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  1. #1
    Registered User DavidNH's Avatar
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    Default where along the trail are the principle points that NB thru hikers abort their hike?

    Where along the AT are the major points that NB thru hikers get off the trail ? Here I am referring to those who abort their through hikes, not those leaving trail temporarily.

    What comes to mind for me is Neel's gap (around 15%), New Found Gap (if very rainy in the Smokies), Harper's Ferry, and Duncacnon, PA and maybe Delaware Water Gap if the rocks of PA got to the hiker. Any others?

    I realize people get off trail all along the AT. I am asking for the main areas.


    David NH

  2. #2

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    There are no main areas
    Every town.

    People usually don't quit in the woods unless they have to.

    A disproportionately large chunk quit in Georgia
    When you've been miserable and hurting and you get a taste of a nice cushy town it's hard for some people to get back on the trail.

    Money runs out different times.

    People get hurt at different times.

    Etc.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-19-2018 at 14:43.

  3. #3
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    The death curve. Starts very high for the first month. The non-hackers will get a good read on the level of effort needed and will take a powder before Fontana Dam. So the greatest numbers will depart in Franklin NC,. During the second month as injuries mount they will depart from Hot Springs NC and Ervin Tn and Damascus Va. If you are still going after that the story will change to "something went wrong at home" or a nagging injury won't go away." North of Harpers Ferry the walking wounded will soldier on as long as they possibly can and the departers will leave the trail at any random spot. By the time they reach New England these determined hikers will just suck it up no matter what went wrong and figure out some way to bring it home. People have hiked all of Maine with a broken foot.

  4. #4
    Registered User DavidNH's Avatar
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    hike all 280 miles of Maine on a broken foot? that has happened?

  5. #5

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    Gorham NH used to be a spot for folks to bail. I have met several folks hanging in town "on the fence" over the years. They make it to Gorham and hang for a few days waiting for buddies to catch up. Some get convinced to keep going and some just end up at the bus stop one morning. Folks on tight budgets are running out of money and its the last spot on the AT where someone can hop a bus and head south easily (south of Baxter). It also is the end of the Whites so folks figure they at least got the Whites in.

    Gorham is a "hard point" where many later thru hikers realize that the 4 or 5 weeks it takes to do Maine is going to get them to Baxter after closing day. For those later thru hikers, if they hike the whites in mid September, they can start getting cold nights and they need to get more gear sent to them or buy some.

    Its also a bail point for south bounders. Maine can really beat folks up and the Mahoosucs can finish them off. Weather can be wet more often than not that time of the year.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    ...

    Gorham is a "hard point" where many later thru hikers realize that the 4 or 5 weeks it takes to do Maine is going to get them to Baxter after closing day...
    If they realize they are going to be late, and willing to take action to complete their thru...These are called flip floppers, and may take such a bus out of Gorham and as such are not aborted thru hikers, and are very much alive and well brother and sister 2000 milers full fledged AT thru hikers, so I am unsure about your assessment as judging hikers leaving Gorham especially with little time remaining equates as aborted thru's.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNH View Post
    hike all 280 miles of Maine on a broken foot? that has happened?
    met a hiker (zena?) at little bigelow lean-to in 2016 hiking with a broken foot, don't know if she made it but she was past the worst of it...

  8. #8
    Registered User evyck da fleet's Avatar
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    I’d guess every road crossing in GA and every town up to and including Damascus. After that wherever it might be convenient to get to a train, bus or airport. Once past Damascus an interstate or bus isn’t that far away until deep into NE and even Hanover is a easy bail. This is assuming the hiker isn’t abandoning due to injury or lack of funds.

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    met someone was last year who nearly quit at standing bear, decided to give it another try and then said at hot springs he was done.

    quitting is maybe not quite the right word but ive read enough journal entries and shelter logs about people not making the right turn after killington and deciding to keep on going north that that may very well be one of the more common "quitting" points in the north half of the trail.

    thats likely also related to time- they get to maine junction and realize they arent going to finish and maybe just walking north to trail's end seems more appealing than flipping up to katahdin or any other viable options.

  10. #10

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    If they realize they are going to be late, and willing to take action to complete their thru...These are called flip floppers, and may take such a bus out of Gorham and as such are not aborted thru hikers, and are very much alive and well brother and sister 2000 milers full fledged AT thru hikers, so I am unsure about your assessment as judging hikers leaving Gorham especially with little time remaining equates as aborted thru's.


