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DapperD
10-29-2009, 23:03
I have read so many threads since joining Whiteblaze about people feeling that they have the ability to just launch and complete a thru-hike with little to no funds for a 5 to 6 month journey. This usually contradicts the advice and wisdom of others. I just had to ask if anybody else who has been on the AT has experienced negatively an individual doing this, running out of funds prematurely, and then either having to leave the trail or attempting to continue on without enough money for food, gear, lodging, etc...in a haphazard effort to complete their hike.

Jack Tarlin
10-29-2009, 23:12
I have seen people leave the Trail every year because of an insufficiency of funds and it's always sad.

Or as an alternative, I've seen people fall weeks behind their Trailfriends because they needed to take time off and work for awhile.

And lastly, every year there are folks who attempt to finish the Trail on virtually no money......the eat horribly, they live out of hiker boxes on whatever other people are throwing away, and all too often, become mooches and borderline bums, which is NOT a way to make yourself popular.

For all these reasosn, it's really important for prospective thru-hikers to be realistic about their probable needs and expenses, and to exercise discipline and restraint with their spending once they're out there.

Abbreviating, aborting, or radically altering your trip because of money problems is no fun at all.

JoshStover
10-29-2009, 23:13
I have a feeling I am going to be an underfunded thru hiker next year. If I run out of money while Im on the trail I plan on selling my VW Bus to my father with the hopes he will sell it back to me when I have the money.

Ramble~On
10-29-2009, 23:15
I spent way more than I had planned. I know of several people who had to give up their dream because they ran out of money. I know of several people who had to watch every penny..that can be stressful during something that is already hard enough as it is.
I remember talking to some hikers in Virginia who said that they had $600.00 left to finish the trail.
The trail can be hiked on the cheap. If you are disciplined and goal driven..you can adapt and overcome. If hiking the trail is the goal...it can be done. If hiking the trail and enjoying all it has to offer is the goal, stay home another year and save money..
There were many who had to hike fast to squeeze every penny and finish jn 3,4 or 5 months...Their experience may have been better than mine...who's to say.
If I were to do it again...:D (I plan to) I'd have a good amount of money saved for the trail...and some set aside so that when I returned home I wouldn't have to jump right back into work.

Erin
10-29-2009, 23:31
I have been curious about this also. On our section we saw one woman at Elmer's probably early 20's that could play the fiddle very well. After our section, we ran into her and and she was playing for change in Asheville. She was way too thin, no hiker legs, had no gear but a day pack and wore the same skimpy dress and long flowing scarf and we figured she had problems and was a trail follower in the sense that she hung around hikers but did not hike. What we all remembered, was that we liked talking to her, she was pretty despite the emaciation and she had mouth full of perfect teeth so there was some home or care somehwere in her past. She made us sad, since she was so musically talented, but also very lost. We wonder about the rest of the story. Is this a normal trail town deal?

Tin Man
10-29-2009, 23:40
I have seen people leave the Trail every year because of an insufficiency of funds and it's always sad.

Or as an alternative, I've seen people fall weeks behind their Trailfriends because they needed to take time off and work for awhile.

And lastly, every year there are folks who attempt to finish the Trail on virtually no money......the eat horribly, they live out of hiker boxes on whatever other people are throwing away, and all too often, become mooches and borderline bums, which is NOT a way to make yourself popular.

For all these reasosn, it's really important for prospective thru-hikers to be realistic about their probable needs and expenses, and to exercise discipline and restraint with their spending once they're out there.

Abbreviating, aborting, or radically altering your trip because of money problems is no fun at all.

I have met a few of these so-called underfunded. They spent their funds partying in town, instead of supporting their hike. They had fun while losing sight of their goal. Discipline and restraint is easy - stay away from the town vortex.

Ramble~On
10-29-2009, 23:41
The typical...I'm not sure..but I'm not easily surprised by much anymore either. There were more than a few "homeless" types all along the trail.
Some towns are friendlier than others and there are many people who take in hikers and have no limits to their generosity...it's sad to see that taken advantage of. Hiker boxes sometimes draw rats.

As for some partying early and running out of money...that's pretty common.
There was a hiker that by Virginia had run out of money and was begging from his buddies...not a good thing...especially when he'd use what little money he was given to buy beer instead of dog food for his already abused dog.

Nearly Normal
10-30-2009, 02:05
I have a feeling I am going to be an underfunded thru hiker next year. If I run out of money while Im on the trail I plan on selling my VW Bus to my father with the hopes he will sell it back to me when I have the money.

If it's a twelve window model, sell it to me.
AIR COOLED!

JoshStover
10-30-2009, 02:07
I soo dont want to sell it. It is my baby. I would only sell it to my father if he promised to sell it back once I get back on my feet after my hike. I might be living in it when I get back, who knows? Luckily its a Westy camper.

Rockhound
10-30-2009, 02:42
money does not equal character. while there are the mooches and, dare I say it, thieves, there are also those who, aside from being underfunded, can stretch what little they have and compensate providers in other ways than just trading all mighty dollar. In this country money is worshiped even by those who would steadfastly deny it. Unfortunately money is still a necessity in our society. I just feel some people have too great an attachment to it. It's funny to see some hikers complain and worry about their financial woes, and be downright miserable when they have enough financial resources to have vacation homes, expensive cars and hoards of other material things, while other hikers who have very little, are content and happy just enjoying each moment. Let them serve as proof of the adage "money can't buy happiness".

Crazy Larry #1
10-30-2009, 05:36
I have been curious about this also. On our section we saw one woman at Elmer's probably early 20's that could play the fiddle very well. After our section, we ran into her and and she was playing for change in Asheville. She was way too thin, no hiker legs, had no gear but a day pack and wore the same skimpy dress and long flowing scarf and we figured she had problems and was a trail follower in the sense that she hung around hikers but did not hike. What we all remembered, was that we liked talking to her, she was pretty despite the emaciation and she had mouth full of perfect teeth so there was some home or care somehwere in her past. She made us sad, since she was so musically talented, but also very lost. We wonder about the rest of the story. Is this a normal trail town deal?I am not for sure but I think you are describing a young lady that now lives right up the road here and what you describe seems to be normal protocol for her. I first met her at TD's in '06....

Crazy Larry #1
10-30-2009, 05:39
money does not equal character. while there are the mooches and, dare I say it, thieves, there are also those who, aside from being underfunded, can stretch what little they have and compensate providers in other ways than just trading all mighty dollar. In this country money is worshiped even by those who would steadfastly deny it. Unfortunately money is still a necessity in our society. I just feel some people have too great an attachment to it. It's funny to see some hikers complain and worry about their financial woes, and be downright miserable when they have enough financial resources to have vacation homes, expensive cars and hoards of other material things, while other hikers who have very little, are content and happy just enjoying each moment. Let them serve as proof of the adage "money can't buy happiness".
Well said!

Doctari
10-30-2009, 08:42
I have never actually met a trail bum or a hiker still hiking past allowable funds, but have been a few days behind / ahead of one or two. So I don't really know the full story, but I can see how easy it is to fall into the trap of the town vortex, even without partying. "Just one more night" in a $40.00 motel a few times a month & the "Extra $300.00" you may have set aside for just in case is long gone in less than 8 stays, then your [insert name of expensive & important piece of gear here] is totally destroyed & you can't continue without it.

One of the quotes I carry when hiking, I think I found it here at WB, says: "If you hike like you only have $1,000.00 to spend (On your Thru Hike) then $2,000.00 will seem perfectly reasonable."
And $2,000.00 could be substituted for the $1,000.00 & etc with the point being Plan / budget for less money than you have, and do your best to spend only that "$1,000.00" & no more. I understand wanting to party, But: have A beer, not a 6 pack! Beer from the Quickie Mart is usually cheaper than from a bar (& so is food & etc). Need a Zero? then take night one in a Hostel (Motel or hotel) if you must, but hike a mile out of town & take night 2 in the woods, this will serve two things: its free, & it reduces the temptation to stay in town "Just one more day / night".

GeneralLee10
10-30-2009, 08:46
I would help a fellow broke hiker out if they carry all my gear the whole trip.:) That is the lightest way to hike correct?

Reid
10-30-2009, 09:33
Saving seems to be key in more than just a thru-hike. People tend to spend everything they have plus just a little more. Watch every single penny you make and you'd be surprised how much you actually have. I know doctors who are one paycheck from losing their houses and cars and unfortunetly their gold digging oppurtunistic money aggressive wives will probably go with it if it were to.

Reid
10-30-2009, 09:35
That might have been a little bit much about the doctors but you know what I mean. No offense to any doctors around here.

jersey joe
10-30-2009, 11:40
There is nothing wrong with Thru Hikers hiking with little to no funds as long as they don't EXPECT handouts along the way.

Blissful
10-30-2009, 12:01
Yeah, some dude was soliciting for funds in the register at Maupin Field Shelter last week so he could continue hiking north (he said he had no food, money nothing). He was going to stay at Rustys for a few days - I guess hoping for something to happen, and wanted people to track him down there (?)

buff_jeff
10-30-2009, 20:22
I don't see it as that big of a deal. I might be hitting the PCT "underfunded" next spring. I'll just walk until I run out of money, and be thankful for every step I got. You can always go back and finish up sections.

Wheeler
10-30-2009, 22:14
I saw a bunch of "under-funded" people on the PCT this summer. The Pct has some wonderfull trail angels, and it bummed me out that some of these people would stay there and eat their food etc..., without offering a donation or help. They always seemed to have money for beer or weed, though. If your strapped your strapped, just don't take advantage.

ed bell
10-30-2009, 23:07
Being chronically in need of anything from others runs counter to one of the main objectives of backpacking: self-sufficiency. Just about everyone has at one time or another, needed assistance while on a trip for any number of reasons, and that's totally different. I've always regarded backpacking as something you take on to be totally self reliant. The thought of being out there mid-trip (whatever the length) and needing to ask others for money, food, or gear, just seems wrong. Kind of like asking someone else to carry some of your pack weight because it's too heavy. Just a thought.

Toolshed
10-31-2009, 00:28
I have a feeling I am going to be an underfunded thru hiker next year. If I run out of money while Im on the trail I plan on selling my VW Bus to my father with the hopes he will sell it back to me when I have the money.
You're not underfunded. You just need to restructure your asset allocation (if your dad will sell it back to you then you are golden)

JoshStover
10-31-2009, 00:32
Im Hoping he will sell it back. He may not. He loves the bus as much as I do. He just looks a little goofy sporting around in it.

Doooglas
10-31-2009, 03:45
I have seen people leave the Trail every year because of an insufficiency of funds and it's always sad.

Or as an alternative, I've seen people fall weeks behind their Trailfriends because they needed to take time off and work for awhile.

And lastly, every year there are folks who attempt to finish the Trail on virtually no money......the eat horribly, they live out of hiker boxes on whatever other people are throwing away, and all too often, become mooches and borderline bums, which is NOT a way to make yourself popular.

