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  1. #21
    Registered User 4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LShuman024 View Post
    I could use some advice from those who may have been in a similar situation. My boyfriend and I started hiking the AT NOBO in March and we had a few setbacks like injuries, total gear replacement, and sometimes we got sucked into the town vortex, especially when we were hurting from our feet issues (plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis). We knew we were behind and at the end of July, we were only 1/3 of the way to Katahdin and our funds were too low to continue and we went home to reevaluate. Weve been home three weeks so far and we were hoping to get back out on trail starting at Katahdin and heading back south to our stopping point in Virginia. The reason were taking so long to get back out on trail is because of our money situation. Weve been trying to do quick odd jobs, sell things, and we even started a GoFundMe ( https://gofund.me/09037445 ) even though we HATE the idea of asking folks for money. Weve been through the worst stress/post Trail depression since weve been home and we want nothing more than to get back out because our goal is to finish the trail before the end of this year. We have a unique living situation and cant wait until next year. On the trail, we met a guy who was hiking with his car. He would work for stay at hostels, and when he could hike, hed drive forward to the next gap, slackpack, then hitch a ride back to his car. We thought about this being a possibility and possibly make money in the meantime doing shuttles or food delivery service. However, with Maine being so remote, we worry about being able to hike with our car and hitching rides to it.Has anyone ever been faced with such a unique problem? We are trying anything at this point. All we know is that our trail friends/angels have all told us to get back out as soon as we can or else we may never get back there. We know this was a one time adventure for us before we start building a life and the lack of support back home has been hard.Advice, if any? Thanks
    Reality checks are painful, both physically and psychologically. Based on what you posted here and in your gofundme posts, you started March 15 and got off the trail roughly July 18. You went 750 miles in 125 days, averaging 6 mpd (miles per day). Yes, I know there were foot problems, gear swap outs, and weather delays. Most hikers experience some, if not all of these to some degree. But the reality is still 6 mpd (miles per day). Ask yourself, "did we spend 60+ zero days because of foot problems and weather?" Because a 12mpd average is pretty much a bare MINIMUM for successfully thru-hiking in a single season.

    Please consider that the trail will NOT get easier in the north and that goes doubleplus for Maine and New Hampshire, where your daily mileage will drop due to difficulty of the terrain, possible bad weather at higher elevations, and logistics of where you can resupply and camp.

    I don't think the car plan will work, especially starting SOBO at Katahdin. You'll be spending both precious time AND money moving the car around, and Maine is likely not a place you'll likely even break even on gas money. You'll spend more money fueling AND more time driving the car around (and NOT hiking) than you'll take in. How would people even contact you for services given the spotty at best cell service? Then add in the possibility of a car breaking down and requiring repairs in a remote section of Maine - when you are on a razor thin budget. By the time you get back on the trail, even if just a week from now, Maine's realistic summer will be almost over (Labor Day, Sept 6), and daylight hiking hours will start getting much shorter, especially in ME and NH. The weather will start to turn as well, with cold rain and even frozen precipitation at higher elevations in the Whites as early as mid-September. Later season NOBO thru-hikers will be going the opposite direction from you, and within a few weeks they'll all be well north of you. I don't see them needing shuttle rides or such anyway - they'll likely have resupply and other such needs already planned for.

    Given your prior history in regards to average pace, the increased difficulty of terrain, seasonal weather and daylight changes, potential for foot problems, etc., I just don't see you completing this hike this year. Hey, you hiked 750 miles. You are part of the very large majority of people who planned to thru-hike and never completed their thru-hike due to a myriad of reasons, and running out of money is a common one. You made it farther than most people do. And you can always go back and finish, either in a single season or over multiple years.
    "That's the thing about possum innards - they's just as good the second day." - Jed Clampett

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by LShuman024 View Post
    Sorry for getting defensive. That seems to be all I’m met with lately. Thank you for your advice. I know my budget continuing from here on is small, but I’m willing to do what I can to at least make it to Katahdin and the 100 mile wilderness heading south. I should at least get through Maine with the budget I currently have. Beyond that, who knows. Thank you.
    First, a thank you to those who responded in a civil and helpful manner, like rhjanes above. Kindness is always praiseworthy.

