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Thread: Re assimilating

  1. #1
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    Default Re assimilating

    Have you ever seen some LD hikers coming off a long hike or re-entering a town after a long resupply? Some are happy to be back. Others want to go back. Others look like deer in the headlights, foreigners teleported to a strange far away land, or Zombies wandering out of the viral mental fog back into the 'in your face' culture shock after being administered a "cure?" Mindf--k. Seriously, some have issue re-assimilating to the culture and lifestyle they previously embraced because of new awarenesses and connections. When I returned from a AT NOBO I slept on the floor for a month before crawling uncomfortably under the blankets on a bed. I went off on counting 22 spoons next to the stove throwing away 15 of the redundant ones. For the first month I made half my meals in the backpacking stove. I ate Cheerios out of that same pot despite having a closet of dishes. I later donated 2/3 of the dishes to a Goodwill.

    OHHH the freedom and awarenesses one can experience a long duration away from their norms.

    Mark Twain:
    Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.

  2. #2

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    I frequently hike the approach trail to Springer and enjoy seeing the SOBOs finishing up in the fall. Yes, they are often disconnected zombies and dramatically different than the terrified NOBOs going up the approach trail in the spring. The SOBOs sort of look right through you. The fresh NOBOs look right at you as if trying to find confirmation they made the right decision.

  3. #3
    Registered User gbolt's Avatar
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    Saw it and experienced it myself this fall. Took me six weeks to even realize that I was forever different and three months before I felt like I had a place in the “matrix”. When you move two miles per hour, in a natural environment; I felt overwhelmed by the speed of town / Life. The only way to manage it was to withdraw and engage slowly. Funny, one of the scariest heights I experienced was a bridge over a freeway. I was most fearful crossing a road in traffic! We joke about the old game called Frogger; but we felt at an even greater disadvantage because we felt more like turtles! I had more fear away from the AT then I did hiking any part of it! The crazy thing is that the treatment is only found in returning to nature for short periods of time to allow re-entry into both worlds at once! Great post Dogwood!
    Last edited by gbolt; 01-10-2019 at 22:36.
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    How bad could the culture shock be if we're all sitting at a computer or on a smartphone typing this stuff up?? Most of us were not raised outdoors in a yurt or a wall tent or an igloo or raised by wolves--- and so we all know about flush toilets and beds and hot showers and electricity and television. A person spending 20 years of his young life indoors and then 6 months outdoors will not erase those other 19.5 years of indoor life.

    This is not to say that a person won't desire to spend more time outdoors because of his LD/Or Any Trail experience. In that case he/she can sleep out in the backyard every night---and let the significant others have the house---or set up a Yurt on some land and get a woodstove and live out permanently. Or just figure out a way to go backpacking all the time. There's a reason why some crazed individuals try to have the Most Lifetime Bag Nights.

    The initial outdoor experience (like a thruhike) could prime the pump and turn your average Joe into the next John Muir. Or not. I see it more like this---We modern humans have 200,000 years of Neanderthal blood and so the fantastic craving we have for wilderness is powerful---though now severely blunted by two things---the Higher Standard of Living religion brainwashing generations of people---and the urbanization and obliteration of wild nature so there's no place left for millions of humans to go to and to live outdoors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    How bad could the culture shock be if we're all sitting at a computer or on a smartphone typing this stuff up?? Most of us were not raised outdoors in a yurt or a wall tent or an igloo or raised by wolves--- and so we all know about flush toilets and beds and hot showers and electricity and television. A person spending 20 years of his young life indoors and then 6 months outdoors will not erase those other 19.5 years of indoor life.
    Not to mention the average hiker eagerly spends 1 night per week in a bed or more , eats in several restaurants and rides to/from town in a car.

    I always enjoy the peace and quiet of getting back on a trail, gaining elevation, and leaving vehicle noises behind after a town stop.. I sleep better under my tarp, in the woods. But im usually pretty excited to get there too.....and eat.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 01-11-2019 at 00:28.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Not to mention the average hiker eagerly spends 1 night per week in a bed or more , eats in several restaurants and rides to/from town in a car.

    I always enjoy the peace and quiet of getting back on a trail, gaining elevation, and leaving vehicle noises behind after a town stop.. I sleep better under my tarp, in the woods. But im usually pretty excited to get there too.....and eat.
    My solution to the "town food" drool is to dehydrate 3 weeks worth of dinner meals for a trip and arrange my food bags with stuff I won't eat at home---pasta, brown rice, oatmeal etc---AND THEN when I hit the trail I'm craving this stuff. Don't eat any power bars or granola bars or RX bars at home---saved for the tongue on the trail. But you're right, after 3 weeks I'm sick of everything and even when I get home all I really want is a big cheese omelet and fruit---and not much else. Just my take on it.

