Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 58
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-06-2013
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Age
    36
    Posts
    3

    :banana You may be right, I may be crazy... but it just might be a lunatic you're looking for

    So, I'm at a pretty bad point in my life. Not the lowest, thank goodness. But I'm unemployed, my mom is throwing me out of the apartment she's been letting me live in over a big misunderstanding, I have no money, and I'm just coming off several years of horrible depression and medical issues. (Some might say, I am still pretty depressed. You say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to.)

    I'm also 280 lb on a 5'8" frame. (Down from 310.) I've been walking every day pretty steadily for a few months and my legs are catching back up to "walk forever" status- I have good legs. But I pretty much expect some weight to drop on this trip.

    Every fall I dream about an AT thruhike in March, and every year I reject it as a pipe dream. But this year, I feel like, it might be my year. I have always been happiest when camping and hiking; I come from a family of campers, hikers, hunters and fishermen, and while I don't get to go out as often as I want to, I have some experience. In 2005, I ran away from home with the dog and camped in Shenandoah National Park until we ran out of money- we handled things pretty well, and it was so hard to go back to dirty, boring, nasty civilization.

    I feel like I need to hike it this year because it will be my anti-depression; because for once and for all, really being in the woods will reset my brain, at least for a few months, and it will answer a lot of questions for me. And, of course, because I've wanted to ever since I knew what the AT was.

    Anyway! Advice. The pinchiest thing is money; my friend says she can get me a temporary job that ends in March, and I have a few odds and ends that I can do on the side, but one of my friends did a thruhike and it cost her between $5000-6000- that's a lot of dough. I've already determined that I'll need to make sure I'm comfortable on the trail in order to avoid spending a lot of time in town, which I know would be my weak point moneywise. I also know that I'll want to keep my pack light, which typically means either more money or less comfort.

    I'm not planning on hiking with anyone; I'm not averse to making friends, but I'm really doing this to be with me. What I'm really looking forward to are the sunrises and sunsets; the turning a corner and finding marvelous views; the taste of M&Ms after a long hike; the sheer physical enjoyment of little things when you live in your body. I do expect to desperately need hot baths and so on every so often, but I feel like I will love the Trail too much. Love-hate. LOL.

    Am I crazy? Should I put it off and save up like a good little monkey, or should I live off Ramen this year and go gung ho? Difficulty: don't give me any crap for being fat, and don't tell me how risky it is for a female to hike alone; I got that part.

  2. #2

  3. #3

    Default

    I understand exactly what you are saying... Oh Gosh.. I can relate to ur thread so much... that's crazy ..not you.

    I know for a fact that being on the trail does, in fact, help with depression.

    I'm thinking that you should work until March. Keep being physically active as much as you can... you will have better success in staying on the trail the more weight you drop but don't make it a "thing".

    Take the amount of $$ you have saved up and hit the trail. Let the trail do the healing. Go as far as you can go on the $$ you have. You can figure things out at that point.

    I'm so glad you came on here asking for our advice. You go girl!!

  4. #4
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
    Join Date
    07-14-2005
    Location
    Virginia, 10 miles from the AT near SNP
    Age
    57
    Posts
    10,470
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    171

    Default

    Many hikers go to the trail to find answers, healing, escape. The woods can do something deep within you. But this is something that does require planning. One must still live. Eat. Have shelter. Sleep. Have clothing and shoes that work. I think you are already realizing you need cash. Working toward a goal (and this goal, hiking the At) is a very satisfying thing. So I would definitely work right now and save up money for your goal of hiking. Meanwhile, read all you can, here, trail journals and elsewhere. Learn about the trail, gear etc. Knowledge at times can be golden.







    Hiking Blog
    AT NOBO and SOBO, LT, FHT, ALT
    Shenandoah NP Ridgerunner, Author, Speaker


  5. #5
    Section Hiker
    Join Date
    01-26-2013
    Location
    California
    Age
    47
    Posts
    1,030

    Default

    Smile. Plan. You can do it! HikerMomKD and Blissful have great advice, as do most of the members here. Read, engage, learn. If you haven't read Becoming Odyssa, I highly recommend starting there.


    "Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.
    "


  6. #6

    Default

    One word of warning - if you intend to thru hike the trail to help with your depression, if you fail to complete the thru hike it is more than probable that your depression will become much more severe. It concerns me that you are looking for a Mike Tyson knockout for your "horrible depression" and that you feel right now is the trail. I urge caution and I am making an assumption here - correct me if I am wrong. You have been treated by the mental health community for years and are probably a tad frustrated. Until a cure is found ( if one is found ) you need to carefully manage your chemical imbalance that is depression and that requires medical attention from a Psychiatrist and therapists. If you take medications for your disability you need to factor that into the thru hike.

    On that note, I strongly encourage you to go hike the trail. YOLO.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    06-27-2011
    Location
    Richmond, Va
    Age
    54
    Posts
    53

    Default

    Wow! That's one heck of a first post.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-06-2013
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Age
    36
    Posts
    3

    Default

    I really appreciate all the kind words and helpful thoughts!

