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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    ...To me a vacation is a escape from real life, a thru hike is real life and becomes real life and helps one define what is important in real life. Many have expressed that a thru hike is more real life then their off trail life, which is a fundamental difference.
    So, and apologies if you are independently wealthy enough to not work or have a business to generate the income required to buy gear, food, transport, lodging, etc, how (or how long) would you survive just hiking and doing nothing else? The true fundamental difference is that only one, what most of us refer to as the real world - the one where you generate an income to feed and clothe and sustain yourself and family, can exist independently from the other. So which one is truly real? It isn't realistic to live hiking in the woods with no source of income. Never has been, never will be. Going off hiking is a recent, modern recreational phenomena. It's not a return to the past nor is it a sustainable existence. The trails we know were blazed specifically for recreation, on lands sequestered for conservation and/or recreational purpose, most as an escape from the modern industrialized world. The gear that enabled us to do so was designed and manufactured from materials brought to us by modern industry. Historically, people took short walks to be sure, but the only reason people went off on LONG hikes into the woods or wilderness was because someone with money paid them to do it to explore for land or resources or glory - or to hunt for homesteads or food. Very few did it just for the fun of it. Not so long ago, the wilderness was not a comfortable nor forgiving place - it's only the handiwork of the real world that made hiking a pleasant recreational endeavor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    I think thru-hiking or backpacking for some length of time is a tremendous service to mankind. Just think---the hiker is off the grid so is not using electricity or heat thereby reducing coal burning; he/she/it/they is not driving a vehicle therefore not polluting our air and buying gasoline; is not in consumer mode and purchasing more and more useless black friday crap; is not flying in airplanes ruining more of our air and causing noise pollution; and is not spending beaucoup amounts of money when actually out on the trail. His/her carbon bootprint is minimal.
    Except for the carbon bootprint of getting to and from the trail by plane, train, bus, shuttle, etc; the manufacturing of the gear and clothing; the processing of all the processed food; the burning of firewood and stove fuel; and then add in the footprint left by creating and maintaining the trail and park infrastructure. It's not as small a footprint as some might contend. Hiking is a consumer activity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    When I leave on a 21 or 24 day backpacking trip I start with a dollar in my trail wallet and end up with that same dollar at the end.
    Except that you simply spend the money required for subsistence in advance, rather than day to day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    And we all depend on charity when backpacking---the charity and gift of our national forests and wilderness areas, the charity of trail workers who keep the trails open, the charity of car drivers when we need to hitch---and of course the charity of the always open Dumpster.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Real life to me is the time I spend in the woods---either backpacking or sleeping outside or living in a Tipi etc etc.

    The escape from real life to me is our current indoor life with conveniences and gainful work and all the rest. Therefore such a life could be considered the real vacation from the outdoor life.
    The charities you speak of are only partially from charity - the tax dollars of US Citizens have paid for most of our parks and trail system and their maintenance. Typically that hitched ride doesn't really represent a high value to the giver either. And while dumpster diving for discarded food and gear as you suggest may appeal to some, I don't think most would find such a life very fulfilling nor meaningful - if more people did so, that resource (brought forth from the world of food producers) would not remain so easy to find. While you may be able to live this way, it isn't a model that can be sustained by large numbers of people, even if they wanted to.


    __________________________________________________ _________________________________________


    Hey, there's nothing wrong with thru-hiking. And if one can afford to, there's nothing wrong with doing nothing but hiking and living in the woods if that's what someone likes. But spinning a hike financed by income, using equipment, and on lands and trails that are all products of the REAL world into something more than what it really is just isn't a very believable argument.

  2. #42

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    Another thought...

    I’ve known quite a few young people who lived with their parents for a year after graduating from college so they can save money while working full time. As a parent, I don’t consider it free loading and have offered the same opportunity to my kids. (All of them declined, but it’s an idea.)

    Also...my youngest is getting rid of her expensive, downtown Nashville apartment and most of her possessions to live very frugally in a converted van.

    Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    OP, do you take classes in the summers? You might consider working at a Girl Scout or Boy Scout camp. They teach you a lot of outdoor skills, give you an opportunity to get certified in wilderness first aid, provide your living accommodations, and thereís no place to spend the money you earn.
    That's a really good idea but I am going to be graduating early so I can do this hike so I need to take a few classes over the summer. The good part of that though is that not many people hang around college towns in the summer so there's not much to do!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    Another thought...