.

OUCH ! OK. I just picked myself up off the floor.:mad:
Only one thing I can say.:-?
Uniquely Amurkin ! :rolleyes:

Nearly Normal
10-31-2009, 21:58
OUCH ! OK. I just picked myself up off the floor.:mad:
Only one thing I can say.:-?
Uniquely Amurkin ! :rolleyes:

Uniquely? Hmmm....

Amurkin? Quite insulting even with the smilie.

stranger
11-01-2009, 19:56
I think the money question seems to come up on here more than any other single topic, and for good reason. Money is absolutely key to a successful long distance hike, regardless of how long, and each year many, many hikers find themselves on the trail and realize they are underfunded because they are not hiking the type of hike they initially planned on.

The bottom line is that no amount of wishful thinking will stop the fact that the vast majority of hikers spend alot more money than originally anticipated. If you know from experience that you can comfortably hike from Neels Gap to Franklin without resupply, regardless of the weather, that's one thing. But most hikers will find themselves in Hiawassee (as well as Neels Gap and Franklin) spending money.

Think you're gonna skip NOC and Gatlinburg... wait til you have to climb out of the gorge in the rain or arrive at Newfound Gap in 22 degrees. Won't spend $45 on a motel? Wait until you walk by one late in the day with painful blisters during a downpour. Your hike won't go to plan, so do you have extra money for unforseen circumstances? Most hikers plan on one thing, then do another... so the money runs out or gets real tight for many hikers.

I've never heard another hiker say "this is cheaper than I though it would be", but I've heard the opposite hundreds of times, in 1994, 1995, 2001, and 2008...and I will hear it again next year as well.

Wishful thinking and good intentions don't pay the bills...

Jack Tarlin
11-01-2009, 20:24
Good post.

All I'd add to it is that there have been a lot of comments lately from folks planning to start early in the spring (or actually, BEFORE Spring, i.e. February, etc).

If you're planning to do this, it is inevitable that you'll run into worse weather than those starting later in the season, and it is inevitable that protracted periods of inclement weather will affect your trip.

In no pareticular order:

*You'll have a lor of short, abbreviated days, i.e. you'll start later waiting for
the weather to improve
*You'll take more breaks at shelters, and longer ones
*You'll have more days that end early, i.e. you'll be stopping at shelters at
three rather than hiking on til dinnertime
*You'll end up spending more time hiking in cold, wet, miserable conditions
*You'll end up going into towns and places (like Outfitters, Rafting Companies,
etc.) that you hadn't necessarily planned on visiting,
*And you'll stay in these places longer, including taking unplanned days off
due to poor weather or the need to recover from your last stretch

What all this means is that if you start earlier, especially if you start really early, I'd bring along a good bit of extra money, i.e. an extra $300.00 to $500.00 dollars. You'll be spending significantly more time off-trail than folks who started in better weather, and as a result, you'll end up spending more money. Plan for this and budget accordingly. Longer periods of extended poor weather means a more beat up hiker, and subsequently more town time. This will eat money. Hikers that start later will not only enjoy better weather and better hiking conditions but they'll also be several hundred dollars ahead of the game.

Something to think about for budget-minded folks. :-?

Erin
11-01-2009, 20:49
Hi TOW, I got a private post with a picture of fiddle girl from Viorgina from another hiker. She looked happy and healthier. Still carrying the fiddle, the same daypack, cut off the same dress, but she had picked up a sleeping bag. Very glad to see that she seemed to be doing OK. We liked her, she is very talented, but were concerned about her. She never asked for anything. Out of respect to her and the private post, I will not post her trail name, but we all wish her the best.

Ramble~On
11-01-2009, 20:51
Wow..really good advice on here and truth to what's been said.

Aside from what has already been mentioned by Stranger and Baltimore Jack...I'd like to mention how hard it is to pass up going to "the whatever" ie store, restaurant, outfitter etc when everyone that you are hiking with is going. If your circle is going into town and you don't...that will put you miles ahead of them and when they catch back up, you'll feel like an outsider when they're all talking about the good times that they had.
That's just an example but it will happen.
Food! A meal in town or at the local restaurant .01 west or whatever is going to be hard to pass up. It's easy to think that you will be disciplined, stick to your budget and only go into the places you've planned to stop at..but it likely won't work out that way.
The trail seems to eat money! The folks that are able to hike the entire trail and not go over budget are a minority..but it can be done.
:-? I just wish I were one of them!

Bronk
11-02-2009, 04:45
Staying out of towns is good advice...once you break down and stay at a hostel or a hotel just one time you will begin a pattern/habit. Hike into town in the morning, get your stuff done and hike out before the sun goes down, even if you are just camping a mile off the road. You will save a ton of money this way...every time you do this you save yourself another bought for town meal, some beer and a hotel room...probably $50 to $75 or more. Every week over several months this adds up to a ton of cash.

Always carry an extra day or two of food and take your zero days on the trail...maybe they aren't totally zero days, but if you hike two miles and find a really cool campsite, stop and take the rest of the day off and make that your zero day. Or maybe pack some fresh fruit and veggies and some other heavy town food and a six pack out of town a couple miles and have your zero day there.

Marta
11-02-2009, 07:45
...What all this means is that if you start earlier, especially if you start really early, I'd bring along a good bit of extra money, i.e. an extra $300.00 to $500.00 dollars. You'll be spending significantly more time off-trail than folks who started in better weather, and as a result, you'll end up spending more money. Plan for this and budget accordingly. Longer periods of extended poor weather means a more beat up hiker, and subsequently more town time. This will eat money. Hikers that start later will not only enjoy better weather and better hiking conditions but they'll also be several hundred dollars ahead of the game.

Something to think about for budget-minded folks. :-?


This is another side of the same point that Ray Jardine makes when he writes about planning a fast hike: hike during the long, warm days and you'll be able to carry less stuff, hike longer distances each day, and significantly shorten the total duration of your hike...which incidentally has the potential to make the hike much cheaper, and lessen the amount of time you spend not working and not earning money.

OTOH, most hikers are happier not to have the pressure of either hiking fast or of running out of money. Large numbers of hikers--all of whom thought they could beat the odds--decide every year that they would rather party hearty with their trail friends for a couple of months than scrimp along and finish the whole trail on what they had budgeted.

Hooch
11-02-2009, 07:50
OUCH ! OK. I just picked myself up off the floor.:mad:
Only one thing I can say.:-?
Uniquely Amurkin ! :rolleyes:
Dumbest.......post.......ever.

Bit on the holier than thou side, aren't ya?

Blue Jay
11-02-2009, 10:52
Dumbest.......post.......ever.

You need to read more posts.:welcome

Tin Man
11-02-2009, 11:24
OTOH, most hikers are happier not to have the pressure of either hiking fast or of running out of money. Large numbers of hikers--all of whom thought they could beat the odds--decide every year that they would rather party hearty with their trail friends for a couple of months than scrimp along and finish the whole trail on what they had budgeted.

I ran into a few of these on my section hikes. They make it from GA to VT or NH and are out of cash. They want to finish, but spent it partying. Last year I told one 20-something to call home. He wanted to, but seemed afraid to ask Dad. I told him he was about to finish a huge undertaking and maybe Dad would surprise him by helping him finish. Plenty of time to pay back later. Hope he found a way to get 'er done. It did seem important to him, even if he was chagrined about his spending habits that put him in this all too common predicament.

Tuckahoe
11-02-2009, 20:29
Last week, my pard and I arrived at Blackburn with plans to stay in the cabin there because of the nasty weather. We met there a young 20something guy who was making his way from New York to somewhere down south.

He told us that he was unemployeed and had lost his place and figured that his best option was to simply hitch hike south, because he figured that he would have better chances of finding work. He had made it to about Harpers Ferry when he said he realized that the best way to head south, and keep what little money he had was to simply hike the AT to Georgia. When we got to the cabin, he himself had just hiked in from Harpers Ferry.

Before we caught our ride back to Bears Den, the two of us gave him all the food that we had left and sent him on his way.

Jack Tarlin
11-02-2009, 20:35
Nice gesture, but if he's healthy enough to hike, then he's healthy enough to not be a beggar.

Tuckahoe
11-02-2009, 20:47
Hey Jack, there was no begging on the young man's part. We didn't need the food and felt that he certainly could use it. It was just the right thing to do we felt and he was utterly shocked that anyone would do that for him.

Appalachian Tater
11-03-2009, 01:01
Yup there are always a few. Some of the things they did that were annoying:

Crashing in your hotel room on the floor without contributing anything to the cost of the room. Well, that's fine if they asked and you said it's okay but then don't stay up all night watching cartoons with the TV loud while everyone else is trying to sleep.

Not tipping in restaurants. Makes all hikers look bad. Especially after they ate a big meal and asked for refills on their drink ten times and ran the waitress to death.

Not paying for the shuttle at Neel's Gap into town so everybody is sitting there getting harassed by the driver for five minutes when everyone just wants to get back to the hostel to go to sleep. [Especially when everyone except the driver knows who it is but no one wants want to rat but thinks the driver ought to get paid.] If you can't afford the shuttle to go eat don't take it.

Not donating anything at hostels and when the person running the hostel opens the donation box later that day I'm the only one there and the only money in it is what I put in and the guy knows there were so many people the night before there was only room on the porch. Guess who's embarrassed? Me, the only one who put anything in!

Staying at a hostel where you eat whatever you want out of the fridge (sodas, frozen pizza, ice cream, etc.) but you are supposed to fill out a bill and pay and they stay there three days and only report 2 cans of soda.

Stealing cookies from the huts in the Whites that the Croo bake to sell for extra money that is to help them pay for school after the summer because they took the low-paying job cooking dinner for thru-hikers staying free.

Giving a food order to their fellow hikers to get to go and bring back to them and not immediately paying for it and having to be asked several times the next day before they pay for it.

Putting enough money in on a group check in a restaurant to pay for their food but not tax or tip. Or not enough for their food even.

Staying in an attended pay campground ($5 I think, maybe $7???) and saying they don't have any cash then asking other hikers the next morning if they want to hitch into town to buy beer with them. Well, who would have to pay for the beer?

Having a dog but no money for dog food.

Having money for beer and other intoxicants or to eat freeze-dried meals every day lunch and dinner but not for hostel donations.

Taking not just an extra apple off the hotel breakfast buffet to eat while they're packing but an entire 3 day resupply of fruit, bread, eggs, cream cheese, etc. And no, they didn't pay to stay in the hotel in the first place.

Jack Tarlin
11-03-2009, 17:03
Geez, Tater, what a crusty, curmudgeonly post.

Kinda sounds like I wrote it. :D

And of course, you're right on everything you said.