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    @FreeGoldRush Kind of like simultaneously witnessing an AA meeting letting out and twenty intoxicated bachelor party members entering a bar across the street.

    @Gbolt I liked the matrix analogy, it applies,...and remedy.

    @Tipi Walter Maybe, we are trying to bridge the gap holding onto some connections/reconnections of/in both worlds when we discuss backpacking on line. Perhaps, Whiteblaze posters can assist others as they attempt to re assimilate.

    Those first thirty days I either slept on the floor or outside on the deck or a patio on the back corner of the property abutting a forest preserve in the sometimes snow and rain through Nov in NJ...happy. I slept better and still sleep more soundly outside in Nature not in a tent, away from the 'commotion'.

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    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    I found it to be a really strange feeling coming off my JMT hike and walking into a grocery store.

    I spent 17 nights and days to get from Yosemite Valley to Lone Pine. During that time, the only "store" I say was the relatively small Red's Meadows on the 4th day. After leaving Red's, my only other resupply was a bucket I shipped to MTR. So I roughly spent two full weeks in the back country, not seeing a single road, not seeing a single car, travelling ONLY on foot, and eating out of a bear canister.

    After checking into a hotel for the night in Lone Pine at the end of my hike, I walked to the local grocery store to buy some Saran Wrap to wrap up my back pack for the flight home. After being limited to the foods in my bear canister for 2 weeks, it was a strange feeling walking around a well stocked full size grocery store.

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    Driving car in rush hour traffic after 3-4 months in the woods a rush.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  10. #10

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    It's been a shock to the system having to come back to real life after taking 18 months off to travel and explore new places, and I was only backpacking part of it while a most of it was a road trip. And that 18 months was still part of the busy world for the most part albeit at a different pace. And after 18 months I'm starting a new full-time job in a new country. So I get what you're saying because it doesn't necessarily have to just be those who hike for a long period of time...but those who step outside the "norms" of everyday life. I'm honestly really struggling with idea of having to go back to the "prison" of a 9-5 work life and re-assimilating into a work and life environment.

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    After two months in the desert I had slight troubles riding my own car again, my feet had to tune into the manipulation of the pedals again.
    Biggest welcome present when I come back home after a longer journey is the bread. We have the greates bread in the world (in quality and variety) and usually my journeys tend to be quite frugal, so coming back I gorge in bread. Just bread and butter.
    And then, for weeks we make frequent campfires back home inviting friends telling stories and doing the aftermath of the trip.

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    After wandering for 8 years, it took me a long time to be able to sleep in a bed again. Even now, after many years, I use a mattress that everyone else considers much too firm for comfort. I get aches trying to sleep on hotel beds.

    One outing, I spent 24 days in the Wind River mountains, the last 14 of which were solo. I saw not another soul that entire two weeks, and only a few others for the 10 days prior. I barely saw a tree during that time. When I emerged, I had to hitchhike back to Boulder, and was picked up by a family of metalheads in their painted van, playing Nazareth's "Hair of the Dog" turned up WAY past 11 the whole way. Their three kids (about 3,5, and 7 years old) knew all the lyrics and swayed in unison to the music as my entire head was blasted to smithereens.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Those first thirty days I either slept on the floor or outside on the deck or a patio on the back corner of the property abutting a forest preserve in the sometimes snow and rain through Nov in NJ...happy. I slept better and still sleep more soundly outside in Nature not in a tent, away from the 'commotion'.
    Why just those thirty days? I sleep out on the back porch in the "backyard" every night when I'm not out pulling one of my backpacking trips. I always hunger to sleep outside year round and so here it is January 11th and I just came in from the yard camp to shave and flip on the computer. My sleeping setup is below---
    P1000076-L.jpg
    The beloved WM Puma down bag atop an inflatable Thermarest and a Solar ccf pad. Home sweet home. Which brings up this corollary subject---Gotta Keep Up Your Chops. Meaning---

    Gotta keep your Thermarest chops---meaning you never stop sleeping on the ground on a sleeping pad (or in a hammock)---you get so used to it that you vastly prefer it to any bed.

    Gotta keep your leg sinew chops and core muscle chops---meaning you hike under significant load on a lifetime regular basis thereby developing "steel like" leg tendons and ligaments---along with the stomach and core muscles to lift such loads.

    Gotta keep your cold weather chops (ability to withstand cold weather for long periods). The best way to do this is to either live outside in the cold or if you can't do that---sleep in the cold.

    In other words, you never stop backpacking and living out---so you keep these chops honed.

