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View Full Version : "Don't do it!" Discouragement attempts.



riga
01-19-2008, 03:01
Not an important post, but a more personal one I felt like throwing out here. I thought I'd bring up the subject of people trying to discourage the prospective hiker from going on the AT (and I haven't even told them I'm planning a thru-hike). It starts out a bit sad (for me), and then gets funnier (at least for me).

At least the worst of the storm being thrown my way has passed. Acceptance is settling in among the discouragers, though they still feel the need "to warn me" "for my safety" "because they love me".

My Dad had the hardest hitting strike. "No work ethic," said with bitter disappointment in me. It helped that I had a brother there to stand up for me. "It makes sense that she goes now, then gets a job."
It strengthened me to find out the other day that my Dad had used his own stop-tactics on my brother when my brother wanted to go to Costa Rica, to help sea turtles, or to go to Southeast Asia (left for back home the day before the tsunami). "Now is the time to be establishing yourself."

But now that my Dad knows that at least I'll be hiking with "an experienced hiking community, good for beginners," he has let up some ("I'm sure you know about the deaths"), and surprised me with sending me some money (just in time to order cold-weather gear, yes!).

The current major culprit is a male friend of mine who I just got off the phone with. His declarations for my safety were getting wilder and more "fanatical", as he realized, such that I started to take notes towards the end.

He has improved from "You're not going." :rolleyes:

So here are some shreds of what he said, thrown out here for fun's sake. Afterwards, feel free to add your own "Discouragements" you've received. The funnier the better, imo.

"Don't do it"
"I don't want you to die on the side of a mountain"
"Jeffrey Dahlmer and Ted Bundy hid the fact..."
It's not safe. You don't know these people. You can't trust anyone.
save yourself the pain
keep on telling you this but it's obvious it hasn't sunk in
you're stubborn
you don't know when to stop
you think it's healthy so you keep doing it
you're not in any condition
I'm not a professional race car driver. I'd love to go around a track at two- or three-hundred miles an hour. It's an experience I want to have, but, that doesn't mean I should try to be semipro.
Have you ever walked in a forest. ("Yes.") Well it's not what you think.
When I was really young and in shape (a boy scout) I went on a hiking trip and it was harder than
Just because it seems like a good idea
Once when I was young I tied my bike to a pole sticking out of concrete and decided to ride down a hill. I was lucky. Instead, the rope got stuck in the bike chain. That saved me from being violently jerked off my bike and landing face first on the concrete and rolling down the hill. But I thought it was a good idea at the time.
You have nothing to prove to yourself
I know you could do it
It would be fine only if I were there
I'd rather not get a calll from you, you saying you're on crutches and you've been in the hospital for four days
I don't want to get that call
You're super special, but don't be super special like a short bus on this.
(he) knows it's a bad idea
at least I'm trying to stop you
scares the sh!# out of me
see so many possibilities of bad stuff happening
I'm glad I made you laugh

smaaax
01-19-2008, 10:06
"don't do it, I don't want you to die"
:rolleyes:

Egads
01-19-2008, 10:16
Buy some ear plugs; you will need them for the hike anyway.:D

Egads

nitewalker
01-19-2008, 10:26
the only discouragement i ever received was in the manner of facial expressions along with lack of: hey have a great trip, be carefull out there, see you when you get back etc..all i got from my family was...... O K and nothing else...i have 3 bro's and 2 sis's who do nothing. one bro is always on the move but the other sibs are veggies..whenever i tell them i am going on a trip they all roll their eyes and say DONT YOU EVER GET SICK OF HIKING???? THEY JUST DONT GET IT DO THEY.......im geting upset writing this as i type...i need to stop........peace out , nitewalker

Crash! Bang!
01-19-2008, 10:43
i was 34 when i did it. i dont think my parents were thrilled when i told them, but neither did they try to discourage me. no one i talked to thought attempting the hike was a bad idea. it was the necessary quitting of my job and not working for 6 months that some people said was a bad idea. but even those naysayers turned around as i progressed up the trail. my family would tell me of how proud dad was as he started to understand just a little of what it was all about and what i was accomplishing. buddha bear on thebackpacker.com said i couldnt do it. i used that as motivation to finish. thanks, visor-boy!

Blue Jay
01-19-2008, 11:15
One day I saw a dog pulling the final few dirt diggs out of a hole under a fence and then crawling out. He had a look of such joy on his face. There were two other dogs behind the fence who were too afraid to crawl out. The look on their faces clearly said "Don't do it". Slaves do not like other slaves to escape.

Appalachian Tater
01-19-2008, 11:20
It has nothing to do with you or your planned hike. The problem lies deep within the "discourager".

Bearpaw
01-19-2008, 11:30
You could try a diversion. Join the Marine Corps, get shot at, save your money while you're in, and when you get out go for your thru. Suddenly doing the AT won't seem so dangerous any more.......

I worked for me ;).

BTW, I got the "Do you think it's a good idea to go so long without a job?" line also.

emerald
01-19-2008, 11:37
All part of your preparation. By the time they're done with you, your resolve should be unshakeable.:D

dessertrat
01-19-2008, 12:45
It might not be Mount Everest, but once you fall the first two or three hundred feet, it's all the same after that. You've reached terminal velocity.

maxNcathy
01-19-2008, 13:50
Most don't last long before they get off the trail.

RITBlake
01-19-2008, 14:01
posted in wrong thread
(http://purebound.com/troy.htm)

emerald
01-19-2008, 14:06
Most don't last long before they get off the trail.

