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  1. #1
    Registered User JaketheFake's Avatar
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    Default Things we fear that do not pan out....

    I am starting my NOBO attempt in April 2016. All summer long I read about and feared the coming out of a Walk in the Woods and the impact that it would have on my hike. Funny, it's now early October and the movie has been out for a month and I haven't heard one person say one thing about it . Heck I've been so busy I haven't even seen it! Now two data points does not mean there won't be an impact but it does appear that the hyped up concern about masses of moviegoers running to the AT because of the movie might not be reality. Thoughts?

    Also I don't post a lot but I read a lot of forms and have gotten some good information from everybody on here thank you.

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    Time will tell. My guess March/April 2016 will be the test. However, things have a way of being forgotten given time so I'm not sure we'll see the flood of people that is feared.

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    Registered User FarmerChef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpolk84 View Post
    Time will tell. My guess March/April 2016 will be the test. However, things have a way of being forgotten given time so I'm not sure we'll see the flood of people that is feared.
    This. That said, I do not thing the target audience of the movie will have been inspired to go out and hike the AT from watching the movie alone. Full confession, I have not yet seen it. But of all the feedback I've been seeing online, it centers more around their experience and choices at that point in their life, not nearly so much as about the trail itself. I think this might motivate some fence sitters to get on out there but I'm not so sure that it will inspire people who've never heard of the AT go out and do a thru hike. Probably a lot more will do a day hike or.....nothing at all. My two cents and about worth as much.
    2,000 miler. Still keepin' on keepin' on.

  4. #4
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    Certainly there will be an increase in crowds, with even more ill-informed backpackers starting in the March/April timeframe. Hence, the push by the ATC for "alternative thru-hike" approaches.

    Even if you decide to start with the crowds, I found that there are still mini-bubbles that can be found during the cattle rush every spring. Start during the week; hike at a pace that keeps you between the weekend bubbles for the first couple of weeks (you may need to hike faster or slower to stay in a mini-bubble); take a zero/nero to re-position yourself; tent/hammock in between the popular shelter/campsite areas (typically away from a water source); take the BMT instead of the southern AT.
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2014

  5. #5
    Registered User JaketheFake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerosene View Post
    Certainly there will be an increase in crowds, with even more ill-informed backpackers starting in the March/April timeframe. Hence, the push by the ATC for "alternative thru-hike" approaches.

    Even if you decide to start with the crowds, I found that there are still mini-bubbles that can be found during the cattle rush every spring. Start during the week; hike at a pace that keeps you between the weekend bubbles for the first couple of weeks (you may need to hike faster or slower to stay in a mini-bubble); take a zero/nero to re-position yourself; tent/hammock in between the popular shelter/campsite areas (typically away from a water source); take the BMT instead of the southern AT.
    All good points I have already figured that starting mid week is a must (that's based on data of people starting historically). There is no doubt weekend bubbles? I'm not so concerned about crowds to a point so I'm not going to be planning everything I do around avoiding people. Heck I like people!

    It does also appear that there are many many people planning to start in March and it tapers off quickly in April... Scan the projected start days of the folks blogging on trail journals and the majority are starting in March. I may be ill informed but I have to believe an early to mid April start date provides enough time to finish and also possibly pushes out some nasty weather just a bit?

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    I watched the movie right after it came out. I don't see it inspiring many to hike the trail, nor did the audience seem to be interested. Nobody looked to have any real hiking knowledge - amongst the whispered comments overheard in the theater, nobody seemed to notice the blatant Hollywoodisms like trekking poles which stayed permanently affixed to the packs without a single scuff on the upward-pointing bottoms anywhere in the movie, the apparent carrying of a dresser full of clothing changes including a bathrobe, or the rather serious differences between the movie and the book. It was a movie designed to entertain with humor, and succeeded at that. The main characters faced some difficulties and ultimately gave up on the thru hike, though not so drastically as in the book where they skipped many huge sections of the trail and still failed to complete it. While I enjoyed the movie's humor and related to the AT aspect of it, I was not at all inspired by it and doubt many others will be. The movies Wild and Southbounders, on the other hand, were a very different story and *did* inspire getting out and hitting the trail. Walk in the Woods illustrated the hike to be far easier than it is for most people, especially considered the drastic unfitness of Katz, which may be a slight encouragement to some, but that sort will be quickly discouraged upon reading anything realistic about the hike or worse, if they do head into it unprepared next spring, will likely give up early.

