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View Full Version : I was from Venus, they were from Mars



Tenderheart
06-18-2011, 14:48
I just returned from 16 days on the AT. I have debated whether to post my observations, but here goes. As always, I met a bunch of very nice people. But it soon occurred to me that I was very different. In the first place, I was the only one who did not have at least one cell phone. Everyone was complaining about their pack weight. Young, small women were carrying 45 pounds. Backpacks were huge and full. Guys had 3 and 4 flashlights, two sleep pads, huge knives, leatherman tools so big they wouldn't fit in a pocket, 3 or 4 different trail guides. One guy had a stove and cannister that must have weighed 6 pounds and was so big that it would not have fit in my empty backpack. I do not carry a stove so everyone was always trying to get me to use their stoves, their fuel, their pots, and eat their food. Meal time was a real chore trying to decline all these offers. And most of these people were thru hikers. I felt very out of place. I am not one to offer unsolicited advice and no one would have listened to me any way. We were from different planets. They treated me lilke a homeless person on the city streets. I know that the experience of my thru hike has taught me to subside on very few items, but it ain't rocket science. I can't be the only one who sees this. My trip went very well except for some issues that required me to cut it short, but I came home very confused. Thanks for letting me vent.

litefoot 2000

WingedMonkey
06-18-2011, 15:02
Where was this?

4shot
06-18-2011, 15:03
Everyone was complaining about their pack weight. Young, small women were carrying 45 pounds. Backpacks were huge and full.

litefoot 2000

Just curious, where were you? I really don't recall much discussion about packweight* or gear after the first 500 miles or so as those topics had pretty much had been beaten to death by then and most had sort figured out their system.

* = disclaimer: i might add to be completely honest that grumbling about weight on the first day's hike out of town was always normal and tolerated, even if the last town was Millinocket.;)

Blissful
06-18-2011, 15:20
The majority out on the trail are not here on WB soaking up other people's advice etc but read it somewhere and say Hey, I wanna do that, and then go with all their car camping gear or stuff they learned on BSA (at least BSA is getting better about going more UL in its gear choices then say, five years ago). They will learn soon. Or drop out. We hike with two guys SOBO that had everything under the sun.We talked to them. They did mail gear home.
Anyway, I'm sure they looked at you as if you were crazy not even heating a nice meal at night. And it was nice of them to offer their food to you. I mean if all the offers were getting to you, one doesn't have to stay in the shelter area. That might have been a better option for you to really get away from it all, including those irritating humans - maybe next time. :)
I don't go stoveless, cellphoneless or guideless/mapless myself, I must admit.

10-K
06-18-2011, 15:27
Another good reason to hike fast and hike alone. :)

Blissful
06-18-2011, 15:37
Another good reason to hike fast and hike alone. :)


Rather camp alone - looks like it.

hikerboy57
06-18-2011, 15:42
sometimes the shelters are cool, others i dont want to be bothered. HYOH goes both ways, and if I find people getting on my nerves, I just set up the tent.

waywardfool
06-18-2011, 16:28
I thought it was funny last weekend....saw lots of folks with small light packs...and half their stuff strapped on the outside...tent, sleeping bag, etc. They'd buy a small ultralight pack, but still try to carry anything and everything.

There was one guy with a golite pack...and had about 8 fullsize carabiners hanging from everywhere he could clip one.

LIhikers
06-18-2011, 16:58
Remember, life is a learning experience. When it comes to backpacking you may be farther along the learning curve than they are. And don't worry about being different, that's not a bad thing. Just find ways for you to enjoy your life and let them do the same. If they stick with backpacking I bet they'll learn the leasons that you already have.

kanga
06-18-2011, 19:10
glad you can vent. it does help sometimes. that being said, maybe that's what makes them comfortable. it may not even be that they are "behind" the learning curve so to speak. it might be that they've tried it another way and they just LIKE it that way. just let them be and keep walking on if they bother you. however, i agree with you. weird to me too that people have to have phones and carry 45 lb packs. but hey, as long as i don't have to listen to them having phone conversations, i just ignore it.

mudhead
06-18-2011, 19:25
I just wish people would talk about something worth eavesdropping on.

