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Thread: drop outs

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    Default drop outs

    what do you speculate is the reason that so many people drop out during the frist few weeks, if not days on the trail (Im going to start my thru hike on this Sunday and Im really curious/nervous about this)?

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    Not finding what they expected on the trail.
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    I think a lot of folks also start out to fast...too excited and want to start making miles,,,start out slow and easy, enjoy yourself ,,,in a few weeks U will be more familiar with your gear and in better shape and then U can make some miles.
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

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    Probably cause it's rather hard, and quite boring.

    That said, you must find your own inner motivation to succeed. It worked for me cause I'm really really stubborn.

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    Not only is it hard and boring, it can be cold, you can be guaranteed some sort of discomfort somewhere (usually, but not limited to, the feet, back, shoulders or legs) for the next six months, and the food is lousy. The spectacular sunsets are few, the rain can seem interminable - and often cold, and the only thing one can sleep on that is harder than the ground is the floor of a shelter. Animals will constantly try and get your lousy food when you set it upon the ground. And every week, you will find yourself in a hostel or hotel with a bed that feels too luxurious for kings that will try and lure you away from this hike.

    Is it worth it? Unequivocably yes. But realize that a thru-hike is not a vacation. It is a calling, and a hard one at that.
    "I too am not a bit untamed, I too am untranslatable,
    I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world." - W. W.

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    Quote Originally Posted by taylorbena
    what do you speculate is the reason that so many people drop out during the frist few weeks, if not days on the trail (Im going to start my thru hike on this Sunday and Im really curious/nervous about this)?
    ====================================
    Well ...in 2003 it was the near constant rain. I think it rained 21 days in a row in April and May. It really wore some hikers down and tested the ability to tune out the weather and keep on hiking.

    In general though I believe that the most common reason for hikers quiting in the first several weeks, other than injury, is finding out that the hike wasn't what they expected.

    'Slogger
    AT 2003
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

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    Many many reasons can be mentioned to answer this question. The biggest reason is that people find it harder than they had expected and they aren't willing to endure the initial hardship of being a newbie long distance hiker.
    THE Mairnttt...Boys of Dryland '03 (an unplanned Billville suburb)
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    They read bill bryson and didn't recognize the trrail they read in the book.

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    wbdent They say that a lot of it is psychological. People get out on the trail for a bit and start missing their loved ones and friends. For younger people it is there first time away from family and friends. This seems to make a lot of sense to me. Of course there are all the other reasons like to hard, boring, sick of the same thing day in and day out ect…
    AT Troll (2010)
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    Being physically and mentally soft.

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    Default only the truly obsessed...

    I want to underscore what Sleepy the Arab said. Georgia, NC, TN can be brutally cold and wet. In 1984, I started on April 16th with a couple that had trained for a year and a half, and had everything planned out (overplanned, I would say) - after six days of cold rain, sleet, lightning on the ridge, gale winds, relentless ups and downs, no green at all, just drab grey/brown woods, they quit well before the NC border. Only the truly obsessed (me and other real thru hikers) continued on. If your motivation is lukewarm, you have very little chance of going the distance.

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    Wink

    Because there's nothing romantic about slogging up hill in a cold, hard rain.

    I's not rocket science, you know.

    Cheers,

    PKH

  13. #13

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    I agree with alot of what has been said. The start can be emotionally difficult for many. Hikers try to shed their old life, try to deal with homesickness and being away from loved ones. Everything is new and hard to get used to. The food is different, sleeping can be difficult. There is also alot of pain in the beginning. I often joked during the first month that something always has to hurt. If I had ankle pain, when it got better something else would start to hurt for a few days. Then there's the physical work of hiking. No matter how good or light your gear is, you still have to walk and haul it up the Trail. I think alot of folks have a difficult time getting used to this idea, that hiking is alot of hard work.

    With all this swirling in the hiker's mind and body, I think early on many hikers can feel the enormity of the AT bearing down on them. Hikers freeaze and sweat their uncomfortable way up the Trail and find themselves only 30 miles north of Springer at Neels Gap. Early in the hike, if you allow yourself to dwell on the 2100-mile whole of the task, the AT can feel oppressive.

    My humble advice would be to relax and enjoy the infinite small rewards the Trail has to offer - a rest on a hill top, a shelter out of the rain, the warm feeling of your sleeping bag, the quiet of the woods. Think about making the next resupply or trail town, not how far you've gone as it relates to the whole. Make it to Neels Gap, then the Blueberry Patch, Franklin, NOC, and then you're already at Fontana and the Smokies! Soon you'll be thinking of how short the hike will last.