    I have read a lot of books by various thru-hikers and find most of them inspiring - I think that their existence and word-of-mouth, along with some better movies such as Wild and Southbounders, are what is increasing the popularity of thru-hiking, along with increasing frustration with an ever-more-technology-based society. I have no concern about Walk in the Woods causing a dramatic surge in popularity next year, though of course I could be wrong - this is just my opinion.

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    My take after reading the book through 3X, seeing the movie 2x, and hearing, reading, and rehashing AWIW ad nauseam on various forums and on the trail for 10 yrs is that you'll have some empty nesters, mid lifers, and fence sitters taking to the AT, and perhaps simply hiking anywhere and everywhere beyond the AT.


    We'll see an uptick in AT numbers this year again due in part to some degree from the various outdoor adventure and backpacking movies. The real impact as it relates to the OP, will not be realized until, ummm, April 2016.



    IMO, disregarding the over the top fatalistic drama queens on forums like this, the various agencies and groups that coordinate the management of the AT weren't so much concerned about "masses of moviegoers running to the AT because of the movie." They ARE concerned about the masses ALREADY on the AT having adopted a traditional AT NOBO thru-hike itinerary while ADDING numbers to that category of AT users that saw one of these movies.



    It's been well covered in excellent detail here on WB how to avoid adding to the AT NOBO impact and reducing issues for yourself as a AT thru-hiker. Kerosone just gave you a few very worthy considerations on how to achieve that. Now, it's up to each individual thru-hiker to find solutions that fit their hikes while having considerate awareness to not add to issues in the BIGGER PICTURE.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JaketheFake View Post
    I'm not so concerned about crowds to a point so I'm not going to be planning everything I do around avoiding people. Heck I like people!
    Do you like a party atmosphere? It's not just a question of whether you like people. Northbound in Georgia during popular times will feel like a rolling party of sorts. It will get better as you go as those who are not really into the hike thin out and a good percentage that remain are serious about going the distance, though you'll also keep running into some party-oriented people who skip chunks of the trail by hitchhiking, etc. - so be prepared to not let that discourage you if you are more diligently hiking the whole thing - simply because it is the popular time. Also there are simply more practical concerns during popular times - less space at shelters, more people making noise late at night or early in the morning when you are trying to sleep, etc. Trail magic is frequent during these popular times; that and the abundance of people keeps a certain type of person who would not normally be interested in hiking on the trail. Not to put them down, but just pointing out some things to anticipate. This is one reason I am leaning towards a Southbound hike, but there's certainly those who will enjoy the busier atmosphere of a popularly-timed Northbound hike. If you really want to have more ideal weather conditions for your hike, you might consider starting and ending in Harper's Ferry which will also avoid the crowds - personally I am attached to the notion of hiking end-to-end but there are definite advantages to a flip flop hike to consider. The middle portion of the trail is the lowest in elevation and thus, the worst to hike during the heat of the summer, which is when a traditional hike will put you there. Whereas if you start in HF, you are in the lower elevations during the cooler weather, which are also the most difficult times for the higher elevations (such as the Smokies and Whites), which puts you in the higher mountains during the warmer months. So you can avoid the freezing cold weather problems of the top and bottom sections, and the hot weather problems of the middle parts, by splitting it.

    It does also appear that there are many many people planning to start in March and it tapers off quickly in April... Scan the projected start days of the folks blogging on trail journals and the majority are starting in March. I may be ill informed but I have to believe an early to mid April start date provides enough time to finish and also possibly pushes out some nasty weather just a bit?
    How confident are you in your ability to hike quickly enough, not needing any time to recover from potential illness or injury, keeping your town visits short, etc.? The later you start, the less likely you are to make it. Many people do not hike as fast as they anticipate, and there is something to be said for simply not having to rush and being able to more fully enjoy the adventure with more time for leisure along the way. With a Northbound hike, you must reach the end before Baxter closes for the winter. More than a few people end up getting all the way to Katahdin, and unable to summit due to bad weather conditions on the mountain. Most are able to retry the completion a day or two later when the weather breaks, but on occasion they are simply not able to summit Katahdin that season. The later you start, the greater the risk of not completing a thru hike. Again though this is something you need to investigate and decide for yourself - there are no wrong answers and it is a totally individual decision when and how to hike!

