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View Full Version : What does it take to become a Trail Legend?



MedicineMan
06-03-2004, 00:39
Since I'm starting to meet 'em curious about what it takes to become one.

attroll
06-03-2004, 01:27
In my opinion if you have hike it multiple times then you have become well known thoughout the Appalachian Trail community. I don't know if that makes you a legend though. I guess the more your name gets passed around through the AT community then you do become a legend.

Mountain Dew
06-03-2004, 04:23
I'm not sure how to define what I think an A.T. legend is. I know one if I meet one or hear about one , but telling you what I think one is .... HHMMM difficult. Bob and Pat Peoples of Kincora Hostel are legends of the trail I believe and neither of them have completed a hike of the trail. Carrying something like a tuba etc doesn't make you anything in my book, but just another hiker that does something weird. Sure hiking the trail numerous times would make a person a legend I believe, but if that person turns out to be an ass isn't he then infamous more than a legend ? :-? Bill Erwin....LEGEND The Crazy One.....LEGEND etc....

Jaybird
06-03-2004, 06:54
In my opinion if you have hike it multiple times then you have become well known thoughout the Appalachian Trail community. I don't know if that makes you a legend though. I guess the more your name gets passed around through the AT community then you do become a legend.



attroll


i totally agree!

A person hikes multiple times (the A.T. or whichever trail) his name becomes part of the "trail culture"...known by his fellow hikers...his/her name gets passsed onto others familiar with that particular trail.

hikers that follow...pick up the name from those that've hiked with "the legend" & the name (& his/her accomplishments) gets passed on & on & on to others.

MOst of these "Trail Legends"...truly show that they are "worthy" when they generously give back to the trail community...(in various ways)

Some (Legends) go on to help others by organizing hiker groups, write books, helping "newbies"...

all of the BIG Names do this...

in NO particular order these are TRAIL LEGENDS:
Earl Shaffer
Ed Garvey
Nimblewill Nomad
Bill Irwin
Model T
Baltimore Jack
Warren Doyle
Lone Wolf
"Flyin' Brian"



...then there are those LEGENDARY people that are associated WITH the TRAIL but arent neccesarily hikers...

SGT Rock
06-03-2004, 07:18
I don't think there is a block that can be checked on this. A "legend" can become so for whatever reason makes that person stick out of the crowd. It might be a one time hiker like Bill Irwin, or it might not even be a hiker like Mrs Janet. Apparently there are a few people out there with a lot of multiple thru-hikes we rarely ever hear about but Jack has mentioned a couple of them - so apparently just doing multiple thru-hikes doesn't qualify you either.

max patch
06-03-2004, 08:44
Merely writing a book (although I still classify Irwin as a legend) or posting to an internet site does not make someone a legend.

Alligator
06-03-2004, 09:19
As mentioned, those people that work tirelessly to advance the trail and trail culture certainly are legends. Some may never walk it end to end, but through their actions have left it a better place and are truly deserving of our respect and gratitude.

Don't think you have to be an ass to be infamous. Doesn't the "Infamous Lone Wolf" have a certain ring to it, such as, "And now the infamous Lone Wolf will lead the hiker parade on his brand-spanking new HARLEY!"

Lugnut
06-03-2004, 09:30
I thought you had to be dead to become a "legend" :-?

MOWGLI
06-03-2004, 10:17
I thought you had to be dead to become a "legend" :-?

The Appalachian Trail. The "trail of the walking dead".

SGT Rock
06-03-2004, 10:18
The Appalachian Trail. The "trail of the walking dead".

My son's Trail Name is "Dead Man Walking"

gravityman
06-03-2004, 10:21
Personally, I think you have to want to become a legend and tirelessly self promote yourself.

If you can't tell, I think trail legends are silly.

Gravity Man

Spirit Walker
06-03-2004, 10:27
And legend status is pretty fleeting. This year's legend is tomorrow's forgotten hero. Or sometimes just another crazy hiker that a few folks remember and the rest have never heard of.

attroll
06-03-2004, 10:36
I have to retracked my statemeant. Because I also realised that you don't have to have hiked the trail to become a Legend. You could be a hostel owner or a trail maintainer. But I still think like I said before. The more your name gets meantioned through out the Appalachian Trail Community the more you head to becoming a legend. The reason being is for your name to get mentioned a lot you have to have done something spectacular or something stupid.

