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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Why did your attempted thru-hike not succeed?

    There are many more aspiring thru-hikers than successful ones. I'm one of those who didn't make it. I thought '01 was to be my year. Didn't happen that way. Ultimately, it was Miss Janet's trampoline that was my downfall, literally. Probably shouldn't have been doing back-flips on it, specially since that was usually a swimming thing for me so I had a tendency to jump far back rather than straight up. -landed on the bar, wrong... took me off the trail for 5 weeks. By the time I got back on the trail I weighed the "chore" of racing the clock north against doing my own little tour of the east coast. Being from California, and not having seen much of the east coast at the time, I opted to do my own tour: jumped up to the Shenandoah, went to Montauk (tip of Long Island), made it to Maine after all! -though it was Acadia NP, not Katahdin. I tried to hit up every cool place along the way while I was at it. It turned out to be a very worthy adventure; no regrets, but the desire to thu-hike never left me. So 20 years later, I plan on going back for it.

    Anyway, what's your story? Why didn't you make it?
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

  2. #2
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    I haven't attempted it, but I borrowed a movie from the library about a group that did the AT in 2001. Inspiring movie.

    https://catalog.tadl.org/main/details?id=46655809


    Best of luck to you, hope you get another shot at it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bighammer View Post
    I haven't attempted it, but I borrowed a movie from the library about a group that did the AT in 2001. Inspiring movie.

    https://catalog.tadl.org/main/details?id=46655809


    Best of luck to you, hope you get another shot at it.
    Nice. '01 was when I was out there. Only hiked a third of it though.
    Thought I recognized a couple of the guys in the clip, but can't be sure... it has been a while. Am sure I met the first guy to do the triple crown (AT, PCT, CDT) in a year, that year.

    Anyway, thanks! I'm planning for '21... hope I make it out there.
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

  4. #4
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    Now that I think about it, I'll probably be the only one with a story to share... can't see many leaving the trail then hanging out here, much less admitting it. Lol
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

  5. #5
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    You mentioned '01 and in the movie they talked about hearing about the 9-11 attacks from a passing hiker, I think as they were getting into Maine. They had taken a side trip into NYC, so they were there just days or weeks before.

    Hope you can find the movie. It started out sort of odd, and we looked at each like "I can't watch this whole thing" but it got better pretty quickly.

  6. #6
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    I was on site just weeks before too. Next thing I know I'm watching them drop. I still mourn that day.
    What America was founded to be was finally laid to rest.
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

  7. #7
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    My brother and I attempted a SOBO in 1976. We hiked for 3 1/2 months and got to central VA and decided to quit. After several days of rain and cold and lack of views we decided we no longer were having fun and quit. We had 43 days of rain during our 103 days of hiking. After returning home I was convinced I made the wrong decision and would return some day and do a successful thru. Thirty-four years later I came back and completed a NOBO.
    More walking, less talking.

  8. #8
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    ^ you're my hero. Glad you went back for it.
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

  9. #9

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    Because at 500 miles or so, I chose to look at a pretty view off to the right of a ridge as I was moving down a rocky trail. Turned my ankle, lunged forward to get weight off the ankle, started to congratulate myself at having avoided a badly sprained ankled... and realized I'd torn a ligament in the opposite knee. I limped along for another 100 miles, took way too many zero days trying to baby the knee, and let it heal. Eventually I was barely moving forward, the knee was getting worse and the knee was unstable to the point where I almost fell off a ledge. This was in 2016, and I got off the trail in Bland, Va.

    I took 2017 off from pretty much all movement, and the ligament mostly healed. Of course, I gained 20 pounds, because it took far too long to get out of hiker hunger mode. In the spring of this year, I started day hiking again, lost most of the extra weight. This year, I've started winter hiking for the first time in my life. In 2019 I'm going to do a backpacking trip on a long trail again. I'm waffling between a full thru of the AT, or starting in Bland and heading north, or maybe the VT Long Trail.

    All, in all I won't say that my AT trhu attempt didn't succeed. I certainly didn't finish, but I loved every second of it, even injured. I learned I didn't mind the camping portion (I'd never camped before) I enjoyed the trail community, in small amounts. I'm not the most social person, and alternated being social, and stealth camping. I found the mix that worked for me. Overall, my thru hike attempt was a physical/mental health success for me. I was bummed when I got off the trail initially, but on reflection it was a success by my terms. Too many people here seem to think there's some sort of moral failing if you end your hike early for any reason. I feel kind of bad for those people.

  10. #10

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    I guess mine failed as I didn't really give it a serious go. Did make 900 miles, but not all linear. End up skipping around a little, then ended up getting a job as a GMC caretaker. A better way to spend the summer and fall, as I got paid enough to eat doing that

    Now with over 7000 miles of AT section hikes under my feet, no real desire to do a full thru hike. A month or two at a time, every year for the last 12 years or so works out much better.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    All, in all I won't say that my AT trhu attempt didn't succeed. I certainly didn't finish, but I loved every second of it, even injured. I learned I didn't mind the camping portion (I'd never camped before) I enjoyed the trail community, in small amounts. I'm not the most social person, and alternated being social, and stealth camping. I found the mix that worked for me. Overall, my thru hike attempt was a physical/mental health success for me. I was bummed when I got off the trail initially, but on reflection it was a success by my terms. Too many people here seem to think there's some sort of moral failing if you end your hike early for any reason. I feel kind of bad for those people.
    Bravo! I know that sentiment well; I don't think mine was a "failed" hike either. I more or less got what I came for, though I didn't give up the thru-hike easy. I strongly considered doing a flip-flop, but it seems I was too much of a purist for that. 2000 miler wasn't exactly the goal, hiking to Katahdin was, still is.

    Yea, I'm introvert too. I certainly appreciate mixing it up with restless natives, but not always.

    Hope you've healed up well. Glad to know you're getting back out there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I guess mine failed as I didn't really give it a serious go. Did make 900 miles, but not all linear. End up skipping around a little, then ended up getting a job as a GMC caretaker. A better way to spend the summer and fall, as I got paid enough to eat doing that

    Now with over 7000 miles of AT section hikes under my feet, no real desire to do a full thru hike. A month or two at a time, every year for the last 12 years or so works out much better.
    Lol. Indeed! Eating well has its benefits too. =).

    Nice! 7k is a nice haul. I have to assume that almost certainly means you got your 2000 miler in long ago, and arguably have more to be proud of than a one season go anyway.
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

  12. #12
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    I tore the meniscus in my left knee sometime in June in VA. Hiked on past Harpers Ferry, I could walk but not do the big step over a log or rock. I went to an emergency clinic and the doctor said things like “permanent damage” and “surgury” and made a comment about arthritis “at my age”. It was probably overuse, weight and maybe one of my 16 falls. So, I go off ( don’t like to say “quit” ) in July, rested, got lube shots, etc. I went back out in October to hike home into PA and past the halfway point.

    I’m currently planning my return next year for PA -> ME.
    76 HawkMtn w/Rangers
    13 HF>CramptonsG
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    15 Girard/Quebec/LostTurkey/Saylor/Tuscarora/BlackForest
    16 Kennerdell/Cranberry-Otter/DollyS/WRim-NCT
    17 BearR
    18-19 AT NOBO 1540.5

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerZ View Post
    I tore the meniscus in my left knee sometime in June in VA. Hiked on past Harpers Ferry, I could walk but not do the big step over a log or rock. I went to an emergency clinic and the doctor said things like “permanent damage” and “surgury” and made a comment about arthritis “at my age”. It was probably overuse, weight and maybe one of my 16 falls. So, I go off ( don’t like to say “quit” ) in July, rested, got lube shots, etc. I went back out in October to hike home into PA and past the halfway point.

    I’m currently planning my return next year for PA -> ME.
    Right on. Glad you took care of yourself in spite of your ambition, and went for a worthy stopping point when the time was right. Sweet! Hope you have a great hike this season! 16 times tho? Yikes. Keep the shiny side up bro! =)
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rift Zone View Post
    Nice! 7k is a nice haul. I have to assume that almost certainly means you got your 2000 miler in long ago, and arguably have more to be proud of than a one season go anyway.
    To be honest, I have yet to hike the entire AT. I still have about 40 miles of NH to do. Where do I live? NH of course. Maybe someday I'll finish it, maybe not. I was going to try and finish off NH this summer, but got sidetracked into doing trail maintenance instead, putting in about 100 hours.