    Good luck. Enjoy every step.
    aka Endorphin, AT GA->ME '04

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    Speculation of why people succeed rather than drop out would be a better starting point. Focus, Training mental and physical, Confidence,The challenge and most of all wanting to be out there doing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Breed
    Speculation of why people succeed rather than drop out would be a better starting point. Focus, Training mental and physical, Confidence,The challenge and most of all wanting to be out there doing it.

    I would agree. I can be a stubborn SOB. That worked towards my advantage during a hike. Someone who has a track record of giving up easily probably shouldn't expect to finish a thru-hike.

    Announcing to folks that I was gonna finish the trail helped me too. I can be prideful, and I didn't want to go home and say that I couldn't accomplish what I said I would.

    Of course, I was always an ankle or knee twist from going home, so completing a thru-hike takes a bit of luck. A tiny deer tick or mosquito could just as easily end or interrupt a hike.
    'All my lies are always wishes" ~Jeff Tweedy~

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    Default just in your head

    humm, so many drop off?

    I put money that more people drop off (percentage wise and number wise) on the first week of march. I think this topic is over rated and too many poeple who aren't hiking are sitting around and talking about statistics that they don't know squat about. A few people have taken a break this year for a few days but so do march and april starters.
    * Warning: I bite AND I do not play well with others! -hellkat-

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    Default dropout rate?

    Quote Originally Posted by taylorbena
    what do you speculate is the reason that so many people drop out during the frist few weeks, if not days on the trail (Im going to start my thru hike on this Sunday and Im really curious/nervous about this)?

    It's estimated approx. 30% drop out of their THRU - HIKE in the first 30 miles....by Neels Gap/Walasi-Yi Center.

    Their reasons? As varied as the hikers, themselves.
    Harder than they thought, not in shape enough, blisters,blisters,blisters,
    too much weight,too many miles, too early,...etc.,etc.,etc


    good luck with yer hike!
    see ya'll UP the trail!

    "Jaybird"

    GA-ME...
    "on-the-20-year-plan"

    www.trailjournals.com/Jaybird2013

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    Quote Originally Posted by MileMonster
    I agree with alot of what has been said. The start can be emotionally difficult for many. Hikers try to shed their old life, try to deal with homesickness and being away from loved ones. Everything is new and hard to get used to. The food is different, sleeping can be difficult. There is also alot of pain in the beginning. I often joked during the first month that something always has to hurt. If I had ankle pain, when it got better something else would start to hurt for a few days. Then there's the physical work of hiking. No matter how good or light your gear is, you still have to walk and haul it up the Trail. I think alot of folks have a difficult time getting used to this idea, that hiking is alot of hard work.

    With all this swirling in the hiker's mind and body, I think early on many hikers can feel the enormity of the AT bearing down on them. Hikers freeaze and sweat their uncomfortable way up the Trail and find themselves only 30 miles north of Springer at Neels Gap. Early in the hike, if you allow yourself to dwell on the 2100-mile whole of the task, the AT can feel oppressive.

    My humble advice would be to relax and enjoy the infinite small rewards the Trail has to offer - a rest on a hill top, a shelter out of the rain, the warm feeling of your sleeping bag, the quiet of the woods. Think about making the next resupply or trail town, not how far you've gone as it relates to the whole. Make it to Neels Gap, then the Blueberry Patch, Franklin, NOC, and then you're already at Fontana and the Smokies! Soon you'll be thinking of how short the hike will last.

    Good luck. Enjoy every step.
    Great post!

    I'd like to re-emphasis something I think is very important in keeping your heart in the hike... break it down in to small, more manageable hikes, like MileMonster said: "to the next resupply or trail town." Katahdin (or Springer) will be waiting for you when you get there. Have fun and enjoy the adventure along the way because it is that journey that will define YOUR thru-hike.

    Youngblood

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    Default expectations

    what do you think are the expectations hikers have about the trail? when some who drops says it's not what they thought it would be, what do they mean?

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by denise
    what do you think are the expectations hikers have about the trail? when some who drops says it's not what they thought it would be, what do they mean?
    That it's gonna be a joyful fun-filled experience from start to finish. There is certainly lots of fun & joy in a hike, but between those moments there can be some pain & frustration.

    For me the reward was almost always worth the effort, but working for the reward was sometimes difficult.
    'All my lies are always wishes" ~Jeff Tweedy~

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