SGT Rock
06-03-2004, 10:42
Well lets face it, Bill Bryson was a lot of talk for a while around the trail. But a lot of people really didn't care for him. Does this mean he was a trail legend? Someone novice to the trail who's only exposure has been "A Walk in the Woods" would probably mention him as a trail legend.

Lilred
06-03-2004, 10:56
[

in NO particular order these are TRAIL LEGENDS:
Earl Shaffer
Ed Garvey
Nimblewill Nomad
Bill Irwin
Model T
Baltimore Jack
Warren Doyle
Lone Wolf
"Flyin' Brian"


...

Let's not forget Grandma Gatewood. Benton MacKaye?(sp) I think a legend has to stand the test of time. Either that or the person does something unusually fantastic, like Bill Irwin.

attroll
06-03-2004, 11:08
Well lets face it, Bill Bryson was a lot of talk for a while around the trail. But a lot of people really didn't care for him. Does this mean he was a trail legend? Someone novice to the trail who's only exposure has been "A Walk in the Woods" would probably mention him as a trail legend.
You have a good point Rock. Maybe what I am thinking of is not a legend at all. Maybe there is another name for it. But when a name gets meantioned and passed around in a community you become well known. So I stand corrected.

So what do we call that. A Well Known. LOL

TJ aka Teej
06-03-2004, 14:02
There's a difference 'tween famous and legend, y'know.

I'll add Steve Longley to the famous list - has anyone personally interacted with more thruhikers than the Ferryman?

I'll agree with Earl Shaffer and Ed Garvey. Don't forget Myron Avery - the man from Maine who built the Appalachian Trail and was the first 2000 miler.

stranger
06-04-2004, 09:24
Hiking the Appalachian Trail is something to be respected, and I respect all who have done it...but legends, give me a break. Multiple hikes are kinda impressive...depending on what your priorities are, and whether or not you have a larger agenda in life.

Many AT thrus do not make you a legend, what makes you a legend is something you have no control of. Hiking the AT is not going to make you a legend, what makes you a legend is changing peoples lives, making a difference, challenging the status quo, taking a stand and improving your communities for the better.

I respect all who walk down the AT...but at the end of the day there is nothing legendary about it...get over yourselves. There is a much bigger picture out there. Hike your Hike, but when you're done help the communities. Walking through the woods is walking through the woods, it's not legendary material.

SavageLlama
06-04-2004, 17:17
Instant Recipe for Trail Legend:

1. Start with one middle-aged hiker
2. Add in bourbon and nicotine
3. Thoroughly mix on 7 thru-hikes

Tha Wookie
06-05-2004, 01:17
Instant Recipe for Trail Legend:

1. Start with one middle-aged hiker
2. Add in bourbon and nicotine
3. Thoroughly mix on 7 thru-hikes
All that really gets you is a lurking internet addict... the term "legend" doesn't mean much these days because there aren't any. The Crazy One is the one and only. Everyone else is an imitation.

It's ok to be well-known and loved or despised, but still not be a legend. When a real legend comes along, you won't have to ask.

Mountain Dew
06-05-2004, 02:38
And I thought this topic was "what does it take to become a trail legend"....

Writting a book about a trail makes one a trail legend in what reality ? Noway. Crazy logic !

Gravityman..."Personally, I think you have to want to become a legend and tirelessly self promote yourself."

Gravityman stats that trail legends have to want to become one and also have to tirelessly self promote themselves. Nonsense ! Earl Shaffer neither wanted or looked for attention and is the "logo" for the A.T. now. Benton MacKaye, Ed Garvey, Bob/Pat Peoples, Steve Longley, Myron Avery, and countless trail maintainers do ZERO selfpromoting and are only guilty of TIRLESSLY working to make the trail a better footpath for everyone.

