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Desert Lobster
05-20-2004, 15:36
About what % have dropped out, blue-blazed, yellow-blazed, etc? Let's post a list of their names:

?
?
?

eyahiker
05-20-2004, 15:58
Wow, you sure are one positive thinking guy......

Peaks
05-20-2004, 16:17
About what % have dropped out, blue-blazed, yellow-blazed, etc? Let's post a list of their names:

?
?
?

Could be a long list. Why bother?

Jaybird
05-20-2004, 16:17
About what % have dropped out, blue-blazed, yellow-blazed, etc? Let's post a list of their names:?



Desert Lobster:


according to ATC stats....normally only 15-20% complete the "thru-hike" journey on Mt.Katahdin that start on Springer Mtn.


so far, the number of thru-hikers that started on Springer Mtn for 2004 looks down a bit. we'll have to see in Sept-Oct. when the class of 2004 reach the summit! :D


TRAILJOURNALS.com has a "hikers who got off the trail" section of journals...

http://www.trailjournals.com/journals_type.cfm?status=4 (http://www.trailjournals.com/journals_type.cfm?status=4)

tribes
05-20-2004, 18:10
About what % have dropped out, blue-blazed, yellow-blazed, etc? Let's post a list of their names:

?
?
?


What purpose would posting these people's names serve?? :-?

If you are really interested in #'s on dropoff and completion rates, do as Jaybird suggested and check the ATC website. I would wait until November to guage NOBO #'s so that all the October finishers are registered in the final count and of course 04' SOBO's can and will finish in spring 05'.

IMHO, I think posting a list of people that failed, blued, or yellow blazed is not going to do anything to benefit anyone on this site and may hurt some of the folks that were forced to drop off the trail this year.

As Footlogger says: Just my .02

eyahiker
05-20-2004, 19:07
Tribes, I'm with you. This guy needs to be ignored, celebraing others failures is just creepy and rude.:)

attroll
05-20-2004, 20:58
I don't think Desert Lobster meant any harm in asking how many people have drop out. Well at least I hope he didn't. Maybe he was just curious. But to create a list like this would be like a slap in the face for those that have dropped out. I know if I was to drop out I would not want to have my name on a list like this.

Maybe he should have just asked for percentages.

eyahiker
05-20-2004, 23:35
I agree, the whole "asking/posting names" thing is just so negative. But numbers, definately, would be very interested in numbers....were'nt these just posted recently? Could've sworn I read them............

Ramble~On
05-21-2004, 04:42
I'd be interested in the numbers, figures for average miles before calling it quits, and the reasons for calling it quits....but I agree that who calls it quits shouldn't be "advertised".

Hood Ornament
05-21-2004, 09:12
Desert Lobster:


according to ATC stats....normally only 15-20% complete the "thru-hike" journey on Mt.Katahdin that start on Springer Mtn.


I believe the ATC completion numbers of 15-20% are based on hikers signing registers at Springer and Katahdin. The ATC also has percentages at some other points and they published these in a recent ATN.

Of course, these numbers are based on hiker's interpretations that they have completed the trail. If you count only those hikers who never missed a white blaze, then I imagine the actual completion rate drops closer to 0%.

Jack Tarlin
05-21-2004, 09:19
Actually, Hood Ornament, your zero per cent figure is a bit harsh. In my estimation, it's more like one and a half to three per cent. There aren't many folks who actually hike the whole trail, but every year there are certainly some.

Dainon
05-21-2004, 09:35
I'd like to add two names to the list, along with my sincere congratulations and best wishes: Hannah and Trey Brown. I've been following their hike in trailjournals.com, and their last entry said that Hannah found out that she was pregnant ("We found out in Gatlinberg, at the Macdonald's on the high street in fact (the nearest bathroom available after the pharmacists)." :clap I truly enjoyed "meeting" them through their entries and hope that they will provide updates on their first little hiker.

Rain Man
05-21-2004, 09:35
About what % have dropped out, blue-blazed, yellow-blazed, etc? Let's post a list of their names:

If they set the first foot on Springer (or Katahdin), then they haven't "failed" at all. So, you'll be posting names of all those who never take the first step. IMHO.

Rain Man

.

cakeman21k
05-21-2004, 09:47
If your interested, according to the ATC web site, as of May 10
1186 Have registered at Springer Mt.
949 Have registered at Neels Gap
741 Have registered at Fontana Dam
48 have registered at Harpers Ferry

Draw your own conclusions form these numbers

VAMTNHIKER
05-21-2004, 10:24
Cakeman's data is all I am interested in.

It would be nice to have a survey of reasons why people left the trail and/or lessons learned but I can not imagine how to get significant data.

No way do I want to know names, etc.

eyahiker
05-21-2004, 10:30
I agree with you guys, data/reasons would be very interesting.

Names, just plain mean display of celebrating someone's failure. Some people I am sure have to leave the trail due to extenuating circumstances in their lives.....

Blue Jay
05-21-2004, 10:40
If they set the first foot on Springer (or Katahdin), then they haven't "failed" at all. So, you'll be posting names of all those who never take the first step. IMHO.

Rain Man

.

Absolutely correct. :clap

Hood Ornament
05-21-2004, 11:59
Actually, Hood Ornament, your zero per cent figure is a bit harsh. In my estimation, it's more like one and a half to three per cent. There aren't many folks who actually hike the whole trail, but every year there are certainly some.
Thanks for the estimate. I didn't mean to imply that no thru-hiker passed all the white blazes, only that the percentage that do is closer to 0% than 15-20%. I was basing this on my talks with thru-hikers over the years.