Yo litefoot- How's the puffy feet? Did the doc call you a bonehead?

Tinker
06-18-2011, 23:32
I thought it was funny last weekend....saw lots of folks with small light packs...and half their stuff strapped on the outside...tent, sleeping bag, etc. They'd buy a small ultralight pack, but still try to carry anything and everything.

There was one guy with a golite pack...and had about 8 fullsize carabiners hanging from everywhere he could clip one.

It seems to be very tempting to take 50 lbs of "ultralight" gear on the trail :rolleyes:.
We all have different priorities, and walking lighter is more important to me than camping luxuries, and people don't necessarily overhaul their packing practices because they're on a long hike or thruhike. Often, but not always.
At least they were nice enough to offer some of their bounty to the O.P. :)
Lastly, it's ok to vent. ;)

hikerboy57
06-19-2011, 10:51
"It seems to be very tempting to take 50 lbs of "ultralight" gear on the trail "
Absolutely the quote of the month!

randyg45
06-19-2011, 10:56
Meal time was a real chore trying to decline all these offers.

litefoot 2000

Yeah, it's really tough when people try to be nice.

tiptoe
06-19-2011, 11:14
Lightfoot, I just finished a section hike from Harpers Ferry to Rockfish Gap. Too bad you didn't meet me. I don't even own a cell phone, and my observations of my fellow hikers are a lot different from yours. Hikers I met (mostly thrus) generally went about their usual business: setting up tents, cooking meals, talking about gear, animals, and food, food, food. Those with cell phones used them discreetly or not at all. There was quite a lot of beer being carried, probably because it was readily available in the park and cheap.

kayak karl
06-19-2011, 11:18
to me its like Kanga said. this is how they like it. come down off your hiker pedestal and relate to people for who they are, not whats on there back. how this could bother you to the point of venting is funny.:D

Slo-go'en
06-19-2011, 15:04
Well, Lightfoot still hasn't said where and when he meet these hikers with the odd assortment of gear. But from another thread, I infer it was in the spring and near Springer. That is certianly the place and time of year one would meet the clueless wantabe thru-hiker. They either quickly learn what they really need to carry or they soon go home. Like the guy with the cello and amp. I don't think he ever made it out of Georgia.

Tenderheart
06-19-2011, 16:08
to me its like Kanga said. this is how they like it. come down off your hiker pedestal and relate to people for who they are, not whats on there back. how this could bother you to the point of venting is funny.:D

As usual, you totally missed the point.

PennyPincher
06-19-2011, 18:15
HA HA sounds like me my first trip. I was all of 105lbs soaking wet and carrying a 65lb pack wearing my construction boots! Despite the pain and suffering I loved it and have continued (obviously) and carry a MUCH lighter pack now. We all start somewhere!

Tinker
06-19-2011, 20:53
You do need God because He is hope and love. Please reconsider your perspective.
I must have missed something. :-?

LDog
06-19-2011, 21:47
to me its like Kanga said. this is how they like it. come down off your hiker pedestal and relate to people for who they are, not whats on there back. how this could bother you to the point of venting is funny.


As usual, you totally missed the point.

I thought he nailed it right on the head ...

sbhikes
06-20-2011, 22:56
That's exactly how I felt hiking on the JMT last year. People had such enormous loads and were struggling so hard under them. They'd make all kinds of comments to me even though I was totally minding my own business and not even saying or doing anything. It was really annoying. I felt like I was on a totally different planet.

kayak karl
06-20-2011, 23:19
I thought he nailed it right on the head ...
LOL Thank You, it funny how these idiots criticize people about HOW they are hiking and not just supporting the fact they ARE hiking.
Why can't we be friends?
Sometimes I don't speak too bright
but yet I know what I'm talking about

DapperD
06-20-2011, 23:23
Remember, life is a learning experience. When it comes to backpacking you may be farther along the learning curve than they are. And don't worry about being different, that's not a bad thing. Just find ways for you to enjoy your life and let them do the same. If they stick with backpacking I bet they'll learn the leasons that you already have.Good post. One can give help/advice to others if needed/asked but other than that those that are out there doing their own thing aren't hurting anybody, so if they are having fun and enjoying themselves then so be it.

