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  1. #1
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    Default Long distance hikers that actually like hiking?

    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.
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    Finishing the AT sometime in 2037.

  2. #2
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    I just enjoy being out there, clearing the head, and hey... it's a good workout (physically and mentally for me). Just got back last weekend from another 50+ mile section hike. I attempted a thru in '15 and started all over to complete a thru in '17. Still going out there, not sure what draws me to this particular trail, but I've racked up 3182.2 miles on the AT so far!
    - Trail name: Thumper

  3. #3

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    Same here. I racked up thousands of miles on the AT because I kept doing my favorite sections multiple times, rather than finishing the trail... I finally buckled down and finished it 40 years and a few months after beginning (although my first 1000 mile hike in 1974 was not intended as a thru). So I've seen the trail change since the early 1970's. The sad thing is people who do the trail quickly and never set foot on it again (perhaps the majority of thru hikers?). That does not say "I love hiking" to me... If you love it you can't keep away from it.

  4. #4
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    I’m people’d out.

    Long distance hiking is a reprieve from people.

    Plus I love trying to eat 4000 calories a day.

    YMMV


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    Same here. I racked up thousands of miles on the AT because I kept doing my favorite sections multiple times, rather than finishing the trail... I finally buckled down and finished it 40 years and a few months after beginning (although my first 1000 mile hike in 1974 was not intended as a thru). So I've seen the trail change since the early 1970's. The sad thing is people who do the trail quickly and never set foot on it again (perhaps the majority of thru hikers?). That does not say "I love hiking" to me... If you love it you can't keep away from it.
    The AT isn't all that. The thread is about love of hiking not love of the AT.
    Lonehiker

  6. #6
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    I think most people who start out hiking the AT do out of some romantic fantasy. I know most of the nobos who I've talked to by the time they hit Maine are sick to death of it and are finishing it out of sheer stubbornness. Sam I Am, class of '16, when I talked to him last, hadn't hiked since he completed the AT, but he sure loves talking about it. The sobos I've met in Maine we're still in love with hiking the AT and were on a magical, personal adventure. Since 75 to 80% of the people drop out and never finish the hike, the majority of them will never hike again, because it's effing hard! Of the total hikers starting the AT, only 10% probably love and continue to hike after finishing it. I've met a few rare souls who were planning their next hike after finishing at Katahdin. Mist want to let their mysterious rashes heal.

  7. #7
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    I did a LASH this summer (about 600 miles), so I met a lot of NOBO thru-hikers. Almost to a person, their attitude was, "I just want this to be over." My LASH was from Pennsylvania to within 15 miles of Maine, so you can imagine the thru-hikers I met that far north were worn out - especially those I met in the White Mountains. If I had to guess at most thru-hikers' motivation, I would say they are out there for the challenge, which when met, loses its appeal. At least that's the impression with which I am left. Meeting a challenge doesn't necessarily translate into a fondness for hiking that carries past the thru-hike.

    I doubt anyone who had been hiking for 1,500+ miles would say they didn't like hiking, but it sure sounded like it and they're faces said it. I'm glad I'm a LASHer.

    Just my opinion.
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  8. #8
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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? . . .
    I'd venture a guess that most people's reasons are more complex with multiple reasons coming together to push them into long distance hiking.

    The AT flavor of this thread also brings up another thought . . . how many people hike the AT due to their love of hiking vs. people hiking other long distance trails. My guess is that the AT has a disproportionate percentage of people that are hiking it for reasons other than purely the love of hiking, especially since there are so many other great long distance hikes with greater grandeur and fewer distractions from hiking.

    In my experience, in conversations with people, I would suggest that the more well known the long distance trail is, the more likely it is that any given person hiking that trail is hiking for some other primary reason other than the love of hiking. Conversely, I have met very few people hiking long distances on trails outside of the PCT and AT that have a primary reason for being out there other than a peaceful escape, their the love of the outdoors, love of adventure, or love the the person they are hiking with. Now, do the reasons I listed in that last sentence translate into "the love of hiking?" Maybe. Most people don't hike just to put one foot in front of the other on the trail, but rather love being outside moving through the wilderness, which I equate to the above list of reasons and thus the love of hiking. . . with the possible exception of hiking for the love of your hiking partner.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by tflaris View Post
    I’m people’d out.