Yes, but those who are truly determined won't leave for love or money!:D

Blissful
01-19-2008, 14:50
I've been there with those who did not support the adventure at first. But those that did far outweighed it. And when they found out I was going anyway, they supported it.
My biggest surprise from supporters was finding out who really thought I would finish. Very few did, esp in the first three months. I think I had maybe two who believed from the start. My hubby didn't even believe it until we reached PA.

emerald
01-19-2008, 15:00
So who was the other true believer?:-?;)

Blissful
01-19-2008, 15:07
So who was the other true believer?:-?;)

You were??

:D

Jack Tarlin
01-19-2008, 15:08
People who have abandoned their own dreams will find a way to discourage or disparage yours. In many cases, these are older people who somehow manage to feel better about themselves by ridiculing or criticizing your plans. The older some people get, the more regretful they become about life choices THEY have made. They find a way to feel better about themselves by discouraging or demeaning the dreams and plans of others.

Don't listen to them. Trust your heart and do what you think is right for you.

dessertrat
01-19-2008, 15:19
This is all very nice, but I thought she asked for DISCOURAGEMENT!

cowboy nichols
01-19-2008, 15:41
When I first started hiking ,it was your to young ----now everyone says "your to old" Didn't listen then ---- DON'T NOW

chief
01-19-2008, 15:44
riga, you might want to give your dad a break. He's probably the guy who gave up some things to raise you and your brother. If you're old enough, do what you want, but don't go blaming your dad for trying to look after your best interest. In addition, be careful who you take advise from (especially on this forum). There are several people here who are defined by the trail. It's their chance for recognition. They have nothing else and never will. Don't follow losers!

Jack Tarlin
01-19-2008, 15:52
And other people are chiefly defined by making continual anonymous posts that attack other people.

Now THAT's what I call a loser. :-?

Bearpaw
01-19-2008, 15:55
Don't follow losers!

I think it boils down to how you define loser.........

Someone who follows their dreams and lives a happy life is hardly a loser.

Someone who works hard and raises a family well is no loser either. In this regard I understand and agree with your point regarding Riga's father.

But people who hate the life they live and want to squash the reasonable hopes of others seems to be losing out in life to me. (BTW, as I mentioned I am NOT making this claim about any one in the OP, but wonder how the term "loser" applies to members here)

emerald
01-19-2008, 15:59
You were??

:D

Well, if you and me believed at the start, I'm sure glad others, especially your husband, bought into the program by the time you reached Maine.:rolleyes:

Reports from those who might have known something about such things indicated "them Mahoosics must have kicked butt (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showpost.php?p=400238&postcount=95)." You'll recall, I kept the faith even when others questioned your resolve.:D

Edit: Sorry, I didn't realize others were engaged in an argument. Never mind!

liminalgrey
01-19-2008, 17:17
Wow, that's quite the onslaught of discouragement! I'm glad you're holding up under all that, Riga - not to mention finding a way to laugh about it!

The "best" discouragement I've ever gotten was from my dad. It basically boiled down to "Why can't you be normal?" But, once I was hiking, guess who turned into a huge supporter? Yep, my dad. I'm his only kid, and I am weird, so I tend to give him slack. :rolleyes:

The best "advice" I ever got when the discouragement didn't work was from a guy I knew from work. He told me to bring a flare gun to scare away the bears because "bears don't recognize a real gun, but they know what fire is." Yep, he was telling me I should start a forest fire to scare away a bear! :eek:

emerald
01-19-2008, 17:25
Dad knows that at least I'll be hiking with "an experienced hiking community, good for beginners," he has let up some ("I'm sure you know about the deaths"), and surprised me with sending me some money (just in time to order cold-weather gear, yes!).

Just wondering if some missed what's buried in the middle of the opening post.

Frosty
01-19-2008, 17:44
It's hard for kids to understand that parents are not trying to be mean or a hindrance just for the hell of it. They are honestly trying to do what is best for their children, just as they have guided and taught them since their children were born.

With many parents, it is hard to stop. After spending their entire lives guiding their children, it is tough to stand mute while the child does something which is to them dangerous and life-threatening. I don't know how old you are. If you are college age, it is very understandable for a father to be concerned about a daughter. If you are in your twenties, less so.

Cut him some slack. He has your best interest at heart. Let him know you appreciate his concern, but that it is misplaced. Assuming you are of age, live you life the way you think best.

stranger
01-19-2008, 21:58
The reason others discourage us from going in my view is that they are internalizing their own feelings on us. Many people live very insignificant lives and do nothing other than go to school, get the degree, enter working lives, perhaps get married, buy a house, work 40 years, retire with a crap pension or no pension at 65 and did regretting not doing more with their lives.

My family and friends used to do the same to me years ago, but now they don't and the envy has eventually shown it's sad face. Change is a very difficult thing to do for people, and taking risks even more so. So when another person is like "hey I'm gonna hike the AT" the obvious reply is NO, what about work?, etc...because they can't handle it. Maybe they regret not doing much in their lives so they want to minimize your accomplishments, although I very much doubt they know they are doing this.

Here is the undisputable fact - while work will always be there your youth will not be.

To wait until you are older makes no sense (not much good comes from putting things off in my view in most aspects of life) as you will most likely have less flexibility as you grow older. Also, why wait? You could get hit by a bus, get brain cancer, get smashed into by a drunk driver, etc...It's way to risky to wait until later in life because the only thing we can absolutely bank on, without exception, is that we will leave this place at some point.

That's me.

Froggy
01-19-2008, 22:05
I guess I'll tell this story again.

