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Sara
01-29-2013, 11:51
Hello,

Some info about me:
I'm 31, from Kitchener, ON Canada and I love to attend science fiction conventions. My other passion is travel and I've been to over 50 different countries. My longest trip was a 8 months leave of absence in 2005 to travel around the world.

I live a modest life (no kids, car, house or gadgets) and I spend all my savings on travel. My employer is very generous and I receive six weeks paid vacation a year. I spent 4 days in Everglades Nat. Park last week and will travel to Colombia in Feb for a week. I'm also spending 10 days in Arizona in May, 10 days in the Yukon in July to hike the Chilkoot Trail and three weeks in October to hike Everest Base Camp in Nepal. I like to plan everything well in advance!

I'd prefer to not hike the entire trail at once because I don't want to jeopardize my position at work and I'd like to continue to attend my science fiction events.

My plan is to leave Springer Mountain in April 2014 and spend 6 weeks section hiking (possibly longer if I got approved to take an additional week or two off unpaid).

My biggest worry is that I won't fit in with the thru-hikers. Will I miss out on the experience of camaraderie and be seen as *just* a section hiker? :(

I'd appreciate any thoughts from thru and section hikers! :)

tds1195
01-29-2013, 12:00
I don't think you'll have a problem at all! There are all types of people on the AT - thru hikers, section hikers, weekend hikers, day hikers - as long as you maintain a good hiking etiquette you will make friends and earn respect on the trail.

Pedaling Fool
01-29-2013, 12:03
My plan is to leave Springer Mountain in April 2014 and spend 6 weeks section hiking (possibly longer if I got approved to take an additional week or two off unpaid).

My biggest worry is that I won't fit in with the thru-hikers. Will I miss out on the experience of camaraderie and be seen as *just* a section hiker? :(

I'd appreciate any thoughts from thru and section hikers! :)There is a little of that out there (Thru-hikers looking down on Section hikers), but I emphasis, just a little. However, your situation will be different, because you'll start out with them and go on for a long ways, so they won't look at you in the same light. The "camaraderie" thing is pretty much over after 6 weeks. At least for me, actually I never really felt any camaraderie with those guys and I do know the feeling of camaraderie, being retired military.

Do you have a Star Trek uniform ;) I just find it interesting that you attend Science fiction events.

Lone Wolf
01-29-2013, 12:04
thru-hiking and thru-hikers are way overrated. it's just walkin'. everybody is a section section hiker

Slo-go'en
01-29-2013, 12:28
Just claim your a thru-hiker like everyone else. Many will be dropping out during those first 6 weeks so your claim is as valid as thiers.

Mags
01-29-2013, 12:44
Any thru-hiker who looks down on "just a section hiker" aint worth the trouble.

Most thru-hikers finish the AT and rarely backpack again anyway. :)

You probably have more outdoor sense than most thru-hikers.

http://www.pmags.com/gallery2/d/19561-2/aat.jpg?g2_GALLERYSID=761b96c7cfb86bd4d037ec289cd1 ac10


Backpackers who follow white rectangles for 6 mos without knowing how to read map, walk on a well defined trail that can be as much as five miles from a road and have ample guidebooks, logistic support and services are obviously outdoor experts. ;)

burger
01-29-2013, 12:51
You'll fit in with no trouble. About 1100 miles of my AT sections were done NOBO during peak thru-hiker season, and each time I made friends on the trail and was totally accepted, even though I was starting in the Virginia or New Hampshire. After a while, the thru-hikers around you will forget that you're a section hiker. Since you're starting at Springer and going a long way, that should make things even easier.

yellowsirocco
01-29-2013, 12:51
I did the exact same thing. Leave from Springer in the spring and hike for 6 weeks. You will be no different than the thru-hikers. A lot of them might drop out before you. Just because they have plans to go farther doesn't mean they will.

And just tell them that you are a thru-hiker, townies seem to be fixated on the term. Some people will hook up 'thru-hikers' for some reason, but not section hikers even though you have walked the exact same distance.

hikerboy57
01-29-2013, 13:00
Section hikers rock.

Astro
01-29-2013, 13:01
Just claim your a thru-hiker like everyone else. Many will be dropping out during those first 6 weeks so your claim is as valid as thiers.

This and the other posts are very true. They are just "attempting" a thru-hike until they summit Mt Kathdin. My favorite section hikes have been with the NOBO bubble in the spring. If someone looks down on you, it is more of a bad reflection on them.

RedBeerd
01-29-2013, 13:04
On a section hike I was invited to a thru hikers BBQ. They were all very welcoming and cool! Had a great time.

Lone Wolf
01-29-2013, 13:12
And just tell them that you are a thru-hiker, townies seem to be fixated on the term. Some people will hook up 'thru-hikers' for some reason, but not section hikers even though you have walked the exact same distance.

got to fontana one year with a bunch i started at springer with. former thru-hikers were throwing a picnic for thru-hikers. i made the mistake of telling them i was only walkin' to hot springs. no food for me. trail angels suck sometimes

Lyle
01-29-2013, 13:42
It takes a lot more work and effort to section hike, but you do run into some attitude from thru hikers who think they're all that. Usually not blatant, but Thru hikers often don't want to bother with getting to know a section hiker, since they are "temporary". Often they will exclude section hikers from in-town activities.

Just hook up with other section hikers, they are great folks too. Will have better luck assimilating into a group at the southern end of the trail.

Another Kevin
01-29-2013, 14:08
I'm just a clueless weekender, but I find that the snooty Real Hikers are a small minority. Most folks, it's, "hey, we're all out here to hike and have a good time." In fact, some of the thrus are even curious about where I'm going, particularly since I'm likely doing blue-blazes or no-blazes that they'll never get to see.

Tundra
01-29-2013, 14:16
I know we've only just met but, will you marry me? ;) You sound amazing. Don't worry about "fitting in" you'll be just fine. Enjoy the trail and all your travels.

Sarcasm the elf
01-29-2013, 14:18
Section hikers rock.Is that the name of the granite outcropping that we passed in Cornwall?

Bucketfoot
01-29-2013, 14:23
HYOH! The ones with attitudes aren't worth knowing anyway.

Slo-go'en
01-29-2013, 14:32
got to fontana one year with a bunch i started at springer with. former thru-hikers were throwing a picnic for thru-hikers. i made the mistake of telling them i was only walkin' to hot springs. no food for me. trail angels suck sometimes

But some times not. I came out to the Grafton Notch parking lot once to find trail magic in the form of Maine lobsters and corn on the cob. I told them I was just doing a section, but they said anyone who just carried a full pack through the Mahoosics deserves a lobster! Best trail magic ever.

Train Wreck
01-29-2013, 14:51
I'm just a clueless weekender, but I find that the snooty Real Hikers are a small minority. Most folks, it's, "hey, we're all out here to hike and have a good time." In fact, some of the thrus are even curious about where I'm going, particularly since I'm likely doing blue-blazes or no-blazes that they'll never get to see.

Or are headed for your car and closest town the next day, in which case you might gain some new friends real fast :rolleyes:

Odd Man Out
01-29-2013, 15:26
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
Eleanor Roosevelt

fins1838
01-29-2013, 15:46
May the force be with you. Live long & prosper.............

Northern Lights
01-29-2013, 15:54
I'm 'just' a section hiker too. I have hiked one section in on thru season and one section in thru season. I've found no difference in the people other than one time has more of them. When people ask me why I go hiking for 2-3 weeks at the time, my answer is always the same. It's the people. Everyone I have met, thru hiker or section have always been great. A hiker is a hiker. You all have the same goal, reaching your destination and enjoying what is in between the start and finish.

Enjoy your hike fellow Canuck!

