Poll: On my thru-hike I am (was)

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  1. #1
    Easyhiker
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    Default Poll for thru-hikers

    Importance of Whiteblazes

  2. #2
    Addicted Hiker and Donating Member Hammock Hanger's Avatar
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    Default White Blaze....

    I have to say I followed the White as much as possible. Let's say 9.5 times out of 10. I didn't back track if I went into a shelter and it went out another way, every time. I did go visit one waterfall. -- It was a wonderful journey and I felt I was doing it honestly. I saw a guy out there that tried to touch each white blaze as he went by. I'm not that anal and thought it was a bit ridiculous. Other then those folks who would suddenly appear 100 miles ahead every once in awhile, I felt most hikers were doing miles and working the adventure. Hammock Hanger
    Hammock Hanger -- Life is my journey and I'm surely not rushing to the "summit"...:D

    http://www.gcast.com/u/hammockhanger/main

  3. #3
    Section Hiker 350 miles DebW's Avatar
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    In my, so far, 300 miles of section hiking on the AT, I've followed all the white blazes. Even backtracked on the blue blaze shelter loops. Occassionally walked back 10 feet to catch a blaze I'd missed. Not so much because it was that important - it was more like playing a silly game so I could laugh at myself for it. Not sure how compulsive I've be on a thru. Any body meet a hiker in 2001 named Insane. He walked back 14 miles to do 1/4 mile of trail he'd missed.

  4. #4
    Registered User gravityman's Avatar
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    Default The norm

    You could call me Mr. Average. I think that, like most people, I started off wanted to hike the AT the whole way, every step. Shelter loops were the first violation of my conviction. Then came the Creeper out of Damascus. Finally it was pretty much whatever we felt like doing. I did feel dirty when we blue blazed to a road at Dragon's tooth and then went to Catabwa, and skipped the section of trail from dragons tooth to catabwa. And we paid for it 'cause we missed some trail magic.

    Of course at that point my wife was a hurtin' unit. That, and it gave her a great deal of pleasure to see me agonize over taking a short cut to boost her moral or following my edict.

    Most important is enjoying the journey. I wanted to be rigid, but realized that in order to keep hiking I needed to be a lot more flexible. Especially true as a couple.

    Gravity Man

  5. #5
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
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    Default

    I followed the blue blazes (or actually cairns) to catch some peaks that the AT misses, especially along the Presidential Range.

  6. #6
    Easyhiker
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    Ya know I was thinking about this the last couple days and have came to the conclusion that I would just be happy to be in the mountains again. And if I do make it to Katahdin with out yellow blazin' that would be a feat in itself. I'm not to concerned about having my name listed with hundreds of others in ATN. Last year I was gung-ho on following all the white blazes and only got to Gatlinburg. This year im going to the trail and mountains just to be there not accomplish anything like I set out to do last year.

  7. #7
    Easyhiker
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    Originally posted by DebW
    In my, so far, 300 miles of section hiking on the AT, I've followed all the white blazes. Even backtracked on the blue blaze shelter loops. Occassionally walked back 10 feet to catch a blaze I'd missed. Not so much because it was that important - it was more like playing a silly game so I could laugh at myself for it. Not sure how compulsive I've be on a thru. Any body meet a hiker in 2001 named Insane. He walked back 14 miles to do 1/4 mile of trail he'd missed.
    Is this a photo of the Insane your talking about. I met him in the Smokys back in March.

    https://whiteblaze.net/gallery/sh....php?photo=617

  8. #8
    Section Hiker 350 miles DebW's Avatar
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    Default

    Originally posted by Easyhiker
    Is this a photo of the Insane your talking about. I met him in the Smokys back in March.

    https://whiteblaze.net/gallery/sh....php?photo=617
    No, the Insane I met was an older gentleman. Probably around 60. Met him in Cooper Lodge on Killington in VT in July 2001.