Welcome back, by the way.

crl2010
11-03-2009, 20:01
well here is my funds situation. I practicallyt have no gear i just recieved my pack today. I have my stove and thats about it all my regualr gear is all way to heavy for a through hike. But with that said i have sold alot of my possesions and have come up with enough money to buy the rest of my gear. I just moved and im applying everywhere i can imagine to apply for work i will take whatever i can get. my mom is letting me crash rent free till i leave. so as soon as i strike a job or two im saving,saving, and saving i will not head out on anything less then 2,000. i plan on staying in my tent or shelters as much as possiable and do my thru hike on the cheap not becuse of funds but becuse im doing this hike as a mission for my soul get away for a while and have some adventure.last thing i wanna do is stay in a hotel or hostels everynight.

stranger
11-04-2009, 02:08
There are mooch's every year, last year this guy kept bumming as much as he could off anyone he could, I learned fairly quickly and stopped giving him smokes, once I started selling him cigarettes for $1 each he went to the next person, once everyone was on to him (by Gatlinburg) he started paying his own way and ran out of money and had to get off the trail.

He did however, always have pot with him...hmmmmm.

He scammed Curtis at Standing Bear, scammed the Place in Damascus, used to ask to sleep on hotel floors (for free of course), use showers, etc... My advice with these types of hikers is to highlight what they do, embarass them, call them out when they act like idiots, then the behavior stops... if you do nothing you are actually doing heaps of damage to the trail community because although many hikers only do a long AT hike once, many of us keep going back and the damage has been done, hostels close, hotels raise prices for hikers, the hikers behind you always suffer.

mrc237
11-04-2009, 07:46
If you have to think about how much money a thru hike will be its probably not enough!

Jayboflavin04
11-04-2009, 12:43
I saw a guy sitting by the parking lot at the local Wally World with a sign that said..."Traveling America....anything would help." If traveling around america was that easy...We would all be doing it. Thought that was tacky.

Jester2000
11-04-2009, 13:04
. . . i plan on staying in my tent or shelters as much as possiable and do my thru hike on the cheap not becuse of funds but becuse im doing this hike as a mission for my soul get away for a while and have some adventure.last thing i wanna do is stay in a hotel or hostels everynight.

This is what a lot of hikers think before they do their first thru-hike, and I'm sure it accounts for just as many "underfunded" thru-hikers as those who party too much and blow through their funds early.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying that this isn't how your hike will go, or that you won't be able to hike the trail happily on the amount of money you'll have available. You might be able to do your hike in exactly the way you envision.

All too often, though, hikers don't realize until they've been on the trail for a few weeks how nice it is to sleep in a bed for a change, and how refreshing for the soul hot showers and flush toilets can be. And depending on the weather, over which you have no control, those things can become even more important.

And oftentimes, the reasons one gets on the trail are not the reasons one stays on the trail. You might have the soul searching and adventure parts of your trip wrapped up in 1000 miles; you may want to stay on the trail because of all of the friends you've met and the cameraderie you share. But if you're the guy with no funds, you become the guy they have to carry (assuming they like you and want to keep you around).

So save as much as you can, as you've indicated you will. Nobody knows at this point how important town stops might end up being to you -- best to prepare to be wrong, even if you end up being right.

ShelterLeopard
11-04-2009, 13:17
Mostly I hear of people with unrealistic expectations (trying to hike with under $1500 seems unrealistic to me), or people who started with $5,000 partied in every town and bought tons of stuff and ended up broke in Damascus. But if you're really conservative, you may be able to do it on a tight budget.

My plan:
I'm saving every single penny right now, and I'm bringing $6,000 on the trail, for food, replacement gear, train fare to GA, hostels, and several Inns, and three full days in Harpers Ferry. I'm hoping not to spend more than $5,000 but we'll see. And I've already bought all my food for the first month, and I bought postage too. (But I'm not planning any real food maildrops after the first month, just buying food in towns)

I'm going to try to be a bit conservative in towns, but I also want to do the trail in style. I'll definitely be staying in several hostels, and I've even planned in five or six stays in real Inns- I haven't planned which though- just whatever grabs my fancy and when I really need it. I've also planned a three night stay in Harpers Ferry (where I'm meeting family). But that is just me- I really appreciate staying in a real bed and all occasionally. It all depends on what you really want

sheepdog
11-04-2009, 13:19
Is any part of the trail more expensive than others? North-south, states etc.

ShelterLeopard
11-04-2009, 13:23
Jester's post made me remember- my suggestion for you is to go on a longish hike. (A week would be pretty good, if you have time) After that, you may have a better idea of how your hike will go, and what you'll want in trail towns.

I think one of the biggest mistakes people make (before thru hiking) is not doing a long hike. I feel pretty prepared, because I've done several two-three week hikes, so I know what I crave on trail- and it happens to be bacon, chocolate milkshakes and alternately basic hostels and victorian style B & Bs. So often times I'm really happy with the ten dollar bunk, but sometimes I really need a real bedroom.

Do a long hike. I guarantee, it'll help you plan.

ShelterLeopard
11-04-2009, 13:26
I've heard from more than one person (especially in the current Hanover thread) that north is more expensive. And it makes sense- some of the southern towns are more neglected and rely on hikers, whereas towns like Hanover are wealthier and don't really need hiker business quite as much, and have wealthier tourists and therefor higher prices.
(Lone Wolf may not agree with this)

But I'm TOTALLY going on things I've heard. I've never hiked south of PA.

partinj
11-04-2009, 13:33
I read about a guy that did a Thur-Hike on just 800.00 this was a few years back
in 2000. I think you can still do a Thur-Hike on around $2000 if you want an all woods exp.The only time i am gone to town is to resupply i plan on geting close to the town then stay over night then go to town get ever thing i need then leave. I read a lot of
journals it seen that a lot of folks are gone town to town that ok but spend a lot on money that way. This trip to me is about being in the woods. Oh yet do have more than enough money to completed the trail i put a side $6500 but i don't plan on more
then $2000 you can do your wash in the woods just take a large ziplock put in soap and add water and shake. i don't this on short hike of three to four days so have any of you guys hear or read about the guy that did for $800.00

Lone Wolf
11-04-2009, 13:33
I've heard from more than one person (especially in the current Hanover thread) that north is more expensive. And it makes sense- some of the southern towns are more neglected and rely on hikers, whereas towns like Hanover are wealthier and don't really need hiker business quite as much, and have wealthier tourists and therefor higher prices.
(Lone Wolf may not agree with this)

But I'm TOTALLY going on things I've heard. I've never hiked south of PA.

there are no towns that rely on hikers. just certain businesses in a town rely on hikers

ShelterLeopard
11-04-2009, 13:48
But some towns do have a lot of businesses that rely on hikers, and that reflects on the towns, etc...

Sly
11-04-2009, 13:50
I have met a few of these so-called underfunded. They spent their funds partying in town, instead of supporting their hike. They had fun while losing sight of their goal. Discipline and restraint is easy - stay away from the town vortex.

I suppose it depends on your actual goal, but IMO, town time, is part of the hike. I've run out on money on two "thruhikes". On my third attempt I made sure I had enough funds to complete the trail and the party.

Nean
11-04-2009, 13:54
I thought maybe this was a thread to apply for a loan, sorry...:o

Jack Tarlin
11-04-2009, 14:10
Sheepdog:

As a rule, yeah, the North is absolutely more expensive than the South. For example, you can get perfectly nice motel rooms down South for less than 45 bucks. This is not gonna happen in New England. Even if you share a room with a couple of friends, the North will still cost you money. Even hiker hostels cost more. Just about EVERYTHING costs more up here, from groceries, to cigarettes, to beer, to gas, to shuttles, well, you name it.

Were I to thru-hike again, I'd try and keep 65% of my budget at least for North of the Mason-Dixon line. If you're thru-hiking and half your money is gone by Harpers Ferry, you better tighten things up in a hurry or you're gonna have a problem towards the end of your trip.

ShelterLeopard
11-04-2009, 14:19
Good advice Jack- I didn't really think of budgeting by north v. south.

Slo-go'en
11-04-2009, 14:23
you can do your wash in the woods just take a large ziplock put in soap and add water and shake.

You can wash your clothes in a bag (but do it away from the water source!) Do sponge baths (keep your hair cut really short) and eat nothing but cheap Ramas and suger, but this gets old quick.

Before not too long, you'll wake up every night dreaming of hot showers, really clean clothes and eating Burgers and pizzas.

Jester2000
11-04-2009, 15:27
I read about a guy that did a Thur-Hike on just 800.00 this was a few years back
in 2000. I think you can still do a Thur-Hike on around $2000 if you want an all woods exp.The only time i am gone to town is to resupply i plan on geting close to the town then stay over night then go to town get ever thing i need then leave. I read a lot of
journals it seen that a lot of folks are gone town to town that ok but spend a lot on money that way. This trip to me is about being in the woods. Oh yet do have more than enough money to completed the trail i put a side $6500 but i don't plan on more
then $2000 you can do your wash in the woods just take a large ziplock put in soap and add water and shake. i don't this on short hike of three to four days so have any of you guys hear or read about the guy that did for $800.00

Well, technically, there was a homeless guy in 2000 named Screamer who hiked the trail on no money. When I last saw him he was laid up in Gorham with an ankle injury -- I don't know if he finished. But he was a special case.

I'd again like to emphasize that I've known an awful lot of people who thought they were going to spend their hikes neroing into town and getting right back out the same day who came to realize that time in town was important for a number of reasons -- a break from weather, more time to eat, heal, recharge; getting actually clean instead of just kind of clean. And while many hikers, including me, occasionally use the nero as a tactic that saves money (and sometimes more importantly, time), most hikers I know are unhappy if they try to do it on a regular basis. I wouldn't plan my budget around something that I believed I'd want to do based on my perception of how I'd hike.

Neroing constantly to have enough money to stay on trail might just make you unhappy enough to get off the trail.


Sheepdog:

As a rule, yeah, the North is absolutely more expensive than the South. For example, you can get perfectly nice motel rooms down South for less than 45 bucks. This is not gonna happen in New England. Even if you share a room with a couple of friends, the North will still cost you money. Even hiker hostels cost more. Just about EVERYTHING costs more up here, from groceries, to cigarettes, to beer, to gas, to shuttles, well, you name it.

Were I to thru-hike again, I'd try and keep 65% of my budget at least for North of the Mason-Dixon line. If you're thru-hiking and half your money is gone by Harpers Ferry, you better tighten things up in a hurry or you're gonna have a problem towards the end of your trip.

True, and good advice. Fewer free/cheap places to stay, plus everything seems more expensive as you start to run out of money . . .

sbhikes
11-11-2009, 12:11
I agree that town becomes a lot more important than you expect it will be. You start out thinking a total wilderness experience and then realize you need a good meal, shower, laundry and some time to talk with other people.

But, I learned that you can get the meal, the shower, the laundry and the camaraderie without paying for an expensive hotel room. Not paying for a room really helps a lot.