MDSection12
01-29-2013, 15:55
May the force be with you. Live long & prosper.............

You bring up a good point, though inadvertantly I'm sure; at these sci-fi conventions I can imagine that Star Wars and Star Trek are the two biggies? And I can imagine that the two groups sometimes harbor animosity for each other? So my question to you (the OP) would be can you miss out on friends at a sci-fi convention by being a fan of one and not the other? I would guess the answer is yes, but that the people you miss out on aren't worth it anyway.

Just a (bad) comparison to something you're more familiar with, but I think the point stands; of course you can be shunned from a group for not meeting their expectations, but generally the people doing the shunning are just jerks and aren't worth the time anyway.

From my experience as a weekend warrior, most guys are very friendly and recognize that regardless of the exact details of my trip I took my free time and decided to spend it on the trail... That seems to be the big thing, the fact that everyone there wanted to be there more than a number of other places they could be. That is enough of a common interest for me. I have had thrus be a little dismissive, but only because they were moving quickly.

Pendragon
01-29-2013, 16:11
If a three time Olympic gold medalist swimmer refused to return a friendly "hello" while practicing in my pool at the Y, I doubt very seriously my universe would collapse. He can take his turn lapping like the rest of us, as far as I'm concerned.

evyck da fleet
01-29-2013, 16:50
Being a section hiker shouldn't be a problem. On my thru last year, I hiked with a guy sectioning to Gatlinburg. I didn't see any reason to be a snob to him(not that there is any reason to act that way) because up to that point I hadn't hiked any more of the Trail then him. I also hiked with a gal day hiker and a guy finishing up his attempted thru from the previous year. If nothing else we all had something in common, we were on the Trail.

Like others have said, calling yourself a thru onthe trail only matters when it comes to trail magic and the croos in charge of the huts in the Whites.

Mags
01-29-2013, 18:09
You bring up a good point, though inadvertantly I'm sure; at these sci-fi conventions I can imagine that Star Wars and Star Trek are the two biggies? And I can imagine that the two groups sometimes harbor animosity for each other?

They are now being helmed by the same guy:
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/29/showbiz/movies/star-wars-abrams-fans-lucas/

Sorry, showing my geek roots.

:)

Sara
01-29-2013, 19:45
John gault – Yes I have Star Trek uniforms! I also have 30+ costumes from other shows like Battlestar Galactica, Stargate and Doctor Who. I sew most of them myself.

Tundra – Thanks for the offer but I’m already taken!

MDSection12 – You are correct that some convention goers look down on other fans because they think their show is superior. Most con goers realize we are all nerds and not everyone has to have the same interests. I don’t like Star Wars but I still am friends with Stormtroopers and attend their themed parties. By the way… Battlestar Galactica is clearly the best franchise. J

Mags – Having J.J. in charge of both ST and SW was stupid move. :(

Thanks to everyone who replied. I appreciate all your input.
I don’t like being dishonest but I suppose I’ll say I’m a thru-hiker to randoms. I’ll be upfront with fellow hikers and if they are rude then they miss out on my awesome travel stories. :p

Tuckahoe
01-29-2013, 19:46
You bring up a good point, though inadvertantly I'm sure; at these sci-fi conventions I can imagine that Star Wars and Star Trek are the two biggies? And I can imagine that the two groups sometimes harbor animosity for each other? So my question to you (the OP) would be can you miss out on friends at a sci-fi convention by being a fan of one and not the other? I would guess the answer is yes, but that the people you miss out on aren't worth it anyway.

Just a (bad) comparison to something you're more familiar with, but I think the point stands; of course you can be shunned from a group for not meeting their expectations, but generally the people doing the shunning are just jerks and aren't worth the time anyway.

From my experience as a weekend warrior, most guys are very friendly and recognize that regardless of the exact details of my trip I took my free time and decided to spend it on the trail... That seems to be the big thing, the fact that everyone there wanted to be there more than a number of other places they could be. That is enough of a common interest for me. I have had thrus be a little dismissive, but only because they were moving quickly. Sadly for the geeks their worlds about to crash down around them, as the last Star Trek director is about to direct the next Star Wars movie. How will they ever survive?

WingedMonkey
01-29-2013, 19:49
I don’t like being dishonest but I suppose I’ll say I’m a thru-hiker to randoms. :p

What would that accomplish?

MuddyWaters
01-29-2013, 20:07
You may meet a few jerks.
But most will be fine with you.
You just dont have the same thing in common, and wont bond together the same way other attempting thru hikers will.

The smart ones will still want to know where your car is, and if you can give them a ride somewhere when you get there.

Sara
01-29-2013, 20:24
What would that accomplish?

Perhaps nothing except giving a quick answer to a simple question asked by a random townsperson.
I also want to clear that I couldn't never accept generosity without being truthful.

In Egypt I told random men on the street I was from Russia and couldn't speak English so they would stop pestering me. It was just easier! (and yes, I know this isn't quite the same)

Sara
01-29-2013, 20:26
I couldn't never accept generosity without being truthful.

Sorry, typo it should say "I couldn't EVER accept generosity without being truthful."

Papa D
01-29-2013, 21:14
you'll be just fine - - I went thru and now I do long sections (and some short sections) don't be self conscious - 6 weeks on the trail rocks - - longer than many who plan a "thru" - - go for it and have a great time.

Trebor66
01-30-2013, 01:56
One does not become a "thru hiker" until they finish. Don't let anyone BS you into thinking you are any less deserving to be on the trail. Just get out there and enjoy every minute you can.

Sandy of PA
01-30-2013, 09:37
I just tell them "I am not thru yet! I plan to keep hiking."

tiptoe
01-30-2013, 10:52
Sara, you are not obligated to tell anyone anything. You are a long-distance hiker, that's all, and you don't have to apologize for your intentions. Just hike your own hike and enjoy the company of the people you meet.

Almost There
01-30-2013, 12:34
Just tell them "I'm hiking till I stop, don't know how far I'll go, and don't really care." I go with Lone Wolf's logic, have since I first met him on my third section hike. It's like Ghostbusters, if a townie asks if you're a thru hiker...you say, YES!!! The only bad attitude I've ever gotten from a thru was hiking up to Wind Rock just north of Pearisburg. Was with another section hiker, and the climb that day sucked in the 90+ degree heat. We come upon a cooler, and there are two thru's we've been passing back and forth all day. They're standing by a cooler with fruit and cold sodas. We go to reach in, and one says, "Hey the sign says those are for thru hikers." My partner hesitated to take one, and I looked at her, smiled and said, "We hiked from back there, and right thru here." Then I grabbed a soda and an orange. People will be who they are wherever. If they're an a-hole in society, they'll still be an a-hole on the trail. You should have a great time! Enjoy it. I got my trail name from a spring section started at Springer by a thru-hiker.

turtle fast
01-30-2013, 12:55
I really do not think their would be any problem....in reality the thru hikers are just doing sections consecutively till done...anyways I think the bigger problem for you is once you START a hike you may like some others have done intend to go for a few weeks and once they get into the mind set to do it all. Ive heard of people quit jobs, stop semesters of college, etc. In fact, on the National Geographic program about the Appalachian Trail....their was a guy who was also intending to go foe a few weeks but decided to do it all. Just saying.... :)

MuddyWaters
01-30-2013, 13:36
Unfortunately, a lot of trail magic food, is intended for thru hikers
OK, all of it.
If they left it there without a sign, its fair game
I dont think it should be taken under false pretenses.

Right, wrong, or otherwise, If someone only wants their food/drinks to go to thru hikers, its their business.