  9. #9
    Just Passin' Thru.... Kozmic Zian's Avatar
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    Default White Blazes

    Yea, ya know....Once you get out there the 1st time and realize how hard it is to actually do, and how far it is to Maine (GA) or if you're just sectioning (still hard to do)....you want to be pure, we all do, but the reality and the dream are very different things. I think you do the best you can to progress up The Trail without cheatin' (yellow blazing). Sometimes you miss a small ageis or exit. Or youre hitch into town and out brings you to a different entre'. Well what are you gonna do, backtrack....I don't think so! So we move on. As long as you're true to yourself and you do this thing (hiking) you're the one you have to live with. I say hike your own hike.KZ
    Kozmic Zian@ :cool: ' My father considered a walk in the woods as equivalent to churchgoing'. ALDOUS HUXLEY

  10. #10
    Section Hiker - 339.8 miles - I'm gettin' there! papa john's Avatar
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    I was talking to Jeff (Hike Inn-Fontana Dam) about the lists of people who claim thru-hiker status. He says he and Nancy see those names and recognize a lot of them as people they personally took to the bus station and/or airport. Now, it is possible that those same people might have come back unbeknownst to Jeff and finished, but I would seriously doubt that a lot of them did. I wouldn't put a lot of stock in the ATN thru-hiker lists anymore.

  11. #11
    Registered User jollies's Avatar
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    Default

    I made it a point to conciously pass every white blaze while I thru-hiked this past summer. If I missed one by accident, I didn't beat myself up over it, but you can bet I remember where they were!

  12. #12

    Default

    I like hiking. I like sojourning.

    I don't care if I follow the white blazes, blue blazes, or any blazes at all. I've walked along roads, cut cross country, and hitch-hiked around portions of the trail. I've enjoyed some hikes so much that I've done whatever I can to make them longer, other's I've tried to get through as fast as I can. Sometimes I like being in the woods, sometimes I like being in civilization.

    whatever.

    -Howie

  13. #13
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    Default Out with the White, in with the Blue

    I've always made it a point to be a purist, sometimes a fanatical one. On my first few hikes, I insisted on going THRU blowdowns, not around them, and was frequently a bloody mess by the end of the day.

    I know better now. I expect to do around a thousand miles this spring and summer, picking and choosing where I'll go and how long I'll be there. I expect to go thru favorite sections (Roan Highlands, Southwest Virginia, etc.) at a much slower pace than I usually do, so I can really enjoy them. I also expect to blue-blaze like crazy, to check out side trails, the old A.T., or whatever I feel like.

    To the 2004 folks----however you decide to hike this year, it's all good. But whether you're a purist or not, one bit of advice: Some of us are lucky enough to keep going back, but for many folks on the Trail, it's a one-time journey. Slow down and enjoy it! Forget about keeping a rigid schedule---if you come to a pretty place at 2 PM and wanna stop for the day, DO IT! You come to a gorgeous place and wanna stay there ALL DAY LONG and not hike at all, do it! Zero-mileage days don't have to be in town. And if you see signs or blue-blaze trails that say "waterfall" or"viewpoint", well take a few minutes and check 'em out. There are some very beautiful things that are close, but not actually ON the Trail, and it's amazing how many folks never see them because they won't take the time. Most of you will be out there 170-190 days, so taking a few side trails or side hikes every other day will not affect your schedule.

    I don't regret in the slightest that I was a "purist" while I hiked......what I do regret tho, is that I paid too much attention to keeping a schedule, and in so doing, I didn't spend enough time at a lot of places; there were places I managed to never camp at even tho I passed them 8 or 9 times; there are still plenty of waterfalls and blue blazes I've never checked out. I hope to correct some of that this year. This is the year I plan to really explore the Trail by spending a significant ammount of time OFF of it, and I urge others to consider doing likewise: If you want to hike a pure hike and stick to the Whiteblazes, I salute you. There aren't many of us that are determined to actually hike the entire Trail without skipping bits here and there. But don't be a fanatic about it; in addition to following the White blazes, don't neglect the Blue ones.

  14. #14
    Registered User A-Train's Avatar
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    Default

    Definately agree with Jack. I respect anyone who wants to keep a totally pure hike. For me, I started out not caring, and just stuck to the whites because thats what i did, and it ended up being a habit. I had no reason to always go pure, but it just became a routine and it felt fine.

    As said above, just make sure you are doing things for the right reasons. I saw some folks who were fanatical and very serious about hitting every blaze, but it seemed like it became more important to say they did it than the actual meaning of it. Whatever you do, enjoy it and get the most out of it. It could be your only hike
    Anything's within walking distance if you've got the time.
    GA-ME 03, LT 04/06, PCT 07'

  15. #15
    Registered User Smooth03's Avatar
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    Default