    I’ve known quite a few young people who lived with their parents for a year after graduating from college so they can save money while working full time. As a parent, I don’t consider it free loading and have offered the same opportunity to my kids. (All of them declined, but it’s an idea.)

    Also...my youngest is getting rid of her expensive, downtown Nashville apartment and most of her possessions to live very frugally in a converted van.

    Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
    You and I have the right mindset! After I graduate I'll be moving back home with my parents and I'll work probably 50 hours a week to save money. I'm going to try to have as little off trail expenses as I can so I won't have to pay rent (thank god)! I've also started to sell some things I don't need to make a little more cash. Thanks for the advice. It is very reassuring to know that I am on the right track!

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanD View Post
    If I'm not mistaken, the #1 reason why thru hikers quit the trail is running out of money. The sense of freedom is exhilarating, you meet a bunch of people your age from all over the country and the world and the temptation to party is very strong, especially in the south where you have many hiker friendly towns, good local beer, moderately priced hostels, etc. Your savings are disappearing like an ice cube in the middle of August and you find yourself in PA with most of your budget gone. Probably to do SOBO is a good advise in term of keeping your costs in control, but then you miss all of the social aspect of the trail, and the experience of summiting Katahdin after 2200 miles.
    It may be more accurate to say most quit because the mind game isn't what it should be.

    I liked you ice cubes disappearing in August similarity.

    I'm aware of indigent grandmas, recently houseless/homeless, grandpas, children, wee children, heart attack experiencers, diabetics, black/yellow/red skinned and a few white folk, a blind guy, two one legged people, females who were afraid of the woods, Feminists who thought they owned the woods, CEO's(two really big CO's), professional athletes, a Professional MLB Team Owner, BIZ owners, mother of 4, a mother of five all children below 20 yrs of ages, a mother of eight!, octogenarians, newly divorced, Oscar Winners, folks who all they had what was on their back, hiker box reliers, rattled Veterans with PTSD, Vegans, raw food enthusiasts, carnivores, omnivores, vegetarians, recovering alcoholics/drug addicts including three recently off heroin, two crack heads, former prostitutes, battered and beaten people, prolly 3-4 fugitives from justice, a few LEO's, one State Supreme Court Judge, a cabinet position appointee, ULers and ultra haulers, transgendered, same sex oriented, bi, non binary(?), those that recently lost loved ones including two who were the sole remaining family member after horrific accidents, the wayward, Atheists, Christians, Moslems, Jews, ....ALL who found ways to complete their hikes. Money to some was just another obstacle like a ford or ascent. Everyone has there shart to deal with. No one gets a 'free' ride or always does the perfect hike without ever considering they could have done something better.

  6. #46
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    Here's another thought. Want to experience backpacking begin by giving to paid trail maintenance causes, volunteering one yr as a NP or SP Docent. The second yr the qualified are sometimes offered paid positions possibly leading to Ranger or other paid positions. You can get 3 days off every 8 or so or make up your own schedule in some cases. This builds up your work experiences. The same occurs elsewhere with limited experiences not yet up to snuff being Head Guide or in leadership position. I know of several that came up that way as now paid rafting guides on major hard to get permit rivers...livin' da LIFE. Same as paid climbing guides. Often times, while volunteering, transportation and housing costs and maybe a small monthly stipend are included. This can get you to the TH to start that 300 miler. This is also frugality while creating the mindset we tend to get what we give, maybe not something that's a bad thing?

    What I did to connect hiking, the outdoors, and off trail opps was register as a WWOOFer(Worldwide Opportunities in Organic Farming) taking a jobby type job in Hana Maui for a while. I actually learned a lot about permaculture and tropical organic fruit. This led to other connected job opps in Horticulture and Landscape Design on Kauai and the Big I. Now, every hike I learn about the regional plants, wildflowers, and trees. I always make it a pt to stop in, resupply, and check out job opps at Farmers Markets. This actually has resulted in paid job offers at Nationally and Internationally recognized Botanical Gardens, Conservation groups, living abroad as a Guide or running Hiker Hostels, and more than a couple Design Firms and Organic Food growing companies. The background of this came about for me being being a BOY Scout and spending time always roaming the woods, building tree forts, finding secret fishing spots, exploring caves(sewer pipes LOL) mountains, overhangs, shorelines, getting dirty bruised lost cut up, etc. With the right retail outfitter experience/resume get a job at a different outfitter closer to yr round hiking. You dont have to go 100% all or nothing to hike OR HIKE THE AT.