Some time ago there was a slide show about hiking the Colorado Trail. Two older women did it and presented the talk. Afterwards, one of the young men at the talk asked the ladies, "How did you (he meant their age) do it?" His tone was a little arrogant. The audience got very quiet. One of the ladies replied, "Just keep walking. You'll get there."

So just keep walking. Walk right on past the boyfriend, especially.

Programbo
01-19-2008, 22:08
Not an important post, but a more personal one I felt like throwing out here. I thought I'd bring up the subject of people trying to discourage the prospective hiker from going on the AT (and I haven't even told them I'm planning a thru-hike)......

I would never discourage anyone from "going on the AT"..But I would discourage a lot of "beginners" from attempting a thru-hike..But that`s just me..Others will certainly disagree..Maybe even most others :p

Colter
01-19-2008, 22:29
One day I saw a dog pulling the final few dirt diggs out of a hole under a fence and then crawling out. He had a look of such joy on his face. There were two other dogs behind the fence who were too afraid to crawl out. The look on their faces clearly said "Don't do it". Slaves do not like other slaves to escape.

Right on the money, Blue Jay!

riga
01-20-2008, 04:54
This is all very nice, but I thought she asked for DISCOURAGEMENT!

:p Ah, I can get a concentrated dose of that 24/7 with just a phone call.

I am liking reading the responses though.

Crazy Larry #1
01-20-2008, 05:36
"If your such a glutton for punishment, then that hog pen over there could use your expertise?"

"That's about the most stupidest thing I have ever heard of."

"Why don't you just go fishing? You want to get spiritual then fishing is the answer."

"Your too fat!"

berninbush
01-20-2008, 09:39
It's painting with a rather broad brush to suggest that every "discourager" is a miserable, unfulfilled killjoy. No doubt that is the motivation for some. But... news flash... some people who have never set foot on the AT still have happy, fulfilled lives. I know how hard that is for some of you to believe. ;):D

There are legitimate concerns when a loved one is setting off on a long-distance hike. You can say all you like "the trail is safer than the rest of the world" and there are ways that is true, but there are also dangers particular to the trail that can get an unprepared hiker in trouble. Hypothermia and bears would be two examples. An experienced hiker knows the level of risks, how to avoid them, and what to do if they become an issue. An inexperienced hiker may or may not know. A non-hiker has no way to evaluate the risk or whether their loved ones are prepared to meet it. Ignorance is usually scarier than knowledge because the imagination fills in.

As far as the "what about a job?" question... I think most parents would worry about a twenty-something son or daughter who proposes to go six months with no pay. I had trouble finding a job right after I got out of college, and my parents were very patient and supportive, but I know they were anxious to see me become self-sufficient and established in a good career. I think we've all known people, hikers or not, who never quite seem to find their place and simply drift from one low-paying unfulfilling job to another. I suspect there are quite a few "hiker-addicts" who consider a job to be that unfortunate thing they have to do between hikes. They may be quite happy with that lifestyle, but it's a tough one for parents to understand.

Maybe it would help if you made a list of all possible risks, on and after the trail, and then a plan of how you intend to deal with each of them. (e.g. a plan for what to do if you meet a bear, a plan for the unlikely circumstance that someone attacks you on the trail-- with a note about how unlikely that is, a plan on how you're going to find a job after the hike). Show it to your discouragers so that they can see you've thought of everything and are prepared. Then they have the chance to demonstrate whether they're genuinely concerned, or acting out of their own insecurities.

DuctTape
01-20-2008, 11:30
It's safe to assume that most people who head out for the AT experience this with their family/friends. Yes it's disappointing not to have more support, but you gotta do what you gotta do, and eventually they'll somewhat understand or just get over it.

berninbush made an excellent post here - be wary of all this "everybody envies you" stuff because that's simply not the case.

Kirby
01-20-2008, 12:01
My dad went from standing like Stonewall Jackson against my trip to practically kicking me out the door, it was a long hard battle in which we each made concessions though.

Kirby

BigStu
01-20-2008, 12:42
Mrs BigStu just suggested that I make sure that my life insurance was up to date :eek:

She did add something along the lines off, don't come running to me if you break your ankle in the middle of nowhere :D

(But then I'm an old fart and she will be glad of the peace and quiet for a while)

chiefdaddy
01-20-2008, 13:45
I get it all the time, I even get guilt trips and it seems no one understands. I quit talking about it and they all think it's not going to happen....lol less than six weeks til march 1st. I love the fact they think I forgot about it or got over it somehow.

On the other hand my mom has come out of the wood work and is going to even help make it happen. She is an adventurer at heart and understands 100% She thinks it's like Rv'ing with a tiny backpack sized RV. :D

HIKER7s
01-20-2008, 14:00
being serious here

If you had to put one together, what would your hiking resume be right now.
I am not siding with discouragement, just want to see how much experience youve had.

I was just thinking, do you have a lot of experience, or some....that could be the root of the discouragement

LIhikers
01-20-2008, 17:44
I thought I'd bring up the subject of people trying to discourage the prospective hiker from going on the AT

Most of them mean well, but they just don't understand. :-?

chiefdaddy
01-20-2008, 19:16
The reason others discourage us from going in my view is that they are internalizing their own feelings on us. Many people live very insignificant lives and do nothing other than go to school, get the degree, enter working lives, perhaps get married, buy a house, work 40 years, retire with a crap pension or no pension at 65 and did regretting not doing more with their lives.

My family and friends used to do the same to me years ago, but now they don't and the envy has eventually shown it's sad face. Change is a very difficult thing to do for people, and taking risks even more so. So when another person is like "hey I'm gonna hike the AT" the obvious reply is NO, what about work?, etc...because they can't handle it. Maybe they regret not doing much in their lives so they want to minimize your accomplishments, although I very much doubt they know they are doing this.