The moral support such acts give to thru hikers help them stay on the trail. People on shorter sections dont necessarilly need that.

kidchill
01-30-2013, 17:40
Meh, you'll be fine. I wouldn't worry about it too much. I went SOBO so my experience may be a little different in terms of the number of people on the trail, but no one really knows what they're doing or how long of a hike 2200 miles really is so...The only section hikers that ever bothered me were the ones that had hiked 200 miles over 2-3 years and were telling me how to hike and what to do when I had been living the trail for over a thousand miles...but, the truth is, there's thru-hikers that were trying to tell me the same BS. HYOH and enjoy your time out there! I bet most of the people you meet will either be in party mode, wanting to quit, or clueless themselves.

WingedMonkey
01-30-2013, 20:07
The only section hikers that ever bothered me were the ones that had hiked 200 miles over 2-3 years and were telling me how to hike and what to do

..........:banana:banana:banana

HikerMom58
01-30-2013, 20:20
This is a great thread. Some of it is sad... I can't believe that "trail angels" would discriminate. Thru hiker or a section hiker? Who cares? What I've found being out on the trail is that the section hikers are either just as appreciative of any trail magic or they politely decline. Section hikers favorite trail magic is SHUTTLES!! :) Yeah, I can do that! :)

Sara, I wouldn't feel inferior to thru-hikers at all. I would not tell anyone how long you are hiking unless they asked. If they ask, I'd always tell the truth.

Lone Wolf
01-30-2013, 20:31
This is a great thread. Some of it is sad... I can't believe that "trail angels" would discriminate. Thru hiker or a section hiker? Who cares? .

sad but very real. i avoid trail feeds at all costs cuz most "angels" have a hard on for"thru hikers" only

Almost There
01-30-2013, 20:47
Unfortunately, a lot of trail magic food, is intended for thru hikers
OK, all of it.
If they left it there without a sign, its fair game
I dont think it should be taken under false pretenses.

Right, wrong, or otherwise, If someone only wants their food/drinks to go to thru hikers, its their business.

The moral support such acts give to thru hikers help them stay on the trail. People on shorter sections dont necessarilly need that.

Not necessarily true. The first magic I got was a ride into Helen, and my lunch bought and paid for by former thru-hikers who knew I was out on a section hike. To me the best magic comes from past thru-hikers. They get that on a rainy cold, or humid hot day magic can boost any hiker out for a long walk.

HikerMom58
01-30-2013, 20:47
sad but very real. i avoid trail feeds at all costs cuz most "angels" have a hard on for"thru hikers" only

I felt very sad when I read ur post Lone Wolf. I can't believe that happened to you. They were former thru-hikers to boot... YIKES.

I can understand an "angel" leaving some "magic" for thru-hikers ONLY & putting it on a sign. They would want day hikers or section hikers to realize that's who it was intended for... it would just make "them" think twice about taking something just for the heck of it. I can understand that completely. But, that's where the discrimination starts and ends for me. I can't imagine showing up on the trail with trail magic and asking anyone if they were a thru-hiker or section hiker... it would NEVER even cross my mind. EVER.

Lone Wolf
01-30-2013, 20:56
I felt very sad when I read ur post Lone Wolf. I can't believe that happened to you. They were former thru-hikers to boot... YIKES.

I can understand an "angel" leaving some "magic" for thru-hikers ONLY & putting it on a sign. They would want day hikers or section hikers to realize that's who it was intended for... it would just make "them" think twice about taking something just for the heck of it. I can understand that completely. But, that's where the discrimination starts and ends for me. I can't imagine showing up on the trail with trail magic and asking anyone if they were a thru-hiker or section hiker... it would NEVER even cross my mind. EVER. you gotta realize i was on the trail for 14 years straight. i've seen a lot of crap. don't feel sad for me. there's nothin' magic about a cooler with cokes at the side of the road. anyone who puts a sign "for thru hikers only" on it is a jerk though

Praha4
01-30-2013, 20:57
"are you a thru hiker?"

"how far are you going?"

you will probably be sick of hearing those questions by the end of your hike.

HikerMom58
01-30-2013, 21:55
you gotta realize i was on the trail for 14 years straight. i've seen a lot of crap. don't feel sad for me. there's nothin' magic about a cooler with cokes at the side of the road. anyone who puts a sign "for thru hikers only" on it is a jerk though

I'm sure you did see a lot of crap on the trail, for that length of time. 14 yrs is a lot of time. I'm sure that's why you feel the way you do about a lot of things. It would be hard to separate the good apples from the bad apples, after a while.... No one is perfect. Not everyone is bad.

As far as feeling sad for you, when I read - no food for you? Feelings check..... sad for LW. Baaaddd feelings towards former hikers. (Jerks) Trail magic?... not so much!!!

I saw where you wrote some good things about a hostel that you stayed in.... I know good things happen on the trail. I know you met a lot of good people. I'm sure Sara will experience the same thing while she's out there. Hopefully more good than bad... or no bad at all.

You can rate people's kindness any way you want 2. I agree with you that's it's not real kindness/magic when you don't experience the kindness first hand- up close and personal. You speak the truth in a lot of ways.

BTW... I don't blame you for not understanding why anyone would write "for thru hikers only" on a sign.

Lone Wolf
01-30-2013, 21:59
BTW... I don't blame you for not understanding why anyone would write "for thru hikers only" on a sign.

kinda like black folks in the 60's not understanding " for whites only" huh?

Almost There
01-30-2013, 22:01
Wolf gave me the best magic a person could give...he taught me how to be proper blue blazing hiker trash!:cool:

Almost There
01-30-2013, 22:06
kinda like black folks in the 60's not understanding " for whites only" huh?

Great analogy, and I never have followed rules very well...hence I could never be a purist. Some of the best things I've seen have been down blue blazed trails. Sorry, but people who put "for thru-hikers only," are the same type who give you krap for hiking the blue blazed alternate...even if it is harder with steeper climbs.

Sarcasm the elf
01-30-2013, 22:38
Unfortunately, a lot of trail magic food, is intended for thru hikers
OK, all of it.
If they left it there without a sign, its fair game
I dont think it should be taken under false pretenses.

Right, wrong, or otherwise, If someone only wants their food/drinks to go to thru hikers, its their business.

The moral support such acts give to thru hikers help them stay on the trail. People on shorter sections dont necessarilly need that.

Hogwash. If someone wants to leave unattended cooler on the side of the trail then it's fair game, regardless if it's a thru hiker, section hiker or habituated bear that gets to if first.

As for "false pretenses" try marking a cooler "section hikers only" and then sitback and watch how many thru hikers honor your wishes.

Blissful
01-30-2013, 22:42
For those who are "just" good ol' section hikers - we have a group for you on Facebook, so come join.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/179997858744135/

From Captain Blue - "A real section hiker is never thru."

Blissful
01-30-2013, 22:44
Sara, you are not obligated to tell anyone anything. You are a long-distance hiker, that's all, and you don't have to apologize for your intentions. Just hike your own hike and enjoy the company of the people you meet.

Some of my best hiker friends are sectioners.

I hiked with section hikers as a thru hiker in '07 and had a great time and was real sorry to see them go...

Blissful
01-30-2013, 22:50
After what I saw with some of the thrus in Maryland as a ridgerunner, most thrus are spoiled. By the time they get there, they are expecting hand-outs. And special treatment, like they feel they deserve it because they are on a multi long hike. The attitudes of some stink. When they get food they don't even offer thanks. It's really ridiculous. And I got burned with bad attitudes and illegal drinking by illegal campers left from a hiker feed at Dahlgren. Some thrus think they can disregard rules and regs.