It would be interesting to find out what percentage of the thru-hikers on this list were white blaze purists. Perhaps a poll is in order.

max patch
05-21-2004, 13:16
Thanks for the estimate. I didn't mean to imply that no thru-hiker passed all the white blazes, only that the percentage that do is closer to 0% than 15-20%. I was basing this on my talks with thru-hikers over the years.

It would be interesting to find out what percentage of the thru-hikers on this list were white blaze purists. Perhaps a poll is in order.

Obviously, the first post on this thread is from a troll.

Of the 15% (plus or minus) that claim 2,000 mile status to the ATC the actual percentage of hikers who have actually met the requirements of same is 1% to 2% or so.

I don't think a poll would provide any meaningful data.

Jack Tarlin
05-21-2004, 13:53
One interesting factor is this year's weather.....it's been a VERY mild spring compared to last year, where it essentially rained for about four consecutive weeks.

While the numbers of starters might be down this year, I suspect the alleged "completion" percentage will be about the same as last year, as fewer hikers quit this year in the critical first six to eight weeks of their trips; history shows that if one gets to Virginia, one's chance of staying the course goes up dramatically.....last year, hundreds of folks never even got close to Virginia as the spring rains drove them home long before they got there.

As to taking a poll on purism, I think it's a waste of time. First off, most folks don't much care. Secondly, there's no reason to believe that people would respond with any level of honesty. If people don't feel the need to be truthful on their reports to the ATC, then why on earth should they be expected to be on the level when responding to an anonymous Internet poll? People that have convinced themselves they hiked the entire trail when in fact they did not, are not about to validate this fact in a poll or anywhere else.

(The "poll" figures would also be skewed because I suspect a larger number of purists stay in touch with the Trail community by actively participating in A.T. websites, mailing lists, and Interactive Forums; it's only natural that less serious and less committed hikers would be less inclined to stay involved with the Trail when they're done; in other words, I suspect a poll on this matter on Whiteblaze would provide a figure larger than 2-3 per cent).

But that doesn't make it accurate.

Hood Ornament
05-21-2004, 16:39
Obviously, the first post on this thread is from a troll.

What's a troll? Is this attroll, the webmaster?

eyahiker
05-21-2004, 21:56
Well said, Jack.

One point I would question....

Are the numbers of those who drop out directly correlated to foul weather? Over the entire thru or specifically the first 6 to 8 weeks?
Your thoughts.

Hood Ornament
05-21-2004, 23:12
Interestingly, the ATC does not determine the number of starting thru-hikers at Springer from the register there. They calculate it based on staff member counts at Mountain Crossing at the Walasi-Yi Center, and assume a 20% dropout rate for the first 30 miles. They also don't determine completion numbers from the Katahdin register, but from Hiker reports received at ATC.

bfitz
05-21-2004, 23:59
silly. Just HYOH.

Pencil Pusher
05-28-2004, 01:56
Newbie question here, how do people miss the white blazes, as suggested? What are the blue and yellow blazes for?

pvtmorriscsa
05-28-2004, 02:18
Howdy all,

Good question. I have often worried about missing the white blazes. Are they pretty easy to follow?

Lone Wolf
05-28-2004, 06:53
Very easy to follow. But if you have a short attention span like me, you'll veer off onto other colored blazes.

dje97001
05-28-2004, 08:40
Yeah, as someone who wants to do a thruhike (badly), and who is tentatively planning one for 2006 (if I can finish up my dissertation quickly enough) I am seriously depressed everytime I read a trailjournal. I've been following a bunch of them so far this year, and although I completely respect their effort, the fact that they got out there in the first place, and their rationale for ending the hike, I can't help but feel frustrated because it sounds to me (in their first entries) that they have done almost everything the way that I would have; they are feeling the same things that I think I would be feeling... and that leads me to seriously doubt whether or not it is something that I could do. By reading the journals of the people who leave the trail (before the end), I was hoping to see a pattern... something that could better predict a finish (or an end)--but I can't see anything yet.

It also seems that trailjournals lists people from the previous year under the "completed thru-hikes" who have not actually completed the whole trail, just a section of it...?

The questions that I would want to see numbers on...

Those of you who have finished a thru-hike, did you know that you were going to finish it before you started?

Those of you who did not finish a thru-hike, did you have serious doubts that you would finish? Did you not really make finishing a goal?
At this stage of my game, this seems most relevant.

Kozmic Zian
05-28-2004, 10:51
Yea.....List? What List.......Nawwww....forget about it. Who cares? About someone's agony over leaving the Trail? Not a good thread, IMHO. We already know not everybody makes it, right. [email protected]

Flash Hand
06-02-2004, 17:05
I guess I am one of thru-hikers that stopped at Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area where the Partnership shelter is. This is because the Social Security Administration withheld 2 3/4 months worth of benefit check. I cannot manage $304 for the entire 3 months. They took the checks to recover the old overpayment from my youth days. They told me that I will get benefits regularly again this September.

I Will THRU-HIKE AGAIN definitely on March 1, 2005 from Springer Mt. to Mt. Katahdin. It will be 9 months left to do some plannings and re-shape my pack. I will not quit and I will be back.

Social Security Administration sent a notice to my home in Arizona while I was hiking the AT. It was the main reason why the timely manner had been the problem for not contacting Social Security Administration sooner.

To answer newbies' questions. Its too easy to follow all white blazes without miss them. I missed just one about .3 miles after the new Hurricane Shelter, because they didn't paint two white blazes on same tree to alert the hikers to turn. I went only about .2 miles down and then turned back after suspected there was no white blazes further.

Flash Hand
GA-VA 04
GA-ME 05

grrickar
06-03-2004, 01:14
I have read some of the trail journals, and would encourage anyone else planning a thru hike to do the same.

