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  1. #1

    Question What's the first question people ask you....

    when you tell them you're about to start a thru-hike of the AT?

    I've got a theory here, but I'd like to hear responses from both men & women. Here's the reason I'm asking. At the grocery store yesterday, I ran into a casual friend who I haven't seen in several months. When she asked what I was up to, I told her that I was about to start a thru-hike, ect. The next question she asked was, "are you going with anyone?".

    The first question everyone has - I mean everyone -is some version of "are you going alone"? "You aren't going alone, are you?", "Who are you going with?", and when I tell them that infact I am starting alone and look forward to meeting up with others that are hiking on their own they're pretty much agast.

    So, I'm wondering if it's just a sexist thing; that if I were a man, the first question might be something along the lines of "how long will you be gone?", "where are you starting?", you know what I mean.

    So guys, what's the first question you hear? Ladies, is it just me, or do you get the same reaction?????

    turtle feet
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    Life is an adventure or nothing at all ~ Hellen Keller

  2. #2
    Registered User wcgornto's Avatar
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    It doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman. That is one of the first and most common questions. It usually comes just before "You are going to carry a gun, aren't you?"

  3. #3
    Registered User khog03's Avatar
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    Yep. Every single time. And it's not only in regards to hiking. I do many things by myself that I guess other people wouldn't and if I mention it people always ask "who are you going with?" I'm going skydiving for my bday at the end of the month and when I told my friends this was their first response. Really annoying to me. Are we supposed to be incapable of enjoying time to ourselves?

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    Registered User Des's Avatar
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    Agreed; its the same irregardless of gender. Most people I know wouldn't even consider going on a solo hike in a state park. They are just too scared of the 'wilderness.' Somehow, I never saw a modern crime-ridden city as being any safer- in fact, I think its much more dangerous. Its just what you are familiar with, I guess.

    I've never been asked whether I was taking a gun. I think that is more of where you are from rather than some gender divide.

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    Registered User RGB's Avatar
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    Yeah usually the next question is "Are you going to be packing?" "You are carrying a gun, aren't you?" or a statement "You better carry a gun."

    If we go by simple statistics here, then I should be dual-wielding AKs with bandoleers strapped across my chest while walking around the city if you think it's necessary to be packing on the trail.
    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do."

    -Bob Dylan

  6. #6
    Registered User writeronthestorm's Avatar
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    I'm with everyone else. The first question is "Are you going alone?"... After I say "yes' it's immediately followed by "Are you taking a gun?".

  7. #7
    MEGA '11, LT '09,'13
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    When people ask me if im "Going alone" i say yes, quickly followed by "but I will undoubtedly meet many people on the trail" So, even though I start alone does not mean I am alone. It took my mother a while to understand this.

    As far as packing heat goes, only one persone has asked me this and i found it completely absurd. I wasnt sure if they were serious or not at first. Taking any kind of fire arm is rediculous and unnecessary. Your legs will get you farther than bullets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turtle Feet View Post
    when you tell them you're about to start a thru-hike of the AT?

    I've got a theory here, but I'd like to hear responses from both men & women. Here's the reason I'm asking. At the grocery store yesterday, I ran into a casual friend who I haven't seen in several months. When she asked what I was up to, I told her that I was about to start a thru-hike, ect. The next question she asked was, "are you going with anyone?".

    The first question everyone has - I mean everyone -is some version of "are you going alone"? "You aren't going alone, are you?", "Who are you going with?", and when I tell them that infact I am starting alone and look forward to meeting up with others that are hiking on their own they're pretty much agast.

    So, I'm wondering if it's just a sexist thing; that if I were a man, the first question might be something along the lines of "how long will you be gone?", "where are you starting?", you know what I mean.

    So guys, what's the first question you hear? Ladies, is it just me, or do you get the same reaction?????

    turtle feet
    If I got a $ for the number of times people were amazed, horrified that I had travelled from Australia to America alone and for the sole purpose of walking the AT alone I would be a wealthy woman. The next questions were are you scared? and where do you sleep?

