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  1. #1
    Fat Guy Lemni Skate's Avatar
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    Default Becoming a mobile trail angel....

    I came up with this year about ten years ago and I can't seem to let it go. I considered being a mobile trail angel one season. The thought was to "thru-drive" the Appalachian Trail. Here's the idea. Get a mobile home (of some sort) and follow the thru hikers north one year. Maybe start at Amicalola Falls around Feb. 1 and just meander up to Baxter and try and end up there by October. I'd just stop at places where I was likely to see a lot of thru hikers...road crossings, trail towns, etc. and I'd try to be a help to hikers. I'd try to have things they might need, like shoe strings, bandanas, trail money, etc. I'd also try to stay stocked with beverages and food I could share if somebody came by at just about any time. I'm not talking luxury...I'm talking gatorade mix and hotdogs and cheap chips most of the time, though if somebody caught me when I was grillin' a steak or boiling some spegs I'd share. I'd also be available for rides into town. I really imagine not having the actual motor home at the trail heads that often, but parking that at a campground and sitting at trailheads with a pickup truck, a cooler and a grill.

    I'd be moving a lot slower than the thru-hikers so I'd probably only encounter a few of them more than once or twice, but that would kind of be the point. I imagine taking pictures of all of them and getting a story or two and writing it down and maybe self-publishing a book about everybody I met out there.

    I think it would be an interesting way for my wife and I to spend 8 months, and it seems like I'll be able to afford it (unless I get to generous and serve up lobster to every hiker to offer everyone a brand new sleeping bag), we're looking pretty good financially for retirement.

    The other great thing, is I imagine there'd be a lot of good day hikes in this for us, too.

    Any thoughts...problems you'd anticipate...helpful suggestions for someone doing this.
    Lemni Skate away

    The trail will save my life

  2. #2
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    would be awesome if you did something like that with truly needy folks like tornado victims and such. hikers are on vacation. they're partyin' all the way north

  3. #3

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    That sounds totally depressing to me, but then again I can't stand to be in a car for too long. Just an hour in a car nearly kills me.

  4. #4
    Fat Guy Lemni Skate's Avatar
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    I can't imagine I'd be in a car very long. I'm driving 2175 miles over 240 days. 8 miles a day. I drive farther than that to work every day now. I also drive farther than that to church, the grocery store, and much farther to go hiking.
    Lemni Skate away

    The trail will save my life

  5. #5
    Fat Guy Lemni Skate's Avatar
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    Exactly what I'm trying to avoid Lone Wolf...I've been trying to save the world enough these past 50 years.
    Lemni Skate away

    The trail will save my life

  6. #6

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    Then what will you be doing? Sitting around waiting for hikers to go by, doesn't sound fun to me. If you have that kind of time, then just thru-hike it. Hikers don't need help.

  7. #7
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    A guy named Nomad is doing this right now. He started out as a thru hiker and made it to Erwin. He bought a van from Grimm, who runs Uncle Johnny's, back in early April and has been doing mobile trail angel activities ever since. If you're on Facebook, here he is: https://www.facebook.com/NomadsVanMagic?fref=ts

  8. #8
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    this year was a banner year for so-called "angels" here in damascus. lotsa vans supporting walkers on vacation. pretty sad and disgusting. no sense of discovery and adventure on the AT anymore

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    would be awesome if you did something like that with truly needy folks like tornado victims and such. hikers are on vacation. they're partyin' all the way north
    Yep, thanks for leaving all your trash for the bears to eat. Thanks for the trash period that we pick up after you.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    this year was a banner year for so-called "angels" here in damascus. lotsa vans supporting walkers on vacation. pretty sad and disgusting. no sense of discovery and adventure on the AT anymore
    very few would give to those that need it. don't understand so-called "angles" that would support hikers but not someone that really needs help.

  11. #11
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    There is so much of this type of "trail Angeling". If you must come up with something original. Sponsor a vet to hike the trail,dog sit thru dogs in the smokies etc. Soon there will be more "trail angels" than trail travelers.

  12. #12

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    ..................................................
    Last edited by HikerMom58; 06-13-2013 at 22:27.

