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  1. #1
    planning a Thru-Hike cindellasaurus's Avatar
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    Default Hiking Horror Story: My ONE Day on the AT



    Back in August, myself and two guys that I know from school headed up to Maine to start hiking SOBO on the AT. While they planned on going all the way, I knew that I couldn't afford it, and I didnt think we would make it all the way before the weather prevented us from safely continuing on, but I was excited to go as far as my money would take me. Unfortunately, money didnt end up being the determining factor when it came to ending my hike, one of my hiking companions was.... a hiker's nightmare. In the end, I spent ONE day hiking the Appalachian Trail, and went home very disappointed.

    Trouble began the day my parents drove us the 5 hours from where we live in New Hampshire, all the way up to Baxter State Park. Upon arriving at the South Gate to the park, a very nice Ranger informed us that we should consider booking another night at the Katahdin Falls Campground because we wouldn't be able to hike Katahdin, summit, return that same day and then make it out of the park before nightfall. The companion whom I mentioned before and I shall refer to as "Jerkwad" began muttering things under his breath like 'That dumb b**** doesnt know what she's talking about" & "what a fat f***, look at her legs..they're HUGE... I say we just hike up tonight, and walk out of the park tomorrow" (personally, I found that this was an AWESOME idea, seeing as how none of us were familiar with the mountain... NOT). I was very put off by this, because I thought the lady was just doing her job, but Jerkwad ignored me when I asked him to please stop picking on her for stupid reasons.

    After receiving our reservation we drove the 8 miles down the dirt road and arrived at Katahdin Falls Campground where we checked in with the ranger there, Bruce, who was very helpful and let us know that we could pick up day packs in the morning and leave our gear at the Rangers' cabin. The second we walked out the screen door and began down the steps on the cabin porch, Jerkwad began going on about how Bruce was 'shady' and would probably 'go through our packs and steal our gear' and how '[jerkwad] didnt trust him and [was] going to carry [his] gear up Katahdin' (might I add his pack weighed about 45lbs..). Jerkwad continued on as we headed to our campsite, calling Bruce an Ass-h*** (for absolutely NO REASON!).. and insulting the man over and over.

    As we set up our tents Jerkwad was yelling very loudly, employing many choice swears and slurs, despite the fact that a family was camped next to us and I asked him to please keep his voice down (it was after 8 and beginning to get dark). I told him to be considerate and he basically ignored me, singing loudly "Bitches aint *****, Bitches aint *****, Bitches aint ***** but hoes and tricks" at which time I was completely mortified to see a taller man who looked like he might be Native American walking past with his daughter who couldnt have been older than 10. The man was clearly offended by the harsh language and lack of consideration coming from Jerkwad. The night concluded with Jerkwad eating dinner INSIDE of his tent...and much more foul language.

    The morning of our hike began with Jerkwad setting a caterpillar on fire 'to see if it was alive' (SERIOUSLY?).. and us unloading our gear at the Rangers' Cabin. I carried.. maybe 10-15 lbs up the mountain including lots of water (it was about 100 degrees that day!) while my companions carried nearly 40lbs, leaving only their tents and sleeping bags behind. We began hiking at a much too fast pace, I kept up, but I knew that with the loads that Jerkwad and the other guy were carrying, we would soon have to stop.

    Every five to ten minutes we stopped, the other two out of breath, Jerkwad inquiring of me 'why aren't you out of breath!?' and then adding 'it's okay..we have all day'. At our little pit stops, Jerkwad took the liberty of retrieving his buck knife from his bag and using it to stab trees while grunting loudly. After a few stops, Jerkwad decided to throw his knife at a dead stump near Katahdin Falls, at this point I was overjoyed to find that the dead stump had defeated the buck knife, and that the blade had broken from the handle. To my horror, Jerkwad shrugged and informed us 'It's okay..I've still got Henry VII here' as he pulled a two foot MACHETE out of his pack. I cringed. It was going to be a long day.

    I enjoyed climbing over all the rocks and making my way up Katahdin, so long as I was a ways ahead of Jerkwad. Whenever we met up I was so put off by his shouts of 'F*** Maine!' and his complaints like "I hate Mormons' after a bunch of Mormon hikers passed us, and were still in EARSHOT.. that I was nearly wishing to lose my balance and tumble over the side of the mountain. I was even more embarrassed when I found Jerkwad taking stones from trail markers and chucking them back down the trail. After seven HOURS ('oh, but we have ALL DAY!') and many "F*** Maine"s and "I HATE Canadians" and one exclamation of 'guys, I dont think I can make it" with 2 miles to the top we reached the summit of Katahdin.