I would suspect the reasons for dropout are varied, but these seem like the most reasonable guesses as to why:

sickness (as in the physical kind)
homesickness
ran out of money
bad weather
poor physical conditioning to start with
improper equipment
injury on the trail
and in at least one case - pregnancy (hey, do we need to revisit that thread about protection on the trail :-? ) just joking....

Many probably start on the trail for the wrong reasons. I'm not going to thru hike for bragging rights or a patch for my pack - I want to do it for the experience. Most of my friends would consider me an idiot for thru hiking anyway. They get that look in their eye when I talk about it...:)

I plan to keep a journal of my experiences and share those with my family. Perhaps some day when my daughter is grown her and I can do a thru hike together.

Every since I got this idea in my head it has consumed me. I read trail journals and AT forums like a madman, I do a lot of research on gear, and I listen to these guys who are trail veterans for advice. I have been working out in a gym for about 2 years straight now, and now I have an even more pressing reason to get in better shape.

I plan to start off with section hikes for the next few years, and then hopefully find time to do a thru hike and have my family meet me at points along the way (at least once a month in a trail town) to stave off the homesickness.

As for those who drop out; there's no shame in that - they got out there and tried. Some of them likely enjoyed parts of the experience, and many more will likely try again someday.

Spirit Walker
06-03-2004, 10:56
To DJE9701 - to answer your question - no, I did not know I would finish my hike. I had never been out for more than 5 days at a time, and had only been backpacking for about three years when I started the AT. I discovered along the way that I have a fear of falling (not heights per se, but narrow trails and rock climbing are very frightening to me) which made me doubt that I would be able to continue through NH. It wasn't until I had crossed the Kennebec, halfway through Maine, that I realized, "Yes, I will be able to finish this hike."

On my second thruhike, I knew I could finish the trail, the question was would I want to. I decided to go out and just stay as long as I was enjoying my hike. I went all the way. On the CDT I worried that because of the difficulties of that trail - snow, navigation, injuries, etc. - we wouldn't be able to finish our thruhike. But I knew we really wanted to do so. So we agreed that if the hike was turning into a death march, we would change the parameters and just keep hiking as long as we could and go as far as we could, without feeling forced to do the whole thing if that proved to be too difficult.

What helps make it possible to go all the way? First and foremost - stubbornness. Jim and I are both very stubborn. We don't quit easily. If at all possible, we knew we would keep going, one way or another. Second, flexibility - if your way of hiking is making you miserable (i.e. a death march, too pure, etc.) find a way to make it more what you want it to be. Can you take life one day at a time, living in the moment and not worrying about next week or next month? 2100 miles seems like a very long distance, when you are down in Georgia. But it isn't that far to Neels Gap, and from there it's not that far to Wesser, you can hike that far. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Third - do you enjoy hiking? Some thruhikers really don't like to hike, they just like the lifestyle of being a thruhiker. I love walking and do it all the time. Since that is what we do for 10 or 12 hours a day, it helps. Finally, what are you leaving behind? I knew that if I went home, I'd have to find a job and a place to live -- neither were very appealing. It was much easier to stay on the trail. On the other hand, some folks have family or pets or lovers that they leave behind whom they really can't wait to get back to.

mmills316
06-08-2004, 14:10
Encourage the behavior you want to see and discourage what you don't want to see. A list of dropouts is a waste of time. I like how those who complete their thru-hikes are recognized. After all, isn't that the intent of everyone who starts on Springer. I won't be attempting a thru-hike until I am confident I will have a great chance of succeeding.

gardenville
06-08-2004, 17:04
I think you need another pick: Started-2004/Failed-2004 - Started again 2004/Failed again 2004, Started once more 2004/Failed once more 2004. There may be a 4th Start/Failure but I gave up the count at 3.

The person has now decided to write a book, I guess about "How not to succed" in life. I would guess "carpel tunnel" will be the reason to fail at the book writing.

2004 has been an interesting year for Thru-Hikers.

Snickers
06-08-2004, 18:44
dje -
Two things I've learned about those who complete a thru-hike:

Stubborness is definately a plus when determining if someone is going to make it. You have to have a stubborn streak when you go for days questioning if you should just pack up and go home. But it's not bad if you keep in mind the better days ahead.

You have to love long distance hiking. And you can't find that out about yourself until you really get out there. The preparation may give you hints to whether it's your thing or not: reading about it, planning for it, training hikes. But doing all of that won't really determine if it's your thing. It takes a good two weeks of being in the woods, away from everything we take for granted, before you're really going to know that about yourself. With that in mind, here are a few things you might ask yourself that would help indicate if long distance hiking is your thing:

1. Are you comfortable spending a lot of time in your head with no distractions? - this is key. Even if you hike in a group, there's a lot of time to think out there.
2. Can you spend a lot of time away from friends and family? Especially a significant other.
3. Do you enjoy pushing yourself physically? There will come a time when you're not really that excited about the next vista, and you've got to have something else driving you.

Most of the thru-hikers I know seem to fall into these categories. I know there's a million ways to spin it, and I know a few failed attempts from people who fit this profile to a T. These are just some things to ask yourself. If you end up really getting into it, the 6 months will fly by. If not, 6 months could seem like an eternity.

-Snickers
www.traildawg.com (http://www.traildawg.com)

Nightwalker
06-11-2004, 17:39
Cakeman's data is all I am interested in.

It would be nice to have a survey of reasons why people left the trail and/or lessons learned but I can not imagine how to get significant data.

No way do I want to know names, etc.