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    To Dogwood's point... I hope my original post didn't suggest that I was led to believe there wasn't issues prior to the movie. From what I am gathering there certainly are issues that are coming to a head regarding usage of the AT. I am grateful for those people who were concerned as it ensures that the 18th will be there for people like me who want to take a shot at it.

    Regarding Repelan's points .... My tolerance level for the rolling party is probably greater then some however there is that point were I am sure that gets old. Regarding timing there are no guarantees right? That's a big reason why I'm taking a chance at a thru-hike there are no guarantees.... And that makes it all the fun.

    I appreciate everyone's comments as my start date is not locked down yet and all this helps.

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    Registered User JaketheFake's Avatar
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    Oops... That's supposed to say AT not 18th.

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    A friend wanted to see the movie, so I met her at the only theater that was showing it here in 'Lanter. To say the movie was poorly attended is putting it mildly, a total of 6 people including myself.

    Based on what I'm seeing AWITW is going to have minimal impact one way or another.

    Just my $0.02.
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    OTOH, if it's empty nesters and mid-life crisis types that might not be so bad. I'd think that you'd have a more mindful lot as far as LNT is concerned.

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    Registered User ChuckT's Avatar
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    Funny just went out to see AWITW and it's been pulled. Still listed on the Web sites just not showing in the theaters! Mega crowds demanding it obviously😛
    Guess I'll have to wait for the DVD (Xmas) now.
    Miles to go before I sleep. R. Frost

  14. #14

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    There was a well populated thread on the movie when it came out; a common thought was "looking at the movie, and at the audience, ain't a lot of these folks takin' to the trail in the spring." FWIW.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpolk84 View Post
    OTOH, if it's empty nesters and mid-life crisis types that might not be so bad. I'd think that you'd have a more mindful lot as far as LNT is concerned.
    If its the crowd from the theatre I was at, they will be in the sleeping bag by 7pm and expecting a 10% discount on Tuesday.

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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacelord View Post
    If its the crowd from the theatre I was at, they will be in the sleeping bag by 7pm and expecting a 10% discount on Tuesday.
    Yeah, the crowd from the theatre I was at were laughing at the somewhat corny jokes, that carried none of the witty delivery (that had me laughing out loud) I imagined from reading the book a couple of times.

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    I had opportunity to visit both Amicalola and Harper's Ferry after seeing the movie. Neither place seems to have concern about the movie increasing numbers. IMHO, if you are concerned, plan an alternative thru, start late, and get all your gear on e bay, or similar, after they all quit and sell all their expensive gear.

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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by JaketheFake View Post
    To Dogwood's point... I hope my original post didn't suggest that I was led to believe there wasn't issues prior to the movie. From what I am gathering there certainly are issues that are coming to a head regarding usage of the AT. I am grateful for those people who were concerned as it ensures that the 18th will be there for people like me who want to take a shot at it.

    Regarding Repelan's points .... My tolerance level for the rolling party is probably greater then some however there is that point were I am sure that gets old. Regarding timing there are no guarantees right? That's a big reason why I'm taking a chance at a thru-hike there are no guarantees.... And that makes it all the fun.

    I appreciate everyone's comments as my start date is not locked down yet and all this helps.
    ATC will have a voluntary hike registration page live in the next month or two. You'll be able to see what dates other folks have picked and plan accordingly. Based on last year's data, there is definitely a weekend bubble--but it also appears that a significant number of AT hikers in GA are from college groups during spring break--and they do not make use of the registration option.

    Regardless of wether the movie causes a new spike in thru hike attempts, the first 70 miles in March are heavily populated and many (if not most) campsites are filled most nights. A significant population of hikers are inexperienced backpackers which can lead to some pretty unpleasant conditions. Ridgerunners had some weeks where they were routinely hiking out 70lbs of trash and abandoned gear on every trip. Like the situation with Baxter State Park, the concentration of large numbers of hikers in the same place and time causes a lot of stress on the natural and social fabric of the Trail.

    Cosmo

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