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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    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.
    soilman, i thought about quitting just a few days south of Dalton due to issues with pain. I told my wife I was quitting and she gave me the best piece of advice I have ever received in my life...she told me to quit and that would be OK. But she also said I would be thinking about it (doing a thruhike)the rest of my life. I don't know why or how, but I knew she was 100% right the instant she said those words. So, when i got to Dalton I got the appropriate medical treatment...and finished the hike. i still section hike every year and love my time doing those, but I (and maybe you as well) needed the closure that came with finishing. Not everybody is wired this way and I totally respect that.

  2. #22
    Registered User Bubblehead's Avatar
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    Hiked 635 miles in 2016, Springer Approach to Pearisburg. Got Norovirus, I think, leading into Pearisburg. I could have rested 3 or 4 days and continued my hike, but I really missed my wife, so I went home. In 2017, I continued my hike north from Pearisburg with a goal of hiking to Pawling, NY...806 miles. It was great LASH, and I made it with no problems.
    This past summer (2018), I continued north from Pawling aiming to finish the trail. I fell hard on my knee just south of Salisbury, Ct. I hiked another 30 miles, but the pain became too much, so I left the trail at mile 1511 in southern Mass. I stayed at Jess Treats house in Sheffield, Mass, and she took me to the ER in Great Barrington. The doc did and X-ray and gave me a set of crutches...he said at best I'd have to stay off the leg for a few weeks, and that I needed an MRI to see if there was any real damage. I flew back home the next day with only 69 miles hiked...I was very disappointed! Got the MRI done here in Florida...no damage, just a deep bone bruise.
    So, next May I plan on finishing the trail, except I'm going to start a few hundred miles south of where I finished earlier this year, at Wind Gap, Pa. I want to do the extra miles to get my legs in the best shape possible before getting to the Whites. I'm flying to Lehigh Valley Int. Airport on May 3rd and heading north. Can't wait!
    I've found that 2-3 months hiking for me is good. Don't care to be away from home for 6 months...I did that plenty when I was in the Navy! Now, I have a choice...!

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4shot View Post
    she also said I would be thinking about it (doing a thruhike)the rest of my life.
    Yea, i'm on 17 years already and the call keeps getting stronger than the before I hiked up the falls.

    Nice, cool she was in the right place at the right time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bubblehead View Post
    Hiked 635 miles in 2016, Springer Approach to Pearisburg. Got Norovirus, I think, leading into Pearisburg. I could have rested 3 or 4 days and continued my hike, but I really missed my wife, so I went home. In 2017, I continued my hike north from Pearisburg with a goal of hiking to Pawling, NY...806 miles. It was great LASH, and I made it with no problems.
    This past summer (2018), I continued north from Pawling aiming to finish the trail. I fell hard on my knee just south of Salisbury, Ct. I hiked another 30 miles, but the pain became too much, so I left the trail at mile 1511 in southern Mass. I stayed at Jess Treats house in Sheffield, Mass, and she took me to the ER in Great Barrington. The doc did and X-ray and gave me a set of crutches...he said at best I'd have to stay off the leg for a few weeks, and that I needed an MRI to see if there was any real damage. I flew back home the next day with only 69 miles hiked...I was very disappointed! Got the MRI done here in Florida...no damage, just a deep bone bruise.
    So, next May I plan on finishing the trail, except I'm going to start a few hundred miles south of where I finished earlier this year, at Wind Gap, Pa. I want to do the extra miles to get my legs in the best shape possible before getting to the Whites. I'm flying to Lehigh Valley Int. Airport on May 3rd and heading north. Can't wait!
    I've found that 2-3 months hiking for me is good. Don't care to be away from home for 6 months...I did that plenty when I was in the Navy! Now, I have a choice...!
    Seems we all cant seem to leave it alone. That sucks so bad, getting taken off the trail like that. Sweet that it's only a temporary setback! godspeed!
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

  4. #24

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    I attempted a thru in 2015. Picked up a nasty MRSA infection around the NOC, got really sick the first night in the Smokies, and ended up in the hospital for 13 days. Not fun. Wasn’t able to get back on trail that year due to extended recovery time.

