Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1

    Default advice on thru-hike

    I'm planning a thru-hike in the summer of 2011, after high school. I finally got around to telling my parents this, and they basically thought I was insane (which I am...why else would you what to walk 2000+ miles?) I'm just wondering if anyone had any advice about how to warm them up to the idea. Should I start doing overnights now to better prepare myself (i'm only 16)? I've gone on a few backpacking trips before, but I'm not really experienced. If I can't go by myself I don't know who to go with. Both of my parents are constantly busy with my other siblings and with work. Also, what's the best way to get in shape for the hike? I know that I'm not able to go hiking every weekend during the school year and I'm not a big fan of running. I do like to road bike, though. Anyway...thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-22-2002
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Age
    58
    Posts
    7,906
    Images
    296

    Default

    Hey, and welcome to White Blaze.

    Plenty of 18-year-olds thru-hike after high school -- it's not that unusual, and it's safer than a lot of things that 18-year-olds do. I know a couple of kids who did a southbound hike starting as soon as they graduated, and they had a blast. They deferred their college admission to January.

    You won't be alone on the trail -- there are other hikers out there, and they look out for each other. It's a good community.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  3. #3
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-22-2002
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Age
    58
    Posts
    7,906
    Images
    296

    Default

    Clicked submit too soon. Oh well.

    Getting in shape will be important if you do a southbound hike. Biking is good, as is walking with a pack (especially if you have hills in your neighborhood.) I would highly recommend doing some long weekend backpacking trips over the next couple of years. Maybe with a local hiking group, or find a local partner for some trips. You'll want to have your technique nailed down pretty tight before you hit Katahdin.

    (Northbound hikers have it a little easier than southbounders in terms of starting out.)
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-26-2007
    Location
    Rhode Island/New Jersey
    Age
    35
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Nice to hear from a fellow 2011 planner. Im not as young as you I am 23 however my parents were probably feeling the same way that yours are when I started talking about it. They were constantly trying to talk me out of it. I have been planning for quite some time though so now they've given up. I started planning my thru in 2007. The reason I am waiting so long is to make sure that I am debt free and have enough money to give me a cushion. I recommend that if you have any financial responsibilities to take care of them first and foremost however at your age its more important to say be smart with your money. Don't get a credit card and don't be frivilous and you'll be on the right start. Work a part time job and save up money. Only spend it on necesseties and equipment for the thru. This will show them dedication. Go on as many trips as you can in the meantime. Any experience you can get now will help prepare you for your trip. Talk to other kids in your school or at work, even if they aren't normally someone you would hang out with and see if they are interested in backpacking, you could make a new friend and trail pal. One other thing in warming your parents up would be to involve them in the planning process, but preferably not in the buying process. They will be happy to be included and even more happy that you are being responsible about it. If yours are like mine they will see how much it means to you and let it go.
    Now the part I have to work on is getting them to see me off at the trailhead. That would be nice. Doubtful but nice.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    03-17-2009
    Location
    Hadley Pa.
    Age
    64
    Posts
    397

    Default

    Hey! Welcome to WhiteBlaze! You are young so I would not sweat the fitness thing too much. Get as much trail time as you can so you have some idea of what to expect. You will see how good the hiking community is by staying active on this site. You have a lot to learn but there is time to do it. If you are serious then your parents will see that and you probably do not even know that you have already changed by taking steps to make your dream come to life. I wish you well.---Two Tents.

  6. #6
    So many trails... so little time. Many Walks's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-23-2007
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    615

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by watchingtrainsgoby View Post
    Nice to hear from a fellow 2011 planner. Im not as young as you I am 23 however my parents were probably feeling the same way that yours are when I started talking about it. They were constantly trying to talk me out of it. I have been planning for quite some time though so now they've given up. I started planning my thru in 2007. The reason I am waiting so long is to make sure that I am debt free and have enough money to give me a cushion. I recommend that if you have any financial responsibilities to take care of them first and foremost however at your age its more important to say be smart with your money. Don't get a credit card and don't be frivilous and you'll be on the right start. Work a part time job and save up money. Only spend it on necesseties and equipment for the thru. This will show them dedication. Go on as many trips as you can in the meantime. Any experience you can get now will help prepare you for your trip. Talk to other kids in your school or at work, even if they aren't normally someone you would hang out with and see if they are interested in backpacking, you could make a new friend and trail pal. One other thing in warming your parents up would be to involve them in the planning process, but preferably not in the buying process. They will be happy to be included and even more happy that you are being responsible about it. If yours are like mine they will see how much it means to you and let it go.
    Now the part I have to work on is getting them to see me off at the trailhead. That would be nice. Doubtful but nice.
    Good advice.

    Kiteskimo, Welcome to WB.

    I might also add you could work with your gear in your yard. Set up your tent, sleep out when it's nice and when it's raining and cold, practice cooking, make adjustments to your gear so it works well for you and it will all help you to get ready for the hike.

    Load your pack and just go for walks to get the feel of the pack. Get used to climbing hills with the weight.

    It will show your parents what your doing and how dedicated you are to the hike. If you include your siblings in the camping fun you might also draw in your parents as well.

    Parents are supposed to show their kids what possibilities there are out in the world, but sometimes the kids have to show the parents.