    I know of several that supplement or fully pay for their hikes as photographers. I've lost count how many I'm aware that have started blogs or gear niche co's they receive some are all their income. Ben at Goosefeet, Dan Durston with his Xmid, Ron at MLD, Joe at ZPacks, Ron at SMD, Ryan Jordan at BPL, all those climbers and bum adventurers(not doing it the right way having their own dreams different than the norm AND MAKING THEM A REALITY!) that started Marmot or Black Diamond or Patagonia or GoLite. I know some who are paid outdoor writers or work at Outdoor Retailer Shows. Then, live frugally. I, for example, live part of the yr in a built Tiny House which I so much prefer than the McMansion in a hoity toity Alpharetta sub development. I have so many people who I call friends that are Conservation Officers or NPS Rangers some(most) with families that find ways to also combine the outdoors, hiking and being responsible paid NON BUMS. Do NOT buy into the idea that being a hiker PT or FT means avoiding employment or responsibility because we have different paths!

  7. #47

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    Jezzum, the guy only wanted suggestions on how to save up money to pay for a thru hike. The answer to which is pretty simple - spend less, save more.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    So, and apologies if you are independently wealthy enough to not work or have a business to generate the income required to buy gear, food, transport, lodging, etc, how (or how long) would you survive just hiking and doing nothing else? The true fundamental difference is that only one, what most of us refer to as the real world - the one where you generate an income to feed and clothe and sustain yourself and family, can exist independently from the other. So which one is truly real? It isn't realistic to live hiking in the woods with no source of income. Never has been, never will be. Going off hiking is a recent, modern recreational phenomena. It's not a return to the past nor is it a sustainable existence. The trails we know were blazed specifically for recreation, on lands sequestered for conservation and/or recreational purpose, most as an escape from the modern industrialized world. The gear that enabled us to do so was designed and manufactured from materials brought to us by modern industry. Historically, people took short walks to be sure, but the only reason people went off on LONG hikes into the woods or wilderness was because someone with money paid them to do it to explore for land or resources or glory - or to hunt for homesteads or food. Very few did it just for the fun of it. Not so long ago, the wilderness was not a comfortable nor forgiving place - it's only the handiwork of the real world that made hiking a pleasant recreational endeavor.

    ***

    Except for the carbon bootprint of getting to and from the trail by plane, train, bus, shuttle, etc; the manufacturing of the gear and clothing; the processing of all the processed food; the burning of firewood and stove fuel; and then add in the footprint left by creating and maintaining the trail and park infrastructure. It's not as small a footprint as some might contend. Hiking is a consumer activity.

    ***

    Except that you simply spend the money required for subsistence in advance, rather than day to day.

    ***

    The charities you speak of are only partially from charity - the tax dollars of US Citizens have paid for most of our parks and trail system and their maintenance. Typically that hitched ride doesn't really represent a high value to the giver either. And while dumpster diving for discarded food and gear as you suggest may appeal to some, I don't think most would find such a life very fulfilling nor meaningful - if more people did so, that resource (brought forth from the world of food producers) would not remain so easy to find. While you may be able to live this way, it isn't a model that can be sustained by large numbers of people, even if they wanted to.


    __________________________________________________ _________________________________________


    Hey, there's nothing wrong with thru-hiking. And if one can afford to, there's nothing wrong with doing nothing but hiking and living in the woods if that's what someone likes. But spinning a hike financed by income, using equipment, and on lands and trails that are all products of the REAL world into something more than what it really is just isn't a very believable argument.
    Extremely well said.

    Tasks once necessary for basic survival eventually became affectations and hobbies for the wealthy and then filtered down to something everyone can do. Humans used to have to hunt to survive, but after mankind mastered nature hunting became a hobby of the rich which progressed fairly recently to a hobby for the every man. No one hunts for survival any more except by choice. Likewise, agriculture was once necessary for nearly everyone to do, but once it was industrialized the "elite" kept gardens on their estates, and now a lot of people like their yard to look nice while they grow a few tomatoes and squash. Why? Because civilization progressed to the point where hunting, gathering, and sustenance farming became unnecessary for survival but viable as recreation.

