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  1. #41
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    Excellent thread! The "peopled out" topic is one of my top 5 reasons for backpacking. Turn off the TV, turn off the internet, turn off the cellphone if you want peace. Time on the trail forces you to leave all that toxic stew at home. We live in 2018 in an extremely polarized world where far too many friendships and family relationships can be left in tatters when the subject of politics comes up. Hikers who choose not to leave social media at home when they go to the AT are missing out on something. Getting away to the AT for my occasional section hikes these days is a great way to recharge the soul.

  2. #42

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    Chalk me up as one who likes to hike.
    Reason 1/ Getting into nature is the place I'd rather be.
    2/ Keeps me in shape and even when I'm not hiking, I'm jogging in nature, or climbing some hills somewhere to stay in shape for (usually) an upcoming hiking trip.
    3/ Helps me to see the world.

    I just finished my 4th short hiking trip this year, this time in Northern Sumatra.
    The others this year were: Tasmania, Vietnam, and Taiwan.
    Here's a picture from my most recent hike, just last week: IMG_6414.JPG

    Unfortunately, since I have a 12 year old son, I feel guilty doing the long hikes anymore.
    I'm sure I'll continue after he gets out of high school.
    Last summer I did a 52 day hike and it was awesome.
    But I sure missed him and I'm sure it wasn't good for his upbringing either.
    So, shorter hikes this year but still going to cool places to do my hiking.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  3. #43

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    If I didn't like hiking, I wouldn't do it. I love being out in nature, enjoying the scenery, and experiencing a sense of being on an adventure while doing a long trail. It does provide some therapy from the stresses of life, but for me, that's just an added bonus.

  4. #44
    Garlic
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    I suppose for every ten hikers, there are eleven reasons to be on a long trail. But I can't imagine going on a long distance hiking trip without an extreme love of walking. The ideal life for me is to walk (or cycle) a substantial portion of every damn day.

    It's genetic. When my aging mother looks at me, she says she's glad someone inherited her love of walking. So am I--she's a role model at age 91.

    What's not to love about it? Good posture, good health, fun and inexpensive vacations, wonderful companions, and having an easy way to clear one's mind to solve the problems life throws at you.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by joefryfry View Post
    What percentage of people long distance hiking do you think are out there for the simple fact that they love hiking? The remainder would be out there for any other reason. I love hiking, but I have similar personal issues that lead many to the trail. I started section hiking the AT due to my love of hiking, but now its also due to some personal tragedies that have led me to long for it when I'm not there.
    What you describe is a reason of a pilgrimage, vision quest, searching and seeking, even if that is not what is 'known' reason. This seems to be a normal part of humanity and presents itself in like form for many cultures. I have met many long distance/thru AT hikers doing exactly that, and others who are out to hike. There are others out to have a social experience particularly the NoBo bubble, and many with a combo of these. Usually a through hike is a calling, something they feel they must do, though many little hikes leading up to that can happen, but they all pint towards the big one.

  6. #46
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    I figure that I have probably hiked around 15-16000 miles since I got serious about hiking and I love every step I took and look forward to walking many more before being called home.
    Blackheart

  7. #47
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    Default Long distance hikers that actually like hiking?

    depends on why I'm hiking. Sometimes I'm hiking to get in shape, and that's not enjoyable at all. Sometimes I'm hiking for a challenge. That’s not enjoyable either. Sometimes I'm hiking for the enjoyment of it. Those are more fun.

  8. #48

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    I hike because I love where it gets me; I love how it makes me feel to push and challenge myself; I love that it makes me feel good about myself.

    I don't hike because I love walking and carrying 30lbs. For me, backpacking is a combination of hiking, pausing to enjoy everything around me every-so-often, short breaks with naps and camping to enjoy time with my dogs and friends.

    I don't mind day hikes if they have a purpose...to see something cool either at the end or the scenery on the way, to spend time with a friend or family...but I'm not a huge fan of them in general...I like to move, to change camps etc. Day hikes just don't fulfill me in the way a backpacking trip does...but I do them anyway because they are good for me.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlehead View Post
    ...
    Unfortunately, since I have a 12 year old son, I feel guilty doing the long hikes anymore.
    I'm sure I'll continue after he gets out of high school.
    Last summer I did a 52 day hike and it was awesome.
    But I sure missed him and I'm sure it wasn't good for his upbringing either.
    So, shorter hikes this year but still going to cool places to do my hiking.
    Would be nice if you could find a school willing to let you engage in a hybrid outdoorsy home-school + public/private school. You could take him with you.

