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Thread: Research

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-14-2011
    Location
    Etters, Pennsylvania
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    Smile Research

    Hello hikers and volunteers,

    I am a senior at Mansfield University, PA and have been studying the AT for an interdisciplinary class called Humans in Nature. I aim to learn all that I can about the AT from different perspectives with a focus on the interaction between the AT and society and individuals and what kinds of issues are faced today within the ATC. As part of my research, I was wondering if you might take the time to answer the following questions.
    1. Why do you hike/volunteer?
    2. What are you thinking about while hiking/volunteering?
    3. Did you ever think of giving up, and if so, what made you keep going?
    4. On your first thru-hike, how did your actual experience compare to your expectations?
    5. How would you describe “trail culture?”
    6. What do you think is the most important thing the AT offers to people?

    I thank you greatly for your participation in my research and wish you the best. Feel free to message me with any questions or concerns.

    Erinn Dobbins

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-05-2009
    Location
    Delray Beach, Florids
    Age
    71
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    1,359

    Default Your homework

    1. Why do you hike/volunteer? hike..To keep fit. For an adventure. To escape yard work.

    2. What are you thinking about while hiking/volunteering? My mind wanders aimlessly. I focus on going as fast as I can.

    3. Did you ever think of giving up, and if so, what made you keep going? Never once thought of giving up.

    4. On your first thru-hike, how did your actual experience compare to your expectations? It was more fun than I thought it would be.

    5. How would you describe “trail culture?” It's a non-culture. The people you meet are so diverse that they would not be in agreement on anything except that it sucks to hike in the rain.

    6. What do you think is the most important thing the AT offers to people? A place to escape to.

  3. #3
    Registered User Gladiator's Avatar
    Join Date
    12-26-2007
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Age
    54
    Posts
    50

    Default

    1. Why do you hike/volunteer? I enjoy the challenge, the solitude, and the scenery.

    2. What are you thinking about while hiking/volunteering? Everything and Nothing.

    3. Did you ever think of giving up, and if so, what made you keep going? No. I've not thru-hiked, but have done several 30-40 mile sections.

    4. On your first thru-hike, how did your actual experience compare to your expectations? For the most part, hikes have exceeded expectations, generally in a good way, but not always.

    5. How would you describe “trail culture?” In a word - helpful, but being a bit of a recluse, I tend to avoid it. Some folks consider the "culture" among the best facets of hiking the AT.

    6. What do you think is the most important thing the AT offers to people? The opportunity to conquer a tough physical and mental challenge, to do something extraordinary, and the opportunity to learn and grow along the way.

  4. #4

    Default

    1. Why do you hike/volunteer? I hike because I like to be in the woods and around nature sounds. I like the challenge the trail offers.

    2. What are you thinking about while hiking/volunteering? I let my mind wander most of the time. Sometimes I'm thinking "Will this uphill ever end?" or "I hope I don't fall and break something!" or "I hope I come to a flat place soon so I can set up camp."

    3. Did you ever think of giving up, and if so, what made you keep going? I do sometimes think about giving up, but I'm usually miles from nowhere, and there is no "giving up." You have to hike out, at least! There are times when I think it's beyond my physical capability, and that I maybe should give up trying, but I haven't. I just have to hike slower than most people, and have to maybe try a little more to do what I do, but I'm still out there, and will be until it just is too much.

    4. On your first thru hike how did your actual experience compare to your expectations? I have not thru hiked. I am a section hiker. My hiking experience has been that it is harder than I expected it to be, but that after I have actually done it, I feel so much better about myself and my abilities. It is also so incredibly beautiful, and the first time I heard an owl at night, it far exceeded my expectations of how wonderful it could be.

    5. How would you describe "trail culture?" I have not experienced a lot of this as I hike alone and I'm usually out there when the crowd has already left going NOBO. I've missed the trail angels and hiker feeds. I would like to experience some of this at some point, but so far, I have not. I have experienced a lot of helpful people on the trail, talked to people from many different states and backgrounds, and shared meals and gear with others. That is also nice. I like meeting other people and talking with them about the trail.

    6. What do you think is the most important thing the AT offers to people? A chance to challenge themselves in a way they never have before! It is also a chance to meet people from every background and share experiences that you won't find anywhere else. It gives you insight into your self and others and broadens your thinking a bit.

