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  1. #1
    Registered User David@whiteblaze's Avatar
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    Default Dumb Question about thru-hikers!!! read now and answer!!!

    Okay, this is a really dumb question, but here goes.

    Does anyone know if the people on whiteblaze are more likely to finish a thru-hike than the people who say:

    "hey look, walmart has everything for backpacking and i bought it, so now what to do with it... aha! ive got it, ill search, searching... searching... AHA! The AT im leaving to hike the at honey!"

    I mean, its obvious that those people wont finish, but who are the majority and why? i love reading essays, so if anyone wants to elaborate, pray continue. (it means go ahead.)
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  2. #2
    Georgia Mountain Boy
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    I see lots of folks starting their through hikes each March. Frankly, I don't think there's any way to predcit or categorize those who finish. It's a little bit luck and a lot of desire. I'm not sure that prior experience, the amount of preparation and planning, or the hours spent readin books and websites make a lot of difference.

    Mostly, I think, its the inner drive to keep at it day after day.

  3. #3
    GA-ME-04
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    I did'nt have any experience at all. I simply got off the couch and started walking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post

    Does anyone know if the people on whiteblaze are more likely to finish a thru-hike than the people who say:

    "hey look, walmart has everything for backpacking and i bought it, so now what to do with it... aha! ive got it, ill search, searching... searching... AHA! The AT im leaving to hike the at honey!"

    I mean, its obvious that those people wont finish, but who are the majority and why?
    no. people on WB are not more likely to finish a thru-hike than someone who does it on a spur of the moment

    why do you think the walmart hikers won't finish and website patagonia types will?

  5. #5
    Registered User Doughnut's Avatar
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    I am amazed a the hikers I meet who are NOT members here.

  6. #6
    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    Just last year I saw a section hiker that did nearly that, she didn't go to Wall Mart, she went to her parents basement & got her Brother's Boy Scout gear. Was on the trail the next week. She did NO research other than to find a trailhead (Damascus). Last time I saw her she was in Atkins having the time of her life.
    So, sorry to say: but the "Wall Mart hikers" are not more (or less) likely to finish than anyone else. Yes, she did change some gear on the trail, but after the first week or so it's almost all attitude, she had a good attitude / mind set.

    I have also seen "Well prepared hikers" (Patagonia hikers?) who didn't make it past the 100 mile mark, , , and NOT due to gear failure, but to a "Bad attitude".

    Maybe White Blaze can help with gear and attitude, but if it isn't in YOU, there is nothing anyone else can say or do to make it work for you.
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

  7. #7
    Section Hiking Knucklehead Hooch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Okay, this is a really dumb question, but here goes.

    Does anyone know if the people on whiteblaze are more likely to finish a thru-hike than the people who say:

    "hey look, walmart has everything for backpacking and i bought it, so now what to do with it... aha! ive got it, ill search, searching... searching... AHA! The AT im leaving to hike the at honey!"

    I mean, its obvious that those people wont finish, but who are the majority and why? i love reading essays, so if anyone wants to elaborate, pray continue. (it means go ahead.)
    There is no true, scientific way of accurately predicting who will finish a thru-hike and who won't. Gear actually has less to do with it than you'd probably think. Grandma Gatewood completed the trail in Keds sneakers, slept in a wool army blanket at night, a raincoat and carried it all in a homemade bag carried over her shoulder. Earl Shaffer hiked the trail in worn boots, an army rucksack and didn't carry a stove or a tent. The point is that thru-hiking is a lot less about expensive, status symbol gear than it is about heart, drive, determination, attitude and perseverance. Those 5 things you can't get at any outfitter, with any label or at any price. Either you have them or you don't.
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  8. #8
    Moo-terrific CowHead's Avatar
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    attitude is the reason they finish, I'm just a section hiker and I try to do 3 90 mile treks a year. If you don't get discourage no bug, rain, field mice, and the smell will stop you from reaching your goal
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  9. #9
    Section Hiking Knucklehead Hooch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    no. people on WB are not more likely to finish a thru-hike than someone who does it on a spur of the moment
    Amen. DavidAWB, once you actually get out there, you'll find that the majority of AT hikers haven't even heard of WhiteBlaze, much less be members of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    why do you think the walmart hikers won't finish and website patagonia types will?
    Because he's 14 and doesn't know any better.
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hooch View Post

    Because he's 14 and doesn't know any better.
    What's your excuse?
    I'm not really a hiker, I just play one on White Blaze.

  11. #11
    Section Hiking Knucklehead Hooch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Blazer View Post
    What's your excuse?
    I'm just a ****tard.
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hooch View Post
    I'm just a ****tard.
    Hey, that's my excuse.
    I'm not really a hiker, I just play one on White Blaze.