I dropped out in Franklin to go to the E.R., and thought I'd be right back.

It started with a migraine; I have lots of those. I thought I was having another stroke, I've already had two.

It may have been a T.I.A., which is harder to detect, but it wasn't a C.V.A.

Since then, I've had headaches so bad that coming out in the daytime is very difficult, but I still do it, with a hat and sunglasses. I'm seeing a new neurologist who specializes in headaches, and he's probably going to do a block on my occipital nerve, and if that helps, he'll possibly just kill the nerve entirely.

The bastidge is making me give up peanut butter (peanut anything, actually), tea, coffee, any other caffiene (no decaffeinated stuff either, because of the chemicals used). Those are some of my favorite things, but I wanna quit hurting.

Since dropping off of the trail, I haven't hiked once, and may never again if I can't get a handle on this stupid stuff.

I've felt like a failure, even though people try to say that I had no choice, but that doesn't change my feelings. I've totally dropped out of the whole trail-culture scene, and this is the first post that I've made anywhere since coming back. I'd earlier thought that I'd get better in time to go to Maine and start a SOBO by the end of June, but it ain't gonna happen, or so it seems.

My head's kicking me right now, and this really sucks.

You were curious about losers/dropouts/whatever, so here it is. I met some nice people, and enjoyed the heck outta Georgia, but may be done. In the past, I rarely went more than two weeks without doing at least an over-night hike somewhere on some trail, but it's been two months since my last time on any trail, and have no idea when I'll be able to go back.

You have no idea how hard this post was to write.

Lilred
06-11-2004, 19:02
.

You have no idea how hard this post was to write.


Frank,
So sorry to hear about your health problems. I'll keep you in my prayers that it will come to an end and you'll get back out there.

smokymtnsteve
06-11-2004, 19:31
I had a similiar thing happen last fall frank... a little leak in my left front lobe...Killer headache,,happened to me at stover creek...I walked back out to FS42 and finnally some folks came around and hauled me out to the hospital in dahlonega, ga... I had a MRI and then an ateriogram, small leaker in the left front lobe, an AVM, I used amitriptyline for headache prophylaxis. I carry it with me even now, and this spring I walked to VA. so ya see you'll be hiking again,,,

but Migraines really suck, if you have never had one you just don't know.

Lone Wolf
06-11-2004, 20:19
Very sorry to hear about your medical woes. I truly hope things take a turn for the better so you can hike again.

Rain Man
06-12-2004, 00:03
Since dropping off of the trail, I haven't hiked once, and may never again if I can't get a handle on this stupid stuff.

I've felt like a failure, even though people try to say that I had no choice, but that doesn't change my feelings.

You have no idea how hard this post was to write.

Frank, thanks for writing, no matter how hard. It is good to hear from you, even if it is to report health problems. Like Lilredmg said, you're in our prayers. Keep us posted. And remember, you've hiked a lot more of the AT than many!!!

I hope to see you in Greenville the next time I'm down.

Rain Man

.

steve hiker
06-12-2004, 00:14
Is Grass Picker still hiking?

warren doyle
06-15-2004, 12:00
May I suggest you read my one-page 'book' and the Appalachian Trail Institute brochure contained in my website www.warrendoyle.com

I have organized six groups who have walked the entire trail with 100% completion rates in five of them.

#7 group will be in 2005.

bunbun
06-15-2004, 16:30
I dropped out in Franklin to go to the E.R., and thought I'd be right back.

It started with a migraine; I have lots of those. I thought I was having another stroke, I've already had two.

It may have been a T.I.A., which is harder to detect, but it wasn't a C.V.A.

Frank -
There have been a lot of people worried about you cause you disappeared on us. Some of us thought it might be physical - but nobody seemed to know and nobody could get in touch with you. I'm really sorry - not about the thruhike, but that you're hurting. The thruhike will be there when you get well. You and your health are a lot more important than the thruhike.




I've felt like a failure, even though people try to say that I had no choice, but that doesn't change my feelings. I've totally dropped out of the whole trail-culture scene, and this is the first post that I've made anywhere since coming back. I'd earlier thought that I'd get better in time to go to Maine and start a SOBO by the end of June, but it ain't gonna happen, or so it seems.

I won't tell you what to feel, but I will tell you that I don't think you're a loser or a failure. I'll also suggest a link to something for you to read if you're willing to try it - http://trailwise.circumtech.com/atlthruhikingwhatif

It won't help with the pain - but it may at least give you something to think about with regard to attitude. Stay in touch, my friend - we've missed you.
And get better.
Jim

SavageLlama
06-15-2004, 16:45
2004 stats from the ATC site:

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=3 border=0><TBODY><TR bgColor=#6666ff><TD class=stats style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold; COLOR: #ffffff" width=140>2004 Thru-hiker Estimate: Northbound </TD><TD class=stats style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold; COLOR: #ffffff" align=middle width=60>As of June 11</TD><TD class=stats style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold; COLOR: #ffffff" align=middle width=60>2003 Totals</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ccccff><TD class=stats width=140>Springer Mtn., Ga.</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>1,261+</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>1,750</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#cccccc><TD class=stats width=140>Neels Gap, Ga.</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>1,009+</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>1,400</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ccccff><TD class=stats width=140>Fontana Dam, N.C.
(as of 5/30)</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>864</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>1,028</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#cccccc><TD class=stats width=140>Harpers Ferry, W.Va.</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>285</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>741</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ccccff><TD class=stats width=140>Katahdin, Maine</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>-</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>391</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

Tenacious Tanasi
06-15-2004, 16:54
Frank, it is sooo good to finally get word from you. I've been so worried. I wish I could give you a big hug right now, but I will save it until the next time we meet.

