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  1. #1
    Registered User Ben795's Avatar
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    Default Is “flip flopping” in separate attempts, considered a thru-hike?

    Not to diminish anyone who completed the entire length..but. I saw a post of a guy who “Flip-Flopped” he claims he went Va to Maine, and then Va. to Georgia in two separate stints. Is that not a considered a couple of section hikes, rather than an actual AT Thru-hike? Which I always considered to be the entire length in one attempt, either direction. Still a great accomplishment, no matter how it’s labeled.

  2. #2

    Default A thru-hike is walking entire AT in 12 months or less

    A hike of the entire A.T. in 12 months or less, including a flip flop itinerary, is considered a thru-hike by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the lead organization overseeing management and preservation of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

    With between 4,000 and 5,000 people a year attempting thru-hikes, most in a relatively narrow time frame, trail use must be dispersed in time or space to continue to be sustainable. Those attempting flip flop thru-hikers (or starting at the traditional start locations outside the most popular times) can help spread out use.

    Spreading out hiker traffic reduces the social impacts associated with crowding, the impacts to natural resources associated with crowding, and the spread of disease (namely norovirus). Spreading out use also generally makes work easier for volunteers.

    Spreading out use also helps trailside communities by evening out the flow of hikers and creating a longer season, instead of being overwhelmed by more hikers than they can serve.


    ATC Recognition Policy
    • We hold high expectations of 2,000-milers that include treating the natural environment, A.T. communities, other hikers, and our agency partners--whose land the A.T. passes through--with kindness, respect, and cooperation;
    • We operate on the honor system;
    • We give equal recognition to thru-hikers and section hikers;
    • We recognize hikers regardless of sequence, direction, speed, or whether they carry a pack;
    • In the event of an emergency, such as a flood, a forest fire, or an impending storm, blue-blazed trails or officially required roadwalks are viable substitutes for the white-blazed route.


    www.appalachiantrail.org/home/community/2000-miler-application

  3. #3
    Registered User gwb's Avatar
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    I meet a lot of hikers whom call themselves thru hikers that obviously are not. I say who cares. If it is that important to someone that they want to lie, so be it, but what's worse than lying to yourself?

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    Registered User Ben795's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for the clarification, as I have only section hiked the AT in the Northeast, I was just unsure of how the actual “ Thru-hike” was determined. I have met a lot of northbound thruhikers at the AMC huts, and campsites in the N.H. Whites and up in Baxter State Park Me. In late summer and early fall, Both of which I frequent, and really enjoy the stories of the trail. Rock on!

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    Default

    Officially if completed in year, it's a thru. In the spirit, if it's 2 (or more) 'separate stints' it is not.

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    Maybe I'm biased as I'm a section hiker, but I don't see why folks get so wound up around "thru" hike status. It kind of turns into a pissing contest. Did it non-stop vs took a break, Flip-flopper, NOBO/SOBO, blue or yellow blazed a few miles, did more zeroes and hotels than the other guy, took longer, slackpacked..... This is truly a situation where HYOH matters!
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    Officially if completed in year, it's a thru. In the spirit, if it's 2 (or more) 'separate stints' it is not.
    I don't agree with you at all. The "In the spirit, if it's 2 (or more) 'separate stints' it is not." is your own thought.
    Read what Laurie posted above and you will not find your idea of a thru hike anywhere in her post.

    Flyin' Brian was not the first person to do a single year triple crown if one were to follow your guidelines.
    Stumpknocker
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumpknocker View Post
    I don't agree with you at all. The "In the spirit, if it's 2 (or more) 'separate stints' it is not." is your own thought.
    Read what Laurie posted above and you will not find your idea of a thru hike anywhere in her post.

    Flyin' Brian was not the first person to do a single year triple crown if one were to follow your guidelines.
    LaurieIP's post does not conflict with mine if you read it as I said that ATC defines it as what Laurie says.

    It's the spirit of the thru hike, what a thru hike is at it's heart that Lauri does not address but defaults strictly to the 'legalism' of the ATC definition.

    It als involves what the 2 stints are, or more specifically where is the fuzzy line between 1 and 2 stints. If it is two stints, meaning separate and distinct long sections it would be at it's heart a section hike completion of the AT. If it's one it is a thru hike of the AT.

    To that the person must decide if that hike is one or two, or just chose to hide behind the legalistic definition of the thru hike. That last part is what I feel is important. I always hate using legalistic definitions as it does ignore the heart, and to me, in the end, the heart is the only thing that what matters and being true to oneself is being true to one's heart, legalism and the ATC's definition is nothing and will not satisfy.