    I’m now sectioning my way north, but also branching out more from the AT.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rift Zone View Post
    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?
    You're conflicted trying to come to terms. You say you have no regrets but immediately follow that up with ".... but the desire to thru-hike never left me."
    You know you were successful in some ways. For you success in hiking is about the quality of the miles, not just the number of miles, the journey, and depth of profound awarenesses and experiences that extend beyond a 30" wide tread or simply a starting and ending terminus(destination). You describe yourself not like some, maybe even most thrus, who approach and define their hikes by largely turning their minds off Zombieing to Maine judging success largely or solely on number of miles slogged. For you, much like myself, you perceive LD hiking as a way to travel, to see the world, to reconnect with Nature, to experience more than just mindless backpacking or walking beyond "where's the next shelter" or attaining a framed pic at the summit of Mt K or simply a 30" wide "trail." You know thru hiking is so much more than just hiking! A 'trail' can be more than a physical 30" wide trail. That in itself is an awareness that some, including myself, deem as a success.


    Where you may have a success conflict is not so much in accomplishing a "thru hike" but accomplishing a completion of the AT from Springer to Katahdin with your quality of miles and widespread experiences while backpacking and traveling. That is often difficult to do considering typical LD trail timeframes and the bottomless wealth of possible experiences that can define a LD hike that one has to make choices. Very very very often those choices involve reducing the quality of the miles, the profoundness of widespread experiences along the way beyond a 30" wide tread, not letting the hike into your soul, adapting a get er dun gotta go gotta get outta here gotta be somewhere else up the trail mentality. It's even implied in so called "Zero and Nero Days" - you didn't get much done accomplishing the goal of miles, getting to a somewhat arbitrary pt on a map denoting a terminus of a named trail. But, that doesn't mean the perhaps HIGH quality experiences and times on a Zero or Nero is zero or a nero!...neither does time off the trail in larger chunks! You seem to have fond memories of your hike yrs ago because of this! If you had thru-hiked the entire AT length the quality and wider accomplishment of experiences and those feelings perhaps would have suffered.



    Forgive me if I'm reading you wrong but you sound like someone who is a prime candidate for bringing closure, gaining a sense of completion, by LASHing the rest of your AT miles in the style of that AT hike yrs ago. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Hold on to the qualitative approach that you so enjoyed previously. Don't fall into the trap of going simply for quantity; you may find overall, that in some significant ways, it's less productive having lower overall value; in short, consider less quantity with high quality. Don't be a Walmart Biz model hiker... low cost, that often correlates with lower quality and poorer lasting value, and high volume.


    It's not necessary to have success in hiking by defining your approach always as thru-hiking. Nor does distance hiked necessarily have to define hiking success.


    Or, if you want to assuage your soul redefine what thru hiking and success means to you....not necessarily how others define it.


    For myself, YES, I've had to quit LD hikes or thru hikes. It's rare though. I hate quitting. But the success was in experiencing what I did hike was of the quality explained above and seeing it as temporary. The success for me was that I got back out there after some time and completed those "thru hikes" while maintaining that quality of widespread experiences beyond simply hiking. For me, that's one of the ways I live with myself as a hiker and success seeker. The why's of quitting are much less important. The why's are not my main focus. I suggest, you too not make the why's of quitting your main focus. Make the main focus of your inquiry those that abandoned an AT thru hike and eventually came back yrs later to complete it.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    You're conflicted trying to come to terms. You say you have no regrets but immediately follow that up with ".... but the desire to thru-hike never left me."
    lol I suppose that is a bit suspicious. I think you got me pegged pretty well. On both the enjoying the moment, and the determination to push. It is all true, I am out to hang out with mother nature and indulge all her wonders. Much of the time I'm doing just that. But also I kinda like to geek out on things too, so I'll also run on auto-pilot, thinking about crap no one cares about (perhaps not everyone). Nature is my favorite place to geek out on things. and I'm a real strong hiker. Have more or less kept up a seriously active lifestyle for decades now. ,All the while enduring all sorts of elements, but it's cool, mother nature and I have been friends for a while now, so I know how to handle all that without skipping a beat. All things considered, I kinda like the long miles. Then again, I also have a hedonist flair, so it's not all work and no play, chill, party.... -healthy balance there, in general, i hope.
    but yea, no question if I'm feeling behind the season I'm gonna step on it. I like to think I have a healthy relation with that one too though. After all, I'm there to chill with nature. Losing touch with her in favor of slaving over some BS that's not working for me any more is not exactly my way.