    I've considered what happens if I fail to complete the trail. I'm really doing much better on the depression front- found meds that work for me, which I will have to carefully plan around, definitely. I do believe that my depression is largely circumstantial and partially self-made- well, you know, it's complicated, but self-limiting beliefs and so on.

    I think I'm in a place where, if I fail to complete the trail, I can look at just starting as still something to be super proud of. So many people don't get there. And even if I fall off the wagon, that doesn't mean that I can't come back later- even years later- and complete the hike. But even if I don't, it still will have been an amazing journey. It's better to know when to stop than to keep going when it's horrible for you. One thing I've learned is that it's no shame to know your limits.

    QuabbinHiker, I appreciate your concern, I mean that. I just can't wait to be back where I belong, not in this concrete jungle.

    I've been reading as much as I can for about a year now, and I'm scouring the forums for information about food(definitely need to eat well!) and supplies. I have a medical background, with some nursing school under my belt, so I'm pretty familiar with nutrition and first aid. I'm just having a hard time estimating how much money I'll really need. I have a ton of family in New Hampshire and Maine, so I might be able to skirt some there- I know it gets more expensive up there.

    Would it be worth it to do some section hikes first, even though that would cut into my budget?

  9. #9

    Default

    I have Thru-Hiked the trail three times my third was in 2012 and i spent 5700 dollars out of a budget of $7000 thats gear and every thing on the trail, my advice to you is work as long as you can save as much as you can atleast $6000, but be fair warned the AT is not easy it's hard. on that note go have lots of fun and most important of all ENJOY it.

  10. #10

    Default

    Being female is irrelvalent, being fat is a handycap which can be overcome, but no money is a show stopper.

    It always comes down to a question of money. Or lack there of. You have to pay to play. Those who try to do it on the cheap don't get far. Somehow, someway, you need to earn enough to take the trip and to live on in the mean time. That is the reality, plain and simple. How you can do that, I have no clue. I just hope you can figure out a way.

    In the mean time, going out to local parks and doing long walks can do you a world of good and that doesn't cost anything - or at least much. Keep loosing weight. You'll feel better and look better.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  11. #11

    Default

    Am I the only one thinking that the OP may have her priorities all screwed up. She's 28 and lives with her mother and is overweight, which seems to indicate she's not really an active person. So going on a TH is jumping out of the pan and into the fire.

    So what about after your thru-hike? You got your whole life ahea of you and you're thinking of a thru-hike and your chances of finishing ain't looking so good. What next?

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    07-30-2009
    Location
    Woodbridge, Virginia
    Age
    61
    Posts
    2,345

    Default

    You have a range of options, especially if you remember that it's all about the journey, not the destination. One extreme is to work now and save as much as possible, then in the Spring start your hike and go until your money runs out. You don't even have to start in Georgia. The other extreme is to work and scrimp and save as long as it takes (could be a couple of years or more) to have the money you'll need to complete your thru hike, realizing that most people don't finish. If you do finish, great! If not, then you've got a bit of a nest egg to help get back into the world.

    In the meantime, keep walking. Work on your core too by doing planks.

    Get outside on the weekends for dayhikes and overnighters. Now is the time to practice and figure out your sleeping, camping and cooking processes. Try cooking a trail meal out in the yard one morning or evening.

    If you need gear, start keeping an eye out for sales and bargains. Thrift stores, yard sales, Craigslist, etc. can all provide amazing deals if your timing is right.

    In my opinion, the only expectation you should have about a long hike is that it's going to be harder than you ever dreamed of. I saw a sign once that said "Embrace the Suck." You're going to hurt, be cold and tired, get rained on, have gear fail and get discouraged, but you'll also see those magical sunrises and reconnect with nature. The trick is to be able to appreciate them when they happen.

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    07-10-2010
    Location
    Cypress, tx
    Age
    66
    Posts
    402

    Default

    The AT isn't therapy for overgrown kids who can't figure out how to get started in life. It's a bucket-list item for people who like to walk in the woods anyway. The primary cause of depression in most people is not insufficient hiking -- it's loneliness and lack of control over the events in their life.


    If you're a 300 lb grown woman living with your mother with no job or prospects, I would say it's time to quit feeling sorry for yourself and think about what you're doing wrong. Losing weight and walking are good first steps, but instead of saving $5000 for an AT hike, why not invest that money in some education so you can get a job and support yourself?


    You may discover that once you become more physically attractive and self-sufficient that others will want to spend time with you. By the way, the cost of weight-loss surgery has come way down -- if you had a job, your insurance would probably cover it.


    Good luck, and I hope you "find your mojo", but I doubt that you'll find anything on the AT that you didn't already have.

