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Re: [at-l] Elitism, Wilderness & Through*Hikers
"...If you thru hike for personal reasons then no number
of cheaters can effect your accomplishment. "
True. But many (some) hike not because they enjoy the trail, but because they want to have done the
trail. These are the folks who complain of the PUDs and the long green tunnel. And by the time they
get out of North Carolina they tend to be undergoing an ordeal, not a pleasant adventure. For them,
the trail was truly a job -- the payoff for which was only the ability to know that they had
accomplished something tough and unpleasant.
Most in 1993 tended to find an excuse to quit after awhile. Someone referred to me recently as a
"thru hiker." That's not a claim I make. I had hiked extensively in Maine and New Hampshire and when
the summer of '93 loomed with nothing special on my agenda, I told folks I was going to Georgia and
For reasons too complicated and too vague to explain I wanted to start on Springer and end on
Katahdin, and to explore the southern Appalachians. I mostly wanted to see what the trails
in the south were like. I didn't spend much time in towns during my six months and three days, but
neither was I in a hurry. I took in every scenic overlook, visited every waterfall, explored
historic sites, tried to identify every tree and flower and missed a lot of white blazes while
generally having a great time.
"As the days lingered on, to a precious few," I bypassed part of Pennsylvania, and southern New England
and climbed Katahdin on October 16, through an ice field and six inches of snow.
Somehow I felt like a thru hiker, despite my dilly dallying. I've since done southern New England
and will fill in the major gaps I missed in Pennsylvania when I go to the AT conference in
Shippenburg in two weeks.
But unless I do the trail again, I'll never qualify for a 2000-miler patch and probably not even
I hike the trail like I hunt deer. White blazes don't strike me as a scenic attraction and I quickly get bored
looking for deer. So I tend to just go exploring
the countryside. As a result, of course, I rarely have venison in my freezer and will never wear that