View Full Version : an unhealthy addiction to hiking

02-17-2004, 15:32
this one is for the lifers, the addicts, or anyone who has done more than one big LDH. i did AT, had a PCT trip sabotaged by knee problems, money problems, and finally giardia but still managed 500 through the sierra. at times it seemed like the pct was a traveling support group for those who couldnt get over the AT. now i am really drawn to the second go round with the AT. i dont have to tell you why this is appealing. but do any of you feel escapist? guilty? unfit for this modern world? because i cant tell if i should simply follow my lifes passion with everything i have or overcome this nostalgic draw and blaze a new life trail. clearly this is something only i can reconcile, but was just curious for thoughts and reflections from those who like me have the bug big time. for those who have done the AT twice was the second time twice as nice? also, what do you do in the off season (besides post here!) is it miserable slaving for dollars, or have you worked out something more enjoyable? do you have a permanent home? how do you turn a vacation into a lifestyle?

come on yall, let loose.

mssr funkworthy, PCT04? CT04? AT04? IAT04? or responsibility04?

02-17-2004, 15:41
All repeat offenders wrestle with the same questions.I can tell you the second and third time on the AT was just as mystical magical, sometimes in a totally differant way than the others. I have reconciled myself to being able to stand with only occasional thoughts of suicide,slaving in Babylon on the off season by continuing to hike and camp while here, ta;lking to anyone who will listen about it and staying in veryu close contact with alot of people across the world and nation that i've hiked with. Yes my friend you become a stranger in a strange land, but reentry makes going home(Trail) sooooo sweeet.

Blue Jay
02-17-2004, 15:51
No, you do not have an unhealthy addiction. The rest of Amerika has an unhealthy addiction to money, money, money, money.... mooonnaae. Babylon is a house of cards that will someday fall. Don't just live your life, love it, all you own is time.

02-17-2004, 16:46
I admire the ability to take the time away from making the money.

I have a dream to thru-hike once in my lifetime. The rest of my life I hope to make a difference in society, on and off the trail. Not saying those who repeatedly hike are dodging responsibilities, but we can do so much good by bringing the magic of the trail back to civilization. Perhaps in some way making the "real" world a better place. (Think about all the great people you meet on the trail and how nice they are, wish everyone was like that, huh?)

Spending all of your life on the trail, and all your time away from the trail lusting after it, seems to be a waste of a good life. If the trail is your passion, do you volunteer for it? bring the message back to your local community? encourage conservation?

I'm afraid many passionate hikers forget to include others in the magic and hog it all for themselves.

I'm not doggin' thru-hikers, like I said, I hope to be there one day. But there must be more to this life than hiking all day, everyday. I wonder about those who constantly hike, I'm sure you get odd and end jobs to get you the money to buy your gear (or are a trust fund baby). Do you ever think about making a difference in the world? or have you given up on it?

Just mulling here.....

Dan Morris
02-17-2004, 18:28
Personally hiking and spending time in the mountains around my home keeps me sane. I often think without the solitude and beauty of Hatchers Pass I would go completely crazy. Now the borough wants to pave the road from Independence mine all the way to Willow and put in huge parking lots, a ski resort, and subdivisions. I guess I can only move father away each time development spreads. Thatís why I share a joint and shed a tear in loving memory of the last frontier.

02-17-2004, 19:56
I'd guess the only unhealthy position that applies to hiking being addictive is the amount of time we all spend flattening out our rear ends in front of the computer monitor. I quess it wouldn't be so bad if we were doing exercises in between reading all of our post's, but for me, I go to the gym or for a light walk and then spend the next four hours glue to Whiteblaze. Maybe someday they'll come out with some type of VR hiking software that will allow us to read new threads and hike at the same time.

02-17-2004, 19:58
Yes, you are one sick puppy.

I think you should go take a walk to clear your head, 2200 miles should do it. If not, go climb a mountain. This should help you get over this dangerous obsession. :dance

Oh, and one more thing you RAVING SICKO
, , , , ,
, , , , ,
, , , , , TAKE ME WITH YOU,, PLEASE!!!! :clap


steve hiker
02-17-2004, 22:23
It constantly amazes me how much time and energy I spend generating dollars in order to meet financial obligations. Paying bills seems to be the biggest sick obsession out there. I mean, most of us literally spend most of our waking hours in service to the machine. We even make careers out of tending the money mill. In doing so we put up with SO much crap, in environments we really would rather not be in.

