View Full Version : Thru Hiker Count Down

B Thrash
05-17-2005, 20:53
Anyone have any input on why the thru hiker population has dropped in the last five years.? The following information was taken from the ATC website:
In CY2000 2900 northbound thru hikers started with 431 finishing, this was a 15% finish rate. In CY 2004 1535 thru hikers started with 369 finishing a 24% finish rate. In CY 2000 379 southbound thru hikers started with 70 finishing a 18% finish rate. In CY 2004 233 southbounders statred with 45 finishing a 19% rate. Have not seen the 2005 northbound starts yet, but if the trend continues it will be down this year.

05-17-2005, 21:30
I think 2000 was aberrantly due to the whole end of the milleneum thing. Everyone wanted to hike before the ATMs all shut down. I think another factor has been the aging of A Walk In The Woods. That book obviously introduced the AT to a segment of society that had never heard of it before. Some of those folks then went on to hike it. As each year passes since the book's original publishing, I think its popularity has less impact on thru-hiking numbers. I understand that they are contemplating turning it into a movie though. If they pull it off, I wouldn't be surprised if the numbers spiked again.

-- BookBurner

05-17-2005, 22:04
I was at Neels Gap, GA yesterday (5/16/05) and only 1017 thru-hikers had registered thus far, this year. If the "Walk in the Woods" movie occurs, the numbers will probably skyrocket and not in a good way (in my opinion).

Moon Monster
05-17-2005, 22:21
I agree with the millennial and Walk in the Woods factors. WITW had a 1998 publilcation date and the trade-paperback was out in 1999 according to amazon.com.

Probably the count in the last couple of years is more indicative of what would be normal for the rest of this decade absent any new big publicity like the movie.

05-18-2005, 10:01
My theory about this is that the economy was really booming back then. The dot-com boom was still on, and so people weren't afraid of quitting their jobs because they assumed there would be plenty of jobs when they finished. A lot of folks were making a lot of money back then before the economy tanked and we were involved in a war. People felt more secure financially and were willing to take a risk of hiking the AT. My theory of course...but partially a reason why we hiked in 2001.