    Long distance hiking is a reprieve from people.

    Plus I love trying to eat 4000 calories a day.

    YMMV


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    This is excellent and spot on, at least for me. I'm completely people'd out too---their monkey chatter, their howling vehicles, their cities and asphalt and sprawl---the Whole Wad. And so I go into what's left of Nature to find something on the planet not ruined by Humans. It's getting harder and harder to do---for example overhead jet traffic noise pollution is abundant---but I'm still getting out into "the back of beyond."---until these wild places are eventually ruined by human development. Hallelujah.

    Quote Originally Posted by lonehiker View Post
    The AT isn't all that. The thread is about love of hiking not love of the AT.
    My sentiments exactly. The AT isn't the only game in town. The Love of Hiking occurs on thousands of miles of trails not associated with the AT. AT "thruhikers" could use the AT for loop opportunities and spend 4 months going north from Springer and taking the BMT into the Cohuttas and pull all of the Cohutta trails and some of the Georgia Pinhoti and then swing south to the AT and go north and pull all the trails in the Standing Indian wilderness---and resupply once a month for a full blown expedition style backpacking trip.

    No one says you have to use your 4 month-block of time to pull a linear thruhike with food resupplies every 4 days.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    This is excellent and spot on, at least for me. . .
    Which begs the question Tipi, do you hike for the love of hiking or do you do it for other reasons?
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  11. #11
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    I'd bet that a lot of the people that say they have some deep personal reason for hiking are just feeling like that's the expected response, and that they really do just love hiking.

    I hike because I love hiking. I've never found it to be a cure for any of my ills.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    Which begs the question Tipi, do you hike for the love of hiking or do you do it for other reasons?
    I love the beauty of Nature and I love the freedom to travel thru Nature's beauty with everything on my back, i.e. Backpacking.

  13. #13
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    I hike the same 2 mile local loop every weekend when preparing for my AT section hikes. Its the same boring trail every single time, but I get excited to be on it every time I go. The reason I make trips to the AT every year is that I want to see it all. I've been interested in the trail since I was a kid. But even on the boring tough parts I am still enjoying the hike. I don't know, I just like following a trail.
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    Finishing the AT sometime in 2037.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by joefryfry View Post
    I hike the same 2 mile local loop every weekend when preparing for my AT section hikes. Its the same boring trail every single time, but I get excited to be on it every time I go. The reason I make trips to the AT every year is that I want to see it all. I've been interested in the trail since I was a kid. But even on the boring tough parts I am still enjoying the hike. I don't know, I just like following a trail.
    This is exactly my scenario. I've done the same trails hundreds of times but as long as I have a pack on my back I'm always excited to go. When you sleep with Miss Nature nothing gets old---and she's always there on the morning after.

  15. #15
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    I enjoy the hike to anywhere that doesn't smell, hear or looks like urban spread. Once you are that far out, you can look around and see nature at its finest. No privy, no shelter, just me with a couple trees to hang my hammock from and I'm happy.
    Blackheart

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    I love the beauty of Nature and I love the freedom to travel thru Nature's beauty with everything on my back, i.e. Backpacking.
    Me too. I am not a LASHER, but I have thru-hiked a tiny trail and spent many a weekend outside. I simply love to just walk in the woods. I like to hear the birds sing and watch the squirrels play and stare at beautiful creepy spiders and odd wild flowers and crazy shaped trees. It just feels...natural. Now at the end of my tiny thru hike, when things got hard for me and kind of scary a time or two, I switched out of "nature is wonderful" mode to "survival" mode and it was just about getting the job done. So I get that too for those nearing the end and just so so tired. I guess you know if you REALLY love it, if once you are rested and restored, you are itching to get right back to it again. If not, it wasn't the love of the hike that motivated you. I cried when I saw our truck at the end of our little weekend thru, out of relief that it was over. 2 hours later, after a meal and a shower, I was ready to go back and do it again.
    Last edited by Lnj; 08-21-2018 at 16:02. Reason: typos
    " Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. "