    I suppose it's fun to think you can somehow set yourself apart from all those poor drones living in the "so-called 9-5 "real world" maaaaaan" while you tune out and live a more enlightened existence, but none of this, not one single bit would be possible without modern industrialized society facilitating every aspect of it.

    Choosing to live on the largess, benefits, and rights available even at the fringes of modern western civilization while simultaneously castigating that which make that society run in the first place just seems intellectually dishonest to me. As 4eyedbuzzard said above, one of these two things (hiking and the drones of the modern world) could exist without the other. Which one do you think is it?

    If modern civilization were to crash tomorrow, you, me, and many millions (billions?) of people would starve to death within six months.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    So, and apologies if you are independently wealthy enough to not work or have a business to generate the income required to buy gear, food, transport, lodging, etc, how (or how long) would you survive just hiking and doing nothing else? The true fundamental difference is that only one, what most of us refer to as the real world - the one where you generate an income to feed and clothe and sustain yourself and family, can exist independently from the other. So which one is truly real? It isn't realistic to live hiking in the woods with no source of income. Never has been, never will be. Going off hiking is a recent, modern recreational phenomena. It's not a return to the past nor is it a sustainable existence. The trails we know were blazed specifically for recreation, on lands sequestered for conservation and/or recreational purpose, most as an escape from the modern industrialized world. The gear that enabled us to do so was designed and manufactured from materials brought to us by modern industry. Historically, people took short walks to be sure, but the only reason people went off on LONG hikes into the woods or wilderness was because someone with money paid them to do it to explore for land or resources or glory - or to hunt for homesteads or food. Very few did it just for the fun of it. Not so long ago, the wilderness was not a comfortable nor forgiving place - it's only the handiwork of the real world that made hiking a pleasant recreational endeavor.
    and

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyPaper View Post

    I have friends who live in Africa. Would you contribute part of your salary so they can spend 6 month in the wilderness (unemployed) "finding themselves"? Is it really such a good cause that perhaps World Vision should get involved to make sure African villagers can "find themselves" too? If this is so important, why do only rich westerners get a chance to "find themselves"?
    Both of these are not accurate. Put in historical context (and prehistory), long journeys, or other like things such as vision quests, etc have been a part of many cultures as a transition period, or often a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood. If that person in africa is in a more primitive society they would most likely have that as part of their culture, and also supported culturally - either having them have enough ahead of time for the journey, or be supported by skills and charity along the way.

    The Camino de Santiago is another such example that extends to old times, where the pilgrim would be supported by charity. In medieval times when journeying to the Holy Land was too dangerous for most, a substitute called the labyrinth was used as a (IMHO poor) stand in for this journey one must take. It is a very human thing to do, it is educational, it is finding one's self, it is important for humanity, though may not be for a particular human. As such is it part of real life, a needed step to take.

    Because it is part of real life does not equate to one must be 'stuck' there. One does not have to make a living at it, just transition thru it. Actually those people may be a bit in trouble what that does happen. I'm sure most of us know someone who just never left the trail and just hikes it year after year. A failure to transition as it would be taken.

    I'm sure that many here have felt the 'call of the trail'. I would contend that is the need for such a transitional journey for many. Our western society does sort of ignore it and even discredit it when it does come up, but I do feel such a journey is linked to humanity and always will be.

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    This entire thread should be deleted and the initial question re-posted. This is the Straight Forward Forum. All the authoritarian moral posturing has no place in this forum.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    This entire thread should be deleted and the initial question re-posted. This is the Straight Forward Forum. All the authoritarian moral posturing has no place in this forum.
    You are correct. I fell into the thread drift trap. Apologies to the OP.

  12. #52

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    Get a job.
    Earn money.
    Save money.
    Spend money on trip.

  13. #53
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    One of the more effective ways Iíve seen used it to setup a new savings account at a different bank than you usually use with the intention that all money put into it is strictly for thru hike savings. Separating the money like this will make it much harder to spend.

