-2007, 21:30
Thru hike.

Section hike.

Etc.

rickb
08-14-2007, 21:35
Good point Jan!

My next to last option was meant to read, "I didn't think I could, but I did anyway". No way to edit a poll, however.

I like your answer.

emerald
08-14-2007, 21:36
I assumed rickb meant complete the A.T. when I voted.

neo
08-14-2007, 21:41
ed garvey was my mentor,i never met him but i felt i did.HIS book got me stated


http://www.amazon.com/Appalachian-hiker-Adventure-Edward-Garvey/dp/0912660015

http://www.aldha.org/garvey.htm


later on model t a fellow tennessean and agood friend played a big part in my connection with the AT.


also earl shaffer influnced me:cool: neo


http://www.earlshaffer.com/

7Sisters
08-14-2007, 21:53
I said other.

The biggest influence for me as a section hiker was finishing my first couple trips. After each trip I seemed to learn from my "mishaps" and get stronger and better. I first gave myself 20 years to do the trail.

I quickly caught the bug and finished in 5 years.

Lyle
08-14-2007, 22:00
I spent a couple of very intense days veiwing over 2600 slides and listening to countless stories of a co-worker of mine who had thru-hiked the PCT. He invited me to join him on a multi month-long hike in the Brooks Range. I seriously considered this, but felt I was too inexperienced for that type of trip.

I had only a Five night backpacking trip in the Smokies under my belt at that time. I didn't want to be so totally dependent on someone else for navigation and knowlege. I felt if I went with him, and something unfortunate happened to him, I would be up S#$@s Creek. But I did make the decision to learn what I needed to know, and start going out on my own adventures.

That is one question I ask myself to this day, maybe I should have gone with him, was I too timid? I guess I will never have a definitive answer for that, but he was the first person I knew who had actually done something like that and he was just another college kid working at Arby's. Before that I had only read about such things. He was the person who planted the seed for me to do long trips.

Toolshed
08-14-2007, 22:03
Ed Abby - Anything
Colin Fletcher - Everything
The Mountaineers "Freedom of The Hills"
........No Specific Order...........

I was into climbing and hiking peaks and other shorter long distance trails long before I entered the long green tunnnel, which was only in 1999 - Before that i had a few friends that thruhiked in the 80's, but I always thought it was bizarre and a waste of time. A year later I ended up moving 20 minutes from the trail, which made it easy to be a section hiker.

superman
08-14-2007, 22:07
Ha!
Rick, I don't see a "I was over half-way through my Long Trail End2End when I realized "hey, I could actually do that!" option.
please ammend the poll.
:)

I told you that you could hike the AT before you hiked the LT.:)

Jan LiteShoe
08-14-2007, 22:07
I assumed rickb meant complete the A.T. when I voted.

He probably did, but that's when I also knew I could do the AT.
i knew it in the soles of my feet, you might say.
:)

Jan LiteShoe
08-14-2007, 22:08
I told you that you could hike the AT before you hiked the LT.:)

That is true.
But I didn't know it.
:)

superman
08-14-2007, 22:13
That is true.
But I didn't know it.
:)

Women never listen to me.:D

SawnieRobertson
08-14-2007, 22:15
1960s, a bridge party at my house in Austin, Texas: my partner Dr. Johnny Shriver and the man to my right whose name I do not remember, but he owned Lamme's Candies, were laughing and talking about an article in the Reader's Digest about the Appalachian Trail. I asked what that was. They told me. They chuckled and protested knowingly knowingly when I told them that I wanted "to do that." I'd never hiked on a trail one day of my life, but I loved to walk, and I knew, I knew.--Kinnickinic

rickb
08-14-2007, 22:27
For me it was at a beer party put on by some American students in Cuernavaca in 1979. Randy/Rodrigo put on a slde show of his recent NOBO, and I asked a lot of questions, and the die was cast.

I am still holding out hope to run into that guy some day!

Tennessee Viking
08-15-2007, 00:39
I got started by looking for fishing holes along Laurel Fork. Then I was the falls. I was hooked. I started searching for other waterfalls and other photo ops, which became a great christmas present. Then started hiking and maintaining with Eastman Hiking Club. I just started doing overnighters in my section. I am hoping to try a few other places in the fall and next year. Hopefully when I save up enough money and get enough equipment, I will go for a thru.