When did I feel led to give maybe give a candy bar? To the thru hiker that stopped at my caretaker site, sat down and chatted for a time. I really liked that very much. And I had some good talks with thru hikers camped at Annapolis Rocks and I did make good friends with those I met at shelters (and am friends with on Facebook to this day). :)

Blissful
01-30-2013, 22:52
As for "false pretenses" try marking a cooler "section hikers only" and then sitback and watch how many thru hikers honor your wishes.

This would be very interesting...

I should try that sometime!

johnnybgood
01-30-2013, 22:53
I need no distinction, happy to just strap on a pack and go hike.

MuddyWaters
01-30-2013, 23:52
Hogwash. If someone wants to leave unattended cooler on the side of the trail then it's fair game, regardless if it's a thru hiker, section hiker or habituated bear that gets to if first.

As for "false pretenses" try marking a cooler "section hikers only" and then sitback and watch how many thru hikers honor your wishes.


You say "hogwash" and then repeat exactly what I said, claiming the same thing. Yes, fair game if no sign and unnatended.

The real test of a persons honesty is what they do, when they think no one is watching.

Yes, a large part of our society fails that test. If you are claiming that makes it right, you are wrong.

Sarcasm the elf
01-30-2013, 23:57
You say "hogwash" and then repeat exactly what I said, claiming the same thing. Yes, fair game if no sign and unnatended.

The real test of a persons honesty is what they do, when they think no one is watching.

Yes, a large part of our society fails that test. If you are claiming that makes it right, you are wrong.

Leaving an unattended cooler on the side of a trail is wrong for many reasons, especially if the person littering..I mean trail angel, puts a "special people only" sign on it.

I'm quite honest in stating my intention to ignore the sign.

Another Kevin
01-31-2013, 00:05
Putting an unattended cooler on the side of a trail with a "special people only" sign is what's wrong. I'm quite honest about the fact that I will ignore the sign.

I won't.

I don't necessarily agree with the sentiments of the giver, but trail magic is a gift. The giver gets to chose for whom it's offered. I'll honour the choice.

Lone Wolf
01-31-2013, 00:15
I won't.

I don't necessarily agree with the sentiments of the giver, but trail magic is a gift. The giver gets to chose for whom it's offered. I'll honour the choice.

i will take all contents and give to the truly needy. walkers on a trail need nothing

Lyle
01-31-2013, 00:16
I won't.

I don't necessarily agree with the sentiments of the giver, but trail magic is a gift. The giver gets to chose for whom it's offered. I'll honour the choice.


If he doesn't care enough to stay and pass it out, then it's fair game. Thru-hiker only signs are and will be ignored. I get just as thirsty and hungry as a thru hiker.

In regard to helping them out to finish their hike - hogwash. They are taking 5 or 6 months off work, they are on vacation. I'm still working and burning a couple of my hard-earned weeks off. A thru-hiker should be no more needy than anyone else. I'ts a he$$ of a lot cheaper to live on the trail for 6 months than it is to live "in society". No special treatment for thrus.

Kingbee
01-31-2013, 00:57
Hikers are hikers. After my Damascus to Pearisburg section last spring, I gave out PB&J sandwiches and sodas at a road crossing in the middle of the rollercoaster. Some were section hikers, others thrus. I didn't care. :) I even met a thru I had seen before down south(Connect 4). I was glad to help anybody.
Can't wait for NH this summer!

HikerMom58
01-31-2013, 08:54
kinda like black folks in the 60's not understanding " for whites only" huh?

No Lone Wolf, not like that. I can only speak for myself, I can't judge others motivation.

FYI- I've never put out trail magic with a sign for "thru hikers only". I have left a cooler a few times but I don't like to do that so much. If you just leave something out like drinks in a cooler, for example, you have to go back and get the trash etc...blah...

Sometimes, I do like to "control" who I "give" 2, BUT not in a "mean spirited" way.So for an example, I wouldn't be so inclined to set up "trail magic" on the BRP knowing that day hikers etc... would be the main ones to enjoy "the gift". The reasoning as to "why", is common sense. No one needs anything while, on the trail, hiking, unless they are injured or hurting. (emotionally or physically)

When you realize that long distance hikers are carrying everything they need on their back and their resupply options are somewhat limited, at times, esp. for food & drinks, it makes sense to want to surprise them with random acts of kindness. BUT, if you put yourself out there, it's not right to discriminate... that's just mean. Period. Having said that, tho, I can see where someone leaving something for an intended person/people may want to "express" that desire. It's a crap shoot whether that comes from a good place or not.


This is how I feel about myself & offering "trail magic"......

Some people say thereís no such thing as a selfless actóthat any time we do something to help another person, we get something in return, even if itís just a warm fuzzy feeling.
Iíve spent a lot of time playing with this idea in my head. It doesnít really bother me to know it feels good to help someone else. That, to me, is a completely acceptable type of selfishness.

Thru-hikers/ Section hikers are NOT helpless... they don't need my help. It's relating to a group of people with whom I share a common interest.

:Helping people in need is a different animal.

bfayer
01-31-2013, 09:45
I can't imagine showing up on the trail with trail magic and asking anyone if they were a thru-hiker or section hiker... it would NEVER even cross my mind. EVER.

Hiker Mom, you just may be an exception. I can only speak from my experience, but the "Thur hiker only" thing seems more like the rule now a days. It doesn't bother me in the least, but it does happen a lot.

like it or not, there is a caste system on the AT, but its not something to worry or even care about.

WingedMonkey
01-31-2013, 09:58
After what I saw with some of the thrus in Maryland as a ridgerunner, most thrus are spoiled. By the time they get there, they are expecting hand-outs. And special treatment, like they feel they deserve it because they are on a multi long hike. The attitudes of some stink. When they get food they don't even offer thanks. It's really ridiculous. And I got burned with bad attitudes and illegal drinking by illegal campers left from a hiker feed at Dahlgren. Some thrus think they can disregard rules and regs.

When did I feel led to give maybe give a candy bar? To the thru hiker that stopped at my caretaker site, sat down and chatted for a time. I really liked that very much. And I had some good talks with thru hikers camped at Annapolis Rocks and I did make good friends with those I met at shelters (and am friends with on Facebook to this day). :)

So? Now that you have seen the light (guess the ridge runner gig helped).

Does this mean your annual hiker feed in Shenandoah will stop?

:D

Lone Wolf
01-31-2013, 10:04
for years me and Pirate talked about settin' up a feed at a GA road crossing and as hikers came through ask them if they're thru-hiking and if they answered yes we'd say we're just feeding section hikers

Sara
01-31-2013, 12:19
Ive heard of people quit jobs, stop semesters of college, etc. In fact, on the National Geographic program about the Appalachian Trail....their was a guy who was also intending to go foe a few weeks but decided to do it all. Just saying.... :)

Turtle fast - you never know! I abruptly left university to pursue a eight month international development program in Vietnam when I was younger. Stranger things have happened...

Thanks Blissful for the Facebook invitation. Iíve joined the Section Hiker group.

Very interesting discussion everyone!

If I handed out AT trail magic I won't discriminate with type of hikers. I think about road races (I like to run too). The treats at the end are for the marathoners, half-marathoners and 10k runners alike. :)

Slo-go'en
01-31-2013, 12:43
When it comes to handing out trail magic in the form of food and drink the criteria should be duration of hike. Weekend warriors are in a different class than thru's or long section hikers. Short term hikers don't need the extra calories as much as the long termers do.

JAK
01-31-2013, 12:59
I think it really depends on how often you are able to get out and hike. I am 'just a weekend hiker'. If it was every weekend, which it isn't, I would use the term 'el weekend hiker supremo, dominator of all hikers thru, section, or otherwise'.