    LShuman, if I understand correctly, you've completed the trail from Springer to somewhere in Virginia, and you plan to get up to Katahdin and go SOBO until you run out of resources, wherever that puts you. Since you live in Pennsylvania, you're in an ideal location to finish up the trail over time in weekend trips. My husband and I did almost everything south of PenMar in short trips of 2-5 days, usually 3. We got really tired of driving up and down I-81 through Virginia! But we did it. While it cost more in extra gas and vehicle wear and tear, the cost was spread over a longer time period and was manageable. Section-hiking may not be what you dreamed of, but it can get the job done. Best of luck to you!

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    First, a thank you to those who responded in a civil and helpful manner, like rhjanes above. Kindness is always praiseworthy.

    LShuman, if I understand correctly, you've completed the trail from Springer to somewhere in Virginia, and you plan to get up to Katahdin and go SOBO until you run out of resources, wherever that puts you. Since you live in Pennsylvania, you're in an ideal location to finish up the trail over time in weekend trips. My husband and I did almost everything south of PenMar in short trips of 2-5 days, usually 3. We got really tired of driving up and down I-81 through Virginia! But we did it. While it cost more in extra gas and vehicle wear and tear, the cost was spread over a longer time period and was manageable. Section-hiking may not be what you dreamed of, but it can get the job done. Best of luck to you!
    Thank you so much for your kindness and information. I know sections aren’t our first choice, but realistically that seems the best option. We’ve put a lot of our life on hold to do this hike and we honestly can’t see us putting it on hold for much longer.

  4. #24

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    For what its worth....

    The triad of long distance hiking is rarely defeated, which are: Finances, Fitness, and Time. Losing any one of these to the vagaries of circumstance will certainly cripple a thru hike or end it completely. By your original post, it would appear you have lost the first two with short funds and injury, with the third likely being lost to the seasons. While the ambition and emotional yearning to complete the hike from Katahdin south is high, it may be time to step back and survey the landscape.

    As mentioned above, plantar facetious, the scourge of the backpacking community, coupled with tendonitis can be recurring without proper rest and rehab exercises. Most all of us have had one of these if not both and have tried to speed recovery to continue long distance hiking only to fail again a little while into it. A Katahdin restart into the 100-mile wilderness into the Mahoosic's, quickly followed by the White Mountains are probably the most difficult stretches of the AT. If you or your partner is not at 100% the likelihood of failure on the trail is high with few bail out points that complicates things. On the fitness aspect alone, I would suggest your attempt window has closed, leaving the potential for another either next year or beyond open for exploration.

    Finances are problematic. Conventional wisdom suggests about $5,000 should be set aside for an AT thru hike (more if you like hotels and hot meals in town), though it has been done for far less if one suffers 5-months with ramen noodle soup as a staple. Point being, there comes a time when the thru hike attempt cannot be sustained and has to be abandoned. Again, this sets the stage for experience to lend a hand with future attempt planning. Keep in mind, jobs come and go, careers are different and require significant time investment that make a thru hike problematic from an economic standpoint.

    Time is the last of the triad. Time is running out and you will likely start the colder months still on the trail, though with luck south of the Whites. Even if you've the gear for it, without funds and injuries in the recent past will make this a torturous time. I would suggest working some jobs until you have enough saved up to start again next year or even the year after. A lot of us have had to pull ourselves off the trail and due to obligations and become a section hiker to completion (more difficult in my view than a thru hike), some can do it nearly immediately the following season, some kick it down the road to retirement.

    Mental fitness is a big part of the fitness quotient, by the sounds of it you appear to be pushing recovery and with insecure money sources a solution that may not exist at this moment in time due to finances, injury, and time. I do understand the emotional toll turning back before reaching the end can be, but keep in mind only about 10% of those starting out make it, with only a fraction of the balance trying again. Age and experience says you may want to reconsider this attempt, regroup, and once the injuries have been addressed for sure, gear is up to snuff for each season you anticipate, and finances are at a level that will support you (with or without town vortices), you will be in a much better place both mentally and physically to select the best date, leave jobs behind, and do the entire trail.

    I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck.
    Last edited by Traveler; 08-10-2021 at 13:28.

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Durwood View Post
    Flat ridiculous. I'm not justifying anyone's anything.
    Yes, that is exactly what you did. In a nutshell, you justified begging and selling out the trail because everyone is doing it. In case you missed it, here are the highlights:

    Quote Originally Posted by Durwood View Post
    I really don't want to dump on the OP's request for help...BUT this is a generational use of resources.
    So many of us have faced the same issue and worked near the trail, asked grandma to send a check or simply went home. Now, being proficient in reaching forums, gofund, vlogging for monetary gain, repping or "ambassador" for hiking websites is the key to free $$$.
    ...this IS the new version of raising free money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Durwood View Post
    An analogy to a prostitute using their body?!?! I take great exception.
    The analogy may be considered to be vulgar, but it is appropriate when you consider that people are actively monetizing our trails and wild areas, while others, such as yourself, condone that behavior. To myself (and an increasingly small number of people), our trails and wild areas are sacred places that should be off limits to such behaviors, which I see as a violation every bit as crude and demeaning as the one given in the analogy.