  5. #5

    Default

    1. Why do you hike/volunteer? Physical fitness, nature therapy (I suffer from depression and getting out for a hike is one of the only things that keeps me alive), personal spiritual pilgrimage. Reconnecting with nature and realizing how much you can really do when you put your mind to it.

    2. What are you thinking about while hiking/volunteering? Someone already said it but they hit the nail on the head "Everything and nothing" is exactly right. I think about anything from future plans, career goals, cannabis legalization, music, the beauty of the earth, past experiences etc. and then there are times when I focus on nothing more than my breath

    3. Did you ever think of giving up, and if so, what made you keep going? Yes, when the rain and the fog and the mud just continued endlessly for a week! I kept telling myself it would be harder for me to find a ride home early than to just keep going and catch the ride I already had planned. Also, I knew I would regret it as soon as I left the trail....its like a lover, always there to catch you when you fall

    4. On your first thru-hike, how did your actual experience compare to your expectations? I had almost no idea of what to expect! My first time out was a 250 mile section hike that took 3 weeks, it was also my first time ever doing an overnight camping trip! I didn't expect the people to be as amazing as they were/are, there is always someone around to give you a hand or a smile or a kind word....honestly the nicest, most genuine people I have ever come across

    5. How would you describe “trail culture?” Beautiful...simply beautiful! I never knew of "trail angels" before my first hike but when I just finished hiking up and over one particularly nasty ridge, without a view, and covered in mud......and I came upon a tent in the middle of this clearing with music and the smell of a grill and a group of smiling faces handing me a cold beer.....theres just nothing better! There is a common saying on the trail that is "trust your gut" which is used when evaluating a situation, particularly one involving other people. Bad vibes - move on, good vibes - set up camp....needless to say I never really got the "bad vibes" most everyone knows that little phrase and I think that reminds them that we're all just out there to have a good time and be safe. Everyone looks out for everyone else and the cooperation amongst the hikers is a beautiful thing. Honest people looking for honest people looking for honest people....thats it.

    6. What do you think is the most important thing the AT offers to people? a chance of having a personal growing experience that you simply can NOT get anywhere other than out in nature. It is so enlightening to go out into the wilderness with everything you need to survive on you back, just walking through the woods while the rest of the world focuses on their phone bills and busy schedules! There is just nothing like learning what your body and mind and spirit can really do when you let them take over. This is the experience of a lifetime and it is something that I will cherish forever and constantly come back to as a beacon of hope.
    "The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time"

  6. #6

    Default

    i hike to live and never quit and have more and more fun each time and ...whats the other questions?
    matthewski

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-21-2009
    Location
    Tennesee
    Age
    62
    Posts
    1,231

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Erinn View Post
    Hello hikers and volunteers,

    1. Why do you hike/volunteer?
    2. What are you thinking about while hiking/volunteering?
    3. Did you ever think of giving up, and if so, what made you keep going?
    4. On your first thru-hike, how did your actual experience compare to your expectations?
    5. How would you describe “trail culture?”
    6. What do you think is the most important thing the AT offers to people?

    Erinn Dobbins
    1) i hike because I like being outdoors and trying to stay fit. Hiking is the best of both worlds.
    2) Mind wanders. When things got tough I would focus on just taking one more step.When it was tough and wet/slippery the focus is literally on where to place your foot on the next step. When hiking with my thru-hiking friends, we spent hours discussing the worst songs ever written.
    3). One time in Mass. I was very down about my hike. My wife told me that I would always regret not finishing and I knew she was right. The pain is temporary, the regret of quitting would have lasted me for a much longer time, maybe a lifetime.
    4). The actual experience was way more difficult than I ever imagined. The discussions/books/message boards accentuate the romantic nature of the trail.
    5) Trail culture is wonderful...on the trail everyone is equal. The random acts of kindness along the way from trail angels, random people,etc. is mind boggling. Very reaffirming to me that things are much better than portrayed in the media.
    6) for all thru-hikers, a chance to challenge themselves physically and mentally for 5-6 months. For some of the younger ones, I felt like it was maybe the first time that they had achieved something that required focus, planning, commitment, etc.

    good luck on your research.

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