Lone Wolf
01-31-2013, 13:01
Short term hikers don't need the extra calories as much as the long termers do.

well long termers should carry extra food then

HikerMom58
01-31-2013, 13:16
well long termers should carry extra food then

We could "hide" the food for ummm! ;) But only for the ones that don't have an "entitlement attitude"... no soup for them. It's impossible. I really don't do random trail magic that much... it's mostly for hikers I know. "Hotrock" (u know him) told me about 2 of the sweetest girls, a couple of years ago. That's why I keep doing what I do.

bfayer- you are sharing something with me that I really didn't realize. To me, it's sad, if that's the case & I have no reason to doubt you.

jeffmeh
01-31-2013, 13:23
John gault Ė Yes I have Star Trek uniforms! I also have 30+ costumes from other shows like Battlestar Galactica, Stargate and Doctor Who. I sew most of them myself.

Tundra Ė Thanks for the offer but Iím already taken!

MDSection12 Ė You are correct that some convention goers look down on other fans because they think their show is superior. Most con goers realize we are all nerds and not everyone has to have the same interests. I donít like Star Wars but I still am friends with Stormtroopers and attend their themed parties. By the wayÖ Battlestar Galactica is clearly the best franchise. J

Mags Ė Having J.J. in charge of both ST and SW was stupid move. :(

Thanks to everyone who replied. I appreciate all your input.
I donít like being dishonest but I suppose Iíll say Iím a thru-hiker to randoms. Iíll be upfront with fellow hikers and if they are rude then they miss out on my awesome travel stories. :p

What, no love for Firefly? :p

jeffmeh
01-31-2013, 13:27
I felt very sad when I read ur post Lone Wolf. I can't believe that happened to you. They were former thru-hikers to boot... YIKES.

I can understand an "angel" leaving some "magic" for thru-hikers ONLY & putting it on a sign. They would want day hikers or section hikers to realize that's who it was intended for... it would just make "them" think twice about taking something just for the heck of it. I can understand that completely. But, that's where the discrimination starts and ends for me. I can't imagine showing up on the trail with trail magic and asking anyone if they were a thru-hiker or section hiker... it would NEVER even cross my mind. EVER.

I'll day hike for beer....

Karma13
01-31-2013, 13:40
What, no love for Firefly? :p

I'm just watching Firefly now. Oh.My.God. How did that show get cancelled?

OK, sorry for the derail.

I will say that when I've done short hikes, I wouldn't dream of, for instance, taking a Coke from a cooler. I wouldn't have felt right about it. I haven't done any long AT section hikes or a thru, though, so I don't have any thoughts about it from that perspective. This stuff is all very good to read. It helps me check myself.

Lone Wolf
01-31-2013, 13:43
I will say that when I've done short hikes, I wouldn't dream of, for instance, taking a Coke from a cooler.

why? if you're hot and thirsty what's the difference?

bfayer
01-31-2013, 13:44
...bfayer- you are sharing something with me that I really didn't realize. To me, it's sad, if that's the case & I have no reason to doubt you.

Maybe its because I come from a hiking background that is not near the AT that I notice it more. Where I grew up there was no such thing as a thru hiker, everyone was just a hiker, and nobody cared much if someone was out for a weekend, a week, or all summer.

The AT is like a high school cafeteria, there is definitely social stratification, and us weekend section hiking types are not at the same table with all the cool and popular kids :) (But we do smell better).

In the end its all good, I enjoy the AT, and everyone I meet, and I appreciate all trail angels even if they do have a sign that reads "thru hikers only".

Sarcasm the elf
01-31-2013, 14:23
What, no love for Firefly? :pI was wondering the same thing ;-) On a side note, a while back I found a site that sold replicas of the wool beanie hat that Jane's Mother made for him. I was seriously considering getting one to wear while hiking. It would be fun to see how many fellow browncoats on the A.T. would notice it.

HikerMom58
01-31-2013, 14:34
I'll day hike for beer....

Ha ha... interesting jeffmeh. If I see someone carrying a sign sayin.. Will hike for beer, I'll know it's you. ;)

True story:
I don't drink much so I didn't think to carry beer with me, on a warm summer evening on the BRP, taking a "TA hike" to Bobbletts Gap Shelter.
Well, I do take requests tho, so off my daughter and I went for a few cold beers for a thru-hiker on the BRP. The "beer run" turned into an invitation to sleep in a comfy bed that night, a nice hot shower and a quick laundry refresh..... made it all the way to ME. :) That thru-hiker still sends me well wishes at Christmas every year & thanks me AGAIN. Always saying.. you didn't even know me, yet, you took me in... a friend for life. :) It doesn't get any better than that.

I would have offered the same thing to a section hiker... it wouldn't have made a difference to me. But, the chances of a section hiker "feeling the need" is, no doubt, much less.

VA is still a very long way from ME. They would have made it just fine without my "help". :) Just a lil pick me up or morale boost along the way... that's all. If y'all lived as close to the trail as I do, you'd prob. do the same thing. I know y'all!! :)


Maybe its because I come from a hiking background that is not near the AT that I notice it more. Where I grew up there was no such thing as a thru hiker, everyone was just a hiker, and nobody cared much if someone was out for a weekend, a week, or all summer.

The AT is like a high school cafeteria, there is definitely social stratification, and us weekend section hiking types are not at the same table with all the cool and popular kids :) (But we do smell better).

In the end its all good, I enjoy the AT, and everyone I meet, and I appreciate all trail angels even if they do have a sign that reads "thru hikers only".

I like it- especially the smell better part, lol ... you're special!! :)

MDSection12
01-31-2013, 14:35
This is a great thread. Some of it is sad... I can't believe that "trail angels" would discriminate. Thru hiker or a section hiker? Who cares? What I've found being out on the trail is that the section hikers are either just as appreciative of any trail magic or they politely decline.

I actually don't mind discrimination. When I did the MD section with a few friends this fall we came across a stack of cases of soda under a bridge where the trail crossed and the sign said 'thru hikers only.' We broke the rule to allow our friend that had been hiking the whole day with horrendous blisters (ex-marine, absolutely refused to call it quits despite a ride being totally available) to have one soda just because we all felt bad for him, but the rest of us were more than happy to restrain ourselves and leave them... I totally understand that trail angel's reasoning, but I also think they would have been fine with giving our friend a little caffeine buzz. :)

Lyle
01-31-2013, 14:43
I actually don't mind discrimination. When I did the MD section with a few friends this fall we came across a stack of cases of soda under a bridge where the trail crossed and the sign said 'thru hikers only.' We broke the rule to allow our friend that had been hiking the whole day with horrendous blisters (ex-marine, absolutely refused to call it quits despite a ride being totally available) to have one soda just because we all felt bad for him, but the rest of us were more than happy to restrain ourselves and leave them... I totally understand that trail angel's reasoning, but I also think they would have been fine with giving our friend a little caffeine buzz. :)

This is the kind of stuff that gives thru-hikers the attitude of entitlement. The same attitude that hostel owners, townsfolk, and others complain vehemently about.

These same things are done by hostels and businesses along the way, then they complain of the attitudes that they create.

Discounts for thru-hikers, free camping for thru-hikers-others have to pay, free shuttles for thru-hikers - others get charged, trail majic for thru-hikers, others not welcome. Wonder where the thru-hikers get the attitude of entitlement?

HikerMom58
01-31-2013, 14:51
This is the kind of stuff that gives thru-hikers the attitude of entitlement. The same attitude that hostel owners, townsfolk, and others complain vehemently about.

These same things are done by hostels and businesses along the way, then they complain of the attitudes that they create.

Discounts for thru-hikers, free camping for thru-hikers-others have to pay, free shuttles for thru-hikers - others get charged, trail majic for thru-hikers, others not welcome. Wonder where the thru-hikers get the attitude of entitlement?

