PDA

View Full Version : How NOBOS and SOBOs interact



Bankrobber
01-22-2004, 10:52
I was wondering what people think about how Northbound thru-hikers and Southbound thru-hikers get along, or have any stories. I have heard numerous stories from SOBOs telling me how NOBOs were condescending to them. I was on a day hike in Shenandoah yesterday, and stopped at Blackrock Hut. In the register were entries by SOBOs about NOBOs whine about everything.
I think it sucks that NOBOs are condescending, but I almost was myself at times when I was in Vermont and the SOBOs were dispensing advice and not listening to me after only hiking 400 or so miles.
I am interested in hearing what people have to say.

Blue Jay
01-22-2004, 11:30
I love watching BOBOs and SOBOs interacting in my neck of the woods (CT/MA/VT). Many NOBOs have inflated egos due to the fact that they have walked over a thousand miles. Many SOBOs have inflated egos because the have completed the Whites and Southern Maine. When they meet here sometimes it's like watching a football game as the already inflated egos inflate even more. Please note most thrus are cool and this does not happen, but when it does, it is hysterical. I also enjoy the tradition of SOBOs scaring NOBOs about the Whites. It's like sending kids out on a Snipe hunt or for a bucket of steam, great fun.

waldo
01-22-2004, 13:20
Ahhhh .... the classic SOBO/NOBO quarrel. I learned first hand of the "cockiness" NOBO's have with SOBO's, as I SOBO'ed in '03. I would also like to report I experienced the helpfulness and friendliest of NOBO's. The SOBO vs. NOBO hike will always be a controversy. It is in my opinion, and probably many others, that it takes a certain type of personality to hike SOBO as well as NOBO. The hikes are completely different, but in the end they are the same. Regardless of walking up wind of down wind, we have both accomplished a great feat, which few can say they have overcome. All in the same and brothers we have become!

squirrel bait
01-22-2004, 13:52
What are the major differences between NOBO and SOBO hikes? What type of person is usually associated with each? Does it make a difference? I realize that SOBO's start with the 100 Wilderness stretch and the White's soon after but, always a but, alot of people seem to say the approach trail is some of the hardest hiking not including the ups and downs of GA/NC/TN. Don't SOBO's partner up/form groups, have a moving caravan the same as NOBO's, or is it as simple as the amount/numbers of each? It seems to this dim bulb that SOBO's surely experience a different change of seasons then NOBO'ers, does this wiegh in the decision of which way to go? Is the gear that much different? Thanks. :confused:

Grimace
01-22-2004, 14:08
except there was that guy who told me I'd never make it to Georgia at the pace I was going.

I remember reading tons of SOBO journal entries in PA about how idiotic NOBO's were for thinking the PA Rocks were so bad. I wonder if NOBO's do the same in the Whites.

To answer squirrel bait's question...

People hike South because of time constraints (have to stay in school til June) and for solitude. There are far fewer SOBOS than NOBOS. Despite that, we tended to form groups in '01, albiet small ones. 4 of us hiked together. We caught up with another group if 4 in Erwin. I think a group of 21 all manged to finish on the same day that year too, but only hiked totally together for a small portion.

The season's are little different but you pretty much go through the same weather. Fall was nice in VA. NOBO's don't get much of that unless finishing real late in Maine. It was hot in Maine when we started but cold in GA when we finished. Vice Versa for NOBO's

The gear is pretty much the same

oyvay
01-22-2004, 14:29
NOBOs can be a little overzealous in dispensing trail info, but so can SOBOs. I've run into many SOBOs that kept walking, heads down and not saying a word. Their not being antisocial or mean it's just because if they stopped to talk to every NOBO they wouldn't get very far down the trail.