  14. #14

    Default

    Make plans to do what you feel you need to do. If it's the right thing for you, it will work out. I know this sounds kind of "shredded wheat" or whatever the term is for cosmic reasoning, but somethimes those pennies you find on the road really are telling you you're on the right path. Whatever you decide, I can attest from personal experience that there will be folks from WhiteBlaze to support you. (see post #3) And yes, you're probably nuts....but then, aren't we all.......
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    06-25-2012
    Location
    Lurkerville, East Tn
    Age
    61
    Posts
    3,463
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    I'm pretty sure there's not one word above that I would disagree with. You've gotten some very good advice, delivered with encouragement and a gentle tone. We wish the best for you.

    Please understand that taking a walk will not fix the things that aren't right in your life. I don't know you or your mother, so I'm just guessing here, but I think she's probably the one person in all the world who loves you more than anybody else does. Take a walk if you like, but don't walk away from her. If you can work on fixing that relationship, getting healthy, getting a job, and becoming self-supporting, you might find that the depression lifts and your perspective changes about many things, including the AT.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    I'm pretty sure there's not one word above that I would disagree with. You've gotten some very good advice, delivered with encouragement and a gentle tone. We wish the best for you.

    Please understand that taking a walk will not fix the things that aren't right in your life. I don't know you or your mother, so I'm just guessing here, but I think she's probably the one person in all the world who loves you more than anybody else does. Take a walk if you like, but don't walk away from her. If you can work on fixing that relationship, getting healthy, getting a job, and becoming self-supporting, you might find that the depression lifts and your perspective changes about many things, including the AT.
    Ok....made me weepy....and I totally agree.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  17. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-16-2011
    Location
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Posts
    318

    Default

    You are not crazy. Two years ago, I met a young man on the AT at a shelter near Mt. Greylock in Massachusetts. It was late June (as I recall) and he was southbound having started at Baxter a few weeks before. Stepping off to climb Katahdin, he weighed 300 lbs. It took him 7 hours to climb it, he said, but climb it he did. By the time I met him, he had dropped 60 lbs on his hike, having completed the most difficult part of the trail through the 100 Mile Wilderness and the Whites. He had the look of a thru-hiker who was going to make it, although I don't know if he did.

    I used to weigh over 400 lbs. Three years ago I had gastric bypass surgery in the fall and dropped 175 lbs in just 9 months, sitting on my butt. I started hiking in the spring, and lost another 40 lbs by the end of the hiking season. I started with the lower peaks in Mass and Southern New Hampshire, but then I "accidentally" hiked Lafayette and Garfield, and was hooked. Right now I am chasing the 48 4000-Footers in New Hampshire - I have bagged 24 so far in the last two years.

    You can do this.

  18. #18

    Default

    lets assume for a moment that you're in the less than 25% of hikers that actually make it. then what? where will you live, where will you work, what will you have to return too? the world is still there, waiting. you'll still have to adapt to that environment, you have to work to live independently and feed yourself. the freedom you long for, isn't free. you have no job, no marketable skill, and no money. hiking is not going to address those issues, it may well make them worse.
    you say you feel like this year might be your year. why? what evidence do have to support that conclusion? everything in both your posts says to me you are simply trying to run away, to escape.
    i'm not one to give you anything about your weight. pro or con. yes, if you thru hike it will present an additional challenge. blind people have hiked the trail, amputees have hiked the trail. you will face challenges every single day. as in life. learn to face those challenges in life, and you'll be a more effective thru hiker. if you're a quiter, if you give up easily, if you wallow in depression and self pity, you wont succeed in life or on the trail.
    my advice. get your life in order first. go back to nursing school and finish your degree. give yourself options. accept and love yourself. take care of yourself; mentally, physically, emotionally. stand on your own two feet, before you use those feet to take a hike, and take care of your feet. hit the trail as often as you're able for a respite from the rat race. save money for a thru hike in the future, don't ever let go of that, when the time is right, you'll be better for it in every way.

  19. #19
    Likely more sarcastic than you!
    Join Date
    05-16-2012
    Location
    Orlando, Fl
    Age
    50
    Posts
    339
    Images
    20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Jones View Post
    In my opinion, the only expectation you should have about a long hike is that it's going to be harder than you ever dreamed of. I saw a sign once that said "Embrace the Suck." You're going to hurt, be cold and tired, get rained on, have gear fail and get discouraged, but you'll also see those magical sunrises and reconnect with nature. The trick is to be able to appreciate them when they happen.
    Those are awesome words, Rocket. From everything I've read about a thruhike (I've yet to do one, but soon enough), it seems like MOST can expect to be less-than-happy to miserable about a 1/3 of the time. The other 2/3 of the time, OK to fabulous. Results vary, of course. But that's a pretty good ratio to me, in the grand scheme of things. My small multi-day hikes have always been in the 2/3 section of that pie chart, so I've yet to experience true mountain misery in backpacking (I've experienced it otherwise). But I'm pretty sure I now understand how life on the trail is much about tradeoffs. Embrace the suck!
    We are all one big human family.

  20. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    03-27-2012
    Location
    Atlanta Ga
    Age
    49
    Posts
    196

    Default

    Good luck man, we've all had hard times. The trail wont heal anything, but it will give you perspective and clarity.

    "Embrace the Suck" - LMAO. Awesome.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •