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FoodFighter
12-28-2004, 21:23
I'm a high school girl and I've been planning to thru-hike in 2006, just after graduating, for years now. It's a huge dream of mine and my parents are starting to realize that I'm seriously going to do it and are a bit concerned, especially my dad. I've given up any hope of hiking solo and still having my college tuition paid for but my dad is even skeptical of me hiking with someone else. I've tried the whole "only seven people have been murdered in the last thirty years and i'm probably at more risk here" bit but I think he's still very hesitant to let his baby girl go. Are there any young women (or anyone really) who've thru-hiked and can give me advice?
-Foodfighter

"To live for some future goal is shallow. It is the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top." - Robert Pirsig

minnesotasmith
12-28-2004, 22:08
But I'd say the best single piece of advice anyone could give you about through-hiking would be to go over to www.trailjournals.com (http://www.trailjournals.com), and read as many journals of day-by-day experiences by AT through-hikers as you can find time for. I'd concentrate especially on those whose backgrounds and departure dates are closest to yours.

tlbj6142
12-28-2004, 22:18
You have plenty of time before your trip. Why not take your Dad hiking this spring/summer? I'd avoid Trail Days (too much "bad" on display), but otherwise a few days along the AT might do him and you some good.

I see you are from ME there has to be plenty of hiking in your own backyard. Maybe if you can show you can prepare, plan and execute (make meals, setup tent/tarp, deal with blisters, etc.) the trip (or trips) with your Dad/family it would go a long way to showing your are able to perform on the AT. Tell him the AT is nothing more than a series of 3-5 day trips.

If you have to, consider hiking after college (or during your summers off), as you will become more "mature" in your own and your father's eyes. And, if you go away to school, you would have shown a certain level of independance.

Good Luck.


PS As a father of 2 girls (and one boy), I know I'd have a tough time letting my girls go on the trip even though I've been on the trail and have "seen" there is little to worry about. That's today, but if my kids could show they are capable (in other of life's endevors) I might change my mind.

rickb
12-28-2004, 22:22
$25 would bring a monthly reminder into your house-- and a sticker for the back of the family car :-?

http://www.appalachiantrail.org/support/ctg/join.html

JillJones
12-28-2004, 22:37
There is a great deal of women here who've hiked the trail and can give you many tips... However, I would also point out a group of very serious women hikers over at YahooGroups. If you write, WomenHikers@yahoogroups.com they can help you out a great deal. There are a number of women there who've done and are doing the AT each year. Some as single hikers, but also in groups.
Good luck

hungryhowie
12-29-2004, 20:37
I'm a high school girl and I've been planning to thru-hike in 2006, just after graduating, for years now. It's a huge dream of mine and my parents are starting to realize that I'm seriously going to do it and are a bit concerned, especially my dad. I've given up any hope of hiking solo and still having my college tuition paid for but my dad is even skeptical of me hiking with someone else. I've tried the whole "only seven people have been murdered in the last thirty years and i'm probably at more risk here" bit but I think he's still very hesitant to let his baby girl go. Are there any young women (or anyone really) who've thru-hiked and can give me advice?
-Foodfighter

"To live for some future goal is shallow. It is the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top." - Robert Pirsig

You know how best to deal with your parents, but you have to prove to them you're ready. You must show them that you're mature and "grown-up" enough to do this. Show them that you can handle responsibility, plan your hike thoroughly, save up for and purchase your gear, and do everything needed to complete your goal. I was 16 when I began planning for my hike, and 17 when I started in Georgia. I'd never been on an overnighter before, but had proved to my parents that I could handle this through my stubborn determination. I began talking about it as something that would happen next year, not as something that might. I got a job, I resarched and purchased my gear, and, I think most importantly, I involved them in every step of planning along the way. I explained my considerations for choosing one piece of gear over another, I shared my delimma for choosing one town over another on my resupply strategy. I showed them in the Companion how frequently I'd be able to call home, and I showed them the tabulated data in the databook's and handbooks. They came around to supporting me in my endeavor, and my mother ended up having a wonderful time preparing my maildrops and always including a little something special.

Just don't give up. Never give up.

-howie

Pencil Pusher
12-29-2004, 20:45
Safety is in numbers so maybe you and your folks could find a hiking companion. Other than that, it seems most of these hikers are men who'd stumble over themselves to make way for a woman.

SGT Rock
12-29-2004, 20:46
As the father of a teenage daughter and a couple of boys, one also a teenager, I would be very worried about them. What would work best for me to gain confidence in them would be hiking with them and seeing that they know what they were doing. Try and get your dad to hike with you and show him you have the skills, knowledge and attitude to be safe and successful.

Askus3
12-29-2004, 22:09
I also see you are from Maine. I also read that you want to start after graduation. So that is June. Therefore, what direction are you planning on doing it? Maybe a flip-flop would be good. Start in NY (Bear Mt. Bridge or Delaware water Gap (or North Adams, MA if you want to start closer) and work your way closer to ME (and home). This way you can get thru the toughest terrain during the best weather. Maybe you can talk your folks into planning a summer vacation assisting you in car shuttling during several stretches of trail that you can go road to road. (I figured out a way of dayhiking the Maine AT as a series of day hikes except for two nights). So then they can help you two months into the trip with daily shuttling. Maybe spend a couple of nights in a hostel together and inviting them to meet your new found friends. They can even treat you out to a meal and if they are hikers, you can return the favor and cook a trail dinner. If they see you can do the AT from NY to ME then maybe they will get into it and take you to NY and you can go southbound to complete your dream.