Here is the undisputable fact - while work will always be there your youth will not be.

To wait until you are older makes no sense (not much good comes from putting things off in my view in most aspects of life) as you will most likely have less flexibility as you grow older. Also, why wait? You could get hit by a bus, get brain cancer, get smashed into by a drunk driver, etc...It's way to risky to wait until later in life because the only thing we can absolutely bank on, without exception, is that we will leave this place at some point.

That's me.

DITO! you took the words right out of my heart!

Kirby
01-20-2008, 19:34
I have been mulling this question for a couple of days now. I have come to believe that the discouragement happens when people first hear of your intent. I think it is matter of educating those around you. Explaining everything you can about the trail, and the thru hiking world. In the end, a lot of people close to me are fully supporting me. Are the worried? Of course, are the cheering me on? Absolutely. I firmly believe education is key.

Kirby

Jan LiteShoe
01-20-2008, 19:59
I have been mulling this question for a couple of days now. I have come to believe that the discouragement happens when people first hear of your intent. I think it is matter of educating those around you. Explaining everything you can about the trail, and the thru hiking world. In the end, a lot of people close to me are fully supporting me. Are the worried? Of course, are the cheering me on? Absolutely. I firmly believe education is key.

Kirby

Wow, has it ever been fun watching you grow, Kirby.
You are going to be an awesome adult.
Good luck on your hike this year.

Jan LiteShoe
01-20-2008, 20:00
One day I saw a dog pulling the final few dirt diggs out of a hole under a fence and then crawling out. He had a look of such joy on his face. There were two other dogs behind the fence who were too afraid to crawl out. The look on their faces clearly said "Don't do it". Slaves do not like other slaves to escape.

A fractured fairytale.
Pure poetry.
:sun

ScottP
01-20-2008, 20:05
Education is the key--most people have no idea of what hiking the AT is about.

Part of keeping up with the Joneses is having a 'successful' child. If your parents are still playing that game, then of course they're going to discourage you from hiking the AT. Hiking the AT can be the beginning of a big lifestyle change for a lot of people.

They might never understand, but they'll get over it.

AT-HITMAN2005
01-20-2008, 22:15
what jack said. they're just jealous. if they had half a clue about the trail, they would know that people much older than them have completed the trail. they just think its too late to accomplish there dreams, even if its not the trail.

Programbo
01-20-2008, 23:19
One day I saw a dog pulling the final few dirt diggs out of a hole under a fence and then crawling out. He had a look of such joy on his face. There were two other dogs behind the fence who were too afraid to crawl out. The look on their faces clearly said "Don't do it". Slaves do not like other slaves to escape.

You left out the part where the "escaping" dog gets run over by a car or wanders aimless, dirty and lonely thru the woods til it is picked up and taken to the pound and gassed and the dogs who remained behind go on to live long happy lives because they listened to those who loved them and left well enough alone :D

fiddlehead
01-21-2008, 01:48
Those people (OP's friends) watch way too much tv.
they need to get out and hike.

--
"Believe Nothing, No matter where you read it, or who has said it, even if I have said it, Unless it agrees with your own reason, and your own common sense!" Buddha

riga
01-21-2008, 09:19
anxious to see me become self-sufficient and established in a good career.

That's my dad exactly.
He wants me to be more like my sister, the schoolteacher, who is complaining about how I get to go hiking! ;)

berninbush
01-21-2008, 09:38
That's my dad exactly.
He wants me to be more like my sister, the schoolteacher, who is complaining about how I get to go hiking! ;)

:D Parents are parents, everywhere. They want their kids to be happy. And most parents have been around long enough to know that while money doesn't equal happiness, it's hard to be happy when you're flat broke and can't pay your bills or lack the basic necessities of life.

What are your plans after the hike? Do you plan to have a career? Or do you have some other plan to support yourself? Might help if you could share this with your dad and show him that you've thought it through responsibly... also that you have enough money saved up to get you through the hike and help you transition into whatever's next.

To put it bluntly, parents want assurance that they're not going to end up supporting you for the rest of their lives only to have you fall to pieces when they're gone.

riga
01-21-2008, 09:39
being serious here

If you had to put one together, what would your hiking resume be right now.
I am not siding with discouragement, just want to see how much experience youve had.

I was just thinking, do you have a lot of experience, or some....that could be the root of the discouragement

Yeah, I don't have a track record in this instance that they can point to and say, well, she's done this before and was fine.

I have gone alone to Europe, and driven, alone, for weeks across the US, sleeping in the car at rest stops and Wal-Marts. I felt comfortable doing that because for 5 years during summers my Mom would take 2 weeks to drive from Houston to B.C., Canada, stopping at parks and campgrounds along the way; then 2 weeks in Canada; then 2 weeks back home, except we'd usually have taken too long, so usually around Anaconda, Montana, my Mom would put me, starting at age 12, and one of my brothers, age 9, on the Greyhound bus to Houston so we'd get back in time for school. Greyhound would mess up our schedule somehow each time, so we kids would be running around Salt Lake City, for example, for a 15 hour layover. Stuff like that.

The first trip, my Dad was coming with us, second vehicle, but he thought my Mother was driving too slow. So at a campground somewhere in New Mexico, when we went to bed, he dumped all the stuff out of his vehicle and drove back to Houston. When we woke up in the morning to a pile of camping gear and luggage, he was already back home.
Anyway, we kids got to go to Bryce Canyon and Yellowstone and get set loose there to hike/explore/climb. Once at Yellowstone, my brother and I went along a trail that seemed to end, so we climbed up, kind of like a cliff. We were almost as surprised as the tourists we came across on a metal-bar fenced platform. It was a lookout at one of the waterfalls.