You either do a nero day or else you stealth camp outside of town so you can have dinner and then breakfast in the morning before hitting the trail. (This assumes it is possible to stealth camp outside--or even inside--of town. If it isn't, then do a nero.)

I took more restful time off at places that asked a donation rather than at places where I had to pay some souless corporation a ton of money. I paid the donation in full and it was still cheaper than a hotel.

I don't know what the AT is like, but it sounds like a pain in the butt kind of place to try to go cheap. On the PCT it is really easy to not get caught up in friends and peer pressure and to just roll into town, get stuff done, and get back on the trail to meet new people. I did the whole thing as solo as I could. I really couldn't stand most people after about 3 days.

ShelterLeopard
11-11-2009, 12:32
I kinda like your take on it, SB. I've always been an advocate of "trust me, even though you think you'll want to be n the woods forever, you will want to come into town and have a bed and food and shower", but lately, I've been feeling like just going into the woods and staying there as long as possible... I know that I will need to go into towns, but just lately I've been feeling that I really like the ideas (mostly from the "what I would do differently thread") of ignoring mile counting, zeroing in the woods and tenting away from people.

We'll see how I really feel after my first two weeks on my thru! :D

Still gonna alot (alott?) plenty of money for my thru though.

I just noticed that I was planning on staying in a lot of hostels and realized that I totally don't need to plan any of it (except staying in Harpers Ferry for three whole nights with my family), and I'll do just what I feel and need in the moment.

ShelterLeopard
11-11-2009, 12:33
PS- If you do plan on thru hiking on a budget, DON'T mooch. It will make you very unpopular, very fast.

sbhikes
11-11-2009, 16:44
By the way, I wasn't really on a budget. I could have sprung for the best of everything.

I hiked 3 months the summer before I did this year's hike and realized a few things. One is that there are a lot better ways to spend your time than working to buy things. The other was that if there is a whole world out there where it's free to sleep in fresh air, peace and quiet, why should I pay anyone money to sleep where it's noisy and smelly?

So, rather than look at these things purely from a budget-minded view, I think it is good to take some time to really evaluate what it is you need from town. For me it was rest, food, cleanliness, food, a little company, and did I mention food? Then focus on those important things and try to do without the rest. Don't just roll into town with a herd of sheep and do whatever the other sheep are doing.

I think you'll enjoy your zero/nero days on the trail.

le loupe
11-11-2009, 17:20
Don't just roll into town with a herd of sheep and do whatever the other sheep are doing.

I think you'll enjoy your zero/nero days on the trail.

Sheep, on the trail?! That go to town?!

DapperD
02-17-2010, 11:19
After reading a lot of the responses from people, and also reading other recent threads regarding the subject of a low cost hike, I am convinced that it can be done on the cheap. The only nagging questions I have is that wether or not one could actually put themselves at risk for say hypo or hyperthermia, malnutrition which could help exacerbate these conditions, etc...by heading out in say very cold or very hot conditions and not having ample funds to be able to get off the trail when necessary, to eat well when needed, etc...Also not having the funds to begin with usually will go hand in hand with not having proper gear, etc.... The advice from other's as far as go ahead and raid hiker boxes of everything in them, hang out in order to do this, etc...I just don't think is among the best advice I have learned from Whiteblaze. I can't speak for other's but if and when I head out I most certainly feel having enough funds for a good, safe hike is going to be of paramount importance to me.

Blissful
02-17-2010, 12:01
After reading a lot of the responses from people, and also reading other recent threads regarding the subject of a low cost hike, I am convinced that it can be done on the cheap. The only nagging questions I have is that wether or not one could actually put themselves at risk for say hypo or hyperthermia, malnutrition which could help exacerbate these conditions, etc...by heading out in say very cold or very hot conditions and not having ample funds to be able to get off the trail when necessary, to eat well when needed, etc...Also not having the funds to begin with usually will go hand in hand with not having proper gear, etc.... The advice from other's as far as go ahead and raid hiker boxes of everything in them, hang out in order to do this, etc...I just don't think is among the best advice I have learned from Whiteblaze. I can't speak for other's but if and when I head out I most certainly feel having enough funds for a good, safe hike is going to be of paramount importance to me.


Good things to point out.

Miner
02-18-2010, 15:21
On the PCT, one guy who had started at Mt. Whitney going north only had $250 on him. And after Mammoth, he had less then $100 left (I think he did get a little more money from relatives latter on).

He had done all his food drops at home, but had no experience doing a long trail so they had inadequate amounts of food (he also carried cans only he had no can opener at first). He'd raid all the hiker boxes and took advantage whatever was offered by trail angels, other hikrs, and would hit up churches since he liked to go if on town on a sunday. But having to disappear at night when everyone went into town to stay at a hotel and having to listen to everyone talking about a resturant or pigging out in town I think took a toll on him. Though he had some other things going on, I suspect that the money thing was the main thing that drove him off in Southern Oregon.

Sequoia
02-18-2010, 15:38
I think this thread is a bit classist. For those frat boys and girls that ended up spending all of their money on booze or whatever, yeah shame on them. But not everyone is a trust fund baby or has parents that are willing to fund their ventures. I've been out of the house since I was 16 and worked almost everyday since then to get by. I've scrounged and scrimped and saved and got a little lucky with one very special royalties program and here I am going to attempt a hike in April.

I think instead of looking down on those that are not as fortunate with their money for the trail, people should be a bit more compassionate. I'm not advocating giving them a bunch of your money either, but some of us don't start off at the same level as ya'll and I think thats a very important thing to keep in mind.

Dogwood
02-18-2010, 16:35
Thank you DapperD for your original comments when you started this thread and when you came back to it. Many of the general sentiments shared by posters on this thread are what I attempted to get across in my post on the hiker box thread. Some, obviously missed my main pts in my post on that thread.

Nice to notice that maybe something I said may have been of value enough for at least one other prospective hiker to consider my suggestions and opinions.

Dogwood
02-18-2010, 16:50
Sequoia, there is another way of viewing what has been shared. Some, including myself, are trying to share some suggestions, opinions, and comments because we deeply care about hiking, the AT hiking community, and hikers. We share some thoughts that might prove helpful to some.

There are posters here that know a lot more than you or me. We can learn from them. There is a lot of wisdom being offered here. I think we should consider and understand what is being offered.

Jester2000
02-18-2010, 17:15
I think this thread is a bit classist. For those frat boys and girls that ended up spending all of their money on booze or whatever, yeah shame on them. But not everyone is a trust fund baby or has parents that are willing to fund their ventures. I've been out of the house since I was 16 and worked almost everyday since then to get by. I've scrounged and scrimped and saved and got a little lucky with one very special royalties program and here I am going to attempt a hike in April.

I think instead of looking down on those that are not as fortunate with their money for the trail, people should be a bit more compassionate. I'm not advocating giving them a bunch of your money either, but some of us don't start off at the same level as ya'll and I think thats a very important thing to keep in mind.

I don't think the discussion has been particularly classist, and I think if you found out the background of most of the people posting here, the idea of it being classist would be kind of laughable.

Insofar as there is any criticism of hikers who want to hike on the cheap, I think it has more to do with planning to rely on others, especially when most of the people on the trail, even those who have adequate funds, are not trust fund babies and are not being funded by their parents.

Personally, I work hard and sacrifice quite a bit to save up the amount of money I know I need to thru-hike. I'd like to thru-hike every year, and maybe I could if my plan involved relying on others. But I don't.

Now, there always seem to be a couple of threads going on whiteblaze started by people who want to hike as cheaply as possible. And they're almost always hikers who have never done a thru-hike before, which makes sense. But the problem is that the people most likely to be able to pull off a super cheap hike are the people who have hiked a long distance trail before.

So are the negative responses from people on these threads about class? Not really. They tend to be warnings given by people with experience about how difficult thru-hiking is to begin with, and how adding the extra burden of low funds can kill a hike, or at least make it a six month long journey of unpleasantness. Most of the people who start these threads have no idea of what they'll need from towns to make them happy (and neither does anyone else on this site, but it's good for people to consider what other experienced hikers have wanted or needed)

There will always be a few "rah-rah go for it!" people on this site, but if all someone wants is confirmation rather than opinions based on experience, this probably isn't the right place to go.

I wish you luck on your hike, and hope you enjoy every minute of it!

trailangelbronco
02-18-2010, 17:48
Nobody is looking down their noses at anyone. People are just sick and tired of the beggars and hanger's on types who are following their internet found dream of the AT, by begging everyone else for their food, smokes and favors.
My son was 19 when he thru hiked. He saved for three years and then hit the trail with $3,000 bucks. He made sure that he was prepared and ready to hike HIS hike on his own, and he made it on his own. I shipped his boxes and he refused any help from me or his Mom. He also didn't have to beg from anyone because he chose not to blow all of his money on partying during his three year saving/planning time.
I hike to get away from broke people in the city who don't plan or sacrifice in order to save for their goals in life. They are on every corner. They were the ones who partied while I studied when we were young. The one's who skipped college, and put other things in front of their needs. They didn't plan. They didn't calculate.
The wilderness is all about planning. Planning to survive, planning to co-exsist with nature, and leaving no trace of civilization. I hike with trash bags to pick up junk left on trails. I hike out west, often without seeing other people in very rugged terrain. Ther are no "trailtowns", and I like that. I travel for a living and am sick of hotels and resteraunts, I like the wilderness experience, I like being uncomfortable and wet and dirty. I also like being away from the bums. My favorite long trail can't even be found on the internet, and is poorly blazed. It is tough, very dangerous, and doesn't have many people, just what I like. I loved the parts of the AT that I hiked in the 80's, back before the AT became"cool". It sometimes seems like the internet has ruined the AT. I wouldn't be suprised if someday a thru hiker will have to apply to hike it, and prove that funds are availible.

Plan YOUR hike, Hike your plan. And don't plan for others helping.

Diamond Diggs
02-18-2010, 18:57
I just wonder how many here on WB who have thru-hiked have done so on a VERY tight budget and managed to make it all the way without the need to mooch off of fellow hikers. I know weather carrot has posted a really good article on here about buget thru-hiking (by the way weather carrot, i did not realize at SRuck that you were the one who wrote that article or I would have probably pestered you a lot more on the subject.)

I wonder how many others on here could chime in on their succuessful low-bugeted thru-hike experience.

Appalachian Tater
02-18-2010, 19:11
I will chime in and say I know several people who didn't finish their thrus because they ran out of money. Better to have the money and not spend it than need it and not have it.

superman
02-18-2010, 19:54
I think there should be a means test before the AT is started to keep the riff raff off it. Low class poor folks need not show up. :-?

fiddlehead
02-18-2010, 20:44
OK, I'm reading all these thoughts on both threads going on the subject right now.
My opinion has stayed the same: If you really have the will power to do a cheap thru, then go out right now (like TODAY) and get yourself a job to add more cash for you hike!