    IDK about Flyin Brian, but if his triple crown it was planned as a single hike, before he ended any section portion he was doing, then it would include a AT thru no matter when it came about. Likewise flipping can be thus planned, especially with the intensive usage.

    In this it sounds like the OP's person did not do a thru, but specifically 2 sections as I first read it, as separate times. However if he just flipped that is a completed thru hike.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    LaurieIP's post does not conflict with mine if you read it as I said that ATC defines it as what Laurie says.

    It's the spirit of the thru hike, what a thru hike is at it's heart that Lauri does not address but defaults strictly to the 'legalism' of the ATC definition.

    It als involves what the 2 stints are, or more specifically where is the fuzzy line between 1 and 2 stints. If it is two stints, meaning separate and distinct long sections it would be at it's heart a section hike completion of the AT. If it's one it is a thru hike of the AT.

    To that the person must decide if that hike is one or two, or just chose to hide behind the legalistic definition of the thru hike. That last part is what I feel is important. I always hate using legalistic definitions as it does ignore the heart, and to me, in the end, the heart is the only thing that what matters and being true to oneself is being true to one's heart, legalism and the ATC's definition is nothing and will not satisfy.

    IDK about Flyin Brian, but if his triple crown it was planned as a single hike, before he ended any section portion he was doing, then it would include a AT thru no matter when it came about. Likewise flipping can be thus planned, especially with the intensive usage.

    In this it sounds like the OP's person did not do a thru, but specifically 2 sections as I first read it, as separate times. However if he just flipped that is a completed thru hike.
    I'm very bad at making my point...but my point was that your view encompassed everyone's view when you said "Officially if completed in year, it's a thru. In the spirit, if it's 2 (or more) 'separate stints' it is not." in your earlier post.
    Had you said "In my view", I would not have had any issue.

    You don't get to make the rules for everyone else. You can make your own rules, but don't include me in them please. I don't agree with your version...I have my own version.

    In my version, if a person hikes every mile of the AT in a 365 period, that person is a thru hiker. They might walk 30 days, take 30 days off, walk 30 days, take another 30 days off and so on. They would still be considered a thru hiker by the ATC if they walked the entire trail in a year. They might consider their hike a section hike or a thru hike. Doesn't matter, because either would be correct in their view.

    In my view, it is a lot harder doing the AT in sections than as a thru hike.

    I don't like being argumentative, but I don't want to be included in someone's blanket statement that attempts to include me.

    I think it's important to provide your view, but it's just that....your view.
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  10. #10
    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    LaurieIP's post does not conflict with mine if you read it as I said that ATC defines it as what Laurie says.
    It's the spirit of the thru hike, what a thru hike is at it's heart that Lauri does not address but defaults strictly to the 'legalism' of the ATC definition.
    ...
    But you immediately start running in to legalisms because of the ways you might define a "stint'.
    After all, where do you draw the line between the following to call it the "spirit" of a thru hike
    1. Someone who never leaves the trail (all resupplies come to them).
    2. Someone who steps off the trail for a few hours to resupply.
    3. Someone who goes into town to resupply.
    4. Someone who goes into town to resupply and spend the night.
    5. Someone who goes into town to resupply and spend a couple of nights (i.e. takes an off trail zero)
    6. Someone who goes into town because they are sick and spends a week (i.e. takes a week of zeros)
    7. Someone who goes into town, catches a flight home to attend a wedding, flies back and returns to the trail in less than 72 hours.
    8. Someone who goes into town, catches a flight home, gets sick, stays home for a week, flies back and returns to the trail.
    9. Someone who goes into town, catches a flight home, stays a month just because they want to, flies back and returns to the trail.
    10. Someone who does a flip flop.
    11. Someone who does a flip flop, but stays in a hotel to rest for a week before starting the next section.
    12. Someone who does a flip flog, but goes home for 3 days before heading out to the next section.
    13. Someone who does a flip flop, but goes home for 3 months between flops.


    So it would seem item #1 above most definitely qualifies as the spirit of a thru, and #13 is only "legally" a thru.
    Which step did we change from the "spirit" of a thru and fell into only a "legal" thru?