    Beyond all these "keeping up your chops" challenges, the biggest one is the over arching desire to sleep with Miss Nature in all conditions.

    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    I spent 17 nights and days to get from Yosemite Valley to Lone Pine. During that time, the only "store" I say was the relatively small Red's Meadows on the 4th day. After leaving Red's, my only other resupply was a bucket I shipped to MTR. So I roughly spent two full weeks in the back country, not seeing a single road, not seeing a single car, travelling ONLY on foot, and eating out of a bear canister.
    THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!! HooKooDooKu gets it!! The discussion doesn't ALWAYS have to be about thruhikers stopping in a town every 4 days to get food and restaurant meals.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zalman View Post
    After wandering for 8 years, it took me a long time to be able to sleep in a bed again. Even now, after many years, I use a mattress that everyone else considers much too firm for comfort. I get aches trying to sleep on hotel beds.

    One outing, I spent 24 days in the Wind River mountains, the last 14 of which were solo. I saw not another soul that entire two weeks, and only a few others for the 10 days prior. I barely saw a tree during that time. When I emerged, I had to hitchhike back to Boulder, and was picked up by a family of metalheads in their painted van, playing Nazareth's "Hair of the Dog" turned up WAY past 11 the whole way. Their three kids (about 3,5, and 7 years old) knew all the lyrics and swayed in unison to the music as my entire head was blasted to smithereens.
    Wow, great story. My real "outdoor addiction" started in 1980 when I gave up all apartments in the town of Boone and started living outside and out of my old North Face pack for many years. "Wandering for 8 years" about says it all. And it's easy to give up the indoor bed on a permanent basis---just sleep outside every night. It worked for those 8 years---why not for the next 60??

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Wow, great story. My real "outdoor addiction" started in 1980 when I gave up all apartments in the town of Boone and started living outside and out of my old North Face pack for many years. "Wandering for 8 years" about says it all. And it's easy to give up the indoor bed on a permanent basis---just sleep outside every night. It worked for those 8 years---why not for the next 60??
    Oh yea, I know exactly how that goes Zalman, Tipi Walter... search and rescue was called out on me only once; I was 5. By the time I was a tween/teen, my mom would assure the other camping parents that if their kids were with me, being out in the woods for many hours at a time was no cause for concern as we were all just fine... -she had seen plenty of that before. Then I came of age and rather than pursue some bs "American dream", I did the John Muir thing: hung out in and learned the language of wilderness. ...literally spent most of my adult life living in a tent/out of a backpack. Culture shock indeed; as far as I'm concerned, nature is my native environment, irrespective of being raised in Silicon Valley.
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rift Zone View Post
    Oh yea, I know exactly how that goes Zalman, Tipi Walter... search and rescue was called out on me only once; I was 5. By the time I was a tween/teen, my mom would assure the other camping parents that if their kids were with me, being out in the woods for many hours at a time was no cause for concern as we were all just fine... -she had seen plenty of that before. Then I came of age and rather than pursue some bs "American dream", I did the John Muir thing: hung out in and learned the language of wilderness. ...literally spent most of my adult life living in a tent/out of a backpack. Culture shock indeed; as far as I'm concerned, nature is my native environment, irrespective of being raised in Silicon Valley.
    It's neat to see some individuals here on Whiteblaze get it---and neat to see they got bit by the nature bug big time. Regarding nature---what's weird is the more I GET THE MORE I WANT. It's a neverending quest and desire to sleep with the Woman of the Trees and Rocks---and I never take her for granted---even as the North American continent gets obliterated with sprawl and development. And many hikers here on Whiteblaze get it too---you don't have to live outdoors permanently to love what's left of wilderness.

  17. #17

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    After just two months on the southern AT, I returned to NH and got a lot of strange looks as I actually said "Hi" to people in my town.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    After just two months on the southern AT, I returned to NH and got a lot of strange looks as I actually said "Hi" to people in my town.
    A town is the wilderness we must endure before we return to Civilization---The Woods.

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    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    I don't get it. I can understand a soldier/airmen that has deployed for a year having issues assimilating back into our society. But, someone on vacation that has been into town probably weekly and in fact probably connected on a daily basis? Give me a break...
    Lonehiker

  20. #20

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    Can you imagine how this guy felt: https://books.google.com/books/about...page&q&f=false ?

    Living in the woods in Maine for 27 years, and only really interacting with someone else once, saying "Hi" to one person in all that time. I read the book. I highly recommend it.

    The author makes a point that very few people in the US spend more than a few minutes totally alone, ever. I can't imagine the first days after Thomas Knight was arrested, and in jail. It must have been his worst horror.

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