But, the one thing that i have NOT seen on here, is anyone mentioning credit cards.
And I know from experience, that most hikers who I have hiked with simply charge things (go in debt) during their thru and don't worry about it.
Now, that is not my way at all, and I swore when i paid off my house in '96 that i would NEVER go in debt again (and haven't) but, i still saw the majority of other hikers using this method.

I certainly am not advocating doing it, but, just pointing out that it has not been mentioned in any of these two threads going on right now.

Why not?
Are credit cards now illegal? or just politically incorrect?

I say this because when I'm on a thru hike, I have the mindset that NOTHING is going to stop me from completing it. Be it injury, sickness, weather, or money problems.

ps. my first thru hike, in '77, was stopped short because we (2 of us trying to do it on $700) was stopped short in DWG in PA. This was before the day of credit cards or else it would not have ended there.

Priorities are everything.

Spirit Walker
02-18-2010, 21:42
Sequoia - it's not classist to say that if you intend to thruhike the AT you need to carefully consider whether you actually have the funds to do it, and if not, you may need to work an extra few months or years until you do if you really want to hike the whole thing in one season.

You will meet people from all sorts of backgrounds on the trail. There will be students and truck drivers and bartenders and engineers and teachers and doctors and retail clerks, etc. Not everybody has been working at a job that pays a lot of money. But it really doesn't matter. What matters is how you choose to spend your money and how willing you are to forego spending in order to save for what you really want. Having enough money to hike the trail has little to do with what your off trail job pays, and everything to do with choosing to make the hike a priority. If that means waiting a year, then you do it. If it means selling something, then do it. If it means giving up cable or internet or beer for a few years, then you do it. If it means skipping town visits in order to make the funds stretch, that works too. Some of the cheapest hikers I knew came from very wealthy backgrounds, they just chose to live a frugal lifestyle. Some of those with blue-collar backgrounds had spent years setting aside funds so they could accomplish their dream. It's not a question of class, but priorities.

Those who have spent years saving and living frugally in order to do a long hike tend to have very little sympathy for those who just think, "I want it now and I'm not willing to work and scrimp and save in order to do it." If you go out assuming that you can beg or borrow what you need in order to finish, you may be surprised at the reception you will get. If you go out with low funds and say, "I'll see how well I can stretch the funds I have in order to go as far as I can" you may be surprised at how generous the community can be. Someone used the term self-sufficiency. That's the goal. It's one thing if an accident happens and you need help. It's a completely different thing to go out with the expectation that others are out there to take care of your needs.

prain4u
02-19-2010, 03:30
I am constantly amazed at the number of people who say that they are willing to make big sacrifices while out on the trail in order to make their low-budget thru hike a reality. They pledge to eat Ramen noodles every day, promise to NEVER go to town, plan to always do their laundry in a ziplock bag in the woods--instead of going to laundromats, anticipate fishing and gathering berries for their food, and consider taking jobs in trail towns etc.

However, these same people don't always seem willing to make many big sacrifices PRIOR to their hike in order to have the proper funds and proper equipment for a more comfortable thru hike. They continue to eat at restaurants, continue to consume alcohol on a regular basis, they have cable TV and internet, they don't take on a 2nd or 3rd job or work extra hours. They are also usually unwilling to put off their thru hike for a few months (or for a year) while gathering together the needed funds and necessary gear.

QUESTION: If you can't (or won't) make the necessary sacrifices (right now) where you are currently located--what makes you think that you will actually make the needed sacrifices once you are out on the trail?

d'shadow
02-19-2010, 06:27
I think this thread is a bit classist. For those frat boys and girls that ended up spending all of their money on booze or whatever, yeah shame on them. But not everyone is a trust fund baby or has parents that are willing to fund their ventures. I've been out of the house since I was 16 and worked almost everyday since then to get by. I've scrounged and scrimped and saved and got a little lucky with one very special royalties program and here I am going to attempt a hike in April.

I think instead of looking down on those that are not as fortunate with their money for the trail, people should be a bit more compassionate. I'm not advocating giving them a bunch of your money either, but some of us don't start off at the same level as ya'll and I think thats a very important thing to keep in mind.

You are mistaken to assume that the majority of hikers have "trust funds".
Most people who thru hike have worked hard and saved their money to hike. It has involved sacrifice and the support of family and friends. I know one man who saved for eight years to have an enjoyable thru hike and he did enjoy it. It included days in town, hotel rooms, and town food.

bentwanderer
02-19-2010, 07:13
As a newbie i apolagise up front if i say something dumb. But after reading all the posts it sure seems like a bunch of bitter people use the AT.
I am planning a thru hike, i have 50 times the amount of funding that seems to be the requirement, and i never leave home with less than 3 or 4 grand just incase i run into a real bargain on a car or piece of equipment ect.

However the lure of the hike is due to some historical info my sis found during geaneology studies. Apparently my great great papaw was awarded a 5,000 acre land grant, and him and his brother had to walk from somewhere in Maine to somewhere near Nashville to claim it. since it would be impossible to trace his path, i was thinking the AT would be a good second best. But the experience of trying to do it the way he had to do it is the big, allbeit romantic draw.
This putting down anyone who does it different than you seems to be a real popular sport on any website that pertains to outdoor activities.

A couple years ago, when i had to have my knees replaced and was told to ride a bicycle as therapy, i decided to ride from Knoxville to Johnson City for my last follow up Dr. appointment. 18 months and 15,000 miles later i discovered a bicycle touring website and found out i did it all wrong. I had the wrong bike the wrong gear i had not planned ahead for campsites or supply drops or even a destination. I was very much ridiculed by the experienced bicycle tourers.

I thought that it was the most rewarding and fun time of my life till i read what they had to say about the way i did it...

The only thing i almost did right was the amount of money i had my sister put on a prepaid credit card each month. I missed the recomended requirement by about $675.00. However about 4 or 5 months into the trip i was having to give away 75 to 80 percent of my monthly allowance anyway.
I guess my question is; is there only one way to hike the AT? Is it not possible to stretch your larder by adding to it by the old fashioned "living off the land?"
Near the end of my bicycle ride as i was heading back to Tn. i spent 4.5 or 5.5 months camping on my buddies vacant 400 acres in N.Eastern Az. and i only made one trip to town and never heard of supply drops. Cannot that same thing be done on the AT? Is it illegal or to crowded or too much civilization. Or do i need to rethink my trail to somewhere out west where there is more wide open spaces?

Bronk
02-19-2010, 08:22
I just wonder how many here on WB who have thru-hiked have done so on a VERY tight budget and managed to make it all the way without the need to mooch off of fellow hikers. I know weather carrot has posted a really good article on here about buget thru-hiking (by the way weather carrot, i did not realize at SRuck that you were the one who wrote that article or I would have probably pestered you a lot more on the subject.)

I wonder how many others on here could chime in on their succuessful low-bugeted thru-hike experience.


I didn't complete a thru-hike, but I did spend 4 months on the AT only spending $1600 or $1700 (I'm guessing here because I had some cash in my pocket when I got off the trail and don't know exacly how much that was...but otherwise I have everything documented with bank records). And at least a couple three hundred of that was making gear changes...clothing, footwear, a headlamp and a new pot...and on top of these purchases I have a receipt from the outfitter at NOC for about $150 and I don't remember what I bought there besides food. So if I had my gear straight before I left, I could have conceivably done the hike on $10 a day.

I only made it to Waynesboro, so that might make a bit of a difference in spending on food (ie more miles require more fuel)...but the fact is I stayed on the trail for about $400 a month...and to me that was a very comfortable amount...that was restaurants, showers, laundry, beer, hostels, and the occasional hotel...I stayed at most of the commonly known hostels in the south, at a B&B in one trail town, 3 days at the Rendezvous in Pearisburg due to a medical problem, at the Econolodge in Daleville. I'd buy the $20 steak dinner instead of getting a burger. I picked up the tab for a local family when I ate lunch at Dot's in Damascus. I wasn't stingy with my money is the point, and I still only spent $400 a month.

I didn't quit because I ran out of money...I had enough money in the bank that I could have hiked for years at the spending rate I was at. I was just ready to get off the trail...at my slow and leisurely pace I wouldn't have been able to finish it by the time winter came anyway.

So I think it can definitely be done cheaply...don't know if you could do it for $500 or $1000, but I think a frugal person could do it in the $1500 to $2000 range without being a burden or annoyance on others, and without depriving yourself.

Part of the reason I got away with spending so little was that I usually ate only one town meal, only stayed the nite in town if I rolled in late evening, my town stops were usually in and out affairs...get in get a restaurant meal, get resupply and get out...if you go into the outfitter, you'll probably find something to buy, and it will probably add weight to your pack. I took a LOT of zero days...probably a month's worth out of the 4 months...but I took almost all of them on the trail. I'd hike 12 to 15 miles a day on the days I hiked, but if you divide the number of miles I hiked by the number of days I was out it falls well below 10 miles a day.

But personally, I wouldn't plan to go the whole way with less than $3000 to $4000. I'd hate to get close to finishing and run out of money.

DAJA
02-19-2010, 08:49
I think this thread is a bit classist. For those frat boys and girls that ended up spending all of their money on booze or whatever, yeah shame on them. But not everyone is a trust fund baby or has parents that are willing to fund their ventures. I've been out of the house since I was 16 and worked almost everyday since then to get by. I've scrounged and scrimped and saved and got a little lucky with one very special royalties program and here I am going to attempt a hike in April.

I think instead of looking down on those that are not as fortunate with their money for the trail, people should be a bit more compassionate. I'm not advocating giving them a bunch of your money either, but some of us don't start off at the same level as ya'll and I think thats a very important thing to keep in mind.

Excellent post.. But be warned your treading very close to the "American Dream" speach, "work hard" yada yada.. Of coarse all evidence suggests that the American Dream is complete BS unless your one of the lucky few who enjoy a life of leisure due to the rest of us toiling endlessly to provide their golden life..

Folks, money is not something to be worshipped, horded or accumulated.. It is a tool for exchange, nothing more..

Yeah for those of us who have been fortunate in life, it likely is difficult to imagine not going into town when your hiking friends go, and yes it seems unimaginable that you wouldn't pig out in restaurants and sleep in comfy hotels/hostels when the weather turns bad.. But keep in mind, there are many many many who stuggle to enjoy these luxury's in their day to day life.. So while avoiding the luxuries while on a thru hike may require strong discipline on your part, for those on the other side of the tracks, it's just another day, and not a sacrifice. They're used to going without, so that we can enjoy living with.. Remember, it's all one pot, we just happen to be very selfish about sharing..