I've begun to insult my bank account as necessary in order to break away to the mountains when I can, even if the woman sees it as escapist or being irresponsible or whatever.

Remember, you will die soon.

warren doyle
02-17-2004, 22:27
My hiking is socially unacceptable but not socially irresponsible. I am passionate about it and balance it with my other responsibilites. I try to move between the trail world and non-trail world without becoming trapped in either. To celebrate and embrace the best of both worlds - what a journey/adventure life is!

02-17-2004, 23:06
I guess that hiking and being out on the trail is plain downright addictive. You won't never hear me complain about hiking 6 or 7 months of the year. If others think it's unhealthy, nonproductive and socially harmful for someone to be out on the trail, that's their opinion. Me personally, I don't worry if someone spends his whole life on the trail, To each his own.

02-18-2004, 03:44
This is a great topic. For now, I'm just a lowly wanna be repeat offender. I can't even call myself hiker trash. But, someday...

"do any of you feel escapist?"

One month after finishing my thru hike, I was standing on Springer at the start of a three day trip. I met a thru hiker who was just starting, and I must say the thought of heading north all over again was very appealing. I knew it wasn't the time, and although it would allow me to postpone finding a job it wouldn't have been a good choice for me. I think that would have been escapist. Now that I've been off the trail for a few years (hiked in 1999), had a chance to put the experience in perspective, I don't think doing it again would be escapist. I think it will be another amazing adventure.

For the question about jobs, I'm currently reading this book called "Working" by Studs Terkel . It is a best seller from back in the 70's, and in it the author interviews people from all walks of life, and give a good glimpse of the day to day life on the job. It's from before my time, so I hadn't heard of it before I picked it up, but have enjoyed reading it. Although dated, much of it is still relevant today. Perhaps it will give you an idea in the difficult to answer job question.

One day I hope to be on the trail again, hope to see a few repeat offenders out there too. :cool:

02-18-2004, 04:47
I'd be curious how many of you attempted thru-hikes but didn't make it for one reason or another and still have the overriding urge to go back and finish the job, so to speak.

I attempted a thru hike in 1999 and had to bag it after 610 miles, thanks to a very uncooperative left foot. Now it is 5 years later and it is about all I think about (besides eating and sleeping LOL). I am unaccustomed to leaving things incomplete and besides, I had such a GOOD TIME while I was out there.

I honestly don't know what is holding me back except that my family reminds me all the time that I can't just up and quit a good job, I'm too old, blah blah blah. I think I am heading toward critical mass though. Man, this is hard! Any fellow sufferers out there?

02-18-2004, 11:44
I'd be curious how many of you attempted thru-hikes but didn't make it for one reason or another and still have the overriding urge to go back and finish the job, so to speak.

Oh, my wife and I are right with you. We tried in 2001 and my wife got neuromas in her feet (at the time we had no idea what it was other than every single step felt like an icepick through the foot). They developed before damascus, but she hiked another 500 miles before she finally gave up the ghost (actually, I had to call the hike. She wouldn't do it). She did 20 miles in the Doha's with her feet. After about mile 15 she was pretty much crying for the rest of it. It was bad...
Anyway, I really left like we had to go back out there and finish. As you can imagine, she was a little more apprehensive about it. She didn't want a repeat. Well, it's been almost 3 years. We got her orthotics for her shoes, switched to well cushioned trail runners, and are training for a marathon right now to see if she will develop problems (the training is about 500 miles, and running is a lot harder on the body than hiking). So far so good, and we are 1/3 of the way through. Then we are going on a three week test hike this summer to further verify that we really want to do this (on the Colorado Trail). I have asked for an 8 months sabbatical (we want to make sure we can take a month or 2 to heal if something breaks) and my job said "Go for it." So, as you can imagine, we are totally stoked for 2005! We have the laminated map on our living room wall, and we both are walking over there all the time to stare at it... sigh...

I really wanted to get to Maine that first time. This time, I just really want to spend 6-7 months outside, hiking, and having fun in that environment. Of course I also want to make it to Maine, but having worked for the past 3 years, I really appeciate the time off more... Time that finally belongs to me!

So, go for it! We decided that even if I lost my job, this was the right thing to do. We could both die in a car crash tomorrow. Why waste all our time waiting... we have to live...

Gravity Man