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lnj View Post
    Me too. I am not a LASHER, but I have thru-hiked a tiny trail and spent many a weekend outside. I simply love to just walk in the woods. I like to hear the birds sing and watch the squirrels play and stare at beautiful creepy spiders and odd wild flowers and crazy shaped trees. It just feels...natural. Now at the end of my tiny thru hike, when things got hard for me and kind of scary a time or two, I switched out of "nature is wonderful" mode to "survival" mode and it was just about getting the job done. So I get that too for those nearing the end and just so so tired. I guess you know if you REALLY love it, if once you are rested and restored, you are itching to get right back to it again. If not, it wasn't the love of the hike that motivated you. I cried when I saw our truck at the end of our little weekend thru, out of relief that it was over. 2 hours later, after a meal and a shower, I was ready to go back and do it again.
    There's sort of a rule of backpacking for me---No matter how bad the day has been---by morning I'll be ready to start up again.

    And the "survival" mode is also part of backpacking; I call it "getting the lizard gaze"---whereby your eyes get pinpoint focused like a lizard and you enter a "drone zone" state whereby you focus on the trail before you as you move in robot fashion and stay almost impervious to jabs and cuts and any kind of pain. It's a great state to be in but it's a hard state to get to. The beady eyed lizard state.

  18. #18
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    I like hiking
    I like the places it takes me
    The things I see
    People i meet

    Sometimes its hard
    Sometimes it sucks
    Its hot, its cold, its raining, its hailing, its lonely, its steep, its hard

    Sometimes it dont
    Ct2_1.jpg
    Other day i was almost trampled by herd of elk
    That was awesome, ...after the fact. How else would I get accidentally within 50' of herd of elk? One big boy and his harem?

    Just like marriage, or nearly anything else. Its the final product that makes it worthwhile. The summation . Its not easy or fun all the time. Sometimes it takes work and perseverence.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 08-22-2018 at 10:20.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    I love the beauty of Nature and I love the freedom to travel thru Nature's beauty with everything on my back, i.e. Backpacking.
    (pushing the LIKE button we wish we had). Backpacking gets you to places you can't get to by any other means, and in doing so it gets you away from most everyone else. This of course doesn't answer the the original question, as you don't need to be a thru hiker to accomplish this.

    Another aspect of backpacking that I appreciate is that it is a craft, and crafts people (whether they be woodworkers, dancers, musician, quilt makers, gardeners, etc...) derive pleasure from the creative execution of their skill, and in the process, produce a product of tangible value. In the case of backpacking, that is the ability to get yourself from point A to point B completely self sufficiently. A long distance hike (LASH or thru) is an extreme expression of this. Personally, I still get a twinge of anxiety when I start out on a hike as I get out of the comfort zone created by cars, roads, houses, phones, Internet, etc... Successfully overcoming that anxiety and becoming comfortable on my own is part of the thrill for me.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    (pushing the LIKE button we wish we had). Backpacking gets you to places you can't get to by any other means, and in doing so it gets you away from most everyone else. This of course doesn't answer the the original question, as you don't need to be a thru hiker to accomplish this.

    Another aspect of backpacking that I appreciate is that it is a craft, and crafts people (whether they be woodworkers, dancers, musician, quilt makers, gardeners, etc...) derive pleasure from the creative execution of their skill, and in the process, produce a product of tangible value. In the case of backpacking, that is the ability to get yourself from point A to point B completely self sufficiently. A long distance hike (LASH or thru) is an extreme expression of this. Personally, I still get a twinge of anxiety when I start out on a hike as I get out of the comfort zone created by cars, roads, houses, phones, Internet, etc... Successfully overcoming that anxiety and becoming comfortable on my own is part of the thrill for me.
    Good post. I see time out in the woods as the real world, and this other life with cars and roads and houses and phones and the Interwad as a temporary blip in World History---a human-created anomaly whereby we try to domesticate the planet with sprawl and development---but our efforts amount to just a passing micro-second in geological time. Wild Nature rules us all.

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