Sequoia
02-19-2010, 09:35
I know this isn't related to the topic at hand but what is a zero or nero day?

jersey joe
02-19-2010, 09:45
I know this isn't related to the topic at hand but what is a zero or nero day?
A zero is a day without any hiking miles. A nero is a day with close to no hiking miles. A nero is usuall achieved if you stay two miles outside of town and hike in or out of town and stop.

superman
02-19-2010, 11:49
It doesn't matter if a thru hike is underfunded almost 80% of the time. Of the folks that don't make it only a small number are probably due to finances. Most thru hike attempts turn into section hikes. What is under funded for one person is plenty for another. An under funded thru hike is like the guy with a little willy that goes into a house of special services. The woman says "who you going to satisfy with that?" Then the guy says "me.":D

Jester2000
02-19-2010, 12:28
Folks, money is not something to be worshipped, horded or accumulated.. It is a tool for exchange, nothing more...

Well, yeah. And I think every post on here kind of reflects that. But the (translated) question becomes, "I've never built a house before. What's the least amount of tools I need to build a house? Can I do it with just a saw, a hammer, and some nails?"

And the answer is, well, yeah. I guess you could. But the people most likely to build a house successfully will that limited a supply of tools are people who have built a house before. And if building that house and enjoying it are important to you, you may want to see about getting some more tools. But if you're committed to building your house that way, or you really need shelter and there aren't any other options, then good luck!

I don't see anyone on here being bitter, or even particularly negative. Because here's the thing:
Pretty much everyone posting advice on here wants the original poster and others to have an enjoyable and successful hike -- that's their motivation for posting. And the original poster wants to take advantage of the experience of people on this site. It's that simple.

Bentwanderer: there are a couple of other threads on here regarding "living off the land." If you consider this thread to be full of bitter people, you're probably not going to like those threads very much at all, because the answer, for the most part, is no, it's not a very practical strategy.

But that doesn't mean there aren't lots of ways to hike the AT, and you'll find what works best for you, but I suspect there's a big difference between camping in one spot for 5 months and hiking for 5 months. I think your reason for wanting to hike the AT is pretty cool. Good luck with your hike!

DAJA
02-19-2010, 13:25
Well, yeah. And I think every post on here kind of reflects that. But the (translated) question becomes, "I've never built a house before. What's the least amount of tools I need to build a house? Can I do it with just a saw, a hammer, and some nails?"

And the answer is, well, yeah. I guess you could. But the people most likely to build a house successfully will that limited a supply of tools are people who have built a house before. And if building that house and enjoying it are important to you, you may want to see about getting some more tools. But if you're committed to building your house that way, or you really need shelter and there aren't any other options, then good luck!

I don't see anyone on here being bitter, or even particularly negative. Because here's the thing:
Pretty much everyone posting advice on here wants the original poster and others to have an enjoyable and successful hike -- that's their motivation for posting. And the original poster wants to take advantage of the experience of people on this site. It's that simple.

Bentwanderer: there are a couple of other threads on here regarding "living off the land." If you consider this thread to be full of bitter people, you're probably not going to like those threads very much at all, because the answer, for the most part, is no, it's not a very practical strategy.

But that doesn't mean there aren't lots of ways to hike the AT, and you'll find what works best for you, but I suspect there's a big difference between camping in one spot for 5 months and hiking for 5 months. I think your reason for wanting to hike the AT is pretty cool. Good luck with your hike!


I have no doubt that the responses in this thread are intended to be informative to the OP.. However, I find all this talk of hotels, restaurants, etc, to be a bit biased.. Clearly these are people that prefer luxury and creature comforts or are underprepared or ultralight and not equiped to face extreme weather..

I, and i'm assuming i'm not alone, have a very very low tolerance for money, stores, restaurants, hotels, tv, etc.. Zero days in town, enjoying all you can eat buffets, etc have absolutely no value to me.. So to suggest that it would cost $3000 + to hike the AT over 5 months is simply insane to me personally. Hell I live in my home for far less than that, including all bills and driving a car (average monthly expenses $350 x 5 = $1750)..

Just as an example, I spent 5 months of winter living in a cabin. I usually spent 3 nights away from the cabin exploring and 4 nights in the cabin per week over that period and the total cost of that entire trip including travel to the area and return (1700kms each way) for under $1000..

Again, yes I understand most need a break from the trail every 3-4 days, and they like civilized creature comforts during this break, but to suggest that you need to plan for zero days to avoid weather changes etc, is just silly. I wouldn't step foot in the woods, if I wasn't confident that my skills and gear could withstand whatever mother nature can give... Sulking back to civilization is not even on the radar..

Appalachian Tater
02-19-2010, 13:54
I, and i'm assuming i'm not alone, have a very very low tolerance for money, stores, restaurants, hotels, tv, etc.. Zero days in town, enjoying all you can eat buffets, etc have absolutely no value to me.. So to suggest that it would cost $3000 + to hike the AT over 5 months is simply insane to me personally.


Generally people like you who feel able to complete a thru hike on less than $2,000 don't need to come to White Blaze and ask how much it costs to do it.

Sure, there is a wide range in what it will cost people but to suggest to those who ask about it that they could do a thru on $1,500 would be doing them a HUGE disservice. It is unrealistic.

Also, not too many people of the very, very few who actually complete a thru hike on under $2,000 come here and post their expenses and how they did it. I would like to see more threads of that but the likely reason there aren't more is because it doesn't happen often. The couple of thru hikers I met who were actually doing something like that don't spend much time on a computer.

DAJA
02-19-2010, 14:05
The couple of thru hikers I met who were actually doing something like that don't spend much time on a computer.

Yes your quite right, being thrifty and resourceful means you shouldn't use technology... Logic Error!

Technology such as a computer is precisely why i'm able to live so cheaply. It gives me unlimited access to the knowledge I need to solve problems and learn to build or fix things with my own two hands, keeping my reliance on money low.

The Old Fhart
02-19-2010, 14:12
DAJA-"I have no doubt that the responses in this thread are intended to be informative to the OP.. However, I find all this talk of hotels, restaurants, etc, to be a bit biased.. Clearly these are people that prefer luxury and creature comforts or are underprepared or ultralight and not equiped to face extreme weather.."Nothing could be further from the truth. When I section hiked the trail ('87-'90) I took no days off and stayed at very few hostels. On my thru in '98, other than a scheduled break to attend a graduation, I took 5 zero days. I carried a full pack (up to 50lbs) and was totally self-contained. Weather and "creature comforts" are way down on my list of worries and I have lived/worked in one of the most severe winter environments to be found on earth. If you check Jester2000's hiking experience you will see he certainly knows what he's talking about, and that also applies to many others who have replied.

Try to keep in mind that most hikers don't plan on turning their hike into a Bataan death march. A long distance hike is, for most, a chance of a lifetime to experience all the trail has to offer, from the occasional solitude to the unique social interaction with fellow hikers and the various local people you meet along the way. As someone once said: "variety isn't the spice of life, it is the very stuff of it."

As Jester has so eloquently pointed out, any endeavor in life has certain prerequisites and costs and to try to go below the suggested norm decreases your chances of accomplishing your goal significantly as well as your possible enjoyment (unless you're a masochist :D). The advice here from experienced hikers was learned the hard way and shouldn't be dismissed a a simple bias, which isn't true.

DAJA
02-19-2010, 14:13
Sure, there is a wide range in what it will cost people but to suggest to those who ask about it that they could do a thru on $1,500 would be doing them a HUGE disservice. It is unrealistic.

.

Yes unrealistic to you, I have no doubt.. But to suggest that when the weather is bad, you "MUST" escape to the protection of a hostel/hotel in town or that you have to stop in to AYCE buffet's, and sleep and shower in civilized convienences is all so a disservice.. Those things are luxury's for us lazy westerners, the majority of the world lives without such luxury everyday.. It's all a matter of reference..

JustaTouron
02-19-2010, 14:23
Yes unrealistic to you, I have no doubt.. But to suggest that when the weather is bad, you "MUST" escape to the protection of a hostel/hotel in town or that you have to stop in to AYCE buffet's, and sleep and shower in civilized conveniences is all so a disservice.. Those things are luxury's for us lazy westerners, the majority of the world lives without such luxury everyday.. It's all a matter of reference..

How many third world refuges hike the AT per year? Of them how many come to white blaze seeking budgeting advice.

It is safe to assume that most if not all of the those people who come to white blaze seeking budgeting advice are accustom to taking a shower every once in a while are going to need to use a hostel/motel every once in while to escape weather, are gonna have a miserable trip if they have to eat ramon noodles while the friends they make on the trail hit the AYCE buffet.

Those who truly can live without the creature comforts and still have an enjoyable trip don't need whiteblaze for advice.

Anyone who posts advice aimed at anyone but novices is the one truly doing a disservice. Cause the experienced folks don't need the advice of whiteblaze so offering advice that would only work for someone with a lot of experience is a serious disservice.

DAJA
02-19-2010, 14:28
Try to keep in mind that most hikers don't plan on turning their hike into a Bataan death march. A long distance hike is, for most, a chance of a lifetime to experience all the trail has to offer, from the occasional solitude to the unique social interaction with fellow hikers and the various local people you meet along the way. As someone once said: "variety isn't the spice of life, it is the very stuff of it."

As Jester has so eloquently pointed out, any endeavor in life has certain prerequisites and costs and to try to go below the suggested norm decreases your chances of accomplishing your goal significantly as well as your possible enjoyment (unless you're a masochist :D). The advice here from experienced hikers was learned the hard way and shouldn't be dismissed a a simple bias, which isn't true.

But why does a hike without civilized creature comforts have to be a Bataan death march? Why can you not have the trip of a lifetime without hotels/hostels, restaurants, etc? You can't socialize in a natural outdoor environment? I'm a masochist because I prefer not to participate in the spending of money? Hotels, warm beds, restaurants etc are all the normal things in our life, variety is doing different things and experiencing life differently than you normally would, so how is partaking in these activities adding variety, seems more like the common than variety.. And clearly since I haven't listed my "hiking bio" on whiteblazes I don't have the necassary qualifications to be regarded as an "experienced hiker", so my alternative view is not exceptable..LOL!

I simply pointing out, that someone who plans to hike on a budget under $2000 is not rediculous, outrages and definitly doesn't qualify you as a bum, so long as you are aware and willing to find splender in the simpler things..

Rockhound
02-19-2010, 14:28
An AYCE dinner, done properly. (loose clothing and pockets lined) can feed an underfunded hiker for nearly a week.

Appalachian Tater
02-19-2010, 14:29
Yes your quite right, being thrifty and resourceful means you shouldn't use technology... Logic Error!

Of course, I didn't even imply anything like this. :-? I said the two thru hikers I met who were hiking on an extremely low budget don't spend much time on the computer. They both have done multiple thru hikes but I have never seen anyone so much as mention their names here.

You would be doing everyone a great service if you posted the details of how you managed to complete your thruhike on $5 a day after you finish or even keep an online trail journal showing your daily expenses like those people who spend $1 a day on food for a month do. It would help a lot of people see what is possible and how to do it. Then they could use the resources you provided to be thrifty and resourceful themselves instead of basking in their luxurious pampered western lives.