    Do I interview every one of them as they get on the bus, no. Have I given rides and talked to several of them over the years, yes. Have I talked to hostel owners yes.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 03-19-2018 at 19:27.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by moldy View Post
    ...People have hiked all of Maine with a broken foot.
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNH View Post
    hike all 280 miles of Maine on a broken foot? that has happened?

    It's happen on the CDT on a SOBO thru also.


    Heck Crutch did something like 800 or maybe more AT miles on crutches. Hearing his heart wrenching story of attempting to gain closure through hiking put any of my ordeals into proper perspective.


    Tooting my own horn but heck in 06 same yr you thrued David on an AT NOBO I was on crutches in a boot only 2 1/2 wks before starting from a broken ankle and very stretched ligaments from a serious car accident hit as a pedestrian crossing a road by a car going 72 MPH. I limped through GA. I thought I was going to re break my ankle with that Tipi sized hauler. At various times the pain required creeping along at a snail's pace and taking on a minimalist kit approaching the thru as almost a hut to hut European type hike. Its why I warn against OTC pain killer addiction, as I experienced it on that thru. I've never told anyone that.


    What others have endured, the situations they have been, and still rising to the occasion has always encouraged me. I think "who am I to consider quitting?" Get over it.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    If they realize they are going to be late, and willing to take action to complete their thru...These are called flip floppers, and may take such a bus out of Gorham and as such are not aborted thru hikers, and are very much alive and well brother and sister 2000 milers full fledged AT thru hikers, so I am unsure about your assessment as judging hikers leaving Gorham especially with little time remaining equates as aborted thru's.

    PLEASE, not this again.


    They damn well aborted if they started out with the goal to hike to the Northern terminus and didn't get there.


    The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) recognizes anyone who reports completion of the entireTrail as a “2,000-miler.” The term is a matter of tradition and convenience, based upon the originalestimated length of the Trail. Conservancy policy is to operate on an honor system, assuming thatthose who apply for 2000-miler status have hiked all of the A.T. between Katahdin and SpringerMountain, either as a thru-hiker or in sections. In the event of an emergency, such as a flood, aforest fire, or an impending storm, blue-blazed trails or officially required roadwalks are viablesubstitutes for the white-blazed route. Issues of sequence, direction, speed, length of time orwhether one carries a pack are not considered. ATC assumes that those who apply have made anhonest effort to walk the entire Trail, even if they did not walk past every white blaze. If you meetthese standards, please complete and sign the form below.

  13. #13
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    The Doyle vortex at mile 1146. Don’t get sucked in ! You may never return.

    Thom

  14. #14
    Registered User DavidNH's Avatar
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    hmm the Doyle.. seemed to me that most hikers LOVE the Doyle because it is a cheap hotel on top of a bar. and boy do these hikers love drinking beer! Trouble for me is--besides that I am not into the drinking scene and never have been-- is that it sits in one of the ugliest towns I have ever seen in my life.. Duncannon. PA. How could anyone ever want to stay there more than 1-2 days is beyond me.

  15. #15

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    In out ASAP were my initial thoughts too. Didnt fully embrace the Doyle scene. Great people there though which made it AT thru iconic. The love bestowed by Mary and the kilt wearing Scottish Tribe when in town and hanging with Baltimore Jack at the choke and puke having three b fasts I'll cherish forever. Next time I'm bringing the fly rod for Smallies.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNH View Post
    hmm the Doyle.. seemed to me that most hikers LOVE the Doyle because it is a cheap hotel on top of a bar. and boy do these hikers love drinking beer! Trouble for me is--besides that I am not into the drinking scene and never have been-- is that it sits in one of the ugliest towns I have ever seen in my life.. Duncannon. PA. How could anyone ever want to stay there more than 1-2 days is beyond me.
    The only good thing about Duncannon was the ice cream stand on the way out of town.

  17. #17

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    The top of the stairs at Amicalola.

  18. #18
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    thinking of a another hiker i met once- not a thru hiker, but someone i hiked with for a few days in VT that had started at harper's ferry with the vague intention of hiking to katahdin. it was more of a hike up to a certain date than to a place, but he figured on reaching katahdin by then and was open to adding a few extra days if it helped him reach it.

    i followed his trailjournal afterwards. he got to the whites and decided to call it a day. wasnt out of time by any stretch, but it was too hard for him. he was older and in not super good shape.

    i would guess he isnt the only one to have had an experience like that, though its maybe less likely to happen to someone who walked all the way from GA as opposed to "just" from HF.

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