A-Train
01-22-2004, 15:43
Its funny, the first 10 or so SOBO's I met (in the whites) kind of became my "pet" sobos. I could remember all their names and followed their progress on internet after my trek. I even gave out trail magic in NJ to some of the first sobos when I finished. After that it was too hard to remember names and personalities with so many SOBO's starting in NH and Maine.
I don't think you can characterize a big group in one any way. Everyone is different and I met tons of different NOBO's. It would be hard to say they were all cocky or all really nice. However I was a bit shocked and dissapointed at how cocky SOBO's were. Many times I tried to be helpful with town, shelter, water, trail info and some of them could give two $hits. The closer I got to Katahdin, the nicer the sobo's got, the more questions I got and the smaller the facial hair got.

I ran into the first SOBO of the yr on Cube Mtn in NH early one morning. He was bounding down the trail and bellowing out yelling noises. I thought someone was hurt. He remarked how easy the terrain was and said he was shooting for Hanover, a mere 37 miles a way. I wished him luck and moved on.

Rodney K.
01-22-2004, 17:37
Can't we all just get along?


Rodney

Tabasco
01-22-2004, 17:50
It's those d@mned EABOs and WEBOs that get me so torqued. Talking how they thru hiked in 3 seconds :jump

Lilred
01-22-2004, 18:05
It's those d@mned EABOs and WEBOs that get me so torqued. Talking how they thru hiked in 3 seconds :jump
Now THAT'S funny......LOL :clap

manzana
01-23-2004, 08:54
That is a classic.

Moon Monster
01-25-2004, 02:10
The only thru-hikers I saw from Gorham to Katahdin were SOBOs (I was 2 days removed from the next NOBOs ahead and behind me). Without them, I would have been very lonely towards the end of my hike.

Miss Janet
01-25-2004, 07:53
Some of the 03 NoBo's were visiting at my house after they had finished their hike. Some SoBo's came up onto the porch and I overheard one of the NoBo's say "Hey you guys, look, it's Sobo's... the other white meat!" Ouch!

I also had a SoBo admit that he thought the Nobo's he had met early in his hike were strange, weird and unfriendly and that he was not always nice to them. As he was nearing the end of his hike he was wondering if he and the rest of his Sobo friends had gotten to be ... maybe a little strange, weird and unfriendy!

Peaks
01-25-2004, 10:36
Frankly, a SOBO is just another hiker who I haven't gotten to know yet.

When you hike in one direction, you tend to form bonds with those who you continue to see again and again. When you meet someone going the other direction, it's a one time occurance, so while there are stories to be shared, you don't make the connection as you do with those going the same direction as you.

Do I have negative feelings about someone going the other direction? Certainly not. I'll hike my way, and they can hike their way.

And we need people going both ways to keep the trail grapevine alive.

Noggin
01-25-2004, 16:08
I also had a SoBo admit that he thought the Nobo's he had met early in his hike were strange, weird and unfriendly and that he was not always nice to them. As he was nearing the end of his hike he was wondering if he and the rest of his Sobo friends had gotten to be ... maybe a little strange, weird and unfriendy!

I think I understand the unfriendly part, but could someone elaborate a little on strange and weird? :-?

A-Train
01-25-2004, 16:50
the strange, weird and unfriendly is something that a lot of thru-hikers come off seeming like, especially the more time they spend in the woods. I don't think its anything that a hiker does on purpose, or to be rude, simply that after spending so much time in the woods, either alone or with the same few people, one loses their social skills to an extent. You've had a life that few others understand or could fathom and i guess there is a barrier there.

chris
01-25-2004, 17:58
To put forth a slightly different opinion on the matter, I found that after a couple of months of hiking, I tired of answering the same questions, over and over again, from non-thruhikers. Now, this was on the PCT and by the time I reached Oregon I had passed almost all the other thruhikers a long time ago. There were two in front of me and so I seemed to be on of the first thruhikers that people had seen that season. Once people found out that I was a thruhiker, I would be bombarded with the usual questions: How far do you hike in a day? Where do you get your food from? How much does you pack weigh?

When you just want to be out in the woods enjoying yourself, having to hold a virtual press conference with every group of Boy Scouts or car campers, or even just dawdlers in front of a shop becomes an annoyance, to put it mildly. I stopped volunteering the fact that I was hiking from Mexico to Canada and wouldn't bring it up unless explicitly asked. I'd usually try to get past people with a hello and how-are-you-doing. Even when drawn into a conversation, I would usually try to be brief and move on as soon as I could. This could easily be seen as aloofness (to be nicest to myself) or rudeness (to put it another way).