Wow, great point Lyle... gezzz! I wouldn't have ever thought of that, myself.

Lone Wolf
01-31-2013, 15:03
VA is still a very long way from ME. They would have made it just fine without my "help". :) Just a lil pick me up or morale boost along the way... that's all. If y'all lived as close to the trail as I do, you'd prob. do the same thing. I know y'all!! :)


i live 60 yards off the trail and have never taken in or fed a hiker. why would i?

evyck da fleet
01-31-2013, 15:21
I actually don't mind discrimination. When I did the MD section with a few friends this fall we came across a stack of cases of soda under a bridge where the trail crossed and the sign said 'thru hikers only.' We broke the rule to allow our friend that had been hiking the whole day with horrendous blisters (ex-marine, absolutely refused to call it quits despite a ride being totally available) to have one soda just because we all felt bad for him, but the rest of us were more than happy to restrain ourselves and leave them... I totally understand that trail angel's reasoning, but I also think they would have been fine with giving our friend a little caffeine buzz. :)

This. If I ever put out a cooler intended for thru hikers I'd much prefer a coke or snack go to a section hiker than have a thru hiker raid the cooler like they are resupplying.

I hope whoever put the sodas there eventually came back to clean up afterwards. Biggest pet peeve on trail...hikers and trail angels assuming the other is going to hike out the trash:(

Northern Lights
01-31-2013, 15:35
I once took a soda from another section hiker. I'm scum :(

I've walked by bags of granola bars, jugs of water, but never seen a cooler. My pack usually weighs 40-50 pounds so personally I pass up the trail magic to get my weight down.

Darwin13
01-31-2013, 16:03
Hello,

Some info about me:
I'm 31, from Kitchener, ON Canada and I love to attend science fiction conventions. My other passion is travel and I've been to over 50 different countries. My longest trip was a 8 months leave of absence in 2005 to travel around the world.

I live a modest life (no kids, car, house or gadgets) and I spend all my savings on travel. My employer is very generous and I receive six weeks paid vacation a year. I spent 4 days in Everglades Nat. Park last week and will travel to Colombia in Feb for a week. I'm also spending 10 days in Arizona in May, 10 days in the Yukon in July to hike the Chilkoot Trail and three weeks in October to hike Everest Base Camp in Nepal. I like to plan everything well in advance!

I'd prefer to not hike the entire trail at once because I don't want to jeopardize my position at work and I'd like to continue to attend my science fiction events.

My plan is to leave Springer Mountain in April 2014 and spend 6 weeks section hiking (possibly longer if I got approved to take an additional week or two off unpaid).

My biggest worry is that I won't fit in with the thru-hikers. Will I miss out on the experience of camaraderie and be seen as *just* a section hiker? :(

I'd appreciate any thoughts from thru and section hikers! :)


just be yourself and care not about those who would dislike that.

bfayer
01-31-2013, 16:41
just be yourself and care not about those who would dislike that.

Great advice for life, not just hiking.

HikerMom58
01-31-2013, 20:52
i live 60 yards off the trail and have never taken in or fed a hiker. why would i?

Well Lone Wolf any person that wouldn't feed or take in a hiker that lives close to the trail is a weenie!! LOL... just kiddin.

why would i? you ask? ahh.... to keep up ur big bad wolf image? Such a softie........:p BOOM!!

Lone Wolf
01-31-2013, 21:25
Well Lone Wolf any person that wouldn't feed or take in a hiker that lives close to the trail is a weenie!! LOL... just kiddin.

why would i? you ask? ahh.... to keep up ur big bad wolf image? Such a softie........:p BOOM!!

seriously. these folks are on vacation. and i really have nothing in common with them. i don't get all moist like most when they see a backpacker

MDSection12
01-31-2013, 21:49
I'm glad both of your lines of thought are represented out there. If everyone was one way or the other it wouldn't be as fun. :)

Almost There
01-31-2013, 21:54
seriously. these folks are on vacation. and i really have nothing in common with them. i don't get all moist like most when they see a backpacker

And that's the heart of it. Thru-hiking is no different than deciding to go backpacking across Europe after graduation. It's an escape from reality for a few months, a great vacation for those who like to backpack. You'd do it without magic, so why does it matter so much once you're out there?

For that reason if I ever get the chance I'll probably go southbound to avoid crowds, and all the needless silliness. I will say the southbounders I hiked in Maine with were a bit different, less entitled. If not southbound, then I'll head out west and thru-hike one of the other trails. Living in Georgia, the shelters are hellish in March and April! The people down here who should get magic are the maintainers who fix all the damage the thrus wreak.

HikerMom58
01-31-2013, 22:33
seriously. these folks are on vacation. and i really have nothing in common with them. i don't get all moist like most when they see a backpacker

I don't get all moist when I see a backpacker either but I like hanging out with them, sometimes. I have something in common with them. But, depending on the specific hiker, I may not have very much in common with them at all. I don't know why most backpackers are hiking, until I ask. I wouldn't dare make a blanket statement and say they are on vacation... while I do think all of them are obviously taking some "time off/ time out" of doing "life".

It's not the type of vacation that most of us dream about like sitting around a pool all day sipping a Bahama Mama. It's nice not having to punch a clock every day but there are still tasks to be performed and personal responsibilities that need constant attention, It isn't always easy to take care of these things, at times.

There are so many variables & such a wide variety of people out there, backpacking.

I know for a fact my daughter wasn't on vacation while she was hiking.. no way. Seriously.


I'm glad both of your lines of thought are represented out there. If everyone was one way or the other it wouldn't be as fun. :)

I love how people are all different and think so differently... I learn so much from each one. :) It's fun!

Cookerhiker
01-31-2013, 22:48
I doubt that many, if any, thruhikers will "look down" on you and in fact, I suspect that some will express surprise when you leave the trail after your 6 weeks are up. I also predict that some of your new hiking friends will try to talk you into continuing. FWIW, I hiked the entire AT via section hiking and at both the Georgia and Maine ends, was in the midst of thruhikers. Never felt any vibes.


... I spent 4 days in Everglades Nat. Park last week ...

Just left the Everglades this morning - missed you by about a week.

Sarcasm the elf
01-31-2013, 23:52
Turtle fast - you never know! I abruptly left university to pursue a eight month international development program in Vietnam when I was younger. Stranger things have happened...

Thanks Blissful for the Facebook invitation. Iíve joined the Section Hiker group.

Very interesting discussion everyone!

If I handed out AT trail magic I won't discriminate with type of hikers. I think about road races (I like to run too). The treats at the end are for the marathoners, half-marathoners and 10k runners alike. :)

Hey Sara, I think it's worth adding that this whole debate going on about trail magic really isn't much of an issue in real life. Most of these recent posts are just a bunch of the members of this site rehashing a subject that we like to argue about from time to time, for the most part arguments like this only happen on the internet, not on the trail.

Cookerhiker sums it up well, just relax, be yourself and you'll have a great time.:sun

I doubt that many, if any, thruhikers will "look down" on you and in fact, I suspect that some will express surprise when you leave the trail after your 6 weeks are up. I also predict that some of your new hiking friends will try to talk you into continuing. FWIW, I hiked the entire AT via section hiking and at both the Georgia and Maine ends, was in the midst of thruhikers. Never felt any vibes.

jeffmeh
02-01-2013, 00:01
i live 60 yards off the trail and have never taken in or fed a hiker. why would i?

But, have you ever taken one in then eaten it? Perhaps one wearing red with a hood?

Edit: Shoot, it looks like HikerMom beat me to the reference.