We never had any gear.

I was in Girl Scouts growing up. Whenever we went camping it would rain and freeze and we always got a Penguin Patch for sticking it out. Other troops would leave, but to us it was the same thing that always happened.

riga
01-21-2008, 10:16
What are your plans after the hike? Do you plan to have a career? Or do you have some other plan to support yourself? Might help if you could share this with your dad and show him that you've thought it through responsibly... also that you have enough money saved up to get you through the hike and help you transition into whatever's next.

To put it bluntly, parents want assurance that they're not going to end up supporting you for the rest of their lives only to have you fall to pieces when they're gone.

You're right on my dad's wavelength.

I still have some math to work out regarding how I'm going to stretch my cash (was just about to get into that today), but I'm good with money and have a credit card (that I always pay on time. I'll use bill pay on a computer when I'm in town.) The plan is to bring along sections of this book here, lessee, Zen and the Art of Making a Living - A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design, and another book I've got. When I'm done hiking, I'm going to get a job, supporting myself, paying off the credit card, and saving up to maybe go to school the following fall or the year after? Pay for it myself so I can take theater and maybe become a playwright? I make up stories easy. I just don't write them, but I've done good dialogue before. Maybe learn some Chinese and take some ballet in the meantime? Ideally learn cloud swing and trapeze. :D Then maybe do some film acting in China. Eventually get some of my stories produced as films. (Btw, I have danced on stage, and I eat it up. I'm an introvert who loves being on stage. I have been in a short film, and I have done some University script and film work.)

wrongway_08
01-21-2008, 10:22
My dad introduced me to the AT around the age of 8. At 15 when I told him I planned to thru-hike it when I got out of high school - he went out and bought me a few books and a VHS video of a thru-hiker who completed it. Never once did he say dont do - just the oppiste, he told me to go explore now - before settling down.

My mom on the other hand, was the one who said I'd die and could get hurt and didnt want me to go. Of course that was just her motherly protection kicking in :) !

The rest of the family is use to me doing these things - just not on such a big scale :) - they think its cool.

Smile
01-21-2008, 10:28
IMHO, humans often fear what they do not understand.

I agree with you all, education is the key :)

HIKER7s
01-21-2008, 11:37
Yeah, I don't have a track record in this instance that they can point to and say, well, she's done this before and was fine.

I have gone alone to Europe, and driven, alone, for weeks across the US, sleeping in the car at rest stops and Wal-Marts. I felt comfortable doing that because for 5 years during summers my Mom would take 2 weeks to drive from Houston to B.C., Canada, stopping at parks and campgrounds along the way; then 2 weeks in Canada; then 2 weeks back home, except we'd usually have taken too long, so usually around Anaconda, Montana, my Mom would put me, starting at age 12, and one of my brothers, age 9, on the Greyhound bus to Houston so we'd get back in time for school. Greyhound would mess up our schedule somehow each time, so we kids would be running around Salt Lake City, for example, for a 15 hour layover. Stuff like that.

The first trip, my Dad was coming with us, second vehicle, but he thought my Mother was driving too slow. So at a campground somewhere in New Mexico, when we went to bed, he dumped all the stuff out of his vehicle and drove back to Houston. When we woke up in the morning to a pile of camping gear and luggage, he was already back home.
Anyway, we kids got to go to Bryce Canyon and Yellowstone and get set loose there to hike/explore/climb. Once at Yellowstone, my brother and I went along a trail that seemed to end, so we climbed up, kind of like a cliff. We were almost as surprised as the tourists we came across on a metal-bar fenced platform. It was a lookout at one of the waterfalls.

We never had any gear.

I was in Girl Scouts growing up. Whenever we went camping it would rain and freeze and we always got a Penguin Patch for sticking it out. Other troops would leave, but to us it was the same thing that always happened.


In sounds like your on par with what the task is. There are alot who just one day say to themselves "I want to do that" (dont get me wrong, some of those people actually go not as prepared as the next and still make it and in turn find out so much about themselves) . However, its just as good going into it with some experience of being alone, independent and being able to roll with the many challenges the path gives you over that distance

Chaco Taco
01-21-2008, 11:42
Wow, has it ever been fun watching you grow, Kirby.
You are going to be an awesome adult.
Good luck on your hike this year.

You know I was thinking this yesterday when I was reading his journal. When you finish, you will have more stories than most have in a lifetime.

Jan LiteShoe
01-21-2008, 14:14
You left out the part where the "escaping" dog gets run over by a car or wanders aimless, dirty and lonely thru the woods til it is picked up and taken to the pound and gassed and the dogs who remained behind go on to live long happy lives because they listened to those who loved them and left well enough alone :D

The point is, it takes all kinds to make a world.

Historically, it wasn't the ones who stayed home who advanced discovery.
Every individual needs to answer this question for them self: 'Is "staying safe" my highest priority?'

Most people will answer "yes," and that's just fine. A few will answer "no." Those who sign up to serve their country, for example, must answer this question.
Both answers serve "the tribe," or whatever group unit you designate.

I can sure understand her father's concern.
And I can sure understand her urge to bust out and do her hike.
:sun

Jan LiteShoe
01-21-2008, 14:45
You're right on my dad's wavelength.

I still have some math to work out regarding how I'm going to stretch my cash (was just about to get into that today), but I'm good with money and have a credit card (that I always pay on time. I'll use bill pay on a computer when I'm in town.) The plan is to bring along sections of this book here, lessee, Zen and the Art of Making a Living - A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design, and another book I've got. When I'm done hiking, I'm going to get a job, supporting myself, paying off the credit card, and saving up to maybe go to school the following fall or the year after?

