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Maddoxsjohnston
12-10-2011, 17:19
If you are a member of this forum, or are at least vaguely similar to me, you have an ever-present love of the AT through the good and the bad. But we all have a time when our affection was the hardest to constantly maintain.:D

My memory was during a winter hike in 2005 or '6 (can't remember) in the Smokies. It was balls cold in the teens, and early in the morning. I woke up thirsty and to my great dismay realized my water bottle was bone dry. I quickly slipped on some damp clothes (slushy from snow the day before) and took off sleepily down the side trail to the spring. This particular source was a huge slippery rock with a little reservoir in the middle from a waterfall above it. My sleep-ridden brain did not even consider the fact that the rock was slippery, so before I knew it I was sliding on my stomach down the rock, quite similar to a human bobsled. I eventually stopped, but my water bottle and pride was long-gone down the cliff.

The following day was very cold and achy from soaking wet clothes as well as physical and emotional bruises.

My Question is: What was your worst AT memory? :-?

Cookerhiker
12-10-2011, 17:35
In '04, my friend Northern Harrier was thruhiking. I had joined him from Springer to Wallace Gap at his start and planned to rejoin him in NJ. So mid-June, I met him at Rutherford Shelter with the plan to accompany him to Pawling. But the weather was horrible - near 100 degree temps and extremely humid. Spent 2 nights sweating on top of my sleeping bag in the tent (because of the mosquitos which were at their zenith). On the 4th day, the heavy thunderstorm crashed upon us; the water in my boots exacerbated my new blisters making walking very painful. I decided I wasn't having fun and bailed out at Greenwood Lake.

Returned in late August & September to finish NJ and NY to the Hudson under much more pleasant conditions.

Mags
12-10-2011, 17:41
The day after I finished. Found that while I was gone the parents started divorce proceedings, the family house had been sold, had two weeks to find a place to live and move my belongings. The family dog was also put to sleep.

True story. :)

http://www.pmags.com/after-the-trail-%E2%80%93-post-trail-re-adjustment


Have to update it for 2011....

Jim Adams
12-10-2011, 17:52
Had to walk 12 miles into Hanover without whiskey...other than that it was pretty good on both thrus.:)

geek

bamboo bob
12-10-2011, 18:48
One day my fete hurt for a while and I spilled a bag of gorp but managed to pick most of it up.

Amanita
12-10-2011, 19:03
It was my third day out. The night before I wasn't very hungry, so I ate about a cup of oatmeal for dinner. I hadn't had lunch the day before either.

So I woke up at dawn, still not hungry, packed up and headed out. About an hour in I started to feel a little light headed. Around 11 I reached the lake where I had thought I'd want lunch, but I still wasn't hungry so I kept walking. At this point I was kind of dizzy and freezing cold (even though it was warm out) so I stopped and put on more layers. At 12:30 I just felt like I couldn't take a step further. I sat down in the middle of the trail for about 5 minutes. Then I scooched over to the side and laid down on the ground. It took me 15 minutes to realize I probably ought to eat something. After cramming down some kit kats with peanut butter I felt well enough to keep hiking.

Now I MAKE myself eat every 2-3 hours. Even in the middle of a hard climb, or when I don't feel like stopping, If it's been 3 hours I just sit down wherever I happen to be and cram down a candy bar. Because I never want to feel like I did that day ever again.

joshuasdad
12-10-2011, 19:10
The drive home every hiking weekend.

johnnybgood
12-10-2011, 19:12
It's a toss up ; I had symptoms of heat exhaustion this past Labor Day and suffered from a kidney stone attack another time.

ChinMusic
12-10-2011, 19:23
I tripped over some sunflower seeds some Tool had spit on the ground.

Scorpion
12-10-2011, 19:23
Fording the Big Wilson in the hundred mile wilderness I fell in and lost my wallet from my back pocket. I had a total of 39 cents to finish my thru. No cash, credit cards or ID. I went on and everything worked out. One problem I had though was getting home. Without an ID I couldn't fly or take the train. I took a Greyhound Bus for about 30 hours. In the end it just made for one more good story about my thru. This was in 04, and I met Northern Harrier mentioned above when in PA.

Scorpion

Kerosene
12-10-2011, 19:56
1) Early stages of hypothermia while ascending Mt. Everett from the north in April 1975. We encountered a light rain near Jug End, which got colder as we ascended before turning to a sleet/rain mix. There used to be a shelter just north of the summit, but it was so foggy that we passed by it as we were whipped. The trail turned to a sheet of ice which we overcame with difficulty, only to find that we had to turn around. We were very, very wet and tired for a few hours until we finally boiled up some soup (we didn't know about hypothermia).

