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  1. #1

    Default Why do people stop (quit) their thru-hike?

    I was wondering why people are quitting their thru-hikes. I'm doing some writing and fishing for ideas into the mind of someone who couldn't finish. Or even someone that finished, but on a second attempt.

    I know people quit because of injuries, but what else is happening out there?

    Thank you for your time in advance.

  2. #2
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    sometimes it just stops being fun..............
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  3. #3
    Registered User ShakeyLeggs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    sometimes it just stops being fun..............
    Yep that is one reason. They also quit due to financial reasons, injury, family issues.
    A Fact Of Life:

    After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says;

    W T F...............


    KB3SYZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Plain Bill View Post
    I was wondering why people are quitting their thru-hikes. I'm doing some writing and fishing for ideas into the mind of someone who couldn't finish. Or even someone that finished, but on a second attempt.

    I know people quit because of injuries, but what else is happening out there?

    Thank you for your time in advance.
    dreaming/fantasy and reality are two entirely different things

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    sometimes it just stops being fun..............
    I never thought of that. I didn't start my thru-hike with the idea that I'd have fun. I did have a lot of fun, but that wasn't my motivation for hiking.

    Interesting ...

    Thanks for your comment.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    dreaming/fantasy and reality are two entirely different things
    I agree. Most people think just because everyone is smiling in all those Trail Journal and WhiteBlaze pics hiking the AT is a piece of cake. Wrong.

  7. #7
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    I start missing my wife and kids after a few weeks.

  8. #8
    Trail miscreant Bearpaw's Avatar
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    Sometimes the suck factor just gets too high. I've been there on shorter hikes. Got off a 270 miler last week because between intense heat and muddy overgrown trail, I just didn't feel like doing it any more.

    I'm hiking a number of different shorter trails over the summer. And I'll have a better time for it, guaranteed.
    If people spent less time being offended and more time actually living, we'd all be a whole lot happier!

  9. #9
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
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    My observations:

    Young folks: Boredom, sick of it, better things to do, money issues
    Older folks: Injuries
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Plain Bill View Post
    I was wondering why people are quitting their thru-hikes. I'm doing some writing and fishing for ideas into the mind of someone who couldn't finish. Or even someone that finished, but on a second attempt.

    I know people quit because of injuries, but what else is happening out there?

    Thank you for your time in advance.
    This gets asked probably once a week or once a day.

    I read a book called "Walking Home". The author quit her hike because she found what she was looking for. I watched many hike videos about the PCT. In one, one guy quit with only 60-something miles left because his boots hurt and nothing he tried would fix it. In another, the guy quit in an outhouse when he finally admitted winter was here and he'd never be able to finish. I quit my section hike of California because my feet were broken. I had been considering extending my hike into Oregon but couldn't go any further.

    There are as many reasons as people.
    Some knew me as Piper, others as just Diane.
    I hiked the PCT: Mexico to Mt. Shasta, 2008. Santa Barbara to Canada, 2009.

  11. #11
    Registered User FORTIS's Avatar
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    I think why one starts may have a lot to do with why they quit. Some may have found what they were searching for (if anything) along the way and a completion became no longer necessary for them. Just a thought.

    Disclaimer, I'm only a wannabe thru hiker so take what I say with a grain of salt Still dreaming!

  12. #12
    Registered User Panzer1's Avatar
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    I never thought hiking was fun. For me it's always hard work.

    Panzer

  13. #13

    Default Why Quit?

    My wife and I started a thru-hike in early march 2002. We stopped hiking in the begining of July in NJ. We had many reasons and sub reasons:

    Money: we ran out of cash and didn't want to charge the rest of the hike. Granted this our own fault underestimating the allure of cheeseburgers and hot showers. We started with a little more than 5K and now know that would be good for one person in the style we were hiking.

    Time: we were spending much more time hiking than we thought. Sure we had several 20 + days but lots of nero's and zeroes. We were supposed to frame and dry in our house in Northern NH between returning and winter an impossibility if we continued(note to self , pursue one immense long term goal at a time)

    Fun: by July it was in the upper 90's and hiking turned into a chore. We had incredible amounts of fun for the first several months. Between the less than spectacular scenery of the mid Atlantic( no offense to natives I was born in NJ) and incredible heat we decided hiking started to feel like a job, not a career you love but a job you wake up and go to because you have to.


    Finally I believe we discovered that while we love long distance hiking we weren't quite thu-hikers. We continue to backpack, sometimes for long periods but I doubt we will thru-hike any really long trails. Maybe if we ever retire but who knows.

  14. #14
    Registered User general's Avatar
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    i knocked up my girlfriend that i met on the trail. she didn't feel so good.
    don't like logging? try wiping with a pine cone.

  15. #15
    jersey joe jersey joe's Avatar
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    I think that in general people in our society have become softened by all of the modern conveniences available. Once they hit the trail and they realize how soft they really are, they head home, back to those comforts. (or as some would say, it wasn't fun anymore)

  16. #16
    So many trails... so little time. Many Walks's Avatar
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    People have the dream and sometimes plan for years. The books are read, the gear is bought (and replaced), mail drops are organized (and reorganized), and it all sounds so romantic while they sit in their comfy living room with all the convenience of home. Then when they step onto the trail the reality hits. The one that always come to mind is the girl who went through all the planning and quit on the approach trail because it just wasn't what she expected. The ones who make it up the trail realize it takes mental toughness and tenacity. Like others have said it can get to be like working on a hard job and not being fun. If you roll with the punches, maintain your curiosity, and appreciate the splendor with a good attitude the hike remains fun. Once you're mentally beat you're as good as gone.


    I have to add it does help to hike with a partner who has the same goals, shares the work and is equally awestruck by the magnificence of the trail.
    That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest. Henry David Thoreau

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Panzer1 View Post
    I never thought hiking was fun. For me it's always hard work.

    Panzer
    Wow, that is sad. I think hiking is great fun. I love the physical feeling of walking. I like the meditative aspect of walking. I like to hike up hill, flat or downhill. I like to see the views and hear the birds and discover amazing wonderful things around every bend in the trail. I love not being in the same place every day. I love sleeping somewhere new every day. I love the way my feet can take me anywhere. I love it that I've been places that the richest man in the world will never see. There's nothing I like more in the world than hiking.

    Maybe your backpack is too heavy.
    Some knew me as Piper, others as just Diane.
    I hiked the PCT: Mexico to Mt. Shasta, 2008. Santa Barbara to Canada, 2009.

  18. #18
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    All good reasons.

    I think another reason is that many people love backpacking for the camping. Roll in five miles, make basecamp and chill by a lake or a stream.

    Even a 'short' day of 12 miles or so is still 6+ hrs of hiking every day. And then repeat it the following day.

    Backpacking to hike more is not something everyone loves.
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    The true harvest of my life is intangible...a little stardust caught,a portion of the rainbow I have clutched -Thoreau

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    bored and lonely.

  20. #20
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mags View Post
    I think another reason is that many people love backpacking for the camping. Roll in five miles, make basecamp and chill by a lake or a stream.
    I guess I'm lucky. I like hiking more than camping, but I do take it slow and try not to punish myself to the point it is def work. I'd much rather take an hour, or two, nap midday on a rock with a view, than get in camp an hour or two early.

    Unlike home life, I wake up on the trail ready to go in the morning.....gotta get moving. At home the dog and I can still sleep til noon......
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

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