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  1. #1
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    Default Advice on finishing the trail with no money

    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 GoFundMeeven 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
    Last edited by Alligator; 08-11-2021 at 09:49. Reason: Link removed

  2. #2

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    Its not very unique, its just part of being broke. I have not run into this situation thankfully, but I also did not thru hike. I completed the trail in manageable sections and then went back to work
    Trail Miles: 5,154.2
    AT Map 1:
    ✔ | 13-21'
    Sheltowee Trace: ✔ | 20-23'
    Pinhoti Trail: ✔ | 23-24'
    Foothills Trail: ✔ | 24'
    GSMNP900: 134.7(17%)
    AT Map 2: 279.4
    CDT: 210.9
    BMT: 52.7

  3. #3
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Gee I just don't know how you are surviving this terrible tragedy!
    You'll are going to need therapy for this or atleast a therapy dog.

  4. #4

    Default

    Get a job, and save your money. If you really want to complete the trail, you’ll figure out a way to do it in the future.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by LShuman024 View Post
    ...we HATE the idea of asking folks for money.
    And yet here you are, asking for money by posting your gofundme link and sponging off of trail enablers. Get a job like the rest of us; every store I walk into has a big "Hiring" sign by the front door, or you could go old school and offer to wash dishes for your meals.

  6. #6

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    You're not looking to finish the trail. If you were you'd be open to being a section hiker, as Gambit McCrae. You're specifically seeking to finish a thru hike.

    Your spending pattern is to get sucked into the town vortex, through Consumerism, a rampant U.S. trait. Even if some funds become available what makes you assume you wouldn't go back to that pattern? I say constantly our off trail habits follow us to our on trail lives. You likely had this same spending pattern off trail.

    There are innumerous threads on this website with many many insights into how to reduce on trail spending. Yet, I see no evidence of you availing yourself of these resources. I see more of the same - Consumerism and a it's all about me attitude.

    If you're still reading, I stopped several times to work on an AT thru hike - NC, WV, NJ, and VT. I did it also while thru-hiking the PCT and CDT too. I expanded my comfort xones to stay on trail and avoid Consumerism even through injuries. When I did have debilitating shin splints on one of my PCT thru hikes I stayed for a week at a trail angels home for a week donating $10 per day while hobbling around doing chores. On a CDT thru hike I stopped and worked for three weeks in Las Vegas and two weeks in Denver. I always hitch hiked.

  7. #7
    Registered User hobbs's Avatar
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    I never knew that about your hikes. I am genuienly greatful for the advice I got from you posting when I went on my section hike in 2015 from Georgia to Happers ferry and friends that were former sobos that hiked in 2014...But your right In your post people need to research and also hitch when you can work for stay and have finances in place and watch what you spend and how.
    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

  8. #8

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    "Past behavior = Future performance" - an extremely accurate predictor
    You will not get sympathy or even much information here. Every line screams that you will not changed anything because you have not changed anything or even done simple research. You are begging for money to extend a 5 month vacation with IMHO no hope of completing a thru. Come back next year and ...
    1. Plantar Fasciitis lingers and will come back. Been to the podiatrist? Changed hiking shoes, inserts, habits... This alone will likely stop your hike. The trail is soft in the South while hard, rooty and rocky in the North.
    2. People in the same situation make it about as far as you do. They like town, like to party, like to spend money, fail to plan financially, need the latest gear and hang with others who are similar. They demonstrate by their behavior that they don't really like camping, don't prefer spending time in the woods, don't want to skip towns, don't ever challenge themselves to get in and out of towns quickly, and can't make or stick to a budget.

    3. You have no money and want to slackpack? Cars are expensive and enable you to go to town and spend money. Hitching from a trailhead back to the car takes lots of time. You can calculate the miles on Mapquest. Expensive. Backpacking requires no car, no car expenses and hitching only once every 4 to 8 days. You are also not pounding your feet in town.

    4. The town life is pretty much over by now. So prove the trail is for you. Start south from PA with a plan to do maildrops and money drops (so you can't spend it). Preplan your $$ and ride home. Ditch a phone or two. Use whatever gear you have (except use good footwear), Use the food in the house and cheap food. Carry a lot extra food and avoid the town binge. Deal with setbacks. Remember you have to start with low mileage again so carry a real book or two. You will not be hiking in sync with others. Change your attitude.