2) After the first night of a short weekend trip in northern Jersey in the summer of '78 we learned that a spring was dry. We kept walking on a humid, sunny day and ran out of water about 5 miles short of NY-17A. I still tend to carry more water than I really need, as I never want to be in that position again.

gumball
12-10-2011, 20:09
Got separated from a fellow hiker, who never showed at the designated camp site area. Winds were keeping the already cold air very, very cold. Stayed up all night waiting for him with my husband or another person I was pretty sure might not be completely sane. Thought she'd either pushed him off one of the cliffs or he'd slipped. Found him (eventually) the next day. Not a good trip--except, I hope we learned to be better prepared.

WingedMonkey
12-10-2011, 20:10
The thing is ...when I think of what should be my most miserable experiences...lighting and hail on a ridge I couldn't get down from.... ten days and nights of rain in Virginia.....record breaking heat in Pennsylvania.....washed out bridges with streams to ford.... wind throwing me off the rocks on Franconia Ridge......a frozen rolled up tent I couldn't set up in the Whites, with a wake up in the morning to frozen boots and water bottles......
None of them at the time seemed to be that major, maybe even worth a good chuckle... and now they are memories I will never forget.

Just a Hiker
12-10-2011, 20:19
14586My AT "Mishap" came in 2006. I fell in the Mahoosuc Notch and busted up my leg pretty good! I was SOBO, so I ended up hiking to Gorham, NH before I could get help. By the time I got to the Doctor in Berlin, NH, the leg was infected and looked pretty bad. They cleaned the wounds, took x-rays, and then a nurse came in with a Tetanus shot which hurt worse than my leg injury. I spent 5 days at a friend's house in Bethel, ME cleaning the wounds and trying to learn how to walk again from that damned Tetanus shot. I finally bought a soccer shin guard and headed back out, and wore that thing all the way to Delaware Water Gap. I did learn a valuable lesson from this however.....Always remember when you got your last Tetanus shot! :)

Lone Wolf
12-10-2011, 21:15
1987 when wingfoot went commercial and did his "anniversary" hike. i walked into damascus a week before the 1st trail days and saw a huge banner announcing his arrival sponsored by Thorlo sucks and a few other gear companies. knew then the trail was doomed

Lone Wolf
12-10-2011, 21:16
1987 when wingfoot went commercial and did his "anniversary" hike. i walked into damascus a week before the 1st trail days and saw a huge banner announcing his arrival sponsored by Thorlo sucks and a few other gear companies. knew then the trail was doomedi meant socks

Heald
12-10-2011, 21:29
Hiking thru the Smokies in mid January of 1996 with a -56 windchill, after a blizzard. Staying alone in a shelter with W. Lenard is a close second.

atmilkman
12-10-2011, 21:34
I tripped over some sunflower seeds some Tool had spit on the ground.
Yer crazy! (lol)

Blissful
12-11-2011, 00:06
The day after I finished. Found that while I was gone the parents started divorce proceedings, the family house had been sold, had two weeks to find a place to live and move my belongings. The family dog was also put to sleep.

True story. :)



Wow. Tough stuff.
I might have returned to the trail...

Tinker
12-11-2011, 02:11
i meant socks

You were right the first time. :D

Btw: Thanks to you and other hikers I decided to try some Darn Tough socks on my last little trip. They seem to be a bit tougher than Smartwools.

Thorlos, though - they're not so good on moisture management but they'll just about last forever. I still have a pair I wear for yardwork. They must be 12 years old and have 1,000 mi. on them.

Mags
12-11-2011, 03:13
Wow. Tough stuff.
I might have returned to the trail...

Well, I did move 2000 miles away, did the PCT, CDT, CT, LT (again) and the BMT. Took up backcountry skiing, climbing, explored Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

If it wasn't for the AT and my life being completely different from what happened just after the AT, I would not be where I was today.

I just came back from a a full moon snow hike in Rocky Mtn NP.

All in all, I'd say my life is much better because of what happened 13 yrs ago. :)

English Stu
12-11-2011, 08:13
On my own in Tray Mtn shelter, after being in heavy rain for a few hours I was pleased to see the shelter, the water was a long way down in the rain and failing light, got even wetter hanging the food. Had to sleep side on in the shelter as the rain was blowing about half way in. Slept well.

moytoy
12-11-2011, 08:55
I was 13 and we had camped at Spense Field then came down the side of the mountain to the head of Eagle Creek and camped to fish for native trout. The fishing was going good and we had several "Specks" to fry. I was frying up some bacon over an open fire and managed to spill bacon grease on my knee. It was probably a third degree burn because I still have a 2 inch scar on my knee but all I knew at the time was that it hurt. Maybe not really an AT story but we had crossed the AT and were still near it.

Echraide
12-11-2011, 12:11
Having to drink pond water that looked like urine.