A true trail legend is not fleeting. If that person is trully a legend then there will be nothing fleeting about them. Bill Bryson was never and will never be a trail legend. He wrote a great FICTION book that drew the A.T. countless new fans and has washed himself of any and all envolvement with the A.T. Good bye and good riddance to the guy. Hinking the A.T. "X" amount of times doesn't make that person a legend either because it's simply walking ? O.K. ...With that logic you can't call Carl Lewis a track and field legend either and that is nothing short if idiotic. If you really think about the miles people like Baltimore Jack, Lone Wolf, Warren Doyle, and Zeiko have put on the A.T. then you have no choice but to come to the conclusion that they have done something that puts them in that elite .1% area. Name one of these men that haven't challenged the status quo and in some way improved the A.T. I'd be the first one to shoot down a person's ego if they got out of hand with it, but if you put in the miles that these men put in, then you are a LEGEND. "Get over youself ?" .... Get over your jealousy my friend.

Savagellama...I hope you are good friends with Baltimore Jack , because if not that wasn't funny. I'll assume you weren't and apologize now if you were joking.
1. He wasn't middle aged when he begand that madness. He was about 37.
2. Well, o.k. you have him on this one.
3. Mix in 7 thru's and another entire hike of the A.T.
4. Add in countless questions answered to help other hikers
5. Add many many hours spent volunteering at the ATC office
6. Add tons of trail magic given to hikers
&. not to mention the countless new friends he's made in trail towns that help out hikers now.

Wookie, you claim that everybody else besides Earl Shaffer is an imitation trail legend, but fail to say what you got liqoured up on before making that entry. Ed Garvey, Benton MacKaye, and Myron Avery are names that if you have to think long about whether they are trail legends are not then you either A, have no common sense or B, know very little about A.T. trail history.

stranger
06-05-2004, 07:36
As far as the last post goes...I must laugh. I stated in my post and will continue to state that I respect all multiple AT thru-hikers, it's an impressive feat and enjoy hearing about others accomplishments. However that doesn't change my viewpoint.

For such impressionable people I feel I must clarify myself, one who hikes the trail multiple times does not make them a legend, it simply makes them a constant. Read the definition of the words "legend" and "constant" and you might actually learn something that you clearly have not learned yet in your life.

I know who I admire, and they are very far and wide...yet the AT never seems to enter my mind when I think of that. To me the AT is an escape from the real hard times that life throws at us, the hardships, deaths, heart breaks, failures, financial problems, etc...It's the easy way out. Damn I love walking down that white blazed trail...just waiting to see what's around the other bend, but to me it's an escape...nothing more.

And I do want to thru-hike the AT one day, and I have hiked about 80% of it but I would still like to thru-hike it simply to experience such a feat. However knowing my life, what I have done, what I still want to do and what I will do will always play a much more important role.

And when times get tough and I don't know what else to do I will always have this amazing trail to go to and sort my mind...if I died knowing I was nothing more than a AT legend I would certainly question my purpose in life.

Mountain Dew
06-07-2004, 03:39
Stranger[/B]..."I know who I admire, and they are very far and wide"
Stranger..."As far as the last post goes...I must laugh." ...I'll second that. They are very far and wide...huh ? what ? :-?
Stranger, you state that walking the trail multiple times doesn't make them a legend, but fail to recognize that NOBODY is arguing that fact with you. I can't think of one single person that has hiked the trail multiple times that DOESN'T give back to the trail in many many ways. Every single person that I can think of that has multiple hikes (over 4 ) is a legend in my book. I label then that for their personal acheivements AND (pay attention here) for what they do to make the A.T. a better place.

Stranger..."And I do want to thru-hike the AT one day, and I have hiked about 80% of it but I would still like to thru-hike it simply to experience such a feat" How about you experience the feet then come back and claim none of these people I talk about are legends.

[B]Stranger..."if I died knowing I was nothing more than a AT legend I would certainly question my purpose in life." ---This and other comments scream bitterness and jealousy all over them to me. Who are you referring to with that comment or are you speaking to the unknown people again ? A.T. Legends give back in so many ways. You fail to realize that. These people often dedicate much if not all of their lives to helping others along the A.T. and thus improve thousands of others lives. Do your homework on Bob and Pat Peoples, Myron Avery, and countless others. The fact that you belittle such actions speaks volumes. To use your words..."get over yourself !"

MOWGLI
06-07-2004, 08:25
Personally, I am less impressed with the people who hike the trail when compared to the people who build and maintain the trail. Many of them do it in anonymity by choice.