RockDoc
02-01-2013, 00:20
As others have said, you'll be surprised how many "thru hikers" don't even finish 500 miles. Others who do complete the trail take time off to go home for a while (several weeks), which sounds more like section hiking to me. It is a bit flakey.

I started hiking north at Springer Mtn in April a few years ago, with only enough time to make Hot Springs (270 miles in 3 weeks), not afraid to admit that I am a section hiker. I felt well accepted by all the long distance hikers on the trail, most of whom intended to go to Maine. But a large number of them quit way before Harper's Ferry...

The only individual that tried to make my section hike an issue of shame was Elmer, lodge-keeper in Hot Springs. He had taken me as a thru, by all appearances, but when bill time came he finally asked me I was truthful and then he charged me an additional $20/night more than the rate for "thrus". Although at that point I had hiked more than 1500 miles of the AT, some parts several times. So yes there is some bias and unfriendliness towards section hikers, even by famous lodge owners. But still I wouldn't lie about it...

Cookerhiker
02-01-2013, 00:26
...The only individual that tried to make my section hike an issue of shame was Elmer, lodge-keeper in Hot Springs. He had taken me as a thru, by all appearances, but when bill time came he finally asked me I was truthful and then he charged me an additional $20/night more than the rate for "thrus". Although at that point I had hiked more than 1500 miles of the AT, some parts several times. So yes there is some bias and unfriendliness towards section hikers, even by famous lodge owners. But still I wouldn't lie about it...

That's interesting because I stayed with Elmer as a section hiker. Furthermore, it was only my second night (I had started a SOBO at Allen Gap) but he allowed me the thruhiker rate. I just re-read my journa (http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=83590)l and noted that he had a "100 Mile Rule" and my intended (and actual) hike was 180 miles down to Wallace Gap.

Bucketfoot
02-01-2013, 10:29
Lone Wolf, Why should you take in or feed anyone?There are like how many restaurants, motels and hostels within short walking distance of you that can take care of any ones needs.

HikerMom58
02-01-2013, 10:43
But, have you ever taken one in then eaten it? Perhaps one wearing red with a hood?

Edit: Shoot, it looks like HikerMom beat me to the reference.

LOL... I saw that jeffmeh & thought you were just playin off of me... Good one! :) He could be a "wolf zombie". Ahhhh!!!

Sara... sorry to hijack your thread. Elf is right, trail magic isn't much of an issue at all on the trail. We just like to debate it. Have a blast out there! :0) Do what you need to do to make sure you are included in all things good on the trail. I'm sure you will! Great question btw.

Sara
02-07-2013, 09:21
An update for me -
I had a discussion with my HR rep and she has agreed to advocate for 2-3 month leave approval in both 2014 and 2015.
I my request will be up for board approval in June but she doesn't forsee any resistance for asking for an additional few weeks off unpaid.

Looks like I'll be hiking Springer to Harper's Ferry in Spring 2014 and Harper's Ferry to Katahdin in Summer 2015.
I guess I'll be a halfy thru-hiker!

Anyone hikers out there complete the trail in two large trips?

Lyle
02-07-2013, 09:29
I haven't, but that sounds like a very reasonable way to go. Something I've thought of, but never followed through on. It is a way I look forward to future long hikes after retirement though.

WingedMonkey
02-07-2013, 10:04
An update for me -
I had a discussion with my HR rep and she has agreed to advocate for 2-3 month leave approval in both 2014 and 2015.
I my request will be up for board approval in June but she doesn't forsee any resistance for asking for an additional few weeks off unpaid.

Looks like I'll be hiking Springer to Harper's Ferry in Spring 2014 and Harper's Ferry to Katahdin in Summer 2015.
I guess I'll be a halfy thru-hiker!

Anyone hikers out there complete the trail in two large trips?

Although I have no regrets of thru-hiking, when most people ask me I advise them to do like you are doing. It opens up so many opportunities to see sights and visit places that you would otherwise be in to much of a hurry to go off on a two or three mile side trip.

FlyPaper
02-07-2013, 12:59
Sorry, typo it should say "I couldn't EVER accept generosity without being truthful."

Good for you!!!

If someone throws a picnic for thru-hikers in say Hot Springs and exclude you even though you've walked from Springer, well
I think that's a bit too dogmatic on their part. But if you lie to get a free meal, well that's the same as stealing. No meal is
worth compromising your integrity this way.

yellobelle
02-07-2013, 13:34
From a would-be "trail angel" perspective, I can't imagine distinguishing between a section and thru hiker. But I would also assume that someone leaving a cooler of cokes was a bit of a newbie at trail angeling, since it took about 10 minutes of Internet research to figure out that that was not the ideal approach. So, giving someone the benefit of a doubt, I am betting that many of them don't realize the distance that section hikers often hike or that they even exist, and actually intend only to exclude dayhikers. I would be worried that a boy scout troop out for the day would inhale the whole lot and then long distance hikers would run across nothing but an empty cooler, which is like anti-trail-magic! It's the Halloween candy phenomenon.

But I also have no illusions that trail angeling is an altruistic gesture on my part. I want something from the deal--exposure to a different type of person and lifestyle, one that would chuck the 9-to-5 and do something different. I want my kids exposed to that, after having lived in this cookie-cutter, suburban soccer mom mecca. I want to pick up tips about backpacking and outdoorsmanship, so I can take longer and longer adventures myself and with my kids. I want to hear a story and hopefully make a friend. I enjoy meeting people and feeding people, so it makes me happy. I think it will pay off in good karma and good friends when we hike or travel more in the future. I believe that I can learn from every single person that I meet--whether they have been on the trail a weekend or a year. I am really shooting myself in the foot by if I ignore locals, they are gonna know the best local spots to hike and have the greatest potential as future hiking buddies!! If I want to do something entirely altruistic, I find a charity and donate my time or money in as invisible way as possible (although that still pays off in warm fuzzies).

Somebody hiking half the trail in one year and half the next year is a thru-hiker to me (or in 3 yrs or 10 yrs), but whatever you call yourself, I'd be happy to share some magic on the trail. I like to assume the best about people and think that by "thru-hiker" most angels probably mean "long-distance hiker" or "really really hungry hiker." LOL

Have a wonderful hike!

Seatbelt
02-07-2013, 14:04
From a would-be "trail angel" perspective, I can't imagine distinguishing between a section and thru hiker. But I would also assume that someone leaving a cooler of cokes was a bit of a newbie at trail angeling, since it took about 10 minutes of Internet research to figure out that that was not the ideal approach. So, giving someone the benefit of a doubt, I am betting that many of them don't realize the distance that section hikers often hike or that they even exist, and actually intend only to exclude dayhikers. I would be worried that a boy scout troop out for the day would inhale the whole lot and then long distance hikers would run across nothing but an empty cooler, which is like anti-trail-magic! It's the Halloween candy phenomenon.

Somebody hiking half the trail in one year and half the next year is a thru-hiker to me (or in 3 yrs or 10 yrs), but whatever you call yourself, I'd be happy to share some magic on the trail. I like to assume the best about people and think that by "thru-hiker" most angels probably mean "long-distance hiker" or "really really hungry hiker." LOL

Have a wonderful hike!
This is exactly the way I have always looked at this issue, too. I have passed many coolers and trail majic containers on my section hikes and I have noticed that they are usually close to a road or parking area. I took the signs to mean "backpackers" in order to keep curious 15 minute wanderers, who just parked there for a short while, out of them. Once when in GA, it was very hot, dry and I came across a small road crossing where Survivor Dave had left some water in jugs for 'thru-hikers". Yep, I took some and did not feel bad about it at the time although I was only hiking for a week. Water was extremely scarce everywhere that summer and if I ever meet Survivor Dave in person, I will personnaly thank him for this and offer to reimburse him if he would accept.

russb
02-09-2013, 07:02
I, too, have considered the halfsies type "thru" hike due to work constraints. Maybe even a three-summer divide. Not sure if I can give up that much canoeing time. I like to backpack and paddle.