I only met a total of 4 SOBO thruhikers and another 3 flipfloppers heading south, but all of them were nice and friendly and helpful. With other hikers, the really annoying questions never came up. Instead, only the important ones, like "Does White Pass had Nutella?" or "What about King Size Snickers bars?", came up. I was much happier to answer a question a SOBO had about where the best brew pub in Ashland was located, than to have to try to explain to someone, yet again, why hiking 30 miles a day was enjoyable.

Bankrobber
01-25-2004, 18:23
I think that there is an obligation on the part of thru-hikers to be friendly and answer the questions of people they meet on the trail. You don't have to spend all day with them. You are a representative of the trail community.

The Old Fhart
01-25-2004, 19:56
I learned first hand of the "cockiness" NOBO's have with SOBO's, as I SOBO'ed in '03. I would also like to report I experienced the helpfulness and friendliest of NOBO's. The SOBO vs. NOBO hike will always be a controversy.Waldo, I'm glad I was able to give you and Smooth your first trail magic on your SOBO hike just before Zealand hut. Although I was in Crawford Notch to meet some NOBOs I had hiked with, I love to hear the stories that all hikers have to tell about their hikes. I hope the food and drinks I gave you helped you make a few more miles that day. The NOBO-SOBO hikes are different but so is every every hike; different years, different weather, different friends. Cherish the differences and congratulations to you on finishing.

Percival
01-25-2004, 23:54
After an exhaustive review of the literature, here are some of the conclusions I have come to.

SOBOs are more independent and tend to be loners. NOBOs travel in cliques and think in a "herd" mentality.

Both NOBOs and SOBOs can feel arrogant and "cocky" toward the end of their hikes, but you don't find NOBOS and SOBOs together much except toward the end of NOBOs hike. So NOBOs are unfairly branded as snots.

NOBOs are more generous with their food if they come upon a starving fellow hiker. SOBOs are hording their food for the cold winter ahead.

SOBOs are more polite, like a cross between taciturn Mainers and genteel Virginians. NOBOs are brash and loud, like they're from the Bronx.

NOBOS stink more and longer, except in midsummer when SOBOs are starting out in the heat.

Rain Man
01-26-2004, 14:34
Ahhhh .... the classic SOBO/NOBO quarrel. I learned first hand of the "cockiness" NOBO's have with SOBO's, as I SOBO'ed in '03. I would also like to report I experienced the helpfulness and friendliest of NOBO's.

Hello Again Waldo!!!

It was so nice to meet you at the Walasi-Yi hostel. Sorry we had to wake you to unlock the door for us! Hope you enjoyed the M&Ms and cheeses on the way up Blood Mountain or on south. :)

The pic of you and me at Neels Gap that morning is in my gallery on WhiteBlaze.

Personally, I would say all the SOBOers I met were happy to say "Hello" and super nice to this mini-section hiker.

Rain Man

.

Moon Monster
01-26-2004, 17:16
One issue seems to be glazed over here. That is, the first NOBOs that a SOBO meets AND the first SOBOs that a NOBO meets are neccessarily in the front of their respective packs. I think a lot of the characterizations made of the early opposite-directioners should be linked more to the fact that those folks are out front rather than because they are headed in particular direction.

I was in the first 40 NOBOs to finish in 2003 and I was alone for part of NH and the entire state of Maine. The only other thrus I saw were SOBOs. As I worked my way through their ranks, I saw every single type of personality and classification mentioned above in this thread or elsewhere about NOBOs represented in those SOBOs.

Everthing said about early NOBOs I saw in the early SOBOs. Everything said about the NOBO-pack, I saw in the SOBO-pack. This goes for cockiness, rudeness, herd mentality, fearfulness, and trepedation.

bearbait2k4
01-28-2004, 14:37
Of course I am joking with the title of the post.