    I believe there was a very good reason the ATC decided to simply define a thru as

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    But you immediately start running in to legalisms because of the ways you might define a "stint'.
    After all, where do you draw the line between the following to call it the "spirit" of a thru hike
    1. Someone who never leaves the trail (all resupplies come to them).
    2. Someone who steps off the trail for a few hours to resupply.
    3. Someone who goes into town to resupply.
    4. Someone who goes into town to resupply and spend the night.
    5. Someone who goes into town to resupply and spend a couple of nights (i.e. takes an off trail zero)
    6. Someone who goes into town because they are sick and spends a week (i.e. takes a week of zeros)
    7. Someone who goes into town, catches a flight home to attend a wedding, flies back and returns to the trail in less than 72 hours.
    8. Someone who goes into town, catches a flight home, gets sick, stays home for a week, flies back and returns to the trail.
    9. Someone who goes into town, catches a flight home, stays a month just because they want to, flies back and returns to the trail.
    10. Someone who does a flip flop.
    11. Someone who does a flip flop, but stays in a hotel to rest for a week before starting the next section.
    12. Someone who does a flip flog, but goes home for 3 days before heading out to the next section.
    13. Someone who does a flip flop, but goes home for 3 months between flops.


    So it would seem item #1 above most definitely qualifies as the spirit of a thru, and #13 is only "legally" a thru.
    Which step did we change from the "spirit" of a thru and fell into only a "legal" thru?

    I believe there was a very good reason the ATC decided to simply define a thru as
    My answer:
    The person will ask that question and come up with their answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stumpknocker View Post
    I'm very bad at making my point...but my point was that your view encompassed everyone's view when you said "Officially if completed in year, it's a thru. In the spirit, if it's 2 (or more) 'separate stints' it is not." in your earlier post.
    Had you said "In my view", I would not have had any issue.

    You don't get to make the rules for everyone else. You can make your own rules, but don't include me in them please. I don't agree with your version...I have my own version.

    In my version, if a person hikes every mile of the AT in a 365 period, that person is a thru hiker. They might walk 30 days, take 30 days off, walk 30 days, take another 30 days off and so on. They would still be considered a thru hiker by the ATC if they walked the entire trail in a year. They might consider their hike a section hike or a thru hike. Doesn't matter, because either would be correct in their view.

    In my view, it is a lot harder doing the AT in sections than as a thru hike.

    I don't like being argumentative, but I don't want to be included in someone's blanket statement that attempts to include me.

    I think it's important to provide your view, but it's just that....your view.
    See post #11

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    My answer:
    The person will ask that question and come up with their answer.
    Perfect!
    Stumpknocker
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    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Ours is a living language.

    While no one group defines a word for everyone, some can certainly shape a word’s meaning in common discourse.

    Increasingly, this is done to:


    • Spare hurt feelings and provide encouragement
    • Promote an agenda or specific course of action in others


    Nothing wrong with that, but I think both come into play with the evolving definition of a thru hike.

    But why worry about it?

    As they say, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

  15. #15

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    At the end of they day, who cares? Did they/you make the walk for a title or did you make the walk to enjoy the journey from Georgia to Maine? The "title" represents everything that I go out into the woods to get away from.

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    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Not sure people care about it so much, but it is interesting to think that when future generations learn that a man by the name of Earl Shaffer was the first person to thru hike the AT, they may not automatically assume he walked from one end to the other in a single journey.

  17. #17

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    The debate about the term implies that one has accomplished something that the other hasn't. They've both walked the same distance. One was just privileged to have a time window to do it one trip. The other had to fight, claw, and scratch to find many windows of time to complete the journey. I think of them all as AT hikers. Then again, I just dont like labeling or putting people in boxes.

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    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hillbillyhanger View Post
    The debate about the term implies that one has accomplished something that the other hasn't...
    That comparison is belittling the accomplishment of completing a thru hike in only 12 months.

    Under that logic, a person who can manage to run a marathon in under 3 hours is no better than someone who walks 1 mile every day for 21 days... because both have gone 21 miles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben795 View Post
    Not to diminish anyone who completed the entire length..but. I saw a post of a guy who “Flip-Flopped” he claims he went Va to Maine, and then Va. to Georgia in two separate stints. Is that not a considered a couple of section hikes, rather than an actual AT Thru-hike? Which I always considered to be the entire length in one attempt, either direction. Still a great accomplishment, no matter how it’s labeled.
    that's just a complete hike not a through hike

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    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    that's just a complete hike not a through hike
    While Lone Wolf is arguably correct, I would like to go on record as objecting to his use of the adjective “just”.

    That inclusion of that word (10% of this total!) turns a perfectly innocent statement into a clear micro aggression.

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