Mags
02-09-2013, 15:02
Anyone hikers out there complete the trail in two large trips?

Quite a few people have. Sly, here on WB, did the same thing.

Something nice about to big chunks on ANY of the long trails (PCT,AT,CDT). You can pick and choose the best seasons, not have to worry as much about bad weather and so forth. Spring time in the southern Appalachians one year. Hike south to follow the New England fall another year. Sounds rather nice. :)


A little OT, but I think hiking the CDT in two (or even three) chunks is the way to go.

Almost There
02-09-2013, 22:31
The only individual that tried to make my section hike an issue of shame was Elmer, lodge-keeper in Hot Springs. He had taken me as a thru, by all appearances, but when bill time came he finally asked me I was truthful and then he charged me an additional $20/night more than the rate for "thrus". Although at that point I had hiked more than 1500 miles of the AT, some parts several times. So yes there is some bias and unfriendliness towards section hikers, even by famous lodge owners. But still I wouldn't lie about it...

Elmer's an ******. Would have a similar story, but we walked in on a hot June day, were shown a room, and decided we couldn't sleep in such a stuffy room, so we bailed and got a room with A/C. The kids he had working there were kind of creepy and sycophantic. He was not very friendly to us, and we never tried to hide we were section hikers.

msupple
02-09-2013, 23:02
I started hiking the AT last year and wasn't sure how far I was going to go although my end goal was always Maine. I had to get off the trail in Virginia due to family issues. I knew before I left this might happen. When people asked me where I was headed I would say Maine. I never felt obligated to tell anyone I may not wind up there this year. I felt it was nobodies business and I never felt I was not tellng the truth. I'll be resuming my trip this May and my goal will still be Maine. I may or may not finish thisyear ut my goal will still be the same. BTW...I feel if you can hike for six weeks starting at Springer, you could in reality make it all he way. Most drop out way before that. You'll have earned all the respect youdeserve at that point. Good luck and have fun.

Cat in the Hat

Joker4ink
02-11-2013, 01:18
My biggest worry is that I won't fit in with the thru-hikers. Will I miss out on the experience of camaraderie and be seen as *just* a section hiker? :(

I'd appreciate any thoughts from thru and section hikers! :)

I'm a section hiker and went to GA last March. I started at Amicalola and went to Deep Gap, NC (where I'll be starting off again in March). I didn't mind telling people that I was a section hiker and only had 10 days or so. I went to GA on my own but a group of us (Wall Street, Muck Fishigan, Spice Man & Rhino) naturally formed and we started hiking with, and/or camping with, each other. I never once felt like an outcast, outsider, or someone who didn't belong on the trail. We all love walking in the woods, meeting new people, sharing our stories, challenging ourselves, talking about the day we hiked, etc. I still keep in touch with a few guys.

You won't miss out on the camaraderie and I wouldn't worry about not fitting in. Your experience will be memorable and you will leave an impression on others.

jesse
02-11-2013, 04:26
I'm a weekend warrior. HYOH means, be comfortable in your own skin. I have only met nice folks on the trail. I don't try to pretend I'm something I'm not, and don't give a thought what others think of my hike. My idea of a long distance hike is 40 miles over three days, go home. I think the "hiking community" thing is over rated.

Cookerhiker
02-11-2013, 11:38
... My idea of a long distance hike is 40 miles over three days, go home....

I can relate - that was the extent of my backpacking until <10 years ago. I couldn't envision ever doing anything longer. Finally after retirement, I started doing longer hikes.

I don't regard all these hiking categories as mutually exclusive - one can do all of the above, it's not either/or. My AT section hiking trips ranged from half-day to month-long 300 miles and everything in-between. And that's still the case.

mdschill
02-11-2013, 11:54
I'm sure a lot would notice! But instead of buying one, find a knitter friend who can whip one up for you!

Another Kevin
02-11-2013, 12:34
HYOH means, be comfortable in your own skin.

The 'hike naked day' thread is next door. :D

Dogwood
02-11-2013, 14:20
An update for me -
I had a discussion with my HR rep and she has agreed to advocate for 2-3 month leave approval in both 2014 and 2015.
I my request will be up for board approval in June but she doesn't forsee any resistance for asking for an additional few weeks off unpaid.

Looks like I'll be hiking Springer to Harper's Ferry in Spring 2014 and Harper's Ferry to Katahdin in Summer 2015.
I guess I'll be a halfy thru-hiker!

Anyone hikers out there complete the trail in two large trips?

Sara, you ask good questions. Lots of people section hike the AT. The way you are propose doing it in two large sections breaking it up in the middle at HF has MANY advantages. Don't worry about the thru-hiker label. Just say you are a long distance hiker. No need to feel like you are lying. You'll fit right in with the AT hiking crowd, whether they be thru-hikers or not. Situation solved. Since you seem like you have your act together, especially in the way you present yourself, you are good to go girl. BTW, I live much the same lifestyle as you taking up to 5 months off work at a time, are conscious about the work I do, travel and hike extensively. Not a trekky though. Those late night watching ST episodes ended when I left college. Have a GREAT journey. I suspect you will.

ajwatson
02-11-2013, 14:37
Elmer's an ******. Would have a similar story, but we walked in on a hot June day, were shown a room, and decided we couldn't sleep in such a stuffy room, so we bailed and got a room with A/C. The kids he had working there were kind of creepy and sycophantic. He was not very friendly to us, and we never tried to hide we were section hikers.

Really? I stayed there in 2011 and I thought it was great. I told them I was a thru hiker (not a lie, but ultimately I didn't make it) and I thought he and his staff were really friendly. I regretted that I couldn't spend another night there, actually.

chief
02-11-2013, 17:53
Let's be really honest here. Sara, if her pics are real, is an attractive young lady. She will be a STAR on the AT whatever distance she's hiking. Though she may have to revert to the "Russian in Egypt" thing again to get rid of the more persistent pink blazers.

Almost There
02-11-2013, 20:34
Really? I stayed there in 2011 and I thought it was great. I told them I was a thru hiker (not a lie, but ultimately I didn't make it) and I thought he and his staff were really friendly. I regretted that I couldn't spend another night there, actually.

You were also a young guy, more their style it seemed to me when I've been through there in the slower seasons. Maybe it was because they didn't seem hospitable and my buddy was injured enough to get off the trail at Hot Springs.

There were people who thought Rusty was quite hospitable...I thought he was creepy and strange, luckily I was a slightly overweight 30 something year old, and not his type.

Dogwood
02-11-2013, 22:14
Let's be really honest here. Sara, if her pics are real, is an attractive young lady. She will be a STAR on the AT whatever distance she's hiking. Though she may have to revert to the "Russian in Egypt" thing again to get rid of the more persistent pink blazers.

I didn't say this but I was thinking it too. She also is well traveled, comes off as conscientious, mature, organized, sociable, handles herself well, communicates clearly, doesn't seem to possess a sense of entitlement, assesses situations well, is a considerate listener, and sounds like she knows good advice and heeds it. And, NO, I didn't base all those attributes on her pic. She's also Canadian. Never met a Canadian I didn't like. If she's adaptable/flexible(which I know she already is to some degree being she has traveled abroad several times) being able to live outside of her present comfort zone for a few months in a way she's probably not at all familiar with she's in an excellent position to hike the entire AT in two long sections and happily do it. She'll do fine on the AT in however she decides to hike it.