I can honestly say that I didn't meet a SOBO out there that I didn't like. Almost all the SOBOS I ran into stopped to talk for a little while, and had a great time with those who I shared a shelter with.

A lot of us would tease each other about being a NOBO instead of a SOBO, and vice versa, but it was all in good fun, and almost everyone knew this. We even put on a puppet show for one lucky group!

Of course, what do I know. I was only 1/4 sane by the time we started running into SOBOS, so maybe they were just humoring me.

Waldo, I think I ran into you at Wind Gap. You were meeting up with your parents, or some friends? Are you the same Waldo with the extensive web page? Before my hike, I printed up your equipment list as a guide for my shopping. If this was you, thanks for having that page!

Kozmic Zian
02-07-2004, 18:59
What are the major differences between NOBO and SOBO hikes? What type of person is usually associated with each? Does it make a difference? I realize that SOBO's start with the 100 Wilderness stretch and the White's soon after but, always a but, alot of people seem to say the approach trail is some of the hardest hiking not including the ups and downs of GA/NC/TN. Don't SOBO's partner up/form groups, have a moving caravan the same as NOBO's, or is it as simple as the amount/numbers of each? It seems to this dim bulb that SOBO's surely experience a different change of seasons then NOBO'ers, does this wiegh in the decision of which way to go? Is the gear that much different? Thanks. :confused:

The difference is this....would you rather finish at Katahdin (The Greatest Mt) or Springer. Springer is a nice Mt., pretty big,too, as S. Mts go. But it aint no Katahdin. Maine is, realistically ya'll, some where else, again, as hiking goes compared with N. Georgia....In my opinion SOBO is like walking backward with your pack on your chest! But, they're both 2,200 mile hajjs' and all due respect to both directions. SOBO/NOBO....choices....KZ@:D

Smooth03
02-07-2004, 20:23
I SOBOed this past year and have to admit my opinion of NOBOs is somewhat jaded.

I agree with the whole argument that the first NOBOs I met tended to be a "type A" person who is running a race. Also they had hiked over 1500 miles and myself and fellow SOBOs were still neophytes. However, to me it seemed that it was justn't the first 4-5 NOBOs that had a an "attitude" but rather the first 100 or so. Once I was past the whites, NOBOs tended to give us some cred.

In deference to NOBOs I think that SOBOs think of themselves as a "different breed". It is excepted by most that starting in Maine is the more difficult way(simply because you hit the first three hardest states first) and frankly, SOBOs tend to enjoy this fact and were eager to tell NOBOs how dificult Maine and NH was in order to rub it in their face. I'm sure I was guilty of this.

All in all NOBOs aren't that bad but you are comparing around 100 SOBOs to around 800 NOBOs. So even if 750 NOBOs were awesome, helpful, humourous, and good hikers, the 50 that weren't unfortunately stick in my memory more. You must remember that most SOBOs tend to be more introverted individuals who are looking more to convene with wilderness and don't tend to care as much about the social scene(ie where the good bars are). I had a NOBO comment to me that the SOBOs he passed while hiking weren't always willing to talk. When I explained to him/her that they were probably the 15th NOBO the SOBO had passed that day then he/she understood they weren't being rude, just practical.

After all this being said, its only my opinion. As I said I loved 90% of the NOBOs I ran into, but out of the hundreds of NOBOs everyear you are going to have bad apples and those are the ones that stick out the most. This is also true of SOBOs.

Dan Morris
02-08-2004, 01:12
I don't understand why anyone cares whether your nobo, sobo, flipflop, section, day...... Who really gives a ****? If a person is rude ignore them. If we can't get along (or a bong) on the trail it's a sad day. Doesnít the saying go "Hike your own hike"? I plan a sobo hike this year for the solitude and to follow the cold weather down south. We all hike for are own reason so live and let live. I think I will enjoy talking with people and have no problem walking on if I don't want too. Happy day's people.:p

Kozmic Zian
02-10-2004, 01:56
[/b][/i]Waldo, I'm glad I was able to give you and Smooth your first trail magic on your SOBO hike just before Zealand hut. Although I was in Crawford Notch to meet some NOBOs I had hiked with, I love to hear the stories that all hikers have to tell about their hikes. I hope the food and drinks I gave you helped you make a few more miles that day. The NOBO-SOBO hikes are different but so is every every hike; different years, different weather, different friends. Cherish the differences and congratulations to you on finishing.
[Say, did Waldo Thru-Hike....or section that SOBO?[QUOTE]KZ@

Rain Man
02-10-2004, 10:05
[Say, did Waldo Thru-Hike....or section that SOBO?