Getting back to the shelter after getting water only to see a bear run off with my brand. new. sleeping bag in his mouth.

DLANOIE
12-11-2011, 12:43
A bad day on the trail is still better than your best day at work.

Kookork
12-11-2011, 13:36
A bad day on the trail is still better than your best day at work.

Change your job,Seriously. I am tired of reading this sentence.

The bad day on the trail is NOT better than the best day at work. It is a sentence that people repeat without genuinely thinking about it.


Or there is a possibility that bad day of yours have not been that bad anyway.

Bati
12-11-2011, 14:24
If you believe that phase about a bad day on the trail, then you've never had a bad day on the trail.

Granted some jobs are worse than others, but if step back and look at from almost any perspective, this simply isn't true- a bad day is a bad day regardless of where it occurs.

Count it in how much damage you've done to your body, how many people are dead, what triggers the memories of the event years later, and how hard you had to push yourself to stay alive or how lucky you were.

On my worst day at work, after being barricaded in a hotel for several hours I only had to run a short distance through a riot, less than half a mile, while carrying my luggage and wearing a suit. And make a long scary ride to the airport with my companions. In the end, nationwide, there were about 50 deaths. Within 12 hours, my life was pretty much back to normal.

On my worst day on the trail, I was pushed to the limit of my endurance, lucky to be somewhere near a shelter with a great partner and reasonably equipped, and the death toll nationwide was about 6 times that of the riots. And the effects of the storm were still affecting me 12 days later.

A bad day is a bad day, regardless of where it is. And given my experiences, If I had to repeat one, I'd take my chances figuring I wouldn't be one of the ones who got shot versus the surety of facing the brutality of a very angry mother nature.

Sir-Packs-Alot
12-11-2011, 16:54
:( Even one's worst days on the AT still seem better than many of our better days in the so called "real world". With that said - I live in Atlanta and live / eat / breathe mostly this section of the trail in Georgia. When it was official that local college student / hiker Meredith Emerson had been kidnapped from the Byron Herbert Reese parking lot (after an AT / Byron Reese Trail day hike) and subsequently tortured, and murdered (by Gary Michael Hilton in 2008) and buried in the North GA mountains - it was indeed (and hopefully will not be eclipsed by another event like this) my "Worst AT Memory". Rest in Peace.

Cookerhiker
12-11-2011, 17:34
:( Even one's worst days on the AT still seem better than many of our better days in the so called "real world". With that said - I live in Atlanta and live / eat / breathe mostly this section of the trail in Georgia. When it was official that local college student / hiker Meredith Emerson had been kidnapped from the Byron Herbert Reese parking lot (after an AT / Byron Reese Trail day hike) and subsequently tortured, and murdered (by Gary Michael Hilton in 2008) and buried in the North GA mountains - it was indeed (and hopefully will not be eclipsed by another event like this) my "Worst AT Memory". Rest in Peace.

That certainly puts everything into perspective.

Kerosene
12-11-2011, 18:30
A bad day on the trail is still better than your best day at work.I agree; I hate this over-used saying. Right up there with "It is what it is" and "It weighs next-to-nothing"!

Mike2012
12-11-2011, 18:31
My best days at work were on the trail.

Different Socks
12-11-2011, 20:55
The day after I finished. Found that while I was gone the parents started divorce proceedings, the family house had been sold, had two weeks to find a place to live and move my belongings. The family dog was also put to sleep.

True story. :)

http://www.pmags.com/after-the-trail--post-trail-re-adjustment (http://www.pmags.com/after-the-trail-%E2%80%93-post-trail-re-adjustment)


Have to update it for 2011....


That's pretty tough! But maybe they kept it from you so you would enjoy the hike more.

TJ aka Teej
12-11-2011, 21:57
After hiking from Baxter to Hanover I was expecting my girlfriend to meet me for my ride home. Instead I spotted my dad's pickup when I hiked into town. I would never see her again. At least he brought my dog. But what made it my 'worse day'? Dad said I should just keep hiking, and I said no....

Old Hiker
12-12-2011, 08:11
Having to drink pond water that looked like urine.

Getting back to the shelter after getting water only to see a bear run off with my brand. new. sleeping bag in his mouth.

So do you still hide your GORP from other hikers in your sleeping bag? :rolleyes:

Usually my worst memory is seeing the end of the section hike coming up and knowing I gotta go home for another year.

atmilkman
12-12-2011, 08:24
After hiking from Baxter to Hanover I was expecting my girlfriend to meet me for my ride home. Instead I spotted my dad's pickup when I hiked into town. I would never see her again. At least he brought my dog. But what made it my 'worse day'? Dad said I should just keep hiking, and I said no....
That sucks. No. That really sucks. I feel for ya man. You shoulda just kept hiking.