    Figure out a goal amount to save and then work backwards to see how much a week or a month you would need to have in order to meet this amount and then stick to it. In addition to setting up a plan to save, any time you find yourself sitting on some extra cash, even if itís $10 or $20, impulsively deposit it into the account, youíll be surprised how quickly the extra amounts on top of planned deposits can add up. If you expect any additional cash like Christmas/Birthday gifts or tax refund checks, add them directly in as well.

    Consider getting an additional job or side hustle and put all money from that directly into this account. A lot of people swear by doing this and claim that having a side job that direct deposits the paycheck directly into the account that is set aside for their thru hike budget is the most reliable way to get it fully funded.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perkinse View Post
    Thanks for the advice! Unfortunately I kind of have my heart set on hiking NOBO since I want to summit Katahdin at the end of it. I'm not much for going out to drink but I am sure there will be a handful of times I find that I need a beer! It's good to know though that down south it's easy to spend your money quick. I'll keep that in mind!
    Well it is easy to spend money anywhere on the Trail. Many use up most of their money down south and get in financial trouble. A big part of what causes that trouble is that the actual expense of hiking (excluding extra zeros, beer and partying type of stuff) goes up as the cost of living north of Harpers Ferry is much higher than in the south. Especially the farther north you get.

    So the hiker who has been a bit spendthrift down south walks into a more expensive environment just as they are running out of money.

    If your motivation is to hang around towns with other hikers and have a good time then do it and don't worry about the rest. Go home when you run out of money. If what you really want to do is finish the trail then keep that in mind when the hiker gang you are with wants to triple zero and drink cases of beer. Avoid them. Hike. There are endless numbers of hikers out there to meet if you want and some of them will be wanting to do what you want to do. Hook up with them if you feel the need to hook up with people.

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    Beware of the vortex. The vortex is the # 1 enemy of the thru hiker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Jezzum, the guy only wanted suggestions on how to save up money to pay for a thru hike. The answer to which is pretty simple - spend less, save more.
    That's a great over simplification but with all due respect that's not enough! You're communicating to a 20 yr old indicating "all information helps." It's not enough to say save more when one can't give greater consideration(reality)/range of what they are going to spend. It's not enough to say spend less without giving examples of HOW TO SPEND LESS. This is particularly consequential as not all thru wannabees have unlimited financial means. I don't think I'm disillusioned to say few do.

    And for those that have rightly said this is the Straight Forward Forum, these points are all certainly valid supporting considerations in answering the OP's question "How To Fund A Thru Hike. "

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    OP, do you take classes in the summers? You might consider working at a Girl Scout or Boy Scout camp. They teach you a lot of outdoor skills, give you an opportunity to get certified in wilderness first aid, provide your living accommodations, and there’s no place to spend the money you earn.
    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    Another thought...

    I’ve known quite a few young people who lived with their parents for a year after graduating from college so they can save money while working full time. As a parent, I don’t consider it free loading and have offered the same opportunity to my kids. (All of them declined, but it’s an idea.)

    Also...my youngest is getting rid of her expensive, downtown Nashville apartment and most of her possessions to live very frugally in a converted van.

    Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
    Here's what the OP was seeking. She even said so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Here's what the OP was seeking. She even said so.
    I suspect it was the other two-or-so pages worth of self-righteous and unsolicited preaching that was being referred to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    OP, do you take classes in the summers? You might consider working at a Girl Scout or Boy Scout camp. They teach you a lot of outdoor skills, give you an opportunity to get certified in wilderness first aid, provide your living accommodations, and thereís no place to spend the money you earn.
    All of the above is true (with maybe the minor exception that they usually have a small store with snacks, drinks, candy etc. that may be tempting to spend money in), but also note that the amount of money you earn isn't likely to be terribly high, particularly with the amount of time you are expected to work during the sessions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyGr View Post
    All of the above is true (with maybe the minor exception that they usually have a small store with snacks, drinks, candy etc. that may be tempting to spend money in), but also note that the amount of money you earn isn't likely to be terribly high, particularly with the amount of time you are expected to work during the sessions.
    You’re right, the pay isn’t awesome for the average high school age counselor. But someone a little older, more mature, and with some outdoor experience can get a better paying position as an Adventure Specialist or Assistant Director. A lot depends on the person’s motivation. Someone highly motivated who takes every opportunity to learn new skills, like becoming certified in archery training and working with troubled children can rise quickly in the ranks.

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