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Thread: Slackpacking

  1. #41

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    Odd philosophical issue to be sorting out since one cannot really be a thru hiker until they complete the trail in full, then they become a thru hiker.

  2. #42
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    I don't know about what others consider is slackpacking or if such slackpacking is actually good or bad - but if you are concerned about authenticity then maybe consider the following items as required or restricted for an "authentic thru hiking experience". (Yes - we are getting very silly!)

    1. External framed backpacks
    2. Leather boots
    3. Paper map
    4. Bulky cooking pot
    5. NO RAMEN or any other lighter type food.
    6. No cell phone / earbuds
    7. No pack weights under 50 pounds
    8. No trail angels.
    9. No one else actually with you - don't talk to anyone for days.
    10. etc. etc. etc.

    Anything else may be considered by some as "slackpacking"

  3. #43
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    I hear y'all in regards to carbon footprint. One question is what would the footprint be if I or others didn't hike or slack the AT? Would the car/RV supported crowd be out west driving many miles every day to see the sites to find the best hikes. Would the hostel and shuttle slack packers be in the work world sitting in traffic every day in air conditioned houses and offices. Maybe by slacking, they have a lower footprint, have extended their hike and now can appreciate the natural world more.

    I believe that to build consensus and action to protect wild areas(including the Earth) especially the AT, people have to get out and experience them in their own way. The AT is a prime example. Hence, educate, inform and poke fun but most of all encourage them to get out.

    btw, for an authentic thru hike, you must carry either a wood framed backpack or tie your gear to the end of a stick.

  4. #44
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    I’d like to take a short side bar, diversion to the thru hike/ slackpacking question, which is to bring up the issue of “blue & yellow blazing”, and still calling your hike a thru…. I’ve read many journals, and even know people who intentionally took roads ( hiked, not driven), to avoid rocks, climbs, the green tunnel, to find their “better or more enjoyable “ route to a town, shelter, cross road. I know the Trail can wear you down, make you consider easier choices, but when you’re not dealing with emergency, injury or ATC Trail detours, what would make you think it’s okay to just skip the trail. So, y’all can guess where I stand, and it’s okay to say you’ve hiked in all the states, but you’ve lost the right to call it an AT thru hike when you don’t stay on trail. This would not qualify under the hike your own hike category…

    thoughtS???
    "How can something this hard be so much fun".

  5. #45

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    I Re-watched the movie "The Way" just last week (Highly recommend, but WAY different than the book, and yes they took Hollywood liberties). There is a scene where the hiking-writer has been rambling on about the "TRUE" Camino experience. Martin Sheen's character, who is hiking with his deceased son's cremains, is a bit drunk and joins in with "How about if you DIE on the Camino....How about THAT JACK....".

    I'll toss this in. If someone was hurt and running short on the hiking season. Perhaps the only way to safely complete the trail is to lighten the load to close to zero.
    For a couple of bucks, get a weird haircut and waste your life away Bryan Adams....
    Hammock hangs are where you go into the woods to meet men you've only known on the internet so you can sit around a campfire to swap sewing tips and recipes. - sargevining on HF

  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhjanes View Post
    I Re-watched the movie "The Way" just last week (Highly recommend, but WAY different than the book, and yes they took Hollywood liberties). There is a scene where the hiking-writer has been rambling on about the "TRUE" Camino experience. Martin Sheen's character, who is hiking with his deceased son's cremains, is a bit drunk and joins in with "How about if you DIE on the Camino....How about THAT JACK....".

    I'll toss this in. If someone was hurt and running short on the hiking season. Perhaps the only way to safely complete the trail is to lighten the load to close to zero.
    I never realized it was based on a book! Thanks - I'm off to look that one up.


    Edit - are you sure? I can't find a clear reference to anything it was based on, other than a reference to Emilio Estevez's son and some inspiration from a book titled "Off the Road".

  7. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by CalebJ View Post
    I never realized it was based on a book! Thanks - I'm off to look that one up.



    Edit - are you sure? I can't find a clear reference to anything it was based on, other than a reference to Emilio Estevez's son and some inspiration from a book titled "Off the Road".
    Yes is it LOOSELY based on "Off The Road" by Jack Hitt. I read the book some five years back and don't remember it that well. Emilio used it to base the story. They walk the Camino from France into Spain. they go thru Pamplona. They see the Cathedral. There are the jokes about the cheese factory and that's about the end of similarities.

    The movie actually has a lot of fun facts about it.