I hate to hear of your health issues, and like many others here on this list as well as the at-l, I have you and Paula in my prayers.

Thank goodness you decided to come back to us. I realize that the post was very difficult to write, but don't leave your hiker family.

You are not a failure in my opinion. You have done what you had to do. Others would/could not do otherwise.

Keep us posted, and let us know if there is anything that we can do to help.

Mags
06-15-2004, 16:59
Frank,

So sorry to hear about your medical problems. Those who "knew" you before you left for your hike are still rooting for you no matter wether you hike the whole thing this year, hike it in sections or decide to do something different.

Wrote this a few years ago as an e-mail and it was then published in ATN. Wrote it shortly after my own thru-hike.

Maybe something in it that you may find of value.

Hope everything turns out for the best.
********

“The wildest dream is the beginning of reality”–Norman Cousins

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Anyone who is a “Class of ‘99” thru-hiker has a dream, a dream to complete a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. By daring to have this dream, you will be creating a reality that involves happiness, frustration, sadness, excitement, anger and joy. It is an experience you will not forget, and one that will have an effect on you long after Springer or Katahdin is reached.

The key to a successful thru-hike is not what boots you wear, how many ounces you shave off your pack, what stove you use, or what brand of socks worn. No, they key to a successful thru-hike the making use of the most important piece of equipment: the gray matter, the ole noggin’, the brain.

A thru-hike is more of a mental challenge than a physical one. After 13 days of rain, do you still have the urge to hike? Can you stomach the umpteenth dinner of Ramen noodles? Are you ready to have your body go through something that will leave it aching for rest, wanting to stop? If you can say yes to that, then you can also see a moose wading in a pond around sunset, hear the shriek of an owl at night, smell pine needles on a sunny day. Enjoy the trip, revel in everything that happens. All these experiences that make an Appalachian Trail thru-hike memorable. If you are feeling low, ask yourself “What is the alternative?” You could be working in the office again, filing out yet another memo. Instead, you are on the Trail, experiencing nature, in all its raw beauty. Again, it’s an experience that will have an effect on you long after the journey is completed.

If you feel that your journey is complete, and Katahdin or Springer have not been reached, don’t feel that you have failed. There are no real failures on the trail. Daring to dream is a rarity in itself. Daring to live out your dream is something that many people are afraid to do. If you do not reach Katahdin or Springer, you will still have an experience that most people would not even bother to dream about. It does not take a thru-hike to learn the lessons of the trail. The lessons come from trying, and your Katahdin might come at Harpers Ferry, Damascus, or earlier. [i]If you know in your heart that you have pushed yourself to your physical, mental and emotional limit, then you have done more than most people have even attempted.

The Appalachian Trail is a special experience. Hard to describe unless you have attempted it. No matter how little or how much time you take to hike the trail, it will be over before you know it. It will never be far from your thoughts. In between Springer and Katahdin are some wonderful memories; savor every one of them.

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--><!--[endif]--> <o:p></o:p>

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Rain Man
06-16-2004, 11:59
Is Grass Picker still hiking?

YES. Grass called this morning from the Doyle Hotel in Duncannon, PA. She's having a great time. She said except for two guys, the entire crew was in Duncannon that last had been together in Hiawassee, GA. They all reveled in that and thought "how long ago" that seemed.

I'll post some updates under the March 1st, 2004 Starts forum on here soon.
:sun
Rain Man

.

lalee
06-17-2004, 00:38
Hey, Guys (and Gals),

You have no idea how encouraged -I- was by reading your replies to Frank's post. This has been an extremely trying season, but opportunities are only there for those willing to take them. In just the last six weeks or so, we've lost three dogs and a car, helped stage an outdoor family wedding AND changed job assignments. Frank didn't tell you about taking a fall down our back steps and spraining his ankle so bad he came home in a gel cast and on crutches. Even the ER doc was shocked it wasn't broken. I really appreciated the posts and am grateful for the chance to post here. I had felt so unsure of what to say to anyone about Frank's hike. Our families have been wonderful and they seem to be growing by the day.

I don't know what else to say.

Mrs.Frank/Squeaky/lalee

Moon Monster
06-17-2004, 09:19
[QUOTE=dje97001]

I can't help but feel frustrated because it sounds to me (in their first entries) that they have done almost everything the way that I would have; they are feeling the same things that I think I would be feeling... and that leads me to seriously doubt whether or not it is something that I could do.
....
Those of you who have finished a thru-hike, did you know that you were going to finish it before you started?

[QUOTE]

I enjoyed the other couple of answers to this question.

I read before starting that making a sort of contract with yourself is a good idea. Mine was to finish and pass every white blaze. When things get bad (like when you hurt, when it's raining for 8 straight days, when you miss a turn and get lost) it takes stubbornness and spitfire and even anger to push through and keep to your contract. But you have to decide from the getgo to stick to your own rules for your hike (and that includes the rule to finish) that you made at the getgo. If you change your rules at all later on it will become very easy to slip and eventually decide the whole hike is not something you want to do. Or, at least, you could start wanting to be a purist but if you don't remain stubborn, then giving up the white blazes 100% of the time would become easier and easier.

I found many many days of my thru-hike to be uncomfortable and downright boring. If I had allowed myself to reevaluate the whole hike on those days then I could have conceived of quitting, but I chose to never requestion my original plan.

However, I did often feel down in the evenings when I wrote my journal entries. So, for those trailjournals that you read that sound constantly negative, don't believe that those hikers neccessarily feel so gloomy every hour of the day. For all my negativity and fuming that I went through at times (and often), the hike was the best thing I've ever done and I won't rest well until I do it again.