You have some exciting dreams, I hope you realize them.
Just an aside here.

I have had a fair amount of freedom in my life because I've been extremely careful about debt, particularly credit card debt. Thank heavens my parents instilled a "pay-as-you-go" ethic in my head, and thank heavens their message got through. Each month had to be paid off in full, they taught.

As far as I'm concerned, credit cards are a useful tool, to be paid off MONTHLY (as you indicated). Otherwise, it's easy to find oneself over one's head very quickly, perpetually in debt to "the company store," with interest piling up on interest.

Stay free! My parents are now gone, but I think I'll just offer up a silent word of thanks to them right now... that simple principle has saved me untold hours of stress and worry, and given me much freedom.

Pony
01-21-2008, 14:48
I absolutely feared telling my father because I assumed he would be discouraging, and I'm 32. As it turned out, my brother beat me to it, and his first response was "what the hell is he thinking". My brother then told my Dad that I was going regardless, and he should just be supportive. This softened the blow, and to my surprise, he seems to be encouraging me. Not only is he driving me to Springer, but I think I have him talked into doing the Approach trail with me. He surprised me even further by saying he wanted to meet up with me along the way to visit, as long as it didn't interfere with his yearly fishing trip to Canada. On Christmas Day, he asked me how I was going to get home from Maine. I said that if I were lucky enough to make it there, I would find a way home, I didn't expect him to come get me. His response was "well, you never know". I think it's easy to forget that your parents love you when they are trying to discourage you from something they don't understand. I know in the end, my dad will be my number one supporter.

Kirby
01-21-2008, 16:58
I absolutely feared telling my father because I assumed he would be discouraging, and I'm 32. As it turned out, my brother beat me to it, and his first response was "what the hell is he thinking". My brother then told my Dad that I was going regardless, and he should just be supportive. This softened the blow, and to my surprise, he seems to be encouraging me. Not only is he driving me to Springer, but I think I have him talked into doing the Approach trail with me. He surprised me even further by saying he wanted to meet up with me along the way to visit, as long as it didn't interfere with his yearly fishing trip to Canada. On Christmas Day, he asked me how I was going to get home from Maine. I said that if I were lucky enough to make it there, I would find a way home, I didn't expect him to come get me. His response was "well, you never know". I think it's easy to forget that your parents love you when they are trying to discourage you from something they don't understand. I know in the end, my dad will be my number one supporter.

Great post.

Kirby

Blue Jay
01-21-2008, 20:53
You left out the part where the "escaping" dog gets run over by a car or wanders aimless, dirty and lonely thru the woods til it is picked up and taken to the pound and gassed and the dogs who remained behind go on to live long happy lives because they listened to those who loved them and left well enough alone :D

Spoken by someone who knows where the hole in the fence is and has stood near it looking out for 30 YEARS.

Blue Jay
01-21-2008, 20:57
I would never discourage anyone from "going on the AT"..But I would discourage a lot of "beginners" from attempting a thru-hike

Take your discouragement somwhere else. I spend a great deal of time on the AT and I believe many, if not most, of the thrus start out at Springer as "beginner". They do not need some one like you.

hammock engineer
01-21-2008, 21:05
That's pretty funny. I always told people that were negative thank you for not supporting me on my effort to go for my dreams. I have something that I really want to do, thank you for being a good family member/friend and not supporting me in it. That usually shut them up.

If it helps the negative was out on the trail too. Maybe just since I was a "late" southbounder. I heard

Isn't it going to get cold.
Do you think you are going to make it.
Are you going to beat winter.
Isn't it kind of late.
You are not going to make it.
There is no water anywhere (never true).
Isn't it cold out.
Are you out here all alone.

A guy I hiked with was told 40 miles into the wilderness that he should flip down to GA now if he expects to make it.

What was fun for me was turning it back on them or making them feel like what they made me feel like. Probibly not the nicest thing to do, but it was the best at getting the point across.

The best answer was from a southbounder I met in Hot Springs. He would tell people "well I always enjoyed the outdoors and I figured the Smokies was a good place to die".

Basically there is a ton of negative from everyone that knows nothing about what they are talking about. Give them some information and give them a couple online journals to read is what helped me. Calling every week to check in helped my family more than anything. They knew I was ok from my journal, just hearing I was ok was what they really wanted.

hammock engineer
01-21-2008, 21:07
I met a ton of people that made it so to speak with their first real overnight their first night on the AT. I think experience doesn't have as much to do with it as it probibly used to.

HIKER7s
01-22-2008, 23:00
I met a ton of people that made it so to speak with their first real overnight their first night on the AT. I think experience doesn't have as much to do with it as it probibly used to.


Yes, but how many of those people, percentage wise do you think make that first overnight ever (the first night on the AT) into a thru?? Maybe 5%?

Footslogger
01-22-2008, 23:06
The single best thing anyone said to me (and it happend to come from my sister) was the following question ..."What makes you think you can walk from Georgia to Maine ?" ...to which I answered ..."What makes you think I can't ?"

That one question gave me more incentive to hike the trail in 2003 than anything anyone else ever said to me.