    If all goes well, I'll do another 500 miles this spring. Want to do Springer to VA one more time.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I guess mine failed as I didn't really give it a serious go.
    i thought it was cause you spent so much time telling everyone headed the other direction how hard the trail they were about to hike on was?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    To be honest, I have yet to hike the entire AT. I still have about 40 miles of NH to do. Where do I live? NH of course. Maybe someday I'll finish it, maybe not. I was going to try and finish off NH this summer, but got sidetracked into doing trail maintenance instead, putting in about 100 hours.

    If all goes well, I'll do another 500 miles this spring. Want to do Springer to VA one more time.
    Say what? Out of 7k, you still have 40 miles in your own back yard you've managed to leave alone? That's hard core. You have the constitution of an oak... I wouldn't have made it. Lol
    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    i thought it was cause you spent so much time telling everyone headed the other direction how hard the trail they were about to hike on was?
    Lol
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

  17. #17

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    Everyone else assumed that I was doing a thru, as I hiked more than 1000 miles north in 1974 at the age of 17. I got to know the rather few real thrus and they treated me like another thru. But at some point (Andover, ME) I just lost interest and at a road crossing half heartedly put out my thumb. To my surprise I got a ride, and a day later I was back home in Md.

    Interest in finishing didn't come for another 30 years. In my 50's my wife got interested in seeing me finish up the AT and we made a number of trips and I finished a bit after my 40th anniversary of starting.

    No regrets. Do what you want to do. Don't let conventions or group pressure or fake standards control you. Some of the thru culture is really mean IMO and should not be obeyed.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    Everyone else assumed that I was doing a thru, as I hiked more than 1000 miles north in 1974 at the age of 17. I got to know the rather few real thrus and they treated me like another thru. But at some point (Andover, ME) I just lost interest and at a road crossing half heartedly put out my thumb. To my surprise I got a ride, and a day later I was back home in Md.

    Interest in finishing didn't come for another 30 years. In my 50's my wife got interested in seeing me finish up the AT and we made a number of trips and I finished a bit after my 40th anniversary of starting.

    No regrets. Do what you want to do. Don't let conventions or group pressure or fake standards control you. Some of the thru culture is really mean IMO and should not be obeyed.
    The thru pursued you, not you it... ha! That's awesome. What a cool story.

    Aye good sir, been walking my own path my whole life; I imagine I'll likewise be doing the trail on my own terms alone. =) Thanks for the fantastic advice.
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

  19. #19
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    My 1st attempt was in '15 right after I retired (military). I made it about 750 miles to a little above Roanoke, Va then my hiking buddy who I met along the way ended up getting very sick, ultimately landing himself in the hospital. I continued on and found I was heading down the same path (see what I did there? haha). So I very emotionally decided to throw in the towel. I had already lost 46 pounds due to doing everything wrong (pack too heavy, not eating right, too many miles, going too hard, etc). 2 years later, I took what I learned and started right from the beginning again (under that beautiful arch), made it the entire way and summited Katahdin on day 133. I've never done any other long distance backpacking other than this. I've got 3126 (?) miles logged on this trail and hope to hit the 5000 mile mark one day. Another future thru hike is a definite but most likely after I retire for good. Until then, I'll keep tracking and logging miles on section hikes with my brother as he's doing the whole thing in sections.
    - Trail name: Thumper

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rift Zone View Post
    Right on. Glad you took care of yourself in spite of your ambition, and went for a worthy stopping point when the time was right. Sweet! Hope you have a great hike this season! 16 times tho? Yikes. Keep the shiny side up bro! =)
    Seventeen with the fall I took in October when I went back out. But by then it was Fall.
    76 HawkMtn w/Rangers
    13 HF>CramptonsG
    14 LHHT
    15 Girard/Quebec/LostTurkey/Saylor/Tuscarora/BlackForest
    16 Kennerdell/Cranberry-Otter/DollyS/WRim-NCT
    17 BearR
    18-19 AT NOBO 1540.5

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