  6. #26
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    How you ask or don't makes a big difference. Your Gofundme page is much better written than your OP here. Yogiing is an integral part of trail lore whether intentional or not. Hikers get a shower, stay in houses, get rides, work for stay, food, etc. simply by being patient, letting people come to them, letting people feel safe and having solid conversations without even asking.

    You now have learned some cold weather experience but experience is still a bad teacher. My two bits. Always carry extra fuel and a sturdy water bottle/coke bottle. A hot water bottle in a sock will warm your bag and you for half the night. When you wake reheat. This is for cold nights you don't expect. Keep the stove at a safe distance.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by LShuman024 View Post
    I was honestly asking if anyone has ever done the car thing as a possible means of making extra money while on trail or if they think it might be a burden to have along. I’m leaning toward the latter.
    Pros and cons to most everything. The "car thing" as you've laid it out is no exception. On a balance sheet, as it applies to you, I see it as a net negative within the context of a completion of a thru hike this yr. However, in context of getting back on the AT this yr completing more miles as section hikers I see it as having greater merit.

    Be careful what you believe. The belief that completing the AT as a section hiker is lower on the totem pole than a completion as a thru hiker is erroneous. It takes greater long term commitment, adaptability, and resiliency to complete the AT as a section hiker. Thru hiking the AT as a first ever 2000+ mile hike is over romanticied with resulting mounds of historical AT statistical evidence clearly indicating in hindsight that most who fail to complete the AT as thru hikers perhaps would have been better preparing off planning for a section hike. AT thru hiker completion rates are about 1 in 5 or 80% These stats have largely stayed flat over the decades.

    I too once gave greater creedence, largely because of ego and ignorance, to those who thru hiked or labeled themselves as such. I was incorrect getting caught up in identity labels. Identity labels as applied to so many aspects of life constrain us. Don't let them box you in defining who you are or want to accomplish or how you can contribute!

    I was also incorrect, as you now believe, that section hiking required constant quitting of jobs. I found this wasn't necessarily the case on my second AT and PCT completions, both completions achieved as a section hiker or primarily LASHer(long arse section hiker). I am currently still section hiking the CDT to accomplish two TC's. I have never quit a job to engage in those section hikes. I had different, and in many ways, more fulfilling experiences hiking these trails a second time in different seasons under different approaches with less of a stressed beat the clock it's a race against time and so many other constraints thru hiking places on the hiking/backpacking experience. If you truly love to hike/backpack and deeply desire to accomplish an AT or other trail completion I implore you to reevaluate section hiking as a different possible approach. Any hike can be a positive memorable experience IF YOU LET YOURSELF DEFINE IT THAT WAY!

    The only times I've aborted a hike whether it be a weekender, 200 miler, or greater is due to PF. It was hard for me as it's not in my psychological make up to have to sit the bench or quit. I even tested the PF some three times - two Foothills Tr thru hikes and a Mountains to Sea Tr thru hike. I had to stop as the pain became overwhelming. But I did not lay down. I got back up more than a yr later to finish these hikes. You can do the same! This is possibly your time to regroup and better prepare! We expect to hear from you again on how you are no longer depressed but excited about your future, moving forward, and redefining.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnycat View Post
    Yes, that is exactly what you did. In a nutshell, you justified begging and selling out the trail because everyone is doing it. In case you missed it, here are the highlights:










    The analogy may be considered to be vulgar, but it is appropriate when you consider that people are actively monetizing our trails and wild areas, while others, such as yourself, condone that behavior. To myself (and an increasingly small number of people), our trails and wild areas are sacred places that should be off limits to such behaviors, which I see as a violation every bit as crude and demeaning as the one given in the analogy.
    You need to slow your roll.

    Durwood did NOT suggest that was something he agreed with or encouraged. Merely that it's become another way of raising money lately.