The Carolina Mountain Club has many members that have been maintaining trail for over 50 years!!! I challenge anyone to name some of these legendary volunteers. These are the folks who make walking the trail possible.

Jeffrey Hunter

MOWGLI
06-07-2004, 08:36
Stranger[/B]..."I know who I admire, and they are very far and wide"
Stranger..."As far as the last post goes...I must laugh." ...I'll second that. They are very far and wide...huh ? what ? :-?
Stranger, you state that walking the trail multiple times doesn't make them a legend, but fail to recognize that NOBODY is arguing that fact with you. I can't think of one single person that has hiked the trail multiple times that DOESN'T give back to the trail in many many ways. Every single person that I can think of that has multiple hikes (over 4 ) is a legend in my book. I label then that for their personal acheivements AND (pay attention here) for what they do to make the A.T. a better place.

Stranger..."And I do want to thru-hike the AT one day, and I have hiked about 80% of it but I would still like to thru-hike it simply to experience such a feat" How about you experience the feet then come back and claim none of these people I talk about are legends.

[B]Stranger..."if I died knowing I was nothing more than a AT legend I would certainly question my purpose in life." ---This and other comments scream bitterness and jealousy all over them to me. Who are you referring to with that comment or are you speaking to the unknown people again ? A.T. Legends give back in so many ways. You fail to realize that. These people often dedicate much if not all of their lives to helping others along the A.T. and thus improve thousands of others lives. Do your homework on Bob and Pat Peoples, Myron Avery, and countless others. The fact that you belittle such actions speaks volumes. To use your words..."get over yourself !"

Hey Mountain Dew, on the Smarm-O-Meter, you just scorded a perfect 10! Congratulations! That makes you a legend here on Whiteblaze.

Lone Wolf
06-07-2004, 08:45
There's nothing legendary about hiking the AT once, 10 times, blind , crippled or crazy. As far as multiple thru-hikes, all it takes is time, money and not a whole lot of responsibility in your off-trail life. Most of us multiples aren't married, don't have children, have very few bills or careers. The AT is just a recreational trail. A totally unimportant thing to do in life.

MedicineMan
06-07-2004, 22:12
Dont know if any get to all the forums here at Whiteblaze but if you want to get a taste of building trail the Big Dig is happening now in Soddy Daisy Tn. I have never built trail but am going to experience it next week with La AquaNa and my oldest daughter. I guess we're in for hot dirty work and I'm betting when we get back to the AT in July I will have a bigger respect for how it came to be and all the efforts of those behind the picks and shovels.

So I've been thinking about all the replies to this thread since it started and somehow the President who signed into bill the National Scenic Trails Act was overlooked? and did the congress at the time have to approve it versus veto? Not that it is a big deal but it seems that if they had not acted then the trail as a protected entity now would maybe have dissapeard under developers bulldozers, so I would add them to the list.

SavageLlama
06-08-2004, 21:17
Savagellama...I hope you are good friends with Baltimore Jack , because if not that wasn't funny. I'll assume you weren't and apologize now if you were joking.

Dew- one thing you should know: I'm always joking. I actually have not met Baltimore, but somehow I feel like I know him.. I've read dozens of his journal entries and heard countless stories about him from other thru-hikers while sitting around a campfire. I definitely hope we meet up some day. We're both middle-aged, but he's done what I have only sat at my desk at work and thought about every day -- He's lived the dream. 8 times. And he's done it his way. That's what makes a trail legend.

Mountain Dew
06-09-2004, 04:11
MOWGLI16.... I couldn't agree with you more when you complimented trail maintainers. I made it a point to stop and thank every one I met along my thru-hike last year.
SavageLLama...understood....
Lone Wolf.....Is Sonny Barger a legend in your book ? He is in mine....

Lone Wolf
06-09-2004, 04:12
Sonny Barger is a ***ing criminal.

Mountain Dew
06-09-2004, 04:15
hahahaaaa Wolf....... o.k. ....So....who IS a legend in your book ? I'm starting to think you hate everybody.

Lone Wolf
06-09-2004, 04:22
There you go again. Assuming. Where/when did I ever say/write that I hated anyone? Hiking the AT many times ain't legendary. It's obsessive-compulsive. I've consulted with Dr. Phil and he agrees.