Appalachian Tater
02-19-2010, 14:32
An AYCE dinner, done properly. (loose clothing and pockets lined) can feed an underfunded hiker for nearly a week. Why spend money when people leave perfectly good food on their plates?

Jack Tarlin
02-19-2010, 14:35
DAJA:

The majority of the world, as you said, goes without luxuries, but the vast majority of thru-hikers do not, and there are few people indeed who can resist the temptations of town, i.e. a long shower; a clean bed; a restaurant meal.

And a lot of people who have not yet hiked scoff at these "luxuries", and are sure they are fripperies, totally un-needed, and that when THEY get on the A.T., they'll quite easily do without them.

In my experience, this mindset, generally lasts about 30 miles, til they get to Neel Gap. Then a cup of real coffee, a shower, a warm bunk in a heated room, and a cheap shuttle ride to an all you can eat restaurant start to look really good.

And this is what 99% of hikers do. The folks who shun such things, in my experience, don't do so because they can easily do without such things. Instead, they forego these things because they're not budgeted for them, and in so doing, it does not make them happy people.

As a rule, the people who talk about what they can easily and happily do without while hiking on the A.T. for half a year have, without exception, not hiked on the A.T. for half a year.

Once you're actually out there, these "luxuries" start looking pretty good, and it happens to "westerners", too.

The Old Fhart
02-19-2010, 14:44
DAJA-"...And clearly since I haven't listed my "hiking bio" on whiteblazes I don't have the necassary qualifications to be regarded as an "experienced hiker", so my alternative view is not exceptable..LOL!"Apparently that's just you feeling inadequate because I never said or implied that. I simply replied to your false assumption that: "...Clearly these are people that prefer luxury and creature comforts or are underprepared or ultralight and not equiped to face extreme weather..", which is false and based on your assuming everyone is inexperienced and wimpy. I merely showed where in 2 cases your statement was based on ignorance. Generally those projecting these feelings to others as you have need to examine why they feel this need to portray others this way.

Jester2000
02-19-2010, 14:48
I simply pointing out, that someone who plans to hike on a budget under $2000 is not rediculous, outrages and definitly doesn't qualify you as a bum, so long as you are aware and willing to find splender in the simpler things..

I think that when someone comes on whitblaze and asks, "can I hike the entire AT on $2000?" they're going to get a lot of responses that say yes you can, as long as you're careful with your budget. In a current thread (Cheapest Possible Thru-hike), a hiker asking if he can hike the trail on $500 is being told that it's unlikely.

Now, you obviously know what luxuries you do and don't need when you're on a long distance hike. And that's great, and for you hiking on $500 might not be a bad experience. But I've highlighted a word in your post, and that word is "aware." You are aware of what you need to complete a hike and be happy. 100% of the people who start threads asking advice on whether or not they can complete a hike on the cheap have no awareness whatsoever of what it will take to keep them happy and on trail. And they won't know that until they try. People giving advice on these threads are usually trying to make them aware of what possible roadblocks they might run up against in what they're attempting to do. They might discover that they like hiking in a way similar to your outlook. But they might not. And it would be a shame if they ended up getting off trail because they didn't realize that they like hiking the way you do for a week, but not for 5 months.

I agree with you that hiking for under $2000 doesn't automatically make you a bum. The way you choose to hike certainly doesn't. But the manner in which you hike for under $2000 can make you a bum. If you want to do a $4000 hike on $2000, and have everyone else pick up the slack.

DAJA
02-19-2010, 14:49
DAJA:


As a rule, the people who talk about what they can easily and happily do without while hiking on the A.T. for half a year have, without exception, not hiked on the A.T. for half a year.

Once you're actually out there, these "luxuries" start looking pretty good, and it happens to "westerners", too.

Your correct, I have not hiked the AT for half a year, however, I have done many 3-6 month trips (canoe, kayak, snowshoe, hike, bike) in both remote and civilized area's, and I know for certain what it's like to go extended periods without civilized comforts.. You'd be very suprised at the personal rewards discovered when you step out of the economic bubble we like to wrap ourselves in.. Try it sometime.. Who knows, you might even find you like it, not to mention it perhaps could even give our grandchildren a chance..

I know that I could not spend 6 months on the AT.. Far to many people, and too maintained.. I do however, enjoy spending about 6 weeks a year split up over 2 trips hiking on the AT as a break from ruffing it in the rest of my persuits..

Blissful
02-19-2010, 14:56
Also, not too many people of the very, very few who actually complete a thru hike on under $2,000 come here and post their expenses and how they did it. .

I'd like to see this posted, or if it is, direct me. Might make a good place for hikers to go that have limited funds.

Blissful
02-19-2010, 15:00
I think it also makes a difference where you live and where you come from. Here in the US was have it all with grocery stores bursting and lots of comforts. Those who have lived, say, in the bush of Africa etc (I know some fiends who are and my sister lived in China for 1o yrs) get used to having nothing. We really are blessed in this country.

DAJA
02-19-2010, 15:01
But that is exactly the point... Challenge yourself so you can find your limits.. Don't take the easy route and don't follow the hurd.. Step out, take risks and learn...

I had no previous knowledge of living in the north for a winter, but I did my homework and prepared and guess what, it was a great learning experience in many ways..

I had no experience in building an eco friendly super effiecient home, but I did my homework and learned... Great confidence builder!

I had no experience in living in a tent year around while I built my home, but I did it, and while it was a sacrifice in many ways, I came out the other end with a morgage free home...

The point being, if you always do things the way they have always been done, or do what everyone else is doing, how do you grow and learn as a person... Your mearly a replica of those you follow..

Blissful
02-19-2010, 15:04
But that is exactly the point... Challenge yourself so you can find your limits.. Don't take the easy route and don't follow the hurd.. Step out, take risks and learn...

..


I already did... in '07 and with a teen son to boot. Best time of my life. :sun

Jester2000
02-19-2010, 15:22
"I agree with you that hiking for under $2000 doesn't automatically make you a bum. The way you choose to hike certainly doesn't. But the manner in which you hike for under $2000 can make you a bum. If you want to do a $4000 hike on $2000, and have everyone else pick up the slack."

I just realized that the above is a rather confusing statement. A better way to put it:

I agree with you that hiking for under $2000 doesn't automatically make you a bum. The way you choose to hike certainly doesn't. But the manner in which someone else hikes for under $2000 can make them a bum -- if they want to do a $4000 hike on $2000, and have everyone else pick up the slack.

Dogwood
02-19-2010, 15:27
I, and i'm assuming i'm not alone, have a very very low tolerance for money, stores, restaurants, hotels, tv, etc.. Zero days in town, enjoying all you can eat buffets,....

I'm the same way!

But why does a hike without civilized creature comforts have to be a Bataan death march? Why can you not have the trip of a lifetime without hotels/hostels, restaurants, etc? You can't socialize in a natural outdoor environment?!

Good pts! I agree!

I also have done 9 thru-hikes!

Now, listen to what Jester2000, Appalacian Tater, The Old Fhart, and Jack Tarlin are saying. Carefully consider their suggestions. They just might be trying to give some solid advice! Lots of trail experience in those posters comments!

Sly
02-19-2010, 15:35
My first two attempts, knowing I was short on cash, hiked until I ran out of money, and finishing both the following year. No big deal...

Powder River
02-19-2010, 21:28
I ran out of money somewhere in Virginia and switched to putting everything on my credit card. I normally try to stay out of debt but the circumstances surrounding being able to take six months off were once in a lifetime. There was no way I was going to let a little thing like interest get between me and that dream. If there is a better reason for going into a little bit of debt if you run out of funds unexpectedly then I have not seen it.

Guy
02-25-2010, 23:31
Yeah, but those are Canadian dollars, which is interchangeable with monopoly money. :)


I have no doubt that the responses in this thread are intended to be informative to the OP.. However, I find all this talk of hotels, restaurants, etc, to be a bit biased.. Clearly these are people that prefer luxury and creature comforts or are underprepared or ultralight and not equiped to face extreme weather..

I, and i'm assuming i'm not alone, have a very very low tolerance for money, stores, restaurants, hotels, tv, etc.. Zero days in town, enjoying all you can eat buffets, etc have absolutely no value to me.. So to suggest that it would cost $3000 + to hike the AT over 5 months is simply insane to me personally. Hell I live in my home for far less than that, including all bills and driving a car (average monthly expenses $350 x 5 = $1750)..

Just as an example, I spent 5 months of winter living in a cabin. I usually spent 3 nights away from the cabin exploring and 4 nights in the cabin per week over that period and the total cost of that entire trip including travel to the area and return (1700kms each way) for under $1000..

Again, yes I understand most need a break from the trail every 3-4 days, and they like civilized creature comforts during this break, but to suggest that you need to plan for zero days to avoid weather changes etc, is just silly. I wouldn't step foot in the woods, if I wasn't confident that my skills and gear could withstand whatever mother nature can give... Sulking back to civilization is not even on the radar..

dufuss06
02-26-2010, 23:44
Good thing I got away from the Atlanta bus station. Was there only 2.5 hours and got hit up for money 8 different time. I wouldn't have money left to buy my supplies.:-?

fiddlehead
02-26-2010, 23:57
A lot depends on the weather the year you hike.
Good weather=leaving town sooner (or not going in at all)
Bad weather makes you crave warm and dry clothes/socks/shoes and a full belly.

I only ever spend what is necessary but don't go to extremes either way.

Weather can make a 30% difference in your money spent IMO.

Dogwood
02-27-2010, 00:04
Good thing I got away from the Atlanta bus station. Was there only 2.5 hours and got hit up for money 8 different time. I wouldn't have money left to buy my supplies.:-?

Welcome to big city Greyhound bus stations. Even though I consider myself a confident, physically imposing, adventurous person there are some DOG stations I simply think where it's wiser to stay inside the station.

DawnTreader
02-27-2010, 15:16
Welcome to big city Greyhound bus stations. Even though I consider myself a confident, physically imposing, adventurous person there are some DOG stations I simply think where it's wiser to stay inside the station.
Cleveland........

Dogwood
02-27-2010, 16:05
YES, Cleaveland is one of them! Twice, while waiting for transfers in Cleaveland, there were two police officers on duty at the DOG station. Both times the city police advised not going outside and strongly said "don't venture from the station." Once, they even took a guy in line waiting right next to me and brought him aside and did a body search for weapons and drugs. They asked if I was with or knew the guy. While I watched out the station window I saw two cops make an arrest not more than 10 ft outside the station door from where I was standing for selling drugs and having a weapon. I did walk outside once and was immediately solicited by several ladies of the night, by those wanting to sell drugs, wanting handouts, or seeking to rob someone.

Bronk
02-28-2010, 02:06
Cleveland........

The smaller the town, the better bus stations tend to be in terms of riff raff. Last time I was at the one in Cleveland I was standing outside the front door and somebody tried to sell me a watch or some jewelry they had mounted in a folded up newspaper. The larger stations tend to have panhandlers, homeless, mentally ill. DC, Nashville and Pittsburgh also come to mind. Tampa isn't the best either. In fact, I can't think of a bus station in a large city that isn't grungy.

