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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: 4,523.3
    AT Map 1: Complete 2013-2021
    AT Map 2: 279.4
    Sheltowee Trace: Complete 2020-2023
    BMT Map: 52.7
    Pinhoti Trail Map: 31.5

  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

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    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
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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.

  8. #8
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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.

  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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    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.

  11. #11
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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.

  12. #12

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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.

  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 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.

  15. #15
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    An analogy to a prostitute using their body?!?! I take great exception. Like the OP, I walk away from this trashy forum.

    Good luck to some of my favorite posters. I'll DM or PM some of you...keep sharing the wisdom because it serves wannabes very well.

    Durwood, NOBO 02/18-08/06 class 2018.

  16. #16
    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

  17. #17
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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.
    Wow. How dare you.
    I’m not for people selling themselves online like that either. But did I EVER in that link post nudes or anything like that? I initially created the page because I had friends of family offer to send me some funds to help along the way while my parents updated them with my stories on trail. I’m not here begging folks for money. None of you have any obligation to! The matter at hand was advice to do what I could to continue. I’m not done stupid entitled millennial who want everything handed to her, i am willing to put in hard work. Just as it has taken me 4 years to save for this hike. I know inevitably I’ll have to go back to work again. Is it wrong to want to see how far I can get on trail before then?

  18. #18
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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.

  19. #19
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LShuman024 View Post
    Wow. How dare you.
    I’m not for people selling themselves online like that either. But did I EVER in that link post nudes or anything like that? I initially created the page because I had friends of family offer to send me some funds to help along the way while my parents updated them with my stories on trail. I’m not here begging folks for money. None of you have any obligation to! The matter at hand was advice to do what I could to continue. I’m not done stupid entitled millennial who want everything handed to her, i am willing to put in hard work. Just as it has taken me 4 years to save for this hike. I know inevitably I’ll have to go back to work again. Is it wrong to want to see how far I can get on trail before then?
    Yes you're begging for money and yes it's wrong to want to continue if you're broke.

  20. #20

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    Here is one car method. You've already seen above and considered the expense and wear and tear on the car. If not, consider that on one of Jennifer Pharr-Davis's FKT hikes, her husband supported her from a van. It was a used family van to begin with, but she wrote it was junk when it went up and down forest service roads for a few months.

    So this car method, you won't be hiking together but you could finish the trail. You will also be able to hike with just a day's worth of food and minimal survival gear. So you drive at 5 AM to a trailhead. One of you hops out and starts hiking. The other person drives the car to some other trailhead and parks. Then starts hiking in the direction the first person will be coming from. So say the first person is hiking north. The car is driven north some distance. The second person, who parked the car, is hiking south. You wind up meeting in the middle, perhaps for lunch. SWITCH KEYS if both of you don't already have a key. I'd each carry a key, just in case. So the one person then reaches the car and drives back to the starting point where the second person is sitting waiting for you. You have both hike the same 20 mile day (or whatever), but in opposite directions. It can work well but then the major downside for you is that you won't be together during the day.

    To some of your relatives saying it would be irresponsible to keep quitting. I see what they are saying, but you can perhaps work a year, live very frugal and then hike again the next year. If you still don't finish, just do that a third year. Or work 2 years, quit and finish it. I know a young lady whose current life style is just that. She works doing stuff like teaching climbing skills, axe throwing, escape room, all winter long. Living very cheaply. And in her time off, she is planning her next adventure. She thru hiked the AT one summer. She's hiked New Zealand. I've not seen her in a year but I'm sure there was a PCT, or a CDT, or a Camino the past year. But know that her frugal life style also is that on the trail. Minimal town stops. When they are, it's minimal drinking and staying at a hiker hostel or sharing a room split four ways and back on the trail the next day. Remember the goal.
    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

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