Waldo did a SOBO thru. I had the pleasure of meeting him at Neels Gap, GA.

Rain Man

.

Pedaling Fool
07-22-2008, 10:50
A NOBOís perspective.
When I started in March 2006 I remember seeing two SOBOs (class of 2005) going through GSMNP. It was a real treat for all of us NOBOs, it was a major topic of shelter-talk, which lasted a few days. Everyone commented something to the effect: "Did you see those two SOBOs, man they were flying!!!"

Fast-forward to July/August, when I started seeing class of 2006 SOBOs. I remember reading in the shelter logs of how the SOBOs thought the NOBOs were a snobbish group and didnít seem to be enjoying themselves. Somehow we did not have the enthusiasm of them [SOBOs]. That caused me to think back to my run-in with the SOBOs in GSMNP; they were kind of snobbish they did not seem to have any enthusiasm. They seemed as if they were on a mission - not a trip of a "Lifetime". They barely looked at us as they flew by, as if we were beneath them.

Itís hard to show much enthusiasm at the end of a thru-hike, regardless of direction.

Mags
07-22-2008, 10:58
The whole NoBo vs. SoBo thing goes away once multiple trails are done and/or you are immersed in the hiking community.

Go to a Kickoff, Ruck or Gathering. The whole NoBo vs. SoBo thing is never discussed.

When I did the AT (pipe in old timey music), I met SoBos and just said "HI!" and had some some good conversations.

I honestly think that, at least in part, the conversation depends upon what you bring into it.

saimyoji
07-22-2008, 11:06
When I section/day hike I tend to go south, so I run into NOBO thrus quite often. Most assume I'm thru-hiking SOBO, and so far all have been courteous if not friendly. Just yesterday a group grilled me on local lore. I warned them of the infamous Wolf-boy that lurks in the woods just north of Wind Gap. :D

minnesotasmith
07-22-2008, 12:06
I also enjoy the tradition of SOBOs scaring NOBOs about the Whites.

I'd like to see them try that on a NOBO who'd successfully thrued before. ;)

I ran into SOBOS on my thru as well, generally in the northern 2/3 of the Trail (all the way to into NH). I found that while physically they were commonly way ahead of where NOBOs were way back when at the same # of miles, that SOBOs who'd been on the Trail a much shorter time commonly had one major lack from a mostly-done NOBO's POV. They had not absorbed the culture of the Trail nearly as intensely as had NOBOs who'd been on the Trail 3-4x as long, and seemed fully unaware of this lack.

NOBOs and SOBOS (if both first-timers, who've not section-hiked much of the Trail) also have less in common as far as experience with particular places. There's no mutual conversational smiling about times at Miss Janet's, rolling the eyes a bit about Elmer's/Rusty's, knowingly grousing together about the Rez system in the Smokies, how it was like walking on the moon when north of Palmerton, and so on. Of course, all in-progress (or alumni) thruhikers and long sectioners can grouse in general about tourons, badly blazed/built/routed trails, and so on, but with the shared memories of particular places all removed, it often seems to make it awkward to talk across the NOBO/SOBO divide, as between one's own.

It's a bit like how it was when I talked to primarily PCT/CDT hikers at the Rockies Ruck in Leadville this past February. Most apparently just didn't seem to feel that hiking another long trail (that they hadn't done) gave rise to any commonality. A guy who'd thrued one of them and was just about to start an AT thru attempt had zero interest in my offering him some tips on where to/not to go on the AT WRT hostels and such (after I'd just spent over 9 months on the AT barely a year before, when he'd never set foot there). His loss...