DapperD
06-20-2011, 23:34
Remember, life is a learning experience. When it comes to backpacking you may be farther along the learning curve than they are. And don't worry about being different, that's not a bad thing. Just find ways for you to enjoy your life and let them do the same. If they stick with backpacking I bet they'll learn the leasons that you already have.


Good post. One can give help/advice to others if needed/asked but other than that those that are out there doing their own thing aren't hurting anybody, so if they are having fun and enjoying themselves then so be it.And you never know when one of those cell phones someone brought, or some other piece of gear that you may find yourself in need of and unfortunately elected to leave at home may come in very handy:-?

Monkeyboy
06-22-2011, 10:36
Exactly, DapperD.

I get amused at thru-hikers sometimes. They feel entitled to the shelters just because they are thru-hikers, but don't want to carry a tent.

Have actually had a thru-hiker tell me I had to get out of a shelter, because she didn't carry a tent to cut down on weight.

After I told her that it sucks to be her, she got huffy and hiked on to the next shelter.......

Don't get upset when you are the one that isn't prepared.

Roots
06-22-2011, 10:47
I saw MANY hikers hiking out of Damascus after trail days with huge packs. Some of the packs looked bigger than the girls carrying them. I would never want to endure that, BUT obviously they had been carrying the load for almost 500 miles by that point so kudos to them. I have been surprised many times with what others will carry, but then I have to give them props for doing so. For myself....the lighter the better but I definitely still carry my own comforts. :)

Monkeyboy
06-22-2011, 11:02
I just make Monk carry it for me........

Tom Murphy
06-22-2011, 12:19
If they are complaining about their pack weight,than I totally understand how it would annoy you.

However, I am always amazed at how many UL hikers don't seem to appreciate that the fact that many backpackers hike in order to camp more [as opposed to camping in order to hike more].

I have tried using just a CCF pad. No thanks, I will bring the heavier inflatible pad with the extra cushioning.

I have tried using just alcohol stoves, wood stoves, cold food. No thanks, I love firing up the SVEA.

I do not need or want to hike far and fast. I am comfortable with my pack weight.

Please stop judging me :p

skylar24
06-22-2011, 12:41
i love your quote tinker

sbhikes
06-22-2011, 12:53
But we aren't judging. At least I wasn't judging anyone.

For example, I was just sitting there admiring the view drinking some lemonade and a couple of ladies rest-stepping with giant packs stopped to offer me unsolicited excuses why they were carrying so much stuff.

On the same trip, I was just hiking along enjoying a lovely morning of flat trail. I came to a creek and just walked across it. It was Bear Creek, one of the ones that are really super scary at some times of the year but it was just knee deep for me and easy. On the other side, I just continued hiking enjoying the morning. Some guys sitting next to the creek called out to me, "Hey, that didn't slow you down one bit!" So I came over to talk to them and they started commenting about my gear and how they had heavy gear because [insert whatever reasons here.] I never said anything to them about gear. I didn't even notice their gear or care.

It was like that for the entire trip, so after a while, I decided to start messing with people. I'd see some big strong dude laboring up some giant hill and I'd reel him in. When I got close, I'd hold my breath so I wasn't breathing too hard and say a cheery hello as I went by as fast and effortlessly-looking as I could muster. You should have seen how shocked some of these mountain men were at that.

But still, I never once gave anyone unsolicited comments about their gear. If they asked me about my gear and were truly interested in ultralight gear, I'd tell them about my gear and my footwear (chacos) and my clothing choices (skirt) or whatever they asked about. In my opinion, gear was a conversation I wasn't interested in having. I really wanted to hear some tales of people's JMT thru-hikes. The only thing anybody ever said was that they were going slow to savor the experience, but I couldn't get much more out of people than that. And I found it hard to believe they were savoring much of anything since most of them were looking down at their feet trudging while I was looking all around me and stopping every now and then to just look at the view, but who knows, maybe they were having a more fulfilling experience than me.