  9. #9
    Registered User Amberalicia's Avatar
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    I haven't been asked the gun question. But some ask whether I'm carrying my own tent and equipment. Or, "Do you camp out in the woods at night?" Many though tell me they would love to go on extended hikes like the AT. You can see it in their eyes. Kind of nice.

  10. #10
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    In my case it depends on who I'm talkin
    g with. Non-hikers usually ask the "alone" question, non-outdoorsy types ask "why" and people that know me well wish me luck and ask "what will you do afterwards". People that know me, know what I have been dealing with for the last 5 years(caregiver for my father) and understand my need for freedom again.

    More importantly to myself are the questions I ask myself, since I have never put much stock into what others think of me. I have always had a strong independent streak and been very self reliant and enjoy doing many things on my own. Of course there are some advantages of having company and sharing experiences with.
    Hike your own Hike

    Sherpas? We don't need no stinkin' sherpas.

  11. #11
    Garlic
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    Ditto here on the gun question, and where I live it's often the first question. In some towns out West here, it's not whether you're carrying a gun or not, it's "What kind of gun are you carrying?"

    At the risk of deflecting this good thread, I've heard a theory that your pack reflects your fears. Those who pack guns must be afraid of different things than I'm afraid of. And that's OK.

    A less common question is "Are you carrying all your food?" I like that one. I also like Bill Bryson's response, "Yes, until I can find someone to carry it for me."
    "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

  12. #12

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    It's actually quite simple why people always ask this question. The vast majority of humans cannot stand their own company.

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    Yep, got a lot of "are you going alone" questions too. It wasn't solely associated with AT thru hiking either. When I rode my bicycle cross country in 2008 lots of people asked the same thing. Amazing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Jay View Post
    It's actually quite simple why people always ask this question. The vast majority of humans cannot stand their own company.
    HAHAHA!! Good one to start the day!
    Simple is good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    Ditto here on the gun question, and where I live it's often the first question. In some towns out West here, it's not whether you're carrying a gun or not, it's "What kind of gun are you carrying?"
    #1 question from men, "what kind of gun I'm taking"
    from women, "alone?"

    #2 Aren't you afraid of the Bears?

    It really is quite amusing to see the look on their face's when I flatly say no to either of these.

    Most of the people I know or work with, have been so completely suburbanized,
    that the thought of actually being in the woods for any reason is just not part of their world.

  16. #16
    Registered User walkin' wally's Avatar
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    Most frequently asked... Are you going alone?

    Next.. How far are you going?

  17. #17
    Registered User Storm's Avatar
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    One of the first question I get is "Why?" I tell them if I have to explain they wouldn't understand anyway.
    "The difficult can be done immediately, the impossible takes a little longer"

  18. #18
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Looks like we all hear the same:

    "ALONE!?!'
    "Where do you sleep/eat/bathe/poop?"
    "Do you bring a gun/phone/GPS?"
    "Why?"
    "Can I come, too?"

  19. #19
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    I think it depends in part on the context in which people "find out". Sometimes it's just a conversation killer; folks don't relate to the idea well enough to say much. Perhaps in some cases they don't believe, or just don't absorb/process what it is that's being said.

    At any rate, in the majority of cases there simply is no "first question". In part because I'm a repeat offender (some people now foolishly assume that I know what I'm doing :-)).
    Gadget
    PCT: 2008 NOBO, AT: 2010 NOBO, CDT: 2011 SOBO, PNT: 2014+2016

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    Quote Originally Posted by tiquer View Post

    ...#2 Aren't you afraid of the Bears?
    Usually the same #2 question here in NJ. Alone? is #1.

    My answer to the bear question is, "No, I'm more afraid of rattlers and hypothermia." Most just shake their head and follow-up with an "Are you nuts?" question or something similar.
    Simple is good.

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