    Thanks for the advice. I'll do my best.

    oh, about them regrets... I so never wanted to leave the trail in the first place. Of course doing so was kinda rough. And I never stopped wanting to thru. So clearly I'm not done making peace with the situation yet. -There is all that... But still, I made the right choice. I knew it then, and I know it now. Racing the season would have been that 'nothing but miles' focus that would have blinded me to everything else. -so do I regret bailing out on that in favor of a trip that was more my speed? Not.a.bit. =)
    Last edited by Rift Zone; 12-24-2018 at 00:12.
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

  7. #27
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    BTW, you're not the only one to get hurt on Mrs J's trampoline.


    Listening and considering helps me more than speaking or writing too.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by soumodeler View Post
    I attempted a thru in 2015. Picked up a nasty MRSA infection around the NOC, got really sick the first night in the Smokies, and ended up in the hospital for 13 days. Not fun. Wasn’t able to get back on trail that year due to extended recovery time.

    I’m now sectioning my way north, but also branching out more from the AT.
    =( Rough. Love you're keeping the dream alive though. Hope I catch you on your '21 excursion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    BTW, you're not the only one to get hurt on Mrs J's trampoline.
    Ha! Oh I can only imagine... bound to be a really impressive confirmed kills tally on them bars somewhere!
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

  9. #29

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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.
    IMO best movie ever made about the AT, and I have probably watched at least a dozen.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  10. #30
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    I've seen too many people pushing to get in miles each day and missing all that was around them. I have no desire to do it all in one season. It's a feat, and I'm minimizing it, but I like to enjoy my surroundings more and not be pushed or rushed.

  11. #31
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    Years ago while working on a volunteer trail crew on White Cap Mt I met a older NOBO hiker. I asked him if he was excited that he was almost finished and how is hike had been. He said to me "I hated every minute." I asked him why he didn't quit. He said I am military and I never quit something I start.
    More walking, less talking.

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    Years ago while working on a volunteer trail crew on White Cap Mt I met a older NOBO hiker. I asked him if he was excited that he was almost finished and how is hike had been. He said to me "I hated every minute." I asked him why he didn't quit. He said I am military and I never quit something I start.
    I hope in the end he was actually happy he did it.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  13. #33
    Registered User gravityman's Avatar
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    Ha!

    We started in 01. Got the Harpers Ferry before Danger's feet and intestine issues overwhelmed the fun.

    went back to Ga in '05 and made it to ME. We just couldn't leave it alone.

    Then kids came shortly after that. Now with a 12 yo and 9 yo we are starting to do some long distance hiking in Europe alps. It's easy hiking over there!

    Gravity and Danger
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  15. #35
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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.
    Is this Ranger Z that ATM (the tall French guy) and I ("Possibly," a teacher from Virginia) hiked with off and on from the Smokies through mid-Virginia? We had dinner with you at that Mexican restaurant in Erwin, right? Sorry to hear about your injury! We were consistently a day behind you in Virginia after taking a zero at my brother's house, and then we stopped seeing your name in the logs. We didn't know if you'd gotten off or if we'd passed you without seeing you. Glad you got the care you needed and can finish it up in 2019. Good luck! (And if it makes you feel any better, from Vermont to Maine I fell over approximately twice a day.)

    Regarding the topic at hand, I did succeed on my hike but I had a couple serious health issues, and I struggled off and on with burnout when various factors combined all at once to make the experience miserable (bugs, mud, rain, chafing, knee pain, illness, boring rocky trail, etc). I could cheerfully deal with any three or four of these factors at any given time, but when they all combine, there was definitely a sense of "why am I doing this?" The people around me, and one in particular, helped me continue to want it. I started the trail solo and determined to be sociable but ultimately independent. Instead, if anything, the lesson for me was how to lean on my friends. Humbling for sure. So beyond the undeniable reasons to get off like a serious injury, I think the stumbling block that might have caused me to fail would be refusing support when it was offered.

    The other common stumbling block I observed was lack of funds. No one plans to spend so many nights in hotels and hostels, but on a year as rainy as this one, it took some serious willpower to escape the town vortex sometimes, and I saw a lot of people succumb.
    A.T. 2018 Thru-hiker
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  16. #36
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    Some injuries are self inflicted ignoring sound advice about footwear, blister prevention, working one's way into their hike, reducing kit wt, competing with other's agendas, excessive pride, getting into some degree of mental, emotional, and physical form for LD hiking before the start, etc. Injuries don't always happen to us without our own causal input.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnightErrant View Post
    Is this Ranger Z that ATM (the tall French guy) and I ("Possibly," a teacher from Virginia) hiked with off and on from the Smokies through mid-Virginia? We had dinner with you at that Mexican restaurant in Erwin, right? Sorry to hear about your injury! We were consistently a day behind you in Virginia after taking a zero at my brother's house, and then we stopped seeing your name in the logs. We didn't know if you'd gotten off or if we'd passed you without seeing you. Glad you got the care you needed and can finish it up in 2019. Good luck! (And if it makes you feel any better, from Vermont to Maine I fell over approximately twice a day.)

    Regarding the topic at hand, I did succeed on my hike but I had a couple serious health issues, and I struggled off and on with burnout when various factors combined all at once to make the experience miserable (bugs, mud, rain, chafing, knee pain, illness, boring rocky trail, etc). I could cheerfully deal with any three or four of these factors at any given time, but when they all combine, there was definitely a sense of "why am I doing this?" The people around me, and one in particular, helped me continue to want it. I started the trail solo and determined to be sociable but ultimately independent. Instead, if anything, the lesson for me was how to lean on my friends. Humbling for sure. So beyond the undeniable reasons to get off like a serious injury, I think the stumbling block that might have caused me to fail would be refusing support when it was offered.

    The other common stumbling block I observed was lack of funds. No one plans to spend so many nights in hotels and hostels, but on a year as rainy as this one, it took some serious willpower to escape the town vortex sometimes, and I saw a lot of people succumb.

    Yes, it’s me. That was the 12th of May in Erwin. I definitely think that I was intruding that night, sorry.



    I know that it’s heresy but I did not like the Smokies. I thought the woods were from Grimm’s fairy tales - dark, etc. Rain didn’t help.

    That stretch thru NC/TN was hard for me. I had some hard days and wasn’t enjoying the hike, I could have quit there. The community helped me also. I remember eating and passing time with you both. We were also hiking around a father daughter team, JimmyJohn and Monty Python. They were extremely caring people and I was always glad to see them. I hiked near them until Waynesboro where they got off the trail.

    I was not consistent in writing in the shelter logs. Others have said they were wondering where I was. I did (anonymously) confess my sins at the Priest Shelter.

    I did not like getting off the trail. I’ve been on both sides of the stupid line in the past but getting off when I did was definitely on the smart side. My knee had been bothering me for a while thru northern VA.

    I’m glad that you made it to Katahdin. Next year for me.
    76 HawkMtn w/Rangers
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  18. #38
    Registered User Old Hiker's Avatar
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    2012 - broken ankle at mile 500, just past Thomas Knob Shelter - perfectly FLAT trail.

    2016 - started again at Springer and completed.
    Old Hiker
    AT Hike 2012 - 497 Miles of 2184
    AT Thru Hiker - 29 FEB - 03 OCT 2016 2189.1 miles
    Just because my teeth are showing, does NOT mean I'm smiling.
    Hányszor lennél inkább máshol?

  19. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hiker View Post
    2012 - broken ankle at mile 500, just past Thomas Knob Shelter - perfectly FLAT trail. 2016 - started again at Springer and completed.
    It's the perfectly flat section trail which will get you every time. That's where I take the most stumbles. One small loose rock under the leaves. You bet I'll step on it.

    Ending a thru hike boils down to just a few reasons.

    1) injury/sickness.
    2) lack of money.
    3) family emergency.
    4) lack of will power. A catch all for every other justification for going home of which there are many.

    Individual details of course vary, but will fall into one of the above categories.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  20. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    I hope in the end he was actually happy he did it.
    He did. He won.
    I am a vet too, continue the mission until complete. Then wait for next mission.
    Real soldiers do not quit until they finish their task. Not always easy for a lot of people to understand.

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