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  1. #1

    Default So, what class do sectioners belong to?

    After reading a couple of messages on other threads, I began to wonder what class a section hiker completing or having completed the trail belongs to?

    Would it be the year they started hiking the trail? Would it be the year they satisfied 2000 miler status? Would it be the year in which they hiked the most continuous miles? Or would it be the class they feel most attatched to?


    Personally, right now at least, I feel attatched to the class of `06. I started with them (NOBOs), hiked more than half the trail with them and still talk with many on a regular basis.
    But schools put you in the class that you graduated, ie. completed the trail. This kind of makes sense as you can't claim to be have a insert degree here degree until graduation.

    Or do section hikers belong to a class to themselves?

    A large majority of thru-hikers, do so then never set foot on the AT again. They may go on to hike all their lives but not on the AT, the been there, done that, mentality(Nothing wrong with that- it is a big world with many things to see).

    But section hikers find time to hike on the AT year after year after year. Some may just be for a day, many for a week or two at a time. Some even hike the trail in two or three big sections. But they do it. And they commune with the mountains and valleys that we, as AT enthusiasts hold dear. They get to experience the just budding mountain laurel, when no one else knows it's blooming or that Rocky Top had six inches of snow last night even though it is May first and raining in Gatlinburg. What about the cloud cover on Mt. Washington clearing for just five minutes on an overcast day? All the train riders and car drivers are gone because they couldn't see a thing. But the hiker; thru, section and day alike, lingers, just in case.
    Thru-hikers have these experiences as well as many others and I would never try to take away anything from that experience. But section hikers have the opportunity every year to take in nature's wonder; to experience the solitude of hiking, if even for a week, year after year.

    I am just hoping to open a dialogue on the topic. I know after I summit Katahdin next year, I will know what class I belong in. I really do not know if this is something that sectioners think about, I have just come to considering myself a section hiker after last year. I just thought I'd put it out there...


  2. #2

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    I began section hiking in 1977 and finally finished in 2005. I consider 2005 my "class" year, not just because I finished then but also because I hiked the most miles in that year.

    More than half of my miles were completed in 2004 & 2005 (after I had retired) and I felt affinity with 2 classes. In 2004, I sectioned Georgia to Wallace Gap starting March 1 and thus got to know many 2004ers who started at the same point. I hiked over 700 miles in 2005 saving Maine for last, finishing on Katahdin after a month of covering Maine so I also met and finished with many 2005ers.

    At the Trail Days parade last spring, I walked with the Class of '05.

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    Section-hikers are in a class all their own. I once did one of those 2000-mile section-hikes, but I am equally if not more impressed by those who keep coming back year-after-year for more.

    Section-hikers get to chose where they will be at a particular time and can see things missed by those encumbered by the time constraints of the long-haul.

    Section-hikers often have vehicles and time to see attractions near the A.T., great places about which those other hikers can only dream.

    Section-hikers have more opportunities to develop friendships with people living near the A.T. who can help them with rides or can serve as guides, advisors, hiking companions and provide all sorts of valuable assistance that add to their experiences.

    I could go on, but I think those who look down upon section-hikers may already get the idea what they're missing.
    Last edited by emerald; 03-25-2007 at 00:59.

  4. #4
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    Real Hiker Trash looks at all hikers the same be they section hikers or thru hikers. Occasionally we see thru hikers who claim that they can "tell the difference" between section hikers and thru hikers...that's a bunch of krap!!! Once you've been out several days the only thing that differentiates a section from a thru is the uphills and that isn't always the case as on my fifth day last June we blew by a few thru hikers that had been on the trail already for a couple of months, we all hike at our own pace, and we all smell just as bad after a coupla days on the trail. I can also put it this way, last year I hiked with a friend who had thru hiked the AT and did the PCT almost twice, until we were hiking together and got to talking she had thought that I had thru'd in the past, I simply told her, no, and that was that. I think it's about the attitude you convey when out there.