  13. #13
    Fat Guy Lemni Skate's Avatar
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    Wow, wasn't expecting to get attacked so much. Since the insinuation seems to be that by wanting to spend 8 months around the trail makes me a bad person because I'm not in Haiti, let me ask about all these people who thru-hike instead of spending that time researching cures for cancer or who run Hostel's in Damascus instead of in Equatorial Guinea. What about jerks who go to major league baseball games instead of spending time in the children's hospital? Maybe some people who get out for the weekend for a drive on the Skyline Drive ought to be visiting the nursing home.

    I am a pastor, a school teacher, a parent, a coach and a husband who has not done anything for myself (except for an 11 day hike through part of Virginia on the AT) in the summer since I can remember. I just thought it would be cool to spend a summer camping near where the hikers come thru. The AT is what I've been dreaming about for 20 years, I want to thru hike it with my son and I'd love to do the triple crown, but who knows what kind of shape I'll be in then? I think it sounds fun. Those of you who are better people than me give all your money to charity and spend your retirement in disaster areas. I'm not going to stop helping people, but I do plan to enjoy myself.
    Lemni Skate away

    The trail will save my life

  14. #14

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    Being a "trail angel" all the way would to me in some ways encourage the "entitled" attitude of some hikers to be fed and nurtured. However I fully understand the sentiment and my son and I have discussed that it would in many ways be a fun experience - sort of feeding on the hiker experience without the pain of hiking.
    All that said what might be a better deal would be linking up with a few reasonably funded hikers (Army ant, myself and invisible Man would definitely have been keen this year) and essentially slackpacking them all the way to Maine for a (modest) fee. You could also make a few dollars or do trail magic with shuttles or sodas etc at trail crossings while waiting for your "clients".

  15. #15

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    Careful, once you cross over from trail angel to pack sniffer, it's tough to go back. I hear it takes rehab and a 12 step program to regain your sobriety.

  16. #16
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    All the best free car camping spots in the East are in the gaps that the AT passes through. You could be a thrubie groupie. I'm sure you'll be helping someone even if you are just helping the US economy. Even if Curtis and LW gave all their money and time to all the Hillbillies that live around them, as a wise man once said, "There will be poor always."
    I'm not really a hiker, I just play one on White Blaze.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemni Skate View Post
    Wow, wasn't expecting to get attacked so much....
    There's no attacking here, just giving our perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemni Skate View Post
    The AT is what I've been dreaming about for 20 years, I want to thru hike it with my son and I'd love to do the triple crown, but who knows what kind of shape I'll be in then?
    The only way to be "in shape" is to work on it, that is the only way, you can't just wait until you see what happens in x-years from now; you have to make it happen.

    And if you don't make it happen now, your body will continue to breakdown, which it's doing now, because of your age. But you can reverse that and ultimately slow it way down. That's why I recommend you spend this time to do a thru-hike. It will be difficult, but the longer you wait the worse it'll be.

    I'm very near your age, I can tell you I'll still be hiking in my 80's, but only because I keep doing things now, not my rules. Mother Nature is a bitch that way.

  18. #18

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    I don't really have any problem with it, but I don't get it either... If I'm on the trail and I can be of help to a hiker (any hiker, not just a thru) then I'm happy to do it. Same goes for mountain biking; we are a community and it's important that we look out for each other, considering some of the remote areas we tend to find ourselves in... But I don't understand the people who actually go out with the express purpose of 'helping.'

    Why don't you plan a vacation the way you want to and just go with the added intention of helping hikers as you see fit? You talk about wanting to help, then talk about having helped enough in your life and doing this for yourself. If that's the case then do it all the way; plan it entirely for yourself. Take the budget you had in mind for helping thrus and put it towards yourself. Use it to get a nicer camper, use it to have a really nice meal once a week on your trips, use it to rent a condo at the beach for a weekend while on the road...

    Obviously you should do what you want to do, but I see some contradiction here; are you helping hikers or seeking personal enjoyment... Not to say they are mutually exclusive, but you will have to decide which one will be your focus.

  19. #19
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    It's a fine idea and it sounds like a fun way to start off your retirement. There's nothing wrong with wanting to explore the AT and its culture, and providing a few good times and some support for folks you meet along the way is not hurting anyone. You don't need validation from WB and its seasoned members. Some are way too salty to see this from your fresh perspective anyways. Go out there an live it up!!

  20. #20

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