    After trying to tell us that we didnt have time to eat (um.. I just hiked seven hours.. I'm sure as hell going to have some ramen and power bar and tons of water!) Jerkwad headed down without myself and the other guy. Eventually we caught up.. but I was terrified heading down the boulders. I'm deathly afraid of heights, and didnt realize how close to the edge I would be while hiking.. I basically scooted down the mountain on my butt for fear that I would lose my balance and fall. The other guy was nice enough to help me pick safe routes through the boulders, and make sure I wasnt left behind after Jerkwad led me to a place where I had to jump down nearly 6 feet.

    Jerkwad eventually stopped waiting for us and zoomed ahead. After a total of 13 hours on the mountain (oh yeah.. we HAD ALL DAY..and we took ALL DAY) we made it to the bottom.. by this time my hips and knees were destroyed... a mile from the bottom (& the only place with cell phone reception) I called home. I was crying because I didnt want to leave, but I knew that I was NOT going to enjoy a second of hiking with Jerkwad as part of the group..and after hearing him talk about swimming across rivers if we couldn't find a ferry.. I decided his rudeness, recklessness, and lack of respect for the trail and other hikers were just more than I wanted to deal with.

    The next morning I heard Jerkwad trying to tell the other guy that he wanted to do at LEAST 13 miles that day (this coming from mr. we've hiked 2 miles and guys..I dont think I'm going to make it)... I knew that going home was the right choice at that point.

    I feel pretty lame that I spent 8 months planning and buying gear and getting all excited and ready to go, and all desire to hike was lost in one day. Now of course all I want is another go at it. While I waited the 5 hours that day for my parents to pick me up, I met a very nice lady who sounded like she was from Australia or maybe New Zealand.. and she insisted that I didnt quit 'just because Katahdin was a bitch!' She was very nice, and I think that someday.. with better companions, I'll definitely attempt it again. Until then, I look forward to many shorter hikes, and trips into the woods, and I hope that I (and all other hikers!) never EVER come across anyone like Jerkwad while on the trail!

  2. #2

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    One thing we need to learn in life and the sooner we learn it the better off we are is to pick and choose our friends and who we intend to spend our valuable and limited time with and associate with very wisely. In this instance I will assume the individual who was acting so irrational and disrespectful did not give previous signs of acting this way to you before you commited yourself on this hike or most likely you would have had immediate second thoughts. You sound like an easy going respectful type person who was accompanying a literal jerk. Unfortunately things like this happen everyday. At least your other hiking partner wasn't as asinine and didn't abandon you on the climb down or who knows, it could have turned out much worse. One thing I have read here on Whiteblaze over and over are people who are experienced giving sound advice and one thing I always see and read are prospective thru-hikers asking for partners and those experienced members telling them to simply go themselves and meet people as they go, that it will work out better in the long run. I believe this to be true. That unless you really know a potential partner, that to go with someone who is basically unfamiliar to yourself (personality, hiking style, thru-hiking goals and choices, etc...) then that is a mistake. People who you do not really know can have undesirable qualities that once discovered change your entire view of them. This individual appears to be easily that type of person. I think you realize and will realize when you look back in retrospect how even your safety was actually jeopardized, and not just by the dangers of the mountain, but by his disrespect of other people whom he did not even know. The sad part when something like this occurs is that your joy of experiencing what could have been the wonderful climb of an awe inspiring mountain was and will be forever tainted with the bad memories of how this person behaved. On a brighter note I am sure you will have learned something about yourself from this experience, and in your future adventures you will surely be more selective of the company you choose to keep. Good Luck

  3. #3
    Baron
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    What DapperD said. In addition, people that you have no problem with in "The Real World" might suddenly become difficult on the Trail.

    Someone on the board posted a story about meeting a guy who was stepping off the trail after starting it with his best friend.

    "How long were you friends?"
    "From Third Grade to Vermont".
    ‎"You know your camping trip really isn't going well when you find yourself hoping to stave off sepsis with a six-pack of Icehouse. "

    "Age is not an accomplishment, and youth is not a sin."

  4. #4
    Recreational User Torch09's Avatar
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    What does a Mormon hiker look like?
    ~Happiness is only real when shared~

  5. #5
    Baron
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torch09 View Post
    What does a Mormon hiker look like?



    More seriously, that the person who is yelling "Bitches aint ***** but hoes and tricks" and is (I admit to going out on a limb here, but the OP is from NH and hiking trends towards one demographic) white has a skewed view of what constitutes being tough/a man.