  9. #29
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LShuman024 View Post
    Yes, we do want to finish our thru hike. We have thought about section hiking, but as several family members and friends have told us, continuously leaving jobs to hike the trail is irresponsible.
    You don't have to leave a job to hike the trail. I've been continuously employed by the same employer for 11 years and section hiked 2/3 of the AT while doing it, using a week or two of leave each year. Lots of other people on this forum have done similar. Heck, if you're in Pennsylvania you could hike a pretty good chunk of the trail on weekend trips.
    It's all good in the woods.

  10. #30

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    Here is today's posts about a 16 year section hike.....

    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthr...-16-year-quest Well done!!
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  11. #31
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    Exactly how are peole monetizing our resources.

    Also, The OP seemed to ask a legit question and was seeking your wisdom. Why is everyone so quick to stomp on someone else in online and social media platforms?

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maineiac64 View Post
    Exactly how are peole monetizing our resources.

    Also, The OP seemed to ask a legit question and was seeking your wisdom. Why is everyone so quick to stomp on someone else in online and social media platforms?
    Keeping it real!!

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maineiac64 View Post
    Also, The OP seemed to ask a legit question and was seeking your wisdom. Why is everyone so quick to stomp on someone else in online and social media platforms?
    OP showed with a story about needing money to complete her thru, which is something we can all relate to. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but the fact that she posted her gofundme link reveals that her true intent here is to harvest some cash from people who don't know any better.

  14. #34

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    Accomplishing a thru hike requires that you overcome *many* challenges, some of which must be overcome before your hike begins. Doing the work to properly fund your hike is one of those challenges. If you get past every obstacle, then winner winner chicken dinner. You've got yourself a thru hike. If you don't pass all the hurdles then try again another year. The great thing about hiking is that it rhymes with real life in so many ways.

    You will enjoy this more if you try again another year. The northern part of the trail is logistically challenging and expensive. Personally, I'd go for the full thru hike on a future attempt. You clearly want it to be a thru hike so make it one. No need to plan on section hiking if you want a thru. But I will add that after completing my thru it was apparent that people taking 2 or 3 years to hike the entire trail did just as much work. Doesn't really matter if you do it in a year.

  15. #35

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    I removed the link to the gofundme account. I would also have removed the discussion on it but it would have been quite abrupt. We don't allow fundraising for non-trail related charities. Personal charity isn't what we have in mind there either but it was stated originally that was not really the case and I will take the OP's word on that.

    LShuman024 I admire perseverance and pluck but as you have stated and it's been noted by others, you have only completed 1/3 of the trail and the southernmost portion at that. Today is 8/11, which is 60% of the way through the year. If injuries were slowing you down, what you have done to ameliorate that situation? Step back and take a hard look at what you have done to address the factors that placed you off pace. The weather will not be getting better do you have the gear to finish in the cold?

    Regrettably, you only asked limited questions here before your thruhike. We would have surely given you a shakedown of your intended gear purchases prior to leaving. Whether the different opinions you would have gotten would have helped you is uncertain but we are lot cheaper than Mountain Crossings! And contrary to what may be said elsewhere, the depth of AT hiking experience of the membership of Whiteblaze.net by far outpaces any other website on the interwebs bar none! Particularly any hodgepodge, ragtag AT thruhiker class that forms on FB or other group there as well.

    As far as raising funds through working on trail with the vehicle, you are approaching the latter part of the NOBO thruhiker season. Everyone's funds are dwindling. Many SOBO's have left already. If you are interested in finishing the trail, consider section hiking. You are located in a great spot to finish it over time. You may not get the same social experience, but you will get to experience the beauty of the trail in all the seasons you choose to hike while benefitting from periodically refreshing your souls in the great outdoors. When God closes a door she opens a window, so they sorta say.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
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  16. #36
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    I feel your pain, and can completely relate to the strong desire to thru hike. However, with an 11-year-old, dogs, and a career, I had to accept that is off the table…for now anyway.

    My husband and I started section hiking the AT in 2016, and I have to say it has a lot of positives. One is that we get to look forward to the next section of trail for the whole year. The anticipation also keeps me in good shape (mentally and physically) since I spend hours hiking and running trails around home each week, knowing I’ll need to be as trail-leg ready as possible. Also, I look forward that time alone in the woods with my husband each year, it has been a source of strength in our marriage and has created so many memories. Yes, a thru hike has real appeal, but I think you might find a lot of pluses in section hiking too.