Pennsylvania Rose
08-15-2007, 09:48
A 1989 Reader's Digest reprint of the National Geographic article about the AT. Been obsessed ever since.

Mags
08-15-2007, 09:58
I did my first backpacking trip in 1996 with one of my oldest friends (We survived those years in that school I won't discuss right now. ;)

I was a little overweight, packed too much, got lost...and had a great time anyway.


Continued to do more trips that summer. Then I went solo in the Whites many times. Got the bug. Bad.

In early 1997, I read two books that really fired my imagination. Appalachian Adventure (now out of print) and my favorite AT book of all time: Appalachian Trail Reader. (http://www.amazon.com/Appalachian-Trail-Reader-Official-Guides/dp/0195100905/ref=sr_1_1/102-3169278-3944160?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1187186020&sr=1-1) I wanted to be out for days and not just weekends at a time.

As a test run (walk?) to see if I could hack long distance hikin I did the Long Trail. As with Ms. Liteshoe, found the Long Trail to be a wonderful prep for my planned AT thru-hike. Was I able to enjoy long distance hiking? At 7am on Jay Peak (http://www.pmags.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_gallery2&Itemid=36&g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=6346), looking over the mist below and into Canada, I had my answer: YES!

Less than one year later I was at Springer Mountain. Those white blazes led not just north to Katahdin, but also to a new life. Walking the AT was easily the biggest watershed moment in my life. I can honestly say if I had not hiked the AT, my life would have beeen completely different.

taildragger
08-15-2007, 10:32
I think after doing hunts that involved living in the fields, and not eating until you killed taught me to be self sufficient (3 days of no to little food and sleeping in a field will make the other people in HS think that you are truly crazy, but I was 16 and I was truly crazy).

That being said, my first LD hike was a complete disaster. The food we brought was too heavy, the weather was 60F colder than it was supposed to be, we got the last snow of the season, which was 2 months late, we weren't really prepared for snow, but we were prepared enough to know that we could go on. The snow hiking and heavy and poorly packed backpack with bad suspension only made things worse. Eventually I decided that we should bail after I starting exhibiting signs of hypothermia in the night (forgot that my pants had frozen, slept with them on, woke up cold as **** and delerious, and I had lost my sleeping bag in a blowdown so we had to use the one 20F bag as a quilt when the high for the day had been 20F) and at the end of the trip I had strained my heel so bad that I could only pull myself up hills with one leg. In the end, when we finally made it to the pub I realized that we had just done 60+ miles, my friend was a seasoned hiker and said that he had never had such a hard hike and that it truly was hell. Still laugh about that hike and won't ever forget the experience. After doing it though, I have been bitten even harder by the bug, now I'm trying to plan a 3 month hike on the PCT, but this time I'm putting a lot more effort into the planning.

Rain Man
08-15-2007, 11:00
I had done exactly ONE overnight "backpacking" trip, I think, when my petite middle daughter came home from college during the Fall of her freshman year, saying she wanted to hike the AT. She had been on a college "outings club" rafting trip to Wesser, NC, where she had seen two backpackers crossing the footbridge over the Nantahala River at the NOC.

She had chatted with them and had asked them what they were up to and where they were hiking from. They said "Maine." She came home and said she wanted to hike the AT. That Spring we heard Bill Irwin speak in Gatlinburg during the Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage (my family had hiked Mt. LeConte as part of the wildflower group) and bought his book, which he autographed for her, and recommended Shaw's Boarding House in Maine.

As Horace Kephardt said in his book "Woodcraft," I think it was, more than half the fun is planning and preparing for the outing, so I began looking into hiking the AT on her behalf. After reading Irwin's "Blind Courage," I read Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods" and almost died laughing. One thing I got out of both books was that Appalachian Trail hikers seemed to have a hard time FINDING and STAYING ON the trail. Heck, some of them seemed to have a hard time finding the terminus itself in Georgia!

So, I "suggested" to my daughter that we do a long weekend outing and actually find the terminus on Springer and hike the AT itself to Neels Gap, which we did that Summer of '03. My report is here on WhiteBlaze.

Short story is that hiking down Blood Mountain into Walasi-Yi in a thunderstorm on that fourth morning, I did NOT want the hike to be over. My daughter hiked the AT the following year ('04) and got her trail name picking up spilled M&Ms from the grass. And I have been section hiking ever since. Just did Indian Grave Gap to Carvers Gap this weekend, in fact.