Toinesolo
03-11-2010, 16:52
I agree with you 100%


Nothing could be further from the truth. When I section hiked the trail ('87-'90) I took no days off and stayed at very few hostels. On my thru in '98, other than a scheduled break to attend a graduation, I took 5 zero days. I carried a full pack (up to 50lbs) and was totally self-contained. Weather and "creature comforts" are way down on my list of worries and I have lived/worked in one of the most severe winter environments to be found on earth. If you check Jester2000's hiking experience you will see he certainly knows what he's talking about, and that also applies to many others who have replied.

Try to keep in mind that most hikers don't plan on turning their hike into a Bataan death march. A long distance hike is, for most, a chance of a lifetime to experience all the trail has to offer, from the occasional solitude to the unique social interaction with fellow hikers and the various local people you meet along the way. As someone once said: "variety isn't the spice of life, it is the very stuff of it."

As Jester has so eloquently pointed out, any endeavor in life has certain prerequisites and costs and to try to go below the suggested norm decreases your chances of accomplishing your goal significantly as well as your possible enjoyment (unless you're a masochist :D). The advice here from experienced hikers was learned the hard way and shouldn't be dismissed a a simple bias, which isn't true.

Smoky in TN
03-12-2010, 12:19
An AYCE dinner, done properly. (loose clothing and pockets lined) can feed an underfunded hiker for nearly a week.

I remember a certain KFC, a rain jacket, and ziplock bags...

d.o.c
03-12-2010, 14:01
ha certin food stores dumpsters work fine to alot of places throw out at sell by dates not that it fully bad it workd for alot of us hikers

singingpilgrim
03-19-2010, 06:42
I admit I'm going to be a frugal hiker. I mean, I'd love to have more money, but I think it'll be around 2K.
But, I'm not arguing one way or another. I see a lot of wisdom from those with experience, but as one without experience I understand why some people are bristling against it.
What I'm hearing is this:
Be frank with yourself. Do you know you'll need some comforts like hotels and food you didn't have to prepare? If the answer is no, then have you done at least a week's hike before? If not, you should do one before your thru-hike just to be sure. If the answer is yes, you may need to evaluate your budget in order to be successful on your hike (and that doesn't just mean completing it, it means enjoying it as well).
Do you smoke or like to drink often? If yes, you may need to evaluate your budget.
Even if think you can do without hotels/AYCE, try to make sure you have at least a hundred or more there 'just in case' for that reason alone. If you don't use it, awesome, but at least it was there.
And if you get out there and plan on being frugal, like I do, understand before you go that you're not allowed to mooch or beg. It's just being considerate of others. Remember some people have sold everything or worked for years to afford this experience and while I'm not saying you can't just go for it on an impulse, it is just wrong to expect them to pick up your slack. If you can't go on, then go home and try again next year.
At the same time, people who have the cash to burn, be considerate of those who don't and don't go on and on about how delicious some meal you had that they didn't was. Seriously, that's just mean. :) I'm not saying don't totally enjoy the meal or the bed. But just understand it's like someone being too perky in the morning when you feel like h*** or going on about how great it is to be alive when you want to keel over and cry for Mommy. Sometimes it's just kind to keep your cheerfulness to yourself, but don't feel bad for it either.
Think about the advise that's here and evaluate it. I know I may want to go to some AYCE's or a hotel, but I'm going to be strict with myself and make sure I really need that rest day, and wouldn't rather save it for a colder day, or for fending off a cold later on, and would a nero or even an in-camp zero day do? I'm not going to blow money on booze or smokes, so putting it off for another year to save up to party would be silly advise for my personality. But if you're the opposite, and beer is important enough that you may decide it's worth putting your thru off a while to not have to do without.
And in the end, it all comes down to hiking your own hike. One of the awesome things about the AT is the variety of characters it attracts, and I hope no one is discouraged from their thru, but instead adequately prepared and equipped by whiteblaze, even if that means putting it off for another year (and I had my heart set on 2009 but couldn't afford it, so I understand that mindset).

singingpilgrim
03-19-2010, 06:44
, then beer may be important*

oliviamariana
03-17-2016, 15:35
I'm planning on avoiding town as much as possible for financial reasons, I know it'll be tough but it's a much better option than mooching off other hikers or having to leave early...which I realize is what everyone says before they're actually cold and wet.

One thing I've discovered that can be a big help is that when I've told friends living near the trail about my plans and they've been amazingly gung-ho about being my own personal army of trail angels. I have a really close friend in DC who, as soon as she heard my thru-hike plans, offered to come pick me and my dog up so that we could rest for a few days and she and I could catch up. A family friend in north carolina offered to take us for the night and cook a hot dinner as well when we pass her by, and I even have a friend living near the entrance to baxter who has offered to let me stash my dog in her apartment and then come hike the last leg where he isn't allowed with me. I'm hoping that all these opportunities from amazing family and friends will make it easier to forego town stops.

Smoky Spoon
03-21-2016, 20:25
Wow what is it about this generation that seems so entitled to everything. Classist? Trust fund? How about a not so lazy, beer swigging, still living with my parents or in their basement and not contributing rent while still in my twenties and thirties bum.

I am taking my thru hike, sure I got it paid for but guess what? I would of taken it and paid for it anyway because I am retired...to be retired means to have worked for years paying into retirement beginning at 17....I served my country, paid my dues and collect my retirement. I also still work part time not because I have to but because I choose to....I like the mental stimulation. I have a savings, I have cars paid for, etc....I saw a financial planner and did all the right things one is supposed to do in order to retire which began with me working in the first place and not living in my parents home rent free.

Sorry but you are an adult when you turn 18, you get to vote, smoke, and serve your country....you also get to support yourself...that does not mean you take a hike for 2000 plus miles and bum the crap out of every else. It means if you want to make that hike then you work to save money, not one job, maybe not two but three....more than once I have worked several jobs at once...

A thru hike is a planned event.....it's not a huge surprise...it's here...you CHOOSE to hike it and you choose when....it's like Christmas....you know what day it comes on every year so to claim 'I just did not have money to buy the kids presents this year....it crept up on me..." is bull****.
My sister was so good at getting Jesus to buy her kids presents every year courtesy of the church I attended....while she chain smoked and drank beer by the cartons and cases....how the hell does Christmas creep up on anyone?

How does a thru hike creep up on you? You made the choice to hike it, part of being an adult is to make the choice to pay for it...the energy people place into go fund me pages and begging off others they would have already saved the money needed and not infringed upon others....
Okay rant is over....see why I dislike people so much? Not everyone, just 90% of most.....




I think this thread is a bit classist. For those frat boys and girls that ended up spending all of their money on booze or whatever, yeah shame on them. But not everyone is a trust fund baby or has parents that are willing to fund their ventures. I've been out of the house since I was 16 and worked almost everyday since then to get by. I've scrounged and scrimped and saved and got a little lucky with one very special royalties program and here I am going to attempt a hike in April.

I think instead of looking down on those that are not as fortunate with their money for the trail, people should be a bit more compassionate. I'm not advocating giving them a bunch of your money either, but some of us don't start off at the same level as ya'll and I think thats a very important thing to keep in mind.

Smoky Spoon
03-21-2016, 20:29
For the love of all that is holy, learn to spell and learn how to make a complete sentence. And if you seriously relied on dumpsters to fuel your hike then you shouldn't of been out there in the first place.



ha certin food stores dumpsters work fine to alot of places throw out at sell by dates not that it fully bad it workd for alot of us hikers

Mags
03-21-2016, 20:37
Zombie Thread! Folks..this thread is six years old. I sincerely doubt most (all?) people on this thread will reply. :)

34264

capehiker
03-21-2016, 21:47
For the love of all that is holy, learn to spell and learn how to make a complete sentence. And if you seriously relied on dumpsters to fuel your hike then you shouldn't of been out there in the first place.

Warren Doyle advocates doing dumpster diving.

I'm following a guy on YouTube who is older than most and he has mentioned in a few videos how unprepared and mooching some people are. As in, not someone who misjudged their fuel usage but someone who didn't even bother to bring fuel. Or a guidebook. Or trying to jump in on a hotel room without paying.

ALLEGHENY
03-21-2016, 21:59
An AYCE dinner, done properly. (loose clothing and pockets lined) can feed an underfunded hiker for nearly a week.

Read about this in 71 in a book I ahhhh I got in high my school days.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steal_This_Book:cool:

Sarcasm the elf
03-21-2016, 22:23
Zombie Thread! Folks..this thread is six years old. I sincerely doubt most (all?) people on this thread will reply. :)

34264

I'll admit that I get a little excited whenever I see some of the older members names pop up, then I see the posting dates and that puts and end to that. :(

Miel
03-21-2016, 22:25
For the love of all that is holy, learn to spell and learn how to make a complete sentence. And if you seriously relied on dumpsters to fuel your hike then you shouldn't of been out there in the first place.

He posted that six years ago. Maybe his grammar has become better since then. Or maybe he has a learning disability and one should be sympathetic.

If he's not mooching off others, there's nothing wrong with a little freeganism. Supermarkets discard far too much food that is still good after its sell-by date. He doesn't sound like an Elwood type of mooch (AWOL on the Appalachian Trail.) Hey, if d.o.c. can make a go of it that way, more power to him.

rocketsocks
03-21-2016, 23:40
He posted that six years ago. Maybe his grammar has become better since then. Or maybe he has a learning disability and one should be sympathetic.

If he's not mooching off others, there's nothing wrong with a little freeganism. Supermarkets discard far too much food that is still good after its sell-by date. He doesn't sound like an Elwood type of mooch (AWOL on the Appalachian Trail.) Hey, if d.o.c. can make a go of it that way, more power to him....or maybe he dosen't have an editor.

Smoky Spoon
03-22-2016, 18:26
Oh you are jealous? Okay which one was was it? Wait, don't tell me, i figured it out.....lol, you really are a rocket without socks......roflmao




...or maybe he dosen't have an editor.

Miel
03-22-2016, 23:44
Oh you are jealous? Okay which one was was it? Wait, don't tell me, i figured it out.....lol, you really are a rocket without socks......roflmao

Why are you such kvetch? (Your closed thread proves this - you threatened and harangued people in there because things don't sometimes go your way in this site. You insult a man who clearly has a learning disability.) Are all hunters, I mean murderers, like you? I surely hope not (Hunting is nothing to brag about BTW.) Why do harass people here? And is that any way to sell book you claim to be publishing?

Live and let live.

Mags
03-22-2016, 23:56
No reason to keep open a six year old thread at this point...


http://rlv.zcache.com/save_a_brain_kill_a_zombie_poster-r7f57c2794f964b73809fe751290ae0d9_wve_8byvr_324.jp g