  9. #9
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    If you're already back home at least you saved that expense. Try being destitute in Maine and needing a hitch to TX. Haha

  10. #10
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    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 $$$.

    I do feel the request here is misplaced because so much info has been shared on not getting into this situation. Get Off My Lawn only works if one is aware that this IS the new version of raising free money. As for me, I'll provide info but no dollars.

  11. #11
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    Although I did link the page, in no way do I expect anyone here to donate whatsoever.
    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. Im leaning toward the latter.

  12. #12
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    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.

  13. #13
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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.
    Aint mad at ya. Setting aside funds and budgeting over the course of a thru is an essential part of pre-hike prep.

    It's very hard to do if that budget is razor thin. Be in good shape, have adequate gear, do trail research and TRIPLE check your finances. If any of these are neglected the chances of a successful thru are greatly diminished...might hadta come back. Generating income on trail while staying committed to the hike is very difficult.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durwood View Post
    Aint mad at ya. Setting aside funds and budgeting over the course of a thru is an essential part of pre-hike prep.

    It's very hard to do if that budget is razor thin. Be in good shape, have adequate gear, do trail research and TRIPLE check your finances. If any of these are neglected the chances of a successful thru are greatly diminished...might hadta come back. Generating income on trail while staying committed to the hike is very difficult.
    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.

  15. #15
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    Default

    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.

  16. #16
    Registered User One Half'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 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.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  17. #17
    Registered User NY HIKER 50'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.
    I had to wait a few years since I was looking for a job myself. However< if you finally work you get a vacation and I took 3 weeks on the trail at a time. The real problem is you have to be in a certain place at a certain time. Of course, storms and other items thrown in may change that a bit. The trail will be there when you finally go It's best to put off quick gratification for a while.

  18. #18

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    No! That is not irresponsible. I took almost 10 years. I took vacation and section hiked. Sometimes, I ran into another section hiker and made arrangements to meet at another place next year. I found many wonderful shuttle folks who I paid to shuttle me from my car back to the last place I got off of the trail. It is doable. A very novel approach I ran into for slack packing was a senior adult couple who slackpacked with 1 car. One would let the other off at the last exit and drive to a trailhead parking within a day's walk then walk back toward the other. When they met in the middle, they had lunch together and went their way. When the one let out first got to the car, he or she drove back to where the other was waiting. Then they either camped in the woods close to the next place for the next day or went to town and got a motel or a hostel and often went to campgrounds.

    You may not make it as a thru hiker this year, but if you keep at it you can finish. Irresponsible Absolutely not. Go for it when you can and eventually you will finish.

    RevDrDan

    RevDrDan

  19. #19

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    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 $$$.

    I do feel the request here is misplaced because so much info has been shared on not getting into this situation. Get Off My Lawn only works if one is aware that this IS the new version of raising free money. As for me, I'll provide info but no dollars.
    So you justify people monetizing our few remaining wild areas because it's just the new "generational use of resources"? Some things deserve to remain free from monetization, and if it is not our wild areas, I can't think of what those things would be. But then again, many people today have become conditioned to accept that someone selling her body as a sex worker (online or in the real world) is an acceptable method of employment, so maybe it shouldn't be too surprising that those same people would be able to justify whoring out our natural areas as well.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnycat View Post
    So you justify people monetizing our few remaining wild areas because it's just the new "generational use of resources"? Some things deserve to remain free from monetization, and if it is not our wild areas, I can't think of what those things would be. But then again, many people today have become conditioned to accept that someone selling her body as a sex worker (online or in the real world) is an acceptable method of employment, so maybe it shouldn't be too surprising that those same people would be able to justify whoring out our natural areas as well.
    Flat ridiculous. I'm not justifying anyone's anything. By resources I mean using technology to reach out. In the olden days did the po' hikers lick 10k stamps and send them to strangers? Different times like it or not...wanna change how things evolve? Go for it-I'll hide and watch.

    I never got near the subject of our wild areas.

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