Don't know if I'll ever do "that" (hike the entire AT), but so long as I'm enjoying myself, I'll keep plugging away north over those mountains. I blame my daughter, GrassPicker, aka Grass.

Rain:sunMan

.

Jim Adams
08-15-2007, 11:18
I always wanted to hike the entire AT since I was a teenager but I didn't know anything about it. I had done alot of long distance canoeing but had never backpacked longer than 3 days. My first thru was just part of a 13 month long trip that I was doing so I just "felt" that I could do it. Hell, I was on the trail for 2 weeks and at Fontana Dam before I found out that the AT was longer than 1,000 miles! Talk about a rude awakening!
My mentor? Wingfoot and adrenaline. I had met him at Fontana and hiked the remainder of my thru within a day or 2 of him. He summited the day before me. looking back, the trip did not seem that difficult but I seriously don't know if I would have completed my thru without his knowledge and sense of humor. I have always been a canoeist but Wingfoot made me a backpacker. I will always have respect for him.

geek

WalkinHome
08-15-2007, 11:43
An old Army buddy suggested it, I did some research, got hooked, got it done!

JAK
08-15-2007, 12:17
Ever since I first looked at a map, I've thought about walking.

The Weasel
08-15-2007, 12:18
In 1965, I was finishing high school, and had done a lot of backpacking as a Boy Scout, up to that time. But backpacking was a tough thing to do; I only had a smallish canvas haversack, and even plastic garbage bags were a new thing. But that summer I read in the Detroit Free Press about this guy named Shaffer who hiked the "Appalachian Trail" from Maine to Virginia, and I looked for everything I could find out about it. It seemed like a great thing. The girl I was in love with told me, "You should do it someday." I eneded up marrying her, but it wasn't until 2000 that I was able to actually try it. I may not have finished it (yet), but it is a central part of my life.

So I thank Earl, who I never met, and Sharon, who is so special to me. They started me on something very special too, and the chance to meet and know so many wonderful people who share that love for the AT.

The Weasel

The Weasel
08-15-2007, 12:19
My apologies. Earl, in '65 (as all other times) hiked from Maine to Georgia.

The Weasel

Smudge
08-15-2007, 12:53
My brother. He's planning a thru next year. He's actually been my inspiration for just about everything I do outdoors. Whether fishing, hunting or hiking. My father had no interest in all things outdoors, so it was my brother who is an avid woodsman/outdoorsman who inspired me to go and do...

We did a section in July and I'm going to start his Thru with him in the spring. It's impossible for me to take the whole six months off right now or I'd probably be going with him for the entire hike. We've recently talked about doing the PCT and maybe CDT once I finish up in the Navy...

Jim Adams
08-15-2007, 12:57
Rainman,
Nice story!!

geek

Crazy Larry #1
08-15-2007, 15:52
Just wondering what made you all realize, "Hey, I could actually do that".
I had been on probation for about a year in Bryson City, NC when I read the book "A Walk In The Woods." I had seven years left to do and did not want to do anymore probation, I was looking for an easy way out. I had recieved an eight year probation sentence. I was facing a twentyfive to life for habitual criminal and instead the DA told me one day that God loved me and he wanted to give me one more chance. I did good for awhile but the committee was strong in my brain and when I read that book my bright light came on and said "HIKE!"

After reading that book I thought to myself and says "Self go out there on that trail and live in the woods. You can do it!"

For three years I traveled here and there along the corridor of the trail. Sometimes I would hike and a whole lot of times I would yellow blaze. After awhile the trail ceased to be an adventure and I slowly realized I had no destination until the night of September 17, 2003. That's when I became a believer of God without any doubt to this day.

I don't suggest anyone who is in trouble with the law to follow my way. But I can truly say that by taking that walk and being alone for awhile in the woods was the beast thing I ever did.

I returned to Bryson City in November of 2003 and faced what I had to face and as of 1-5-05 I have been totally free from the law.

leeki pole
08-15-2007, 15:59
I had been on probation for about a year in Bryson City, NC when I read the book "A Walk In The Woods." I had seven years left to do and did not want to do anymore probation, I was looking for an easy way out. I had recieved an eight year probation sentence. I was facing a twentyfive to life for habitual criminal and instead the DA told me one day that God loved me and he wanted to give me one more chance. I did good for awhile but the committee was strong in my brain and when I read that book my bright light came on and said "HIKE!"