'Slogger

zephyr
01-23-2008, 21:12
We that hike are not understood because we are in the minority. I got up at 3:30 to go buy my daughter a Christmas present and hated doing it. While I was standing in line I heard one lady say, "this is so much fun". She would no more understand that hiking can be fun than the majority of people in this world. So we just have to ignore them and do what we love. I actually enjoy being misunderstood. Enjoy your hike.

wrongway_08
01-23-2008, 22:10
After this last 4 day trip we(doggiebag,Fonsie,Astrogirl and me) did to bears den, I came home in a great mood. Only to have it yanked away by the lady - she gave me the A-Hole treatment, hardly talked to me for the last 4 days...... says she doesnt want to give me a ride to the rental place on feb 29th to pick up the rental car to drive to GA (joking???....I couldnt tell) .............. she is the only one I get a feeling of non-support from.

doggiebag
01-23-2008, 22:18
After this last 4 day trip we(doggiebag,Fonsie,Astrogirl and me) did to bears den, I came home in a great mood. Only to have it yanked away by the lady - she gave me the A-Hole treatment, hardly talked to me for the last 4 days...... says she doesnt want to give me a ride to the rental place on feb 29th to pick up the rental car to drive to GA (joking???....I couldnt tell) .............. she is the only one I get a feeling of non-support from.
That sucks. We'll make sure you get to the rental place somehow ... if needed.

jacabbysal
03-19-2008, 23:36
I am Riga's "friend", to simply state I love her more than anything in the world. It is not that I am not wanting her to go (she is already started) what I want is her to be safe. She has drive, a lot of drive. I believe she can do anything she puts her mind to but I also believe she can push herself too far. I worry about her and as for wanting to do it myself yes I do. I really want to hike with her, because I miss camping out and hiking. If I could have gone with her I would have gone with her. Like I said I love her and I wish I could be out with her right now. As for he being on the trail I could not help being scared for her because she has/had no experience with any long distance hiking with or without a 40lbs pack. I know how hard it can be and I had also heard the stories about girls being attacked by people on the trail, so naturally I got scared that I could possibly lose the most important person in my life. Also I was not telling her to never go I wanted her to wait until I could go with her. I will not go into the personal information I know about her that had an effect on how I reacted other than the lack of experience. Right now I wait to hear for her to know that she is ok.

mrc237
03-20-2008, 06:03
"You're sure you don't need to take a gun?" :D

aaroniguana
03-20-2008, 06:30
I missed this thread on my hiatus. I've gotten only two forms of discouragement.

From friends/co-workers: "Are you insane?"
From spouse: "You can do that when we can afford it, which will be NEVER."

Someday I'll look back and miss her. Someday.

My family is very supportive. But they've all sectioned the AT and packed around Europe in the 60s/70s.

quasarr
03-20-2008, 07:13
to put things in perspective as far as danger from other people, this is what I told my parents

there have been less than 10 murders on the Trail in the past 40 years. In Durham, NC (where my parents live) there were 12 murders in the month of January 08. So you're actually much safer on the trail than in my hometown!

riverroyer
03-20-2008, 07:47
I ain't tellin many, because I allready know. I am not too old (55) I will start a new business when I am finished (maybe)and I will get what I am supposed to get out of the hike. Fear is good as long as it is healthy fear and it is ours not someones elses. Most condemn prior to investigation. Sad but true. Life is short. Go for it.

jhick
03-20-2008, 10:54
The single best thing anyone said to me (and it happend to come from my sister) was the following question ..."What makes you think you can walk from Georgia to Maine ?" ...to which I answered ..."What makes you think I can't ?"

That one question gave me more incentive to hike the trail in 2003 than anything anyone else ever said to me.

'Slogger


I remember when I was heading to Jump School in the Army. After hearing how difficult it was and how many dropped out in the first week, friends and family asked me if I really thought I could do it.

My thoughts were.... watch me!


p.s. hope you're doing well 'Slogger

Appalachian Tater
03-20-2008, 11:18
I had someone who lives in Jersey City try to convince me that the trail itself was rife with crime and I needed to keep an eye on my wallet while hiking along, etc. Jersey City may be safe compared to someplace like Camden but that's not saying much.

dessertrat
03-20-2008, 11:19
Many people seriously worry that you will be eaten by a bear.

HIKER7s
03-20-2008, 11:37
From spouse: "You can do that when we can afford it, which will be NEVER."

Someday I'll look back and miss her. Someday.
.


(as my friend Brad Paisley) would say......"AHHH but then I've got a bite"

jhick
03-20-2008, 11:44
I had someone who lives in Jersey City try to convince me that the trail itself was rife with crime and I needed to keep an eye on my wallet while hiking along, etc. Jersey City may be safe compared to someplace like Camden but that's not saying much.

I'd rather face a bear than walk through Camden.

Jan LiteShoe
03-20-2008, 14:17
I am Riga's "friend", to simply state I love her more than anything in the world. It is not that I am not wanting her to go (she is already started) what I want is her to be safe. She has drive, a lot of drive. I believe she can do anything she puts her mind to but I also believe she can push herself too far. I worry about her and as for wanting to do it myself yes I do. I really want to hike with her, because I miss camping out and hiking. If I could have gone with her I would have gone with her. Like I said I love her and I wish I could be out with her right now. As for he being on the trail I could not help being scared for her because she has/had no experience with any long distance hiking with or without a 40lbs pack. I know how hard it can be and I had also heard the stories about girls being attacked by people on the trail, so naturally I got scared that I could possibly lose the most important person in my life. Also I was not telling her to never go I wanted her to wait until I could go with her. I will not go into the personal information I know about her that had an effect on how I reacted other than the lack of experience. Right now I wait to hear for her to know that she is ok.