**Here's an analogy I came up with: if you can drive in your car alone on the Interstate with little traffic on a cloudy day without any music for 10 straight hours only stopping for gas, and you can do that day after day without going insane, then you can be successful at a thru-hike.

Rain Man
06-17-2004, 10:24
... if you can drive in your car alone on the Interstate with little traffic on a cloudy day without any music for 10 straight hours only stopping for gas, and you can do that day after day without going insane, then ...

If you can do THAT, then you ARE insane!!!
:jump
LOLOLOL

Rain Man

.

bunbun
06-17-2004, 10:32
I read before starting that making a sort of contract with yourself is a good idea. Mine was to finish and pass every white blaze. When things get bad (like when you hurt, when it's raining for 8 straight days, when you miss a turn and get lost) it takes stubbornness and spitfire and even anger to push through and keep to your contract. But you have to decide from the getgo to stick to your own rules for your hike (and that includes the rule to finish) that you made at the getgo. If you change your rules at all later on it will become very easy to slip and eventually decide the whole hike is not something you want to do. Or, at least, you could start wanting to be a purist but if you don't remain stubborn, then giving up the white blazes 100% of the time would become easier and easier.

I found many many days of my thru-hike to be uncomfortable and downright boring. If I had allowed myself to reevaluate the whole hike on those days then I could have conceived of quitting, but I chose to never requestion my original plan.


MM -
The point of the contract is to give you a reference point re what you wanted when you started the hike. But if you're not capable of changing the contract based on changing circumstances (or internal personal changes), that's a problem. But it IS your problem - and you do get to live with it.

But comes to mind a young lad who went into the Whites a few years ago in mid-winter with a friend. He had a PLAN (contract?) - and he refused to change it in spite of the drastic deterioration in the weather. He survived - his friend didn't. But I wouldn't trust him to lead me to the mens room. YMMV

Fact is that the "I won't change the rules" attitude is one of the reasons some people DO quit. As a human, you'll only keep on doing what you're doing (in ANY activity) as long as the rewards exceed the cost. For a lot of people, the rewards of a thruhike are insufficient to counter the pain of hiking, the injury, the bad weather --- or other factors. I know a lot of thruhikers who got frustrated with following the white blazes and would have quit if they hadn't changed their "contract". YMMV

Finally - from a very personal perspective - if you take that attitude with you on the CDT you could end up very dead. There are places where rigidity and inflexibility will kill you. Go read the CDT hikers journals on Trailjournals. Roni's journal would be a revelation to those who think there's only one way to thruhike. And Trippin' Ant's post this morning on cdt-l is another lesson in the "reality" of thruhiking.

You want a contract? This is the original contract we used for the CDT -

The Spirit Eagle contract isn’t complicated - it only has 5 points. And it reads like this:
1. We’ll walk from the Canadian border to the Mexican border along or near the Continental Divide Trail.
2. We’re out here for 6 months.
3. We’re here to see the country, to meet the people and to learn whatever lessons God has to teach us.
4. We’re here to walk the mountains and the wilderness as much as possible - not to “roadwalk” the Trail.
5. Finishing the Trail is important, but not as important as enjoying the Trail. If the push to finish gets in the way, we’ll re-examine what we’re doing and why. If necessary, we’ll take 2 years to finish rather than compromise on points 1, 3, and 4.



There was an addition to that contract along the way -

6. Finishing the trail isn't important enough to die for.

And since both my wife and I nearly died - I think that was an important addition.

Be stubborn - but stay flexible. And stay alive to hike another day.

Hotdog
06-17-2004, 10:36
**Of course, these numbers are based on hiker's interpretations that they have **completed the trail. If you count only those hikers who never missed a white **blaze, then I imagine the actual completion rate drops closer to 0%
____

And I imagine you would be wrong. There are some who do "pure" AT hikes, not missing a white blaze, doing a Northbound hike by always moving north (no slacking or doing sections southbound, because it's easier). It's actually pretty easy to do... I did it, so did the woman I hiked with. So 0-5% might be a better guess at your "pure" completion rate...

hotdog AT 03

Hotdog
06-17-2004, 10:50
**I've felt like a failure, even though people try to say that I had no choice, **but that doesn't change my feelings.
_____

Frank, the only person who is a failure, is one who doesn't try, one who doesn't make that leap of faith to make their dreams come true. That surely doesn't apply to you! You may not have completed your hike, but you sure as hell didn't fail. Keep your chin up guy. Good luck with your recovery!

Russ (hotdog AT 03)

gravityman
06-17-2004, 15:27
MM -
The point of the contract is to give you a reference point re what you wanted when you started the hike. But if you're not capable of changing the contract based on changing circumstances (or internal personal changes), that's a problem. But it IS your problem - and you do get to live with it.

*snip*


Just a continuation on this theme - when we trained for our marathon this past May, the book that we were using had some advice that we REALLY liked and will apply to our thru-hike. It goes something like this : Training for and running a marathon is a REALLY hard thing to do. Unfortunately, many people that do it for the first time ruin their experience by putting a time goal on the run. Then, even though they just ran 26.2 miles, they feel like they failed because it took them 4 hours in stead for 3 hours 45 min. But did they fail? HECK NO! They just ran 26.2 miles! It's all in your goals, and so you need to set the goal that is important to you. If this is your first marathon, DON"T SET A TIME GOAL! Just set the goal of finishing, and when you do, you will feel REALLY good.

So, for our hike next year, our goal is to walk from springer to Katahdin! That's it. No addendums (direction, with/without pack, in blah months, past every white blaze). It's a really tough goal, and we don't want to make it feel like we failed because we didn't walk into and out from the shelter the same way, or because we went to Charlies Bunion, and didn't have the energy to walk back around.