    Young punk who is acting like a hoodlum in the woods. Classy. Hopefully it was a one-off event and next time she sees him he'll be mortified by his behavior.
    ‎"You know your camping trip really isn't going well when you find yourself hoping to stave off sepsis with a six-pack of Icehouse. "

    "Age is not an accomplishment, and youth is not a sin."

  6. #6
    Registered User Toolshed's Avatar
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    I wonder if jerkwad is the same idiot SOBO SOB that was carving his name into al the shelters....?
    .....Someday, like many others who joined WB in the early years, I may dry up and dissapear....

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toolshed View Post
    I wonder if jerkwad is the same idiot SOBO SOB that was carving his name into al the shelters....?
    you could be on to something here but my guess is he didnt have the sack to make it all the way.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Wow! For a lot of young hikers, their trip is a coming of age experience. Sounds like you took a gigantic leap towards coming of age in that one day.

    Despite the popular perception that it's better and safer to have a hiking partner, I strongly disagree. You are much better off planning a solo journey. You will probably meet up with people you enjoy hiking with, and who will enrich your trip (and vice versa), but don't depend on any one particular person to make the trip happen for you.

    Good luck with the long hike that awaits you in the future!
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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

    Instagram hiking photos: five.leafed.clover

  9. #9
    Registered User Sierra Echo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torch09 View Post
    What does a Mormon hiker look like?
    I was wondering that myself. I want to know how to have confirmed mormon hiker sighting!

  10. #10

    Default It's on you

    Quote Originally Posted by cindellasaurus View Post

    ...In the end, I spent ONE day hiking the Appalachian Trail, and went home very disappointed.

    I feel pretty lame that I spent 8 months planning and buying gear and getting all excited and ready to go, and all desire to hike was lost in one day...
    Learn to assert yourself. Unlearn passivity. No reason to be the do-girl for others on the Trail; yogi’s would flock to you.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMXImYguDRU
    Assertiveness formula. Practice, practice, practice.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torch09 View Post
    What does a Mormon hiker look like?
    Gray Blazer. Seriously.
    I'm not really a hiker, I just play one on White Blaze.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by cindellasaurus View Post

    Now of course all I want is another go at it.
    Maybe plan to go it alone. . . you will fall in with other hikers that are more to your liking fairly quickly. It seems pre-arranged hiking partners frequently do not work out. . .
    Hope you get to give it another go. . .

  13. #13
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torch09 View Post
    What does a Mormon hiker look like?
    Notice the bear feet and bonnet and lack of pack. You don't have to make these things up- they are for real and it was the second couple.

    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  14. #14
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Oh darn I got mormon and mennonite confused - sorry.

    Here Great looking Mormon Family Hikers
    Last edited by Wise Old Owl; 11-23-2010 at 09:42.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

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    looks like a mennonite hiker. i don't see any bear feet but she is barefoot

  16. #16
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    Tough life lesson cinderellasaurus. Next time you'll know to have a plan B, and plan C (or make one up quickly) - as in ditch the jerkwads and don't let them ruin your hike (or anything else in life). Sorry about your experience.

  17. #17

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    Cindellasaurus, I'm sorry for the hell you went through. This has been a life lesson for you. Don't lose the dream of a thru or long-distance AT hike and like others, I encourage you to hike without a partner - you'll meet plenty of others.

    As for Jerkwad, I'd be surprised if he made it past the 100 Mile Wilderness.

  18. #18

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    Curious, how long have you known Jerkwad? And what was the other "hiker" you were with doing in all this? I get the impression he's just some passive-kind of guy that just went along.

    Where are they now?

  19. #19
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    looks like a mennonite hiker. i don't see any bear feet but she is barefoot
    Ohh I knew I shouldn't post in the morning,,,,, Hmm did you see the Hairy Ankles... Thats Bear Feet! She didn't shave,


    As for the orginal post, it appears our female hiker has once again discovered boys mentally will be boys, until they mature to be men.
    Last edited by Wise Old Owl; 11-23-2010 at 09:44.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Old Owl View Post
    As for the orginal post, it appears our female hiker has once again discovered boys mentally will be boys, until they mature to be men.
    Yeah, boys will be boys...but that's a little extreme. Personally, I think the only real way to fix that problem is to drop them off in the middle of the wilderness and let them try and find their way out and if it kills him, so be it.

    If that doesn't work, then there's just no fixin' him; we don't have the technology, yet...

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