    Also, we don’t spend much money preparing for or while hiking. Boarding three dogs is probably the most expensive part. We already have equipment, so just have to replace gear as needed. We eat macaroni & cheese for almost every meal (I break from keto while section hiking, so I can’t get enough of it). We know a shuttle will be about $100-130, and the only time we stop in town is midway or for replacement food.

    Good job on getting as far as you did. Best wishes on whatever you decide.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by LShuman024 View Post
    Yes, we do want to finish our thru hike. We have thought about section hiking, but as several family members and friends have told us, continuously leaving jobs to hike the trail is irresponsible.
    Go ahead and call me a snowflake, lazy, or whatever else. Maybe I am trying to squeeze blood from a stone. Maybe I was foolish in asking a community of hikers where we clearly don’t seem to belong.
    If you get a job where you get a 1 or 2 weeks paid vacation every year, or even if you can get the time off unpaid, you can section hike without "leaving your job." Nothing irresponsible about that. Many of us have had to postpone a thru hike UNTIL WE WERE FINANCIALLY ABLE or even postpone sections for $, family, health, or job considerations.

    If you can't afford it, you can't afford it.
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  18. #38
    Registered User 4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LShuman024 View Post
    Yes, we do want to finish our thru hike. We have thought about section hiking, but as several family members and friends have told us, continuously leaving jobs to hike the trail is irresponsible. Go ahead and call me a snowflake, lazy, or whatever else. Maybe I am trying to squeeze blood from a stone. Maybe I was foolish in asking a community of hikers where we clearly dont seem to belong.
    With the exception of a couple of posts here that I agree were out of line, I think you got a lot of honest answers given your particular situation. You're basically broke, and want to pursue an activity that costs money and doesn't create money. The two desires, making money and thru-hiking are pretty much mutually exclusive, with some very unusual exceptions. People here were honest in saying there is very little opportunity to make money while you hike, and especially so this late in the season. Your average pace is also not conducive to hiking frugally. Slow hikes cost more than fast hikes due to requiring more food, fuel, town, and other expenses.

    You could drive the car to Monson and hitch (or park at Millinocket and hitch back when done) to Millinocket/Baxter SP, climb Katahdin, and hike the 100 mile wilderness. You may have to figure a way to resupply at Jo Mary Rd in the middle of the 100 mile. Then move the car to Caratunk, then on to Stratton, then on to Rangeley (or do the hitch back stuff again), etc., creating 30+ mile sections with resupplies. There are other folks here who can probably supply better details of exactly where to park and such. It will require planning. You've raised $695 via gofundme and you said you had some money left when you got off the trail. So, you could simply head north and hike SOBO until you have $100 left - just enough gas money to get back home. You might want to increase that by $50 dollars for food and drinks on the way home. It's a long drive. Gorham NH to Jersey Shore PA is 566 miles/20mpg x $3.50/gal = $99.05Sadly, after that, it's probably the end of your hike this year. That is the harsh reality.

    As far as quitting jobs goes, if it isn't a career job, nobody cares. Employers are desperate for warm bodies with pulses. It is, and will likely continue to be, a job seekers market for several years to come. Work this winter, live with the relatives, don't eat out, don't spend money on anything non-essential, and you should be able to save enough to finish the hike next season. There are lots of $12 - $15/hr entry level "just a job" jobs out there right now. If you both work 6 months full time, October thru March, you'll gross $12 to $15K each. Save $3K each, and you'll have $6K, more than enough to hike. Then, after finishing, you can "get on" with your life.

    But please refrain from the "maybe I was foolish", and "don't seem to belong" stuff. We've offered you HONEST advice - it just may not be what you wanted to hear.
    "That's the thing about possum innards - they's just as good the second day." - Jed Clampett

  19. #39

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    There's always next year. This one is done and gone. In your heart, you know that and are just grasping for straws.

    You learned a few things on this first go around. You now have proper gear and know how to use it. If you wait until April and pick up where you left off, you'll miss all the bad weather which eats up money down south. If you finish early enough, you could flip back down south and redo the beginning to make it an official thru hike.

    In the mean time, get a throw away job, live as frugally as possible (you can find a lot of advice on that here), save up as much money as you can and stay in shape.
    Good Luck!
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    To LShuman024 Respectfully, I suggest you consider selling your car to fund the remainder of your thru-hike. Living car-free is liberating in many ways, and the car is in all likelihood costing money even when not in use via insurance, any payments, etc. None of the suggestions made thus far in this thread seems to have appealed to you, so perhaps a paradigm shift is needed. Sell the car and get back on trail.

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