    The receptionist at Martin Sheen's office? That is Renee Estevez. Martin's youngest and sister to Emilio
    The reaction by Martin when they unzip the body bag? That was his grandson in there and that was a shock to him as he didn't know his grandson was in the bag.
    The character of "Ramon" was based on someone. They took offense but I don't think anything happened.
    Emilio wore his costume everyday of filming. He'd not written himself into the movie. They would film the scene as he wrote it but then he could choose to "jump in" and they'd film those scenes where his dad "Sees" him.
    One producer is Ramon Estevez. that actually is Martin Sheen's real name and this is one of the few times he used it in his work.

    Now the three fellow travelers. Jack, well that is Jack the writer of the book. But he's also the Scarecrow from Wizard of Oz! Remember when you first meet him. In the hay bales and he hasn't had "An original thought in month's". Joost is the Cowardly lion. He won't face his fears of drugs and over eating. Remember the scene in the fancy hotel, he's alone with a gourmet meal and he's trying not to cry. Sarah is the Tin Man. remember she has her IPOD, her Cell phone (metal stuff). She has a broken heart and is looking for love.
    For a couple of bucks, get a weird haircut and waste your life away Bryan Adams....
    Hammock hangs are where you go into the woods to meet men you've only known on the internet so you can sit around a campfire to swap sewing tips and recipes. - sargevining on HF

  8. #48
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    Just a thought on all this - we often use the acronym HYOH, for Hike Your Own Hike. We could also embrace LOHTH - Let Others Hike Their Hike.

    It's none of my business whether you choose to carry 8 pounds or 80, sleep in shelters, hammocks or tents, or walk backwards. As long as you're respectful of others (i.e. reasonably quiet, not littering or crapping on the trail, etc.), you don't have to answer to anyone, and nobody should be dissing your way.

  9. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye View Post
    Just a thought on all this - we often use the acronym HYOH, for Hike Your Own Hike. We could also embrace LOHTH - Let Others Hike Their Hike.

    It's none of my business whether you choose to carry 8 pounds or 80, sleep in shelters, hammocks or tents, or walk backwards. As long as you're respectful of others (i.e. reasonably quiet, not littering or crapping on the trail, etc.), you don't have to answer to anyone, and nobody should be dissing your way.
    Greenpete the OP asked for our thoughts (opinions) on Slackpacking. Expressing such opinions goes beyond the HYOH caveat. Letting others hike their hike has nothing to do with how I feel about Slackpacking. My judgment is only my opinion and is not universal, of course. HYOH policy is not an excuse to discount or censor disagreeable opinions, what someone might call "dissing".

  10. #50

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    ?????

    Who's censoring?

    There are a lot of us saying that it's NOT the OP's job to tell others how they should hike. He's welcome to his own interpretation of thru hiking, just like the rest of us.

  11. #51
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    When I first heard about the AT -- that it was a 2100 mile long trail that went from Georgia to Maine (or vice-versa, if you prefer), and that you could, if you wanted to, hike the whole thing in one go -- it instantly captured my interest and imagination: I wanted to hike the AT. I didn't know anything about certificates or labels or "rules" that defined what "counted" and what didn't. I just wanted to hike the AT.

    Yes, I want to be in the mountains and camp in the woods -- that's fun and challenging stuff, and who doesn't want to have fun and be challenged? But the AT is also attractive because it offers me so much more: a whole unique geo-social spectrum that I want to see and taste and feel.

    That's the experience I want to have on the AT. I've had my share of "rough 'n tuff" experiences in life; I don't have to prove anything. Maybe I will thru-hike, maybe not. Maybe I'll stay in the woods for days and days, and maybe even then only cover 10 miles because my pack is heavy. Or maybe I'll go off the trail and see some other beautiful sights or visit some other new place for a while. Maybe my AT hike will take years, and maybe I'll revisit my favorite places....

    I just get confused when someone "grades" my hike experience against their opinion.

    I am not referring to the OP or anyone else on this thread, but did have a frustrating conversation recently with someone and this thread is a similar topic. I apologize if it is a rant.
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

  12. #52

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    Hiking shoes? Backpacking? Slackpacking? What are you guys, a bunch of namby-pambies? It's time to put down the granola and smell the coffee!

    We've got 2190 miles of worthless dirt and weeds and it's about time we did something with it! Let's pave the Appalachian Trail!

    Imagine hiking on the trail in one of these bad boys:

    CycloneCrop.jpg

    That's 45 feet of pure comfort to stretch out, and 400 square feet of space to let nature know who's boss! With a dry weight of over seven tons this ain't none of that ultralight sissy nonsense, no siree, this is 100% pure American hiking, with room in the caboose for over a ton of your favorite two-cycle machines to enjoy your nero days in style!

    Now, I know what y'all are saying, "But Jonnycat, how can we pay for this?" And you see, that's the beauty of this idea - we won't have to pay a dime for it! We'll get corporate sponsorships to fund the entire thing! Imagine ripping up all 5,269 feet of Mt. Comcast on your quad with your Yeti cooler full of brewskis on the back! Enjoy rampaging through the Great Google Mountains National Park and watching the wildlife scatter! The possibilities are endless!

    Let's do this!

  13. #53

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    Johnnycat---that sounds like a great idea except I'm allergic to formaldehyde and flame retardants and volatile organic chemicals including adhesives and solvents used in outgassing RVs.

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    Odd philosophical issue to be sorting out since one cannot really be a thru hiker until they complete the trail in full, then they become a thru hiker.
    Completely agree. Seems like sucker bait on a very debatable topic. I never said "I'm halfway done with my thru hike". The assumption you will finish is extremely optimistic.

    Fun to see a couple pages of slap fighting though. "I do it better and longer and harder than you. I'm just surprised there's wussies out here."

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by GolfHiker View Post
    I know the Trail can wear you down, make you consider easier choices, but when you’re not dealing with emergency, injury or ATC Trail detours, what would make you think it’s okay to just skip the trail.
    I would agree with this. If I remember correctly a certain [recent]hostel owner who claimed to be a triple-crowner was recently discredited for making claims of thru-hiking, when in fact, he skipped portions of the trail.

  16. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Johnnycat---that sounds like a great idea except I'm allergic to formaldehyde and flame retardants and volatile organic chemicals including adhesives and solvents used in outgassing RVs.
    I got you covered Tipi, we will drive a post every 100 yards or so and you can skypack with the new gondola system! Especially designed for people with RV allergies as well as people with ophidiophobia, you get to experience a trail's worth of scenic vistas every season!

    Gondola.jpg

  17. #57

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    Lots of ways to hike and backpack. To each his own. My experience around AT thru-hikers is that most did some slack packing. A very high percentage slack pack Katahdin as the BSP Rangers suggest.

    I ended up doing a good amount of slack packing in NH. In retrospect, I wish I had hiked most of it the classical way. I was hiking with a couple other guys who wanted to get the miles in and give our bodies a break from the grueling pace we had set since Harpers Ferry. I honestly think that a single slack pack once every 3-4 weeks is a nice break, but it can break your rhythm if you do it regularly. It can also get expensive.

    The worst scare I ever had on the AT was an early June slack pack of 20 miles just north of Bennington, VT. We slack packed back into town after a couple days of rain. It was a steady rain all day on our slack pack at around 3000 ft. of elevation. We only had shorts, rain jacket, ball cap and some snacks. It was probably in the low 40's all day and the trail was a stream. We were in and out of stage one hypothermia all day. With no bailouts, it was a very crappy day and we were lucky we survived. A good lesson learned for a couple of us that thought we knew more than we did. When you go out there, you better have the survival gear necessary to stay alive. On that day, we left it at the motel.

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnycat View Post
    ... ophidiophobia ...
    I learned a new word!

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emerson Bigills View Post
    ...The worst scare I ever had on the AT was an early June slack pack of 20 miles just north of Bennington, VT. We slack packed back into town after a couple days of rain. It was a steady rain all day on our slack pack at around 3000 ft. of elevation. We only had shorts, rain jacket, ball cap and some snacks. It was probably in the low 40's all day and the trail was a stream. We were in and out of stage one hypothermia all day. With no bailouts, it was a very crappy day and we were lucky we survived. A good lesson learned for a couple of us that thought we knew more than we did. When you go out there, you better have the survival gear necessary to stay alive. On that day, we left it at the motel.
    We had a similar experience. Early April in Pennsylvania, left most of our gear at the hostel and slacked a 12-mile stretch in a drizzly all-day rain over a snow-slushy trail. Had our rain gear, but not insulation. Stayed cold and shivery all day. Learned our lesson too!

  20. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenpete View Post
    Halfway done with my first thru-hike. Since Springer I've learned about slackpacking, which I previously didn't know about. I'm amazed at how many thru-hikers resort to this method of distance hiking, once the grind sets in. From what I see, full packers like me - those who try to carry their homes on their backs the whole way - are the minority. The thinking seems to be "Everyone else is slackpacking, why shouldn't I?"

    Isn't slackpacking another way of "cutting corners"? I'm guessing many slackers might regret taking this "easy" option after reaching Katahdin.

    Thoughts, anyone?...slackers and non-slackers?
    First World problem.

    Why in bloody blazes do you care how somebody else hikes, and how on Earth does it diminish your hike? What if somebody carries an 18lb pack and you carry 38lb...? Are you somehow more 'worthy' for having suffered more?

    Good grief.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

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