Mountain Dew
06-09-2004, 04:27
Assuming ? Possibly, but it was all in fun. Just like it's almost impossible for people to know if you are joking or serious it seems you have the same problem. I never said that hiking the A.T. several times was in itself legendary. You keep stating that like I said it or are you "assuming" ? (now is the part where you laugh) o.k. so name a legend in your hind. Inquiring minds wanna know Wolf.

Lone Wolf
06-09-2004, 04:39
Legend (lej'and). n 1. an unverifiable story or collection of stories handed down by tradition and popularly accepted as historical. 2. an inscription on a monument, coin, etc. 3. a table on a map, chart, or illustration explaining the symbols used. 4. an admirable person about whom stories are told.

Harry the Indian is an AT legend. Bigfoot and Nessie are legends. Ronald Reagan too.

warren doyle
06-15-2004, 12:16
I like hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Warren Doyle (1972-present -and hopefully future)
married 1975-1995; 2003-
two children Heather 1984-
Forest 1985- (AT91-00)

Pencil Pusher
06-15-2004, 20:30
I'll nominate Rick the Lone Wolf from 2003. He's not the Lone Wolf here on Whiteblaze.

Floops
06-16-2004, 14:08
Personally, I think you have to want to become a legend and tirelessly self promote yourself.
Warren Doyle?

:)

warren doyle
06-17-2004, 11:15
You rang, Floops?

Shoe Leather Express
06-18-2004, 04:18
What does it take to become a Trail Legend?
People have to talk about you. That's about it. You can hike the AT 100 times, but if nobody knows you aren't squat.

stranger
06-18-2004, 09:04
The AT is a great trail, and most of the people on the trail are great. My last comment on this subject.

Big Oak
06-18-2004, 18:46
What is a trail legend?

Lone Wolf
06-18-2004, 18:50
A myth. A story.

Kozmic Zian
06-19-2004, 12:05
Yea.....Legends...............Reading what Stranger has put down, pretty much says it. A 'Legend' is because of intangible qualities. Sure, you gotta hike alot, to get the knowledge to be respected, but the most important criteria is what the individual 'gives back to the hiking community' and The Trail. Fast, many, no pack, huge pack, assisted, unassisted, record, length, with a tuba, the most, whatever, all describe increadible feats of indurance and perserverance that deserve respect, but a legend is really beyond mere feats.....it's for those who transend just walking feats and contribute something to The Trail that will be remembered by everyone for ever. Keep on Hikin'[email protected];)

Buckingham
07-11-2005, 00:04
I don't want to be a trail legend, I just want to be on the trail.

Tha Wookie
07-11-2005, 00:56
Everyone who hikes the whole trail is a trail legend, to someone.

Moxie00
07-13-2005, 21:23
Each year produces so called legends because everyone on the trail that year talks about them and wants to meet them. It could be an especially funny hiker, a hiker hiking with a disadvantage. One year a hiker everyone talked about was an especially beautiful girl who managed to stay abput 10 mile south on Lone Wolf,. One fellow that only hiked at night and never sober was a legend in 2000 but by 2001 no one ever spoke of him again. Like them or not when you mention Warren Doyle, Wingfoot, Baltimore Jack or Bill Bryson everyone knows who you are talking about. There are hundreds of trail legends, some last a season and some whose names will be remembered forever, Earl Schafer, Myron Avery, Ed Garvey to name a few. Few people remember Walter Green but he is a legend to me because while working all alone laid out and blazed 90 % of the AT in Maine. There are legends for a year ond legends that will live forever so in my mind a trail legend is someone whose name everyone in a shelter recgonizes when you shoot the breeze by the fire at night.:-?

Nean
07-14-2005, 14:10
What does it take...? I used to think it was the ability to con young men into droppin their drawers for a photo :confused: But I think what is being discussed is definition #4 in Lone Wolfs' dictionary. I like to say, let 50 years go by- then we'll know. Earl is safe, perhaps grandma G leans toward myth, but to me those are ledgends. Lots of famous and infamous hikers since and some may just end up as legends. As Spirit Walker pointed out, todays legends are often become yesterdays news. These days I think "legend" is a complimentary term used to discribe a well(?) known hiker/trail person. One could take exception, others seem to embrace and promote it, but at this point I'd say most of todays "legends" are speculation at best, self serving at worst.