    I agree with Jack and A-Train(think I met you on my SOBO and your NOBO thru-hike in the whites. I made some idiot comment about my sister being from Brooklyn, NY as well). I believe there is indeed some credence to the idea of "hiking your own hike". While I don't want to use the term "purist", I think I only missed maybe 200 yards of the AT and that was when I got lost on a re-route. Its not a contest, there is no prize at the end so frankly I don't get caught up in the hoopla of who is a purist, who is a blue-blazer and who is a yellow blazer. Yellow blazer's to me however tend to cross the line a bit. I heard stories from NOBOs that some "thru-hikers" would simply hitch up the trail so that they could get shelter space to avoid the rain.
    Maybe this was an isolated incident but it is an example of the only time I got(get) mad at yellow blazers(those who do significant amounts, I'm not talking about skipping 5 miles on one incident). Along the trail there are countless people who pour out their hearts and homes to provide shelter and food to long distance hikers. I always hated it though when yellow blazers would take advantage of these opportunities and claim to be "thru-hikers".
    In the end though its all semantics. As long as a person is being true to themselves and having fun they can be as anal, or as unattentive to white blazes as they desire.

  16. #16
    Dead_Head_Engineer
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    Default The trail as an entity

    Since many peaks are on blues and the trail was "designed" to go across the "major" peaks of the Appalachians and especially through the whites it bypasses several summits, following the whites doesn't encompass the full thought of what the trail is supposed to be. the AT was fashioned after the Long Trail, which summits the peaks of VT. The AT is supposed to summit the peaks of the Appalachians.
    Dead_Head_Engineer:dance

  17. #17

    Default [B]I feel weird even replying to this question.[/B]

    I feel weird even replying to this question. I hike away from "civilization" to avoid this kind of nit-picking! I am surprised that so many hikers are concerned with such a non-issue!!!!!
    You do what YOU do....others do what THEY do....hasn't everyone figured this out by now????????
    Please stop thinking about other experiences and concentrate on your own; in order to make it what ~YOU~ want it to be!!!
    We might as well be posting about how other hikers cut their pubic hair or how we like our coffee!!!
    This trail is a tool for focusing INWARD not outward!
    Please, everyone, stop focusing on other people and stop lifting yourself before others. It's too easy, simple, and tacky.
    Weather you hike every blaze or not....weather you hike this trail AT ALL or not...weather you choose to shoot rubberbands at A.T. hikers or not, it just doesn't matter.
    PLEASE SIMPLIFY, my friends.
    I love you guys(I love everyone) ...I especially love anyone who hikes any trail...I couldn't be more excited about sharing good times with you folks this year but if the conversation is dominated by the "purist-versus-non-purist argument" i'm not going to have a lot to say because I expect long distance hikers to think in bigger terms.
    C'mon folks...(when it doesn't affect you) WHO CARES what others do!!!!!??????
    I'm not trying to be "above it all", I'm just trying to be a reminder.
    Focus Determines Reality

  18. #18
    Dead_Head_Engineer
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    Default Agreed

    message well spoke and well taken!
    Dead_Head_Engineer:dance

  19. #19
    Registered User Smooth03's Avatar
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    Default

    Awwwww. I love the irony. Someone ranting and raving about how we should all stop ranting and raving.

    I never could get good coffee on the trail. Instant sucked. Tea-bag style coffee was too weak. "Cowboy" coffee wasn't very good either. In the end I switched to tea.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Drinkuth
    I feel weird even replying to this question. I hike away from "civilization" to avoid this kind of nit-picking! I am surprised that so many hikers are concerned with such a non-issue!!!!!
    You do what YOU do....others do what THEY do....hasn't everyone figured this out by now????????
    Please stop thinking about other experiences and concentrate on your own; in order to make it what ~YOU~ want it to be!!!
    We might as well be posting about how other hikers cut their pubic hair or how we like our coffee!!!
    This trail is a tool for focusing INWARD not outward!
    Please, everyone, stop focusing on other people and stop lifting yourself before others. It's too easy, simple, and tacky.
    Weather you hike every blaze or not....weather you hike this trail AT ALL or not...weather you choose to shoot rubberbands at A.T. hikers or not, it just doesn't matter.
    PLEASE SIMPLIFY, my friends.
    I love you guys(I love everyone) ...I especially love anyone who hikes any trail...I couldn't be more excited about sharing good times with you folks this year but if the conversation is dominated by the "purist-versus-non-purist argument" i'm not going to have a lot to say because I expect long distance hikers to think in bigger terms.
    C'mon folks...(when it doesn't affect you) WHO CARES what others do!!!!!??????
    I'm not trying to be "above it all", I'm just trying to be a reminder.

  20. #20
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    Default

    I AM the KING of blue-blazing!

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