When I was hiking the PCT with the thru-hikers, tales of the experience and talk about food was all we ever did. I truly felt like I was on another planet on the JMT.

sherrill
06-22-2011, 12:55
So, good thing you didn't meet Minnie Smith on this trip. I don't think you'd recover.

10-K
06-22-2011, 13:02
I do not need or want to hike far and fast. I am comfortable with my pack weight.

Please stop judging me :p

It's a common refrain. Anytime someone posts about hiking fast there is a group of people who swoop in and basically start judging because some folks like to hike more than 10-15 miles a day and even though we insist that we see the same trail everyone else does somehow we're missing everything.

I have yet to understand how short hiking days, frequent breaks and long lunches translates into a better experience.

p.s. pretty cool how I snuck this in, huh? :)

Tom Murphy
06-22-2011, 13:39
It's a common refrain. Anytime someone posts about hiking fast there is a group of people who swoop in and basically start judging because some folks like to hike more than 10-15 miles a day and even though we insist that we see the same trail everyone else does somehow we're missing everything.

I have yet to understand how short hiking days, frequent breaks and long lunches translates into a better experience.

p.s. pretty cool how I snuck this in, huh? :)

Hi 10-K,

I don't see where I was judging the UL hiking style. I have gained a lot of insight into what I bring and why. And I have adopted many UL/LW ideas.

I was noting how you see more UL posters venting about pack mules than pack mules venting about UL hikers.

I hope we can agree on a few items:

- short hiking days, frequent breaks and long lunches translate into a better experience for me

- long hiking days, infrequent breaks and quick lunches translate into a better experience for you

- if you are complaining about your pack weight, then you need to look at how much you are carrying and what your goals are

- if you are complaining about how much others are carrying [or not carrying] then you might be a bit judgmental and might want to just HYOH

Seriously, the OP is venting that other people were being nice and offering him food and the use of their gear [oh the horror]. Determining tone and intent on internet boards is tricky, but it almost seemed to me the OP was offended that they were going to taint his purer hike.

Tom Murphy
06-22-2011, 13:42
But we aren't judging. At least I wasn't judging anyone.....

.....And I found it hard to believe they were savoring much of anything since most of them were looking down at their feet trudging while I was looking all around me and stopping every now and then to just look at the view, but who knows, maybe they were having a more fulfilling experience than me.....



hahaha, love this, just made my day

10-K
06-22-2011, 14:05
Hi 10-K,

I don't see where I was judging the UL hiking style. I have gained a lot of insight into what I bring and why. And I have adopted many UL/LW ideas.

I was noting how you see more UL posters venting about pack mules than pack mules venting about UL hikers.

I hope we can agree on a few items:

- short hiking days, frequent breaks and long lunches translate into a better experience for me

- long hiking days, infrequent breaks and quick lunches translate into a better experience for you

- if you are complaining about your pack weight, then you need to look at how much you are carrying and what your goals are

- if you are complaining about how much others are carrying [or not carrying] then you might be a bit judgmental and might want to just HYOH

Seriously, the OP is venting that other people were being nice and offering him food and the use of their gear [oh the horror]. Determining tone and intent on internet boards is tricky, but it almost seemed to me the OP was offended that they were going to taint his purer hike.

I wasn't talking about you Tom....

Bearpaw
06-22-2011, 14:30
I make it a point not to talk about gear and just enjoy my walk.

Unless you're still sleeping on the ground...;)

virgil
06-22-2011, 16:38
It's kinda "live and let live" out there. I don't blame you for registering your complaints and observations (I mostly agree) but all you can do is go your own way. Sometimes the Shelters are more of a "free country" than you want to cope with. Hike on.

Monkeyboy
06-23-2011, 20:35
What is this "hiking" that you guys keep referring to???