After reading that book I thought to myself and says "Self go out there on that trail and live in the woods. You can do it!"

For three years I traveled here and there along the corridor of the trail. Sometimes I would hike and a whole lot of times I would yellow blaze. After awhile the trail ceased to be an adventure and I slowly realized I had no destination until the night of September 17, 2003. That's when I became a believer of God without any doubt to this day.

I don't suggest anyone who is in trouble with the law to follow my way. But I can truly say that by taking that walk and being alone for awhile in the woods was the beast thing I ever did.

I returned to Bryson City in November of 2003 and faced what I had to face and as of 1-5-05 I have been totally free from the law.
Good for you, TOW. God bless you.

OldFeet
08-15-2007, 16:21
TOW

Thanks so much for sharing your story. People joke about being lost in the woods but my admittedly limited experience shows much more is actually found there. Half in jest, my wife and I proposed taking people intop the woods for several days as sort of a litmus test on the thoery that if exposure to the outdoors didn't improve their overall well being then perhaps a more serious intervention is needed.

Congratulations on what you've found and best luck for the future.

weary
08-15-2007, 16:33
None of the options really fit me. I grew up in a family that hiked a lot in the 1930s and 40s in the White Mountains. It seems like I had always known about the trail. When and where I first heard the trail mentioned almost surely goes back close to 70 years.

I left Maine in the late 40's and returned a decade later. In the early 70s I found myself covering some pretty dry, technical things for a Maine newspaper and soon added some hiking and backpacking stories in hopes of broadening my readership.

I never really thought about a thru hike seriously. But two years after retiring I found myself with no special plans for that summer. So I somewhat casually decided to go to Georgia and walk home.

Weary

shelterbuilder
08-15-2007, 20:14
When I was growing up, the outdoor editor of the Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Sunday newspaper (Ed Kuni) decided that he was going to thru-hike the trail and send back weekly reports for his readers. (This was way back in 1972, when the weekly reports took a week to get back and get published!) I followed his adventure in the paper until - 500 miles short of his goal - Hurricane Agnes inervened by causing the Susquehanna River to overflow its banks, flooding thousands of homes including Ed's. The following year (1973) he retraced his steps, made it all the way, then turned around and did the "lost" 500 miles from the previous year, making him (I believe) the first person to have hiked the entire trail twice in consecutive years. I later had the opportunity to correspond with him several times, and I still hold out the hope that someday I'll be able to hike my own "grand adventure".

emerald
08-15-2007, 20:39
Have a copy of his book sb?

Jim Adams
08-15-2007, 20:45
Have a copy of his book sb?

what is the name of the book? I would love to read it.

geek

emerald
08-15-2007, 20:51
My apologies. Earl, in '65 (as all other times) hiked from Maine to Georgia.

The Weasel

You mean he was Walking with Spring SOBO in 1948 and 1998?:eek: The Weasel, go here (http://www.earlshaffer.com/aboutearl.html) and please refresh your memory!:rolleyes: ;)

emerald
08-15-2007, 21:08
what is the name of the book? I would love to read it.

geek

Kuni, Ed. A 4,000 Mile Backpacking Log of the Appalachian Trail. Kutztown, Pa.: Kutztown Publishing Co., 1976.

Might be difficult to buy or borrow. I once had a copy given to me by a friend.

shelterbuilder
08-15-2007, 21:11
Have a copy of his book sb?

"A 4,000 Mile Backpacking Log of the Appalachian Trail" by Ed Kuni, copyright 1976, published by the Kutztown Publishing Company, Kutztown, Pa. 19530. I suspect that this was a self-published book. Ed's mentor (after reading accounts of the trip) seems to have been Earl Shaffer.

Ed was a mail carrier for the US Postal Service (retiring in 1972 just before his hike), but also wrote the outdoor column for the Sunday paper.

