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[at-l] Thruhiking..is it a job?

--- kahley <kahley7@ptd.net> wrote:

> I've always feared I was missing some essential
> ingredient
> necessary to thru.  I'm trying to identify why
> people
> keep on keepin on when it becomes "a job" .
> A sweaty achy 10 hr a day job....

Thru-hiking is hard work, certainly, but it never felt
like a "job" to me. A job is something I do primarily
because I want a paycheck in order to afford to do the
things I want to do (hiking, traveling, etc.). It's a
means to and end. It helps that I like my job, but I
wouldn't be sitting in this cubicle right now if it
*weren't* a means to an end. A thru-hike for me is not
a means to an end--sure, it has lasting benefits, but
*hiking* itself WAS the "end"--not the means. It
actually ended up being both--I'll be benefitting from
that one thru-hike for the rest of my life. (Of
course, it might be hard to thru-hike if you never
focus on the *big* goal of reaching the end or the
smaller goals of reaching the next shelter or town,
but I think I would have lost a lot if I hadn't slowed
down so many times to focus on the journey itself.)

But I'm rambling. I think people might get caught up
in the goal of reaching Katahdin (or Springer) and
forget that every day on the trail can be its own
"Katahdin." Or else they start with the goal of hiking
the whole thing and never have the goal of making each
day its own adventure, making each day count. I don't
know. But if the terminus is the "paycheck" you're
looking for, then I guess the hiking itself can be the
grunt work that earns it. And I'm glad you can't
identify with the "job" mentality, Kahley. That's a
*good* thing! :-)

Whenever I felt down or was at a particularly
frustrating section of the trail, I would think, "well
this is a whole hell of a lot better than being at
work!" :-) (Yes, I even thought that while struggling
through Mahoosuc Notch!) And as I sit here at my
cushy, easy, comfortable job that I actually *like*,
I'm looking out the window at the grey skies
threatening rain, and wishing I could be out *there*

BTW, I loved Pennsylvania. I was surprised at how
beautiful it was (the leaves were just starting to
turn) because I hadn't heard many people talk about
anything other than the rocks.

ME-GA 2000
(Saturday is my anniversary of getting to Monson ...
hard to believe a whole year has gone by!)

Visit the Louisiana Hiking Club at http://www.geocities.com/louisianahikingclub
Visit my ME-GA 2000 thru-hike updates at http://www.gorp.com/gorp/activity/hiking/thruhike/nina/ninab_archive.htm.

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