That's for us... YMMV!

Gravity man

smokymtnsteve
06-17-2004, 15:40
I like to walk NOBO until it starts to get hot...along the way I like to make coffee and pancakes....and other gooodies....my goal is to have a good time.

Hammock Hanger
06-17-2004, 15:54
I like to walk NOBO until it starts to get hot...along the way I like to make coffee and pancakes....and other gooodies....my goal is to have a good time.
SMS: I hate coffe and don't make pancakes on the trail... hell I don't even cook breakfast on the trail! SO I guess we are very different!!

However, your goal is the same as my goal... HAVE A GOOD TIME!

So I guess we aren't so different after all. :sun

Nice meeting you in Damascus. Sue/HH

Twofiddy
06-21-2004, 08:48
Of course, these numbers are based on hiker's interpretations that they have completed the trail. If you count only those hikers who never missed a white blaze, then I imagine the actual completion rate drops closer to 0%.

Completion rate drops to 0%

GIVE ME A BREAK!!

So you walk the road in and out of Unionville NY. It is 2.2 miles worth of blue blaze. The AT is 2.1 Miles, and actually back in like 1984 or something the trail used to go right through town on the road. Just like the Mau Pau trail through the gorge near Montabello VA. The trial used to be there too.

Some one better call back to the ATC and get them to issue me another thru hike certificate that states that I hiked in 2003 but I hiked the 1984 TRAIL...

Give me a break!!

Walk 2125 miles of the 2173 and you hiked the whole thing.

Purist mentality is to be respected but really weather you walk past every stinking blaze or not we still all walk nearly the same distance with side trips and walking to get water etc.

And as for the name listing!!

LIST EM!!

If you are brave enout to attempt this journey you are brave enough to accept that you are off the trail.



:banana

Lone Wolf
06-21-2004, 08:57
Wrong. Walk 2125 of 2173 miles, you're missing 48 miles of AT. No patch, no certificate. Pretty simple. And I'm the biggest blue-blazer out there.

Jersey Bob
06-21-2004, 09:14
at least 10 characters

A-Train
06-21-2004, 11:25
Quick math, Wolf

eldwayno
06-28-2004, 09:52
I set out from Springer Mtn. with the intention of hiking to Katahdin, it was after Hot Springs that I realized, the trail will always be here, the people I was meeting and the experiences that could only happen with those people won't be. My whole outlook on the trail was changed, my eyes were opened, no longer blinded by the thousand plus miles that layed before me, I was living with complete freedom on the trail. I had no where to be and all day to get there, the trail was no longer about the physical trail itself. The trail was now about the experiences and the people. It was about spending two days in a rented cottage with my buddy Sundance's parents, it was about drinking moonshine with my hiking partners 80 year old grandfather in Elizabethton, it was about working on the trail at Kincora, canoeing up the Shenandoah river, it was about having fun.

I made my decision to get off the trail in Port Clinton, and it was hard, but my original intention of hiking the trail was to find where to take my next step in life, by then I had figured it out, it was back to school for me. And so instead of pressing on with low funds and the fact that most of my other buddies had already gotten off, I knew that I had a great experience, the time of my life, but for now other things take precedent, my education. So did I fail? I don't think I failed, I had the time of my life. So call it what you will, but I won't call myself a failure, nor anyone else who makes the decision to get off the trail.

Rain Man
06-28-2004, 11:40
... So did I fail? I don't think I failed, I had the time of my life. So call it what you will, but I won't call myself a failure, nor anyone else who makes the decision to get off the trail.

Beautifully put!!!!
:clap
Rain Man

.

eldwayno
06-28-2004, 13:17
I remember meeting Grass, next time she calls let her know that Syracuse is off the trail but to keep her eyes peeled for me leaving magic.

A-Train
06-28-2004, 18:48
Ditto to that, I'll be heading out in the next week to the jersey/NY section to do some magic. Its about that time...

ferryman
06-28-2004, 19:54
:bse Today on June 28, the eleventh Thru-hiker crossed the Kennebec River. "Junior" arrived approximately 9:45 am along with a segment Thru-hiker named "Trog", who was finishing up his 2003 hike from the White Mtns in NH. "Junior" started from Springer on February 29. The top ten hikers to date are as follows: "Magic", "Officer Taco", "Boy Wonder", "Sunstroke", "The Solemates", "Cactus" with "Gus" (first four legged), "Drifter", "Chainsaw" and "A-1. I would also like to point out that while loading up the gear of one southbounder today, who goes by the name of "Flaco", "Junior" of proud Puerto Rican heritage was quick to translate the spanish word to mean "skinny". It may be a little too early to tell, but this year looks to be a banner year for both northbounders and southbounders and section hikers and segment hikers and folks just out for the day enjoying the Appalachian Trail. Yours at the Kennebec River (wavy white blaze), Steve

Jack Tarlin
06-28-2004, 20:51
Steve--

Thanks for the report....hope the rest of your season goes as well as the beginning! See you in September!

SavageLlama
07-01-2004, 07:21
Looks like 414 hikers have passed Harper's Ferry as of June 22.