    That being said, when I finish I think I would identify with the class that I finish with. I should have a little over 1/4th of the trail done after this year, but with plans to start a family in the next coupla years it could end up taking me 10-15 more years to finish the trail, but that's just fine, I'm happy being a section hiker, but more than that I'm happy to be Blue Blazin' Hiker Trash.
    Walking Dead Bear
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shades of Gray View Post
    Section-hikers are in a class all their own.
    Section-hikers often have vehicles and time to see attractions near the A.T., great places about which those other hikers can only dream.
    Wish I could have gone to Gettysburg. Thought I had a ride but it fell through.
    I grew up VERY near the battlements of Yorktown and Williamsburg. And spent many a day crawling over the walls at Ft. Monroe. The landscape gives me such a feel for the battle that took place.

    Section-hikers have more opportunities to develop friendships with people living near the A.T. who can help them with rides or can serve as guides, advisors, hiking companions and provide all sorts of valuable assistance that add to their experiences.

    I could go on, but I think those who look down upon section-hikers may already get the idea what they're missing.
    Love that! Unless I spent more than one night someplace, I felt like just a traveller. More than one I started to get to know the proprieters. Good times albeit a section or a thru.
    Last edited by freefall; 03-24-2007 at 23:20.


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    Quote Originally Posted by freefall View Post
    Wish I could have gone to Gettysburg. Thought I had a ride but it fell through.
    You just weren't sufficiently creative in securing transportation. If you were really good, you might have been able to pull off something like this.
    Last edited by emerald; 03-24-2007 at 23:35. Reason: It had to have a wink.

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    To me, the class doesn't much matter anymore. I've come to think of the AT as sort of backdrop for a lifetime's worth of hiking. I hike elsewhere all the time, and revisit some part of the trail almost every summer. I've probably traversed the Franconia Ridge more times than Baltimore Jack and Lone Wolf and Warren Doyle put together. But there's always something magical about hiking a new stretch of the AT.

    More interesting to me is... where and how should I finish it? I've done both ends and now have 587 miles left to do. For me, the most emotional finish would be to finish at the road crossing where I quit my thru-hike in 1990. That would mean walking sobo from Lehigh Gap this summer. I wonder if I'll even recognize it when I get there.

    Then there's the very real possibility of not finishing this summer, which means a really long schlep to next summer's hike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by terrapin_too View Post
    For me, the most emotional finish would be to finish at the road crossing where I quit my thru-hike in 1990. That would mean walking sobo from Lehigh Gap this summer. I wonder if I'll even recognize it when I get there.
    You'll recognize Lehigh Gap. It's getting greener though. I attended an interesting presentation by NPS on the Palmerton Superfund Site hosted by BMECC a few weeks ago.

    Was I not reading carefully, or did you not share with us where you would end? Given what you've said, I gather the hike will go on after it ends as long as you can continue hiking.

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    I'll never be through hiking. There'll always be more hiking to do.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by terrapin_too View Post
    To me, the class doesn't much matter anymore. . .
    True sentiment.

    Freefall, what inspires you to be on the trail? The decoration or the designation? Or your love of what the trail brings, what it means to you.
    I took my first steps on the trail at the base of Katahdin last June.
    As I headed out of the park the next day I met a humble sage who was just seven miles from the peak after 31 years of making his way back to the trail he loved.
    After a few minutes of warm conversation he continued toward Katahdin and I was left with my breath caught inside me.
    The thru hasn't meant the same thing since, but I've given myself the time to walk the length this year.
    If you're on the trail and return because you love it, you're already in the greatest class.
    Peace

    SOBO7

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    I've been sectioning for three years now. I get out about 4-6 weeks during the summer. I never really thought about what class I consider myself. Each year I meet great people to hike with. I don't think I belong to any class. I will summit with a class, but I won't be part of that class. I guess us sectioners just don't have any class........
    "It was on the first of May, in the year 1769, that I resigned my domestic happiness for a time, and left my family and peaceable habitation on the Yadkin River, in North Carolina, to wander through the wilderness of America." - Daniel Boone

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lilred View Post
    I guess us sectioners just don't have any class........

    And Proud of It!!!
    Walking Dead Bear
    Formerly the Hiker Known as Almost There

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    Thru hikers...section hikers...day hikers...all sounds the same to me!!!
    Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and enjoy being out there.
    Life's too short not to have Credit Card bills...so Charge It!!!




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    I like the all-inclusive "trash".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shades of Gray View Post
    You'll recognize Lehigh Gap. It's getting greener though. I attended an interesting presentation by NPS on the Palmerton Superfund Site hosted by BMECC a few weeks ago.

    Was I not reading carefully, or did you not share with us where you would end? Given what you've said, I gather the hike will go on after it ends as long as you can continue hiking.
    Of course I'll recognize Lehigh Gap; it's where I ended last summer's section and probably where I'll start from, this summer, heading south.

    It's the end of this year's section that's slightly in doubt. I believe it's the trail crossing at VA 601, about three miles north of War Spur Shelter. All I know is that the road led to Blacksburg, VA; I hitched from there to Roanoke (in 1990) and flew home. Since that time I've been doing sections southward from K to PA.

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    Default It's all hiking sections!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hana_Hanger View Post
    Thru hikers...section hikers...day hikers...all sounds the same to me!!!
    Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and enjoy being out there.
    Exactly, I think if people were to take a real close look at the various groups into which hikers are often segregated, it would quickly become apparent that many if not most or possibly even everyone has belonged to all of the groups at one time or another.

    What really separates one group from the other and what makes one or another better than the others? Seems to me, other than to have something trivial to argue about endlessly, there's not much point to it all.

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    Default Where to complete a section-hike of the A.T.?

    Quote Originally Posted by terrapin_too View Post
    I believe it's the trail crossing at VA 601, about three miles north of War Spur Shelter. All I know is that the road led to Blacksburg, VA; I hitched from there to Roanoke (in 1990) and flew home.
    Harpers Ferry might be a good place to complete your A.T. hike. You could visit ATC headquarters and report your accomplishment in person.

    Katahdin, Harpers Ferry or places of personal significance always seemed like good places to me.
    Last edited by emerald; 03-25-2007 at 11:12.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shades of Gray View Post
    Harpers Ferry might be a good place to complete your A.T. hike. You could visit ATC headquarters and report your accomplishment in person.
    Harpers Ferry is very near to the center of this summer's section, so one thought I had was to split the section in two, and have one (or both) of the sub-sections end there. These are about the only real decisions left to make for this summer's hike. Kinda fun toying around with the possibilities.

    Aside from having a pleasant stay in Palmerton, I have no emotional attachment to Lehigh Gap.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shades of Gray View Post
    You just weren't sufficiently creative in securing transportation. If you were really good, you might have been able to pull off something like this.
    Talk about ultimate trail magic!

    Yeah, someone I was hiking w/ kept talking like our ride was a sure thing. Then at the last minute it wasn't and I decided not to expend the energy.


  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shades of Gray View Post
    Exactly, I think if people were to take a real close look at the various groups into which hikers are often segregated, it would quickly become apparent that many if not most or possibly even everyone has belonged to all of the groups at one time or another.

    What really separates one group from the other and what makes one or another better than the others? Seems to me, other than to have something trivial to argue about endlessly, there's not much point to it all.
    S of G, thank you so much for making that point. I wanted to Hike the AT so badly since high school and when I finally got on all I saw in the people around me was people who also wanted to be there. It's all I needed to know.
    SOBO,Section,NOBO,Day,Week these designations kind of blur within the 'class' of people who find there way to the trail. If I've found them I know I'm in the right place.

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