So jacabbysal, how are you dealing with your fears? Are you taking care of yourself? How are you occupying yourself while Riga is gone? Do you feel, mixed in with the anxiety, also some pride? Have you made plans for a hike yourself?
:welcome. This is a good online community of hikers, preparing hikers, trail maintainers, dreamers and loved-ones of hikers. Why don't you join in, the water is fine.

aaroniguana
03-20-2008, 22:24
(as my friend Brad Paisley) would say......"AHHH but then I've got a bite"

Not a country fan. Love that song because I can RELATE.

bfitz
03-21-2008, 00:10
"Parents just don't understand."
-Will Smith

jacabbysal
03-21-2008, 01:53
Well today I received a call from Riga, so I feel much better. She is taking the trail slower that she and anticipated, which I did warn her that it might take her longer than she thought it would. Yes, I am making some plans to hike the trail but I also am thinking of getting Riga to go to Ireland with me next year if I have the money to go. As for dealing with my fears I was worried I admit and a little scared (ok a lot scared) but hey it is hard to not worry about the ones you love. To tell the truth if I do go on the trail next year then I will go with her if she will have me around and I plan on making it a thru hike come hell or high water. As for what I am doing while she is gone, I am supplying a nation with the things they buy (driving a "Big Rig"). So I have to say it did add to my stress some and I have had her on my mind a lot in the past few days because she didn't make contact as quickly has she had first planed. All in all I will be extremely happy when I get to see her again and I also plan on getting her onto my truck for awhile. As for the murders on the trail it seems I have heard of three or four in the recent past (Riga pointed them out to me) so that is why I was worried well one of the reasons at least. So next time that I hear of someone wanting to do the trail I will try to give encouragement and tell them to be prepared.

bfitz
03-21-2008, 02:07
That's 3 or 4 murders, over the last about ten years over 14 states and 2000 miles and many millions of people. Thats a helluva low murder rate. Statistically speaking you should be far, far more worried when she takes the car to the 7-11 for milk. Of course, it's still impossible not to worry about someone you love when you can't see them whenever you want. Ask any parent sending their kids off to college etc. Especially when the news trumpets every tragedy over and over on every channel. We forgive you for worrying. Pretty soon you'll visit her and meet other hikers and see how cool they all are and how they really become a community on the trail and your worries will be assuaged and then you'll start just missing her. That's often the root of other fears and objections and also perfectly understandable.

jacabbysal
03-21-2008, 02:13
I guess part of it is how I knew hiking when I was a boyscout and when I was a scout master. I just never heard of anything like that happening that I remeber.

bfitz
03-21-2008, 02:33
Yeah, just out for short stretches and weekends yields a different experience. Long distance hiking you get to know people around you because good campsites and shelters are shared. Friendships are formed and little groups and teams often form up. If there ever were troublesome events or people the trail grapevine (an amazing thing, better than CNN) keeps everyone in the know. The worst problems I have ever seen myself are the occasional thief and they are run off quite quickly. You can read alot about some of those on trailjournals and whiteblaze, two main veins of the trail grapevine. The trail is long but thin, once a problem individual is identified there's nowhere for them to go but north or south. Most don't stick around. The rest end up mostly being harmless (and often sort of endearing once you realize they're not creepy) weirdos. Also, people who are victimizers are also often very lazy and hiking hundreds of miles on the off chance of finding a victim in the middle of the woods when there is a whole town of them right outside the door is counterintuitive, and gear costs money. Hope this is making you less worried rather than more.

jacabbysal
03-21-2008, 02:38
True, I can see your point. While most of my hikes were very short, we also did some longer hikes and campouts. I guess I tend to pick up on the wost of what can happen when it comes to Riga, alittle over protective I guess.

bfitz
03-21-2008, 02:41
Best way to be.

bfitz
03-21-2008, 02:44
Obsessively overprotective is where the problems start. Everyone ought to be a little overprotective. Better to err on the safe side, so long as it doesn't keep you from having some fun.

Blue Jay
03-21-2008, 08:28
"You can do that when we can afford it, which will be NEVER."


Years ago I had this one in my head. I'm sooo happy I stopped listening and it went away for good. No one, not even Bill Gates seems to have enough money. Maybe, just maybe, as a Long Distance Hiker, you do.

superman
03-21-2008, 09:30
LOL, risk in hiking the AT. As Bearpaw pointed out...there are riskier things that a person can do. Hiking the AT was absolutely the healthiest thing, both mentally and physically, that I've ever done just for me. My AT hike was expensive but a drop in the bucket compared to my divorce...but both were worth it.

LIhikers
03-21-2008, 11:28
My wife and I are section hikers and we get it too. It seems that most people are afraid of the unknow. Instead of looking for ways to expand their experiences and learn something new they'd rather just do the same old stuff they are comfortable with. We just got that same reaction as people found out about our plans for a dogsledding trip in northern MN this past Feb. They insisted that we take lots of photos so they could "see" what it's like. For the people that we thought were physically capable we invited them to join us. Not one person took the invitation seriously though :(

Doctari
03-21-2008, 17:07
Seems to me, at least in my experience, most of the "Discoragement" is from a lack of knowledge about the AT, or hiking in general.

I'm only doing a 200 mile section hike, & already some of my co-workers are giving me grief about: not carrying a (Really big) gun, hiking alone, not calling in every few hours (that one offered to kill me if I got hurt :rolleyes: ), etc. etc.
Most of my other friends are used to me by now, so don't say much anymore.

Fortunatly for me, my wife is VERY supportive, & My work partner is also a Hiker, so he is actually helping me get ready. The boss is acting somewhat miffed, but only cause he will have to cover the majority of my six 24 hr shifts while I'm gone. Thankfully we have been friends for over 10 years, so it's just good natured ribbing I'm getting from the boss.


Doctari.