Jim Adams
08-15-2007, 21:38
S of G,
Thanks.
geek

emerald
08-15-2007, 21:52
When you ask questions about The Green Diamond, you get answers, not infrequently in duplicate!:D

You really should thank eArThworm. Much of my answer was cut and pasted from her blog.:o

Scrollner
08-15-2007, 22:07
Actually for me, it was my then 9 year old son. On January 1, 2007, we were traveling down the Blue Ridge parkway. We stopped at one of the overlooks that had a placque about the AT crossing the road there. Since the weather was warm for January, we decided to hike a couple of miles on the trail. Later that night, as we approached Charlotte NC, Danny piped up from the back seat "Dad, could we hike the AT this summer?" I told him that I couldn't get enough time off from work to do the whole trail, but we could certainly do part of the trail during the summer. That night at the hotel, I found TP on the web and the rest, as they say, is history. The funny thing is, I've hike the Florida trail for a long time, yet had never even thought about hiking the AT!

The Weasel
08-16-2007, 15:21
You mean he was Walking with Spring SOBO in 1948 and 1998?:eek: The Weasel, go here (http://www.earlshaffer.com/aboutearl.html) and please refresh your memory!:rolleyes: ;)

Shades:

The following is a paste from the link you have mentioned:

A"fter his 1948 hike, Earl's first book Walking With Spring was published privately and later, in 1982, published commercially by The Appalachian Trail Conference. Earl took to the trail again in 1965, hiking from Mt. Katahdin in Maine south to Springer Mountain, which had recently been designated as the Trail's Southern terminus, replacing Mt. Oglethorpe. He was the first to complete a thru-hike in both Georgia to Maine and Maine to Georgia directions."

As my post notes, it was this hike - in '65 - that was reported in The Detroit Free Press and which inspired me to dream of walking where he did.

Memory's not gone that far.

The Weasel

emerald
08-16-2007, 21:36
My apologies. Earl, in '65 (as all other times) hiked from Maine to Georgia.

The Weasel

Nice try.;)

weary
08-16-2007, 22:00
Nice try.;)
For those who may be confused. Earl hiked from Georgia to Maine in 1948 and 1998. And from Maine to Georgia in 1965.

Rain Man
08-17-2007, 08:51
Kuni, Ed. A 4,000 Mile Backpacking Log of the Appalachian Trail. Kutztown, Pa.: Kutztown Publishing Co., 1976.

Might be difficult to buy or borrow. I once had a copy given to me by a friend.

Actually, I just went onto alibris.com and ordered the book, signed by the author in fact.

I've recommended alibris.com before, to find out-of-print AT books, and I'll recommend them again. They have a ton of cheap and used or new and out-of-print books.

Oh, did not find the book under the author's name for some reason, but did find it by the title, so don't give up on searches too quickly. Here's the description from the site--

"Publisher: Kutztown Publishing Co
"Date Published: 1976
"Description: Presumed first edition (NAP). SIGNED & INSCRIBED by author. Hardcover, 142 pp, illustrated with black and white photos. Fine in near fine dustjacket. Dustjacket has a 1 inch tear and several lesser nicks, otherwise tight, clean, crisp, unmarked and never read with original promotional mailing laid in. Diary account of a retired postal worker and columnist for a Wilkes-Barre newspaper, who began the hike at age 58 and set a record by covering the trail twice in 2 consecutive years and never staying in a motel or other accomodation. Travel; natural history; camping; backpacking.
"Special Attributes: signed first edition with dust jacket
"Alibris ID: 8839760683"

Rain:sunMan

.

emerald
08-17-2007, 21:15
For those who may be confused. Earl hiked from Georgia to Maine in 1948 and 1998. And from Maine to Georgia in 1965.

Thanks, weary.

I was in a hurry to do something else and might not have posted at all were it not for that weasel-post. The Weasel didn't fool me and I wanted him to know it. I know a weasel when I see one!;)

emerald
08-17-2007, 21:59
Here's the book that inspired me to hike the A.T. I spied a copy in my high school's stacks when I was conducting research for a paper I was required to write in my senior year.

Sutton, Ann, and Myron Sutton. The Appalachian Trail: Wilderness on the Doorstep. Philadelphia, Pa.: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1967.

I also read Rodale's Hiking the Appalachian Trail and all the A.T. guide books before I departed.

A copy of Hiking the Appalachian Trail donated by a BMECC member in memory of her husband rested on the shelves of my hometown's library at that time.

Fate decreed that I would work for the same company who employed the other hiker from The Green Diamond who completed the A.T. in 1980. We met by chance one day at lunchtime.

All of you A.T. book fanatics who have not already saved eArThworm's book list (http://booksforhikers.com/the-trails/appalachian-trail/) to your favorites should save it now.