View Full Version : Why did you Thru Hike the AT?

11-27-2009, 19:29
I guess I have always been fascinated by human nature and why we do the things we do. I saw on the NGC special that the AT "thru hike" is the closest thing we have to a "pilgrimage" here in the US. For the folks who have "thru hiked the whole trail I have a simple question: What motivates a person to walk for six months and over 2000 miles in the woods? What was your "pilgrimage"? What did you discover?:sun

11-27-2009, 19:40
It was the one of the easiest ways I could see to escape from this horrifying society for a few months.

Pacific Tortuga
11-27-2009, 19:46
Adventure, challenge, to prove something to me after quad by-pass, if that Bryson guy could, I sure could, east and southern history, new sights,sounds and view's. Love of hiking,wilderness walking into a new town and feel its energy, new critters and faith that the AT was right for me.
Didn't go all the way but I was going to try, and in the end like the 2007 Trail Days theem, it was about the people I met and stay in contact with.
Still the best thing I have ever done ................ to date.

11-27-2009, 20:19
That's not a simple question.

I like to hike. I learned of the AT at an early age. By the time I was in high school, I made it one of my goals in life to hike the entire trail. I thruhiked when I did because I realized I had no obiligations or other commitments keeping me from achieving that goal. Many of my friends have married and/or started raising children. I knew I wouldn't easily be able to thruhike when I have these respnsibilities. I also to hike it while I am still relatively young and healthy.

I discovered a life filled with amazing people, few worries, and the most basic needs. Thruhiking allowed me to simplify my lifestyle in ways I can't imagine doing any other way. I appreciate the things I have my life more now, and am constantly looking for ways to discard the "extra weight" that I still have.

11-27-2009, 20:57
Thanks for the replies so far. I hoped I would not get a " If you don't know don't go ". I know it is not an easy question and the answer may be too personal for many. BTW the reason I hike is to meet people, real people, and because I never feel closer to my maker than when I am in his true house. So now you know something personal to me.

11-27-2009, 21:16
It helps to have a clear sense of what one hopes to accomplish and why, but what may do more to promote progress toward the other terminous are daily or short-term goals, an established routine, momentum, determination and pride among other things.

11-28-2009, 10:31
For myself my reason was for the chalange to see if I could do it at 66 years old. I did.:sun

11-28-2009, 11:01
Oh crap, I got on the wrong trail. I thought I was doing a day hike. 6 months and 2 days later I came to Mt K. Boy was I surprised.:eek:

11-28-2009, 12:00
It's another layer of the (endurance) sub-culture that intrigued me most. I've done ultra-marathons, bicycled solo across the country, and thru-hiked. Each experience unique. The AT was by far the most challenging. Maybe it's the endorphins?

11-28-2009, 13:20
Written for my PCT journal:

So the question is, as it was four years ago, why go?

Why give up half a year’s salary to get sunburned, become thirsty, get rained and snowed on?

Why walk day after day with chafing and sore muscles?

Why be hungry all the time, only to have yet another mass of a soggy noodle dish for dinner?

Because the body heals. The pain is forgotten. The stomach eventually has its fill of food.

But the memories linger on:

A sunset at Greenleaf Hut at the base of Franconia Ridge.

A quiet campsite at the shores of a lake in Maine.

Seeing ponies graze in the Grayson Highlands after a snowstorm.

I am going for the new memories I want to create. The new experiences I have yet to have.

Four years ago, at about this time, I wrote an answer to the question of “Why go?”

Four years later, the trail may be different, but the sentiments still hold true:

“The most asked question about my hike is a simple “WHY GO?” I have several reasons, but I think the best answer is for the journey itself – all the pains and joys, all the experiences that comes with a 2160 mile walk in the woods”.

Chaco Taco
11-28-2009, 21:36
The question is, why not?? It isnt a pilgimage. It a journey. I learned alot about myself and I guess, I was at the point in my life, I needed a challenge. I have deeper thoughts about what the AT has done for me, but I would say that, it is a chance for you to really challenge yourself day in and day out! It brought me to my fiance. It brought me closer to hiking and mother nature. I have found a way to decompress. Now that i live so close to so many trails, I can recapture that essence I found on my thruhike. Best thing I ever did!!!!

11-28-2009, 23:36
I haven't done it yet...I'm planning to start my thru hike in March 2011. I have a few reasons for my thru hike. The biggest is to see if I can do it. I've always had a hard time finishing things that I start. I figure if I can push myself through a thru hike I can finish anything. Other than hiking, one of my hobbies is photography...and that's another reason for me to thru hike...to photograph as much of the trail as I can. And finally...for Dad. Some people may tell me to hike my own hike and not my dad's hike. That may work for them, but my dad is such a big part of my hike that it's impossible for me to separate the two. My dad wanted to do a thru hike, but never got the chance (or took it). My goal is to use my photography, letters, and trail journal to let my dad hike the trail through me. :) He is and will be such a huge part of my support team that it's impossible for him to not be a reason why I plan to do this thru hike. :)

11-29-2009, 00:12
Good for you and your father too. The two of you together have as good a shot at it as anyone.

11-29-2009, 00:15
You'll have your reasons why. And then you'll go and many of those reasons will have been in error because the reality is likely to be different than what you expect. Then you'll come home and maybe you'll find that what you learned and the new outlook you have on life is different from anything you thought it would be.

At least that's how it was for me.

11-29-2009, 00:33
I am planning my thru next year to meet awsome people, see beautiful sites, just to see if I can do it, and to get away from my dead end job and hopefully start a new career that I love once I return...