  10. #50
    Registered User 1234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joefryfry View Post
    What percentage of people long distance hiking do you think are out there for the simple fact that they love hiking? The remainder would be out there for any other reason. I love hiking, but I have similar personal issues that lead many to the trail. I started section hiking the AT due to my love of hiking, but now its also due to some personal tragedies that have led me to long for it when I'm not there.
    my daughterloves hiking.
    she thru hiked in 2013 nobo, next year hiked across4d across Europe wild camping mostly, hiked in 17 national parks one summer, weekends hikes most of the years till now, she is SOBO the AT. She is going slow not a worry in the world. She spends little money like buying 25lb bag of pinto beans to eat for a month. She hikes every opportunity. So she loves hiking.

  11. #51
    Registered User 1234's Avatar
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    Talking about hikers that like to hike.
    at the shelter just prior to mohusic notch, 7 of 8 thru hikers present said they were skipping the notch. Only 1 said they would not miss it. So, you may have a point many thru hikers do not like to hike. I loved the notch!

  12. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1234 View Post
    Talking about hikers that like to hike.
    at the shelter just prior to mohusic notch, 7 of 8 thru hikers present said they were skipping the notch. Only 1 said they would not miss it. So, you may have a point many thru hikers do not like to hike. I loved the notch!
    After hearing so many stories like this one you have to wonder what the real number of completed thru hikes is each year. I love to hike. Even when it sucks.

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1234 View Post
    . . . just prior to mohusic notch, 7 of 8 thru hikers present said they were skipping the notch. . .
    That's bizarre. Why would anyone go to all the trouble to hike the majority of the AT and then skip one of the most dramatic, iconic, and short stretches of the whole thing?! That's like going to one of the most expensive and famous restaurants in the world to experience their food and then picking the bits of truffle out of the meal you order because you are worried you won't like them.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  14. #54
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    I thru hiked the AT last year.

    I love hiking but a lot of the AT is not fun. The trail is brutal and often feels like it was designed to hurt you. Like others have said by the end I was beat up and excited to finish the thing. I longed to go home and do short trips with my dog and see what it was like ďback when we did this for fun.Ē

    That said before I finished I also talked quite a bit with other hikers about trying the PCT next. I suppose I canít help myself.

    But a they hike is kinda extreme. When I tell someone I enjoy hiking what Iím thinking of is a few hours walking in a big park by a rocky stream, watching my dog splash around. Or maybe go on an overnight in Shenandoah.

    I certainly donít think yes, I enjoy pushing my body beyond injuries and the mental challenges that arise from half a year spent walking across a country.

    But, damn if I donít miss crushing beer and pizza in a hotel room with other dirt bags

  15. #55
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    The Notch was way cool. I did it solo around midnight. Looking down at the snow and ice at the bottom of the voids between the boulders was one of my best trail memories.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by joefryfry View Post
    What percentage of people long distance hiking do you think are out there for the simple fact that they love hiking? The remainder would be out there for any other reason. I love hiking, but I have similar personal issues that lead many to the trail. I started section hiking the AT due to my love of hiking, but now its also due to some personal tragedies that have led me to long for it when I'm not there.
    A very high percentage that LD hike love LD hiking. Of course how one defines a love of hiking or why they love it can be quite different.

  17. #57
    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
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    What's long-distance hiking?

    The longest section that I've done was about 140 miles, and that was interrupted by an injury in the middle. I pretty much enjoyed every mile - although definitely the hike out on the sprained knee - 15 miles from the nearest highway - was something that I liked only in retrospect.

    At the end of that hike, I was ready to come home. At the start of the next long weekend, I was ready to get Out There again. I like going, and I like returning.

    The idea of a half-year-long Big Hike doesn't appeal very much. I don't think I could walk away from my life for that long. In retirement, though, I'd like to try a shorter one, maybe a couple of months. There's a hike of 600 miles or so that I'd like very much to put together, which would combine a major long trail with roadwalking on country roads, following abandoned logging tracks, all the way down to out-and-out bushwhack, that would make a connected hike from Manhattan to the heart of the Adirondacks. From sleeping in motels and commuting to the trailhead by subway and city bus at the start, to 40-60 mile roadless (and partily trailless) sections at the end. For a New York City kid who moved upstate, this is just a cool idea. (And I expect it to be quite difficult indeed - but those 600 miles will have at least a couple of hundred miles of truly great trail - like New Hampshire and Maine.

    I don't think I'm harbouring too many romantic illusions about it. I think that it's likely that a man who's done some hundred-mile hikes has an idea what hiking is like. And for at least a hundred miles, yes, I still go on liking it. How much further would that last? I really don't know. I've never tried.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  18. #58
    Registered User English Stu's Avatar
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    I like the hiking, camping, landscape, people met and the wildlife. I did 700 miles on the AT in 2004 and have added another 300+miles since then.
    I still hike -500 miles on the GR5 in Holland and France. All the British National Trails- 3000+miles;19 separate trails certainly not all in one trip. all but a few days stealth camped.

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