Good Luck. I am rooting for you.

CanoeBlue
12-29-2004, 22:34
I am the father of a very competant daughter - now 27 - who has travelled the world, learned languages, found herself in situations that as a father it has been a blessing that I had no idea what she was experiencing while she was at it.

One of the hardest things that I have had to learn as a parent is that my "little girl" has developed in to a smart, strong young woman who can handle situations that would baffle me - and do it in a variety of languages while she is at it.

But I learned. It wasn't always easy, but I learned. I learned by watching her, by the listening to the experiences that she has shared with me, by gaining confidence that she doesn't take unneccessary risks, and by learning to trust her judgement. She is still my "little girl", but now I watch her embrace life with tremendous pride.

Give your parents time to learn. Provide them with as many opportunities as possible to understand that you are maturing, communicate with them, let them see that your judgement is sound and that you are up to the experience.

I hope that given time and opportunities to grow with you they can become your greatest cheering section for your thru-hike and for your life. :clap

UCONNMike
12-29-2004, 23:29
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=6457 Check out this post, it has good advice on how to make your parents get behind your trip, instead of standing in your way. My pop used to dread the idea of me hiking the AT, now he's excited and proud (he is even backing me up in from of his work buddies, taking bets on my success, he has about 200 riding on me)

A-Train
12-30-2004, 00:21
Even though I'm a guy I got a lot of resistance from my folks (mostly mom) because she was worried about my safety (I was 19 when I started). Eventually your folks will come around especially when it gets closer and they see how serious you are about it. Showing you have planned and organized and thought it out well can go a long way!

Since you're from Maine, I would plan on attending the 2005 ALDHA Gathering in Hanover NH. Take your folks with you. There you'll meet a bunch of folks planning to hike in 06' and you can all watch slideshows and go to presentations on the AT. Most likely there will be past thru-hikers (especially women) there to talk to you, both in a group setting and one-on-one.

The Trail community is a family and all the guys (and gals) which watch out for you and become your brothers.

Needles
12-30-2004, 01:02
When I attempted my thru-hike in 97 my parents were worried sick, no I wasn't their teenaged daughter but I was their 20 something son with type 1 diabetes and a few other health problems that don't always work well with hiking. As the time grew closer for me to leave and I realized that my mother was on the verge of a nervous breakdown I decided to come up with a way to ease their minds, at least a little.

The first thing I did was show them a road atlas that had the AT marked on it so they could see exactly how often I would be crossing roads, this made them realize that I wouldn't be as far out in the wilderness as they thought I might be. Then I had them read a few journals (that I carefully selected before hand and printed out for them) which let them know that even though I would be hiking solo I wouldn't be hiking alone by any stretch of the imagination. I then had my mother accompany me to a Sam's Club where I bought a phone card so she would have no doubt that I would be contacting them as often as possible, we then went through each piece of my gear so they could understand that I was well equipped. I also sat down with them and went through lots of photos of my past hiking trips and tried to make them understand that I wasn't leaving for a 6 month hike I was leaving for a series of 4 to 7 day trips which seemed to make them feel much better.

My last step is one that I feel did more than anything else to put their minds at ease, but I have to warn you that some people might disagree with this suggestion for a number of reasons that might not even relate to what we are discussing in this thread. What I did was get my parents on a speaker phone with someone who had done several thru-hikes himself, who had spoken with litteraly thousands of thru-hikers over the years, and who was exceptionally familiar with the trail, his name being Wingfoot. I called him up and started asking him all sorts of questions without letting him know that my parents were listening in, I tried asking all the questions I thought they would ask (probably made me sound really paranoid to him) and they could tell he was answering my questions they same way he would answer those questions if anyone asked them, in other words they knew it wasn't rehearsed.

After all of this my parents had good information to go on instead of relying on what they had assumed, plus they could see how much it meant to me to hike the trail. When they drove me down to Amicolola I can't say that they were worry free, but their desire for me to be able to do something that meant that much to them overcame their worries.

FoodFighter
12-30-2004, 18:34
so much for you advice! Just having such a kind response makes me that much more excited to plan and go on this journey!
-FoodFighter


I also see you are from Maine. I also read that you want to start after graduation. So that is June. Therefore, what direction are you planning on doing it? Maybe a flip-flop would be good. Start in NY (Bear Mt. Bridge or Delaware water Gap (or North Adams, MA if you want to start closer) and work your way closer to ME (and home). This way you can get thru the toughest terrain during the best weather.By the way, I did Maine and NH southbound in one shot so I'm pretty confident that I can do it again, despite so many hikers being beaten by these woods, so I'm planning on a sobo hike.

orangebug
12-30-2004, 21:21
You know that you don't _have_ to repeat the sections you have already done. You could get your folks to take you to the southern end of your last walk, and let one or both of them accompany you for a while. I suspect that you will hike circles around them, and they will be happy to get back home and let you continue your journey.

That would be a pretty nifty SOBO hike, enjoying the best of the weather in NE and parts south.

I have a bit of a different problem. My kids fear that their father will die on the trail. Hell, I know that it is one of the best places to find life!