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A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
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  1. #21
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    Do it as soon as you can. Life is short, unpredictable, and can often be very unfair.

  2. #22

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    Rick Elias, a guy who survived the plane landing in the Hudson River, says he "collects bad wines". He learned not to count on having years to wait for something to "ripen". There are a million other examples of unfavorable things that happen while you sit back and make plans...

  3. #23
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    I do financial plans for clients. Many people approach retirement the same way a brand new hiker would approach Springer—overloaded. More capital than they need, with the likely beneficiaries of their frugality being their kids.

    Backpacking, even platinum blazing, is a pretty inexpensive early retirement lifestyle.

    Analyze and prioritize.

    What are the details of your pension? Many base the payout on something like the highest 5 yrs of the past 10. Could that accommodate a fade away style retirement vs a hard stop style? The cubicle of 1000 hours/yr might be enjoyable while that of 2000 miserable.

    Studies have shown that people of all starting spending levels drop them tremendously past 80 or so.

    Of your current spending, how much will go away as your kids move out? And pay their own car insurance, fill their own fridges, pay their own cell bills?

    If you’ve really done all this work, my apologies. I just find so often people don’t. Some of this a planner can provide help with, but some is legwork only you and your family can do.

    Best of luck.

  4. #24

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    I have really started to enjoy extended hiking vacations over the past few years as all my kids got to college-age and I had a bit more time in my schedule. I plan to retire in mid-2022 (when most of the college tuition costs will be behind us), and want to spend a lot of time traveling - which to me means hiking and backpacking. I decided I liked the idea of extended backpacking, but don't necessarily feel the need to do a thru-hike. I could wait 2 years, but who knows what could happen. I decided that I did not want to wait and risk not being able to do it at all. Also, I'd like to be ready - with the gear and the confidence - when I retire.

    So in 2020 I took a 5-week vacation (lots of accumulated vacation time) and hiked the first 352 miles of the AT (NOBO from Springer). I plan to go back the end of March and hike the next ~378+/- miles (Daleville VA is my goal). I might be pushing the vacation use, but if I can get another LASH in the Fall 2021 I could get close to the half-way point. Then, when I actually do retire, I could finish the trail (in less than 2 calendar years) if that is what I want to do. It's not a thru-hike, but if something were to happen between now and when I retire that meant I could no longer get on trail, at least I've enjoyed some great LASHes. I'm planning to be around for a while, but none of us knows what condition we'll be in 6 months or two years from now. If I am able to finish the AT a few months after I retire, then I have the fitness, the gear and the TIME to take on other adventures on my list (out WEST!).

  5. #25

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    The older I get, the more I realize that when an opportunity emerges-you gotta go for it. Life can throw some curveballs when you least expect it.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony18 View Post
    The older I get, the more I realize that when an opportunity emerges-you gotta go for it. Life can throw some curveballs when you least expect it.
    Yes, curveballs are almost certain. Ten years ago, I could have hiked any long trail without any problems. Now I have obligations that prevent me from doing so, although I can still get away for a week or two. At least my issues are not health related, so I have hope that in the distant future I'll be able to thru hike the long trails, but I'll be an "older hiker" by then. Everything is easier when you are young.

  7. #27
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    Red face Split the difference... Thru in 2025

    8 months after starting this thread I've done some more thinking and planning.
    Taking 6 months off work isn't going to happen.
    I can probably do one 5 week trip each summer. I am working hard to mentor my team at work so I become much less essential!
    Retirement is likely possible sooner than I had envisioned. I'm now targeting December 2024 instead of 2025-2028!
    With that consideration I have a lot of work and planning to do! Instead of sometime far, far in the future less than 4 years seems close!

    Summer 2021 will be a longish trip with my son before he starts college. That leaves 3 summers before retirement which will be great for exploring other areas and getting dialed for a long trip. Now I just have to sell my spouse on the time/$ impact of that date.

    Although I'm not 100% sure of a full AT thru hike, I am 100% sure of planning for big adventures when I'm not time-constrained.

    Jim

  8. #28
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    I hiked in '09 at 54. Developed foot drop in 2008. Can't hike now. Hike when you can. Time changes things.
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  9. #29
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    Should of said "2018" severed nerve and lost the use of left foot. can still walk but not far. glad i went when i did
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  10. #30
    Registered User hobbs's Avatar
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    A nice lash will be good for you...Retirement with way things are From your last post people gave you things to think about.Thats good.
    My love for life is quit simple .i get uo in the moring and then i go to bed at night. What I do inbween is to occupy my time. Cary Grant

  11. #31

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    I thought I wanted to thru-hike, but after 2 summers and 1200 miles of LASHing, I don't have any desire to spend 5 months on the trail. I have found that for me, 8 weeks on the trail at a time is enough. Hiking is a selfish endeavor and leaving my commitments for longer than 2 months would never be ok for me.

    The advantage of LASHing is that you get to pick the best time/weather to hike each section. You can do the southern half in the fall, You can hike Katahdin in July, You can do the whites in August. You can do the whole AT in three 800 mile LASHs and still meet your family and work commitments.

    Sure, thru-hiking is a test of stamina and endurance, but if you really look at it objectively, completing a thru-hike really just earns you bragging rights. If that is important, Go for it.

  12. #32

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    I ran into an older hiker who had done the AT and PCT in sections. He typically went out in September. He was an accountant and September was his least busy month. So he took the month off and went hiking.

  13. #33

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    Go now, do it now, because "later" has a terrible habit of becoming "never".
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  14. #34
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    The best time to go hiking is whenever you can.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    .... glad i went when i did
    Karl I'm reading your 2009 journal right now. You have a great attitude!

    Jim

  16. #36

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    JimQPublic, your story most certainly is not unique. It sounds like mine. Lots of skiing, bike touring all over the world, and hiking in my late teens into my 20's followed by career and family responsibilities with that long goal of completing the AT as a Thru

    Everyone thinks their retirement years will be golden but they do not count on years of 24/7 taking care of a debilitated parent or more likely their own health limitations. At your age, I felt 18. Not so much now. My advice? Don't take time or the good fortune of good health for granted. Why not do a lash every year until retirement? It would be a bitch to get to retirement and have misfortune come your way. Trust me.

  17. #37
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    They say a journey of 2190 miles starts with a single step... This idea of hiking the AT that I've had since reading Backpacker magazine as a kid in the 70's and 80's always seemed far off or maybe just a dream. Now I can almost smell it.

    Not the AT, but we just planned and booked flights and pre/post trip lodging for our first backpacking trip east of California.

    We're going to hike New Hampshire's Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway trail in late October. It will coincide with an event we are attending in Boston. Hopefully both prime autumn colors and the first winter storm will be delayed slightly so we experience the first but not the second! The goal was to find a trail that had nicely-spaced shelters for a moderate 5 day trip with reasonable access from Boston. Logistics are pretty well worked out with bus and hotel to the Sunapee end and taxi, hotel, and rental car from the Monadnock end.

    Jim

  18. #38

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    Good post, Nanatuck. I agree. The problem with doing something for bragging rights is that nobody really cares, for more than a second or two.

    I walked the northern portion of the PCT at the time of thru-hikers finishing in Sept in 2019, going SOBO and meeting hundreds of thru hikers passing me on the trail. I asked a lot of them if they would do it again, and nobody said yes. Some said it was like being in jail. They couldn't quit at this point, but they had had enough of it months earlier. There may be exceptions, but I found this pretty revealing. That lifestyle is not for everybody. The harsh reality is that you can get pretty miserable out there.

    I like about two weeks on the trail at a time.

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