<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=3 border=0><TBODY><TR bgColor=#6666ff><TD class=stats style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold; COLOR: #ffffff" width=140>2004 Thru-hiker Estimate: Northbound </TD><TD class=stats style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold; COLOR: #ffffff" align=middle width=60>As of June 22</TD><TD class=stats style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold; COLOR: #ffffff" align=middle width=60>2003 Totals</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ccccff><TD class=stats width=140>Springer Mtn., Ga.</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>1,261+</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>1,750</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#cccccc><TD class=stats width=140>Neels Gap, Ga.</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>1,009+</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>1,400</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ccccff><TD class=stats width=140>Fontana Dam, N.C.
(as of 5/30)</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>864</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>1,028</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#cccccc><TD class=stats width=140>Harpers Ferry, W.Va.</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>414</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>741</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ccccff><TD class=stats width=140>Katahdin, Maine</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>-</TD><TD class=stats align=middle width=60>391</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ffffff><TD class=stats width=250 colSpan=3> (http://www.appalachiantrail.org/hike/thru_hike/facts.html#)</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

Rain Man
07-05-2004, 11:35
I remember meeting Grass, next time she calls let her know that Syracuse is off the trail but to keep her eyes peeled for me leaving magic.

Grass stayed at the Graymoor Monastery last night past Bear Mountain, NY.
:sun
She's still "having a ball" and has told me of a few instances of trail magic. What name would you have given her?

Rain Man

.

hikerltwt
07-05-2004, 14:13
I was one of the small percentage that actually completed a pure thru-hike last year. I saw many, many, many, many people blue blaze, yellow blaze and such and I had no problem with that. What I and most purists have a problem with, is people representing that they have completed something they haven't. Oh well, thats the way it is in this instant gratification society we live in ready to take the glory and skirt the pain.............I think the numbers the ATC have are seriously inflated simply because sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooo many people are not truthful with themselves in regards to 2000 miler status. I really don't want a long argument to the contrary, but if people can't be honest with themselves about the accomplisment of a goal they set why should they be honest with the ATC? I really feel it is the individuals choice about the hike they make, I really believe in the HYOH mantra. I, however ,do not agree with hiking your own hike and then calling it something it isn't. You are a 2000 miler when you walk ALL OF THE TRAIL! It really is that simple, but for a LARGE percentage of people that calim to be 2000 milers it is a hard concept to grasp. You can have a wonderful experiance hiking the trail any number of ways. I could care less which way one chooses to hike their hike. Just like the hard fast definition of a 2000 miler there is no gray area between truth or deception. It seems that a lot of people can't grasp the simple things.

SGT Rock
07-05-2004, 14:20
Don't even get me started...

Lone Wolf
07-05-2004, 14:49
The ATC should stop promoting "thru-hiking" and giving out certificates and patches. The AT was never intended to be thru-hiked.

Hammock Hanger
07-05-2004, 14:57
What I and most purists have a problem with, is people representing that they have completed something they haven't. I really believe in the HYOH mantra. I, however ,do not agree with hiking your own hike and then calling it something it isn't. You are a 2000 miler when you walk ALL OF THE TRAIL! It really is that simple,.
For me this is right on target. I don't care if you like to blue blaze, I don't care if you like to yellow blaze. It is your "adventure" and it should be handled in any way that makes you feel satisfied and fulfilled. But a "thru-hike" is a "thru-hike" I guess it is the mislabeling that maybe gets me going and not the actual way a person hikes. HH

Connie
07-05-2004, 15:23
I am having a hard time understanding thru-hiking. I met a CDT "thru-hiker" last summer, in Dupuyer, MT. He was walking the road to Augusta, MT.

I have been up in the mountains here, plenty: routefinding skills are necessary.

But, to "thru-hike" a road, I don't think so. I have seen some monk sect walk hiway 1 in California. I don't understand it.

I have been looking at the forum, a lot. I have been looking at photos. I have been looking at journals.

I had started to think it is a very immediate experience of all the different terrain, very intense.

In some other ways, thru-hiking seems very social.

I think my response to thru-hiking is summed up, so far, by my response to one journal writer saying, somethink like, there is always another mountain.

He was going strong, about the views changing as he walked. Then, he said, there is always another mountain. He didn't like the campsite, further back in his journal, as much as the walk. Now do I see, it is because there is always another mountain ?

For me, one area is so interesting. The changing light, the changing seasons. The changing experience, of the weather, of what happens.

I want to walk the mountains, right here. I could be doing that the rest of my life.

I thought I might want to thru-hike, but so far, why ?

smokymtnsteve
07-05-2004, 16:10
Where ever you go..there you are

MOWGLI
07-05-2004, 18:44
I want to walk the mountains, right here. I could be doing that the rest of my life.

I thought I might want to thru-hike, but so far, why ?

Connie, I think your last two sentences sum it up. I have lots of friends who love to hike, but would never consider a thru-hike for a whole variety of reasons.

If you are content hiking where you live, and don't understand why you should thru-hike, then maybe you should follow your instincts.

Happy hiking!

Little Bear

A-Train
07-05-2004, 23:21
Grass stayed at the Graymoor Monastery last night past Bear Mountain, NY.
:sun
Rain Man

.

Out for a day hike from Rt 301 to Dennytown Road today I met Grass, as well as Bear Behind, Uncle Ben, a section hiker who's name i didn't catch and later Tyson. Offered them all sodas and fresh fruit but apparently they had all hitched to a store and been given food. Thru-hikers turning down food? I don't get it :) Got caught in the most torrential fifteen minute downpour and t-storm and lightning I've ever been apart of and the trail became a river quickly. Drove the section hiker down to the Fahnstock Campground and then slacked Grass and Bens packs over to RPH shelter. They didnt get started on the final 7 miles till after 5:30 but were confident they would make it. Ran into Tyson at RPH, eating dinner and relaxing at the pretty spot alone. He was hiking on for the evening. Left a gallon of water there since the water is orange from rust. Also left lots of goodies.

Another great day on the trail, even with an annoying car :)