  13. #13
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    First, not being on WB (only one of the ways to do research) does not mean you won't finish a thru.

    Second, having no experience does not mean you won't finish a thru.

    Third, being out of shape does not mean you won't finish a thru.

    Fourth, having the "Wrong" gear does not mean you won't finish a thru.

    Fifth, thinking it will mostly be a physical challenge will not mean you won't finish a thru.

    Having said all that, my personal belief is that some study and practice can't help but increase your odds. Knowing that you are entering a mental game with yourself, having at least what most consider adequate gear, and more importantly, having some alternatives in mind if you don't like what you have can only increase your chances. Having some sense of what your daily routine will be will make you more comfortable physically. Knowing that it is normal to have some miserable times will be a comfort to you mentally when those times come.

    Some research and planning, I think, will always be an asset to a successful thru. Over planning and analyzing can be worse than no planning. Obviously this is my opinion, but if I were designing a scientific experiment, this would be my beginning hypothesis. It makes sense, based on most other activities we engage in.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    I'll go a step further and say that too much theory time is actually detrimental to completing a hike. In Bill Bryson's book, he writes about people quitting because "it wasn't what they expected."

    How do people develop those expectations? Some people can develop them in a vaccum, through their own fantasies. But a lot of people develop them through reading books, watching movies, and spending time online. The more time spent in this passive acquisition of "knowledge," the more detailed and specific the fantasies are likely to be.

    The actual hiking process is intensely real and physical. When someone has built up elaborate fantasies about The Hike, the real hike is usually a disappointment, even a betrayal.

    A successful hiker is more likely to be someone who accepts the realities they find as they find them, and someone who can figure out a way to solve problems as they crop up. Stubborness and a refusal to quit in the face of obstacles is a key personality trait. Knowledge can be helpful, but practical experience is probably more helpful, and a willingness to learn and adapt more helpful still.

    And then there's the luck factor. I don't think Whiteblaze has an effect one way or the other on that.
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  15. #15
    Formerly "Totem"
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    I find that a lot of the things people say on Whiteblaze never actually make it on the trail and the attitude is a lot different. That said, take everything with a grain of salt and hyoh.
    up over the hills, theres nothing to fear
    theres a pub across the way with whisky and beer
    its a lengthy journey on the way up to the top
    but it ain't so bad if you have a great big bottle o'scotch

  16. #16
    Registered User David@whiteblaze's Avatar
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    THANK YOU MARTA!!! I suppose I presented my query the wrong way...

    Why do over 1,800 hikers leave the trail after sacrificing a lot just to get there? Is it because of family matters or injury? Is it injuries or understudy e.g. expecting an easy saunter down a well maintained trail with trees on either side? or just a tiring of repitition without anyting to show for it?

    And btw, the whole walmart thing was saying that they have a 70+ pound pack because they are used to car camping (like me so far.)
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  17. #17

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    Some folks may read a journal on Trailjournals and decide to try, then find out that reading about walking miles in cold rain/snow is vastly different than actually doing it.

  18. #18
    Registered User Speer Carrier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Okay, this is a really dumb question, but here goes.

    Does anyone know if the people on whiteblaze are more likely to finish a thru-hike than the people who say:

    "hey look, walmart has everything for backpacking and i bought it, so now what to do with it... aha! ive got it, ill search, searching... searching... AHA! The AT im leaving to hike the at honey!"

    I mean, its obvious that those people wont finish, but who are the majority and why? i love reading essays, so if anyone wants to elaborate, pray continue. (it means go ahead.)
    While hiking for three weeks this past May, in northern Virginia, our group met perhaps 20-25 thru hikers. I've read here on whiteblaze, that at least 6 have completed their hike now. I think most if not all of them had a good chance of finishing. I asked most of the thru hikers we met if they were familiar with whiteblaze, and non had ever heard of the website. So, I'd say being a member of whiteblaze has very little to do with completing a thru hike. I will note that the age range of those we met was 19-24. That probably has more to do with success rate than computer time. I'll also note that most had pretty good equipment.

  19. #19
    Registered User John B's Avatar
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    The reasons for stopping include being cold, hot, hungry, thirsty, lonely, bored, injured, broke, not being what they expected it to be, sick of rain/snow/drought, disgusted with being filthy, etc.

    BTW, David, I think your biblical quote is from Job 1:7, not 1:9.

  20. #20
    Garlic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hooch View Post
    Amen. DavidAWB, once you actually get out there, you'll find that the majority of AT hikers haven't even heard of WhiteBlaze, much less be members of it.
    Amen again. I've only actually met three or four other WB hikers, and I never even heard of WB until after my AT thru. It sure didn't affect my hike. My gear and my style reflect my experience, not others'.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

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