    Check out the forum section here on Whiteblaze as there is a ton of great information on previous threads. Read hikers Trail Journals at trailjournals.com to get a better idea of what a thru is about.

    Wish you the best!
    That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest. Henry David Thoreau

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-04-2002
    Location
    various places
    Age
    45
    Posts
    2,380

    Default

    Hey, when I told my parents I was going on the trail my mother was so nervous she cried. I talked her through it and asked her to read Wingfoots old thru-hikers guide which she did. I ended up putting off the AT another year and thru-hiked the Long Trail in preparation.

    After I hiked the Long Trail she relaxed a little bit, nothing works like demonstrating something. Maybe if you do some week long jaunts she might lighten up a bit?

    In any case, they are just being protective parents, not exactly the worst quality.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-30-2005
    Location
    NW MT
    Posts
    5,468
    Images
    56

    Default

    The more time you spend outside, the better prepared you'll be. Is there an outings club at your school? Could you do a summer Outward Bound program? Boy Scout Venture Crew? Maybe there's a hiking club for adults in your area that has backpacking trips you could sign up for. Go to the local outfitter shop and see what the people who hang out there have planned. It would be incredibly helpful to you to hike for at least a two-week trip a season BEFORE you start your thru-hike.

    Money: You'll need a fair amount of money to make this trip happen. At least one pair of recent high school graduates I ran into spent the year after high school living at home, working, and saving their own money for the trip. During that year, they dedicated a month to a prep hike.

    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=5317

    Besides the physical preparation, there's also mental preparation. An AT thru-hike requires a commitment most people--of any age--barely grasp until way down the Trail. On at least one level, hiking is a boring, repetitive, somewhat painful activity. A big percentage of people who plan long AT hikes fairly quickly convince themselves that the reward is not worth the effort.

    At your age, there's also the challenge of striking out on your own, making your own decisions about basic things like what to wear and what to eat. That's one of the best parts, of course, but it is also difficult, and it takes practice (and more than a few "well I guess I won't do THAT again" experiences) to learn to do well. The more hiking and camping you can do before the big trip, the better off you'll be.
    Last edited by Marta; 06-10-2009 at 06:56.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

    ME>GA 2006
    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=3277

    Instagram hiking photos: five.leafed.clover

  9. #9
    So many trails... so little time. Many Walks's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-23-2007
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    615

    Default

    Well done, Marta.
    That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest. Henry David Thoreau

  10. #10
    Bloody Cactus MadAussieInLondon's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-09-2003
    Location
    Buena Vista VA / Melbourne Australia.
    Age
    45
    Posts
    267

    Default

    I dont think any physical body prep is really required. I think the best thing is to be familiar with your gear, the number of people at springer who are not sure on how to work their stove is high.

    I'd use the time between now and jumpoff to do some reading and experiment with gear if you are able, wear it in a bit, get comfortable. write up a gear list, pare it down to essentials.

    doing some miles on the roadbike would be great, build up leg strength, give you some cardio.

    find something to strengthen the shoulders/back, coz you will be carrying a bunch of stuff...
    -- [TrailName :: Bloody Cactus] --

  11. #11
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
    Join Date
    12-13-2004
    Location
    Essex, Vermont
    Age
    65
    Posts
    2,388

    Default

    Just tell 'em the other option is joining the Marines, they'll be glad you want to hike.

    Even better, do a tour of duty first, then you'll have the time & money to hike.

  12. #12

    Default

    sounds like a great dream, a great adventure for "stepping" into "adult hood"

  13. #13
    Nalgene Ninja flemdawg1's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-31-2008
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
    Age
    48
    Posts
    2,429

    Default

    Yes you should start doing overnights. Find the local Sierra Club and go hike with them if you have no friends willing to go with you.

    Also do you have a job? Your parents will be more likely to be supportive if you earn the money for this yourself, instead of "Hey Dad, I wanna go hike the AT. Can I have $5000?" Figure out how long you have till you want to leave and save some everytime you get paid. (ie leaving in 10 months, thats about 43 weeks, 5000/43=$116/week to save. Yes, that's alot but not impossible.)

    Another help for your parents is to be mature. If you are constantly a drama headache or discipline case, they're not likely to buy into you being mature enough to spend 6 months doing God-knows-what in the woods.

    Also, examine yourself. If I unexpectantly dumped you in the woods 10 miles from your house, would you be cool w/ that or you be digging your cell out ASAP to call for a ride? If no cell service was available, would you walk home? Are you willing to completely forego almost all your daily technology distractions and just enjoy your natural surroundings? Can you go without a shower for days? Do you think you really want to walk 15 miles day after day after day after day after day after day after day, when every part of you hurts, when its raining for the 10th straight day, when every flying insect on the planet seems to be buzzing around your head, when its 95 degrees out and you have a long ridgewalk over rocks all friggin' day?

  14. #14
    Nalgene Ninja flemdawg1's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-31-2008
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
    Age
    48
    Posts
    2,429

    Default

    Oops, I guess I scared him off.

  15. #15
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-22-2002
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Age
    58
    Posts
    7,906
    Images
    296

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by flemdawg1 View Post
    Oops, I guess I scared him off.
    Doubtful. The original post was from June 2009.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •