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[at-l] kahley7@ptd.net

kahley 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....

Kahley -
So far all the responses I've seen have been "It's not a job".  They've all 
assumed the the word "job" has only negative connotations.  But I don't 

First, if you're doing a "job" that you consider worthwhile, that returns 
satisfaction (in cash or otherwise), that you enjoy, that is useful (as 
determined by your own value system) -  then there's nothing negative about 
that "job".  Someone once told me that if I wanted to be happy, to get 
involved with something that was bigger than I was.  I've found that to be 

As far as a thruhike is concerned - the hike is most certainly your "job".  
It's what you're doing with your life for the time you're on the Trail. And 
it returns satisfaction in a lot of different ways - mentally, emotionally, 
physically - usually everything BUT cash.

A thruhike is something that, generally, you do because you enjoy it. Those 
who don't enjoy it most often don't finish (although that's not universal 

Is a thruhike useful?  For a few people - NO.  For most of us, whether we 
finish or not, it's a learning and growing experience.  It's a place where 
we can "become" - more than we were when we started, less connected to the 
world we left behind, bigger than our problems.

Is it worthwhile?  It certainly is if you learn what you need to learn from 
it - and it's not if you don't.  But it's not my business or anyone elses to 
define what you "should" learn - or "become".

In many ways it's more than a job because it'll require more time, effort, 
commitment and sweat than any boss you'll ever have.  The fact that you do 
it voluntarily makes it no less a job.  There are people who volunteer to 
put their lives on the line to protect this country - what they do is no 
less a "job" than what your mailman or CEO or ditchdigger does.

I'll add someting below that some of you might appreciate.
What follows here was sent to me by a friend - one who spent most of his 
life defending this country, who still goes to a hospital every couple years 
to have them pick the shrapnel out of his body, who will never walk the 
Trail because his hips and knees were destroyed by too many jumps into too 
many unfriendly places, who spent years recovering from malaria, various 
funguses and other miscellaneous ailments.  It came from someone who had a 
"job" - and kept on doing it because he believed in what he was doing.  It 
came from my brother.

Don't tell me that all "jobs" are negative or not worth doing.  I won't buy 
that.  And by any objective criteria - a thruhike IS a job.  And, like all 
jobs, those who do it will keep on doing it as long as the personal rewards 
are greater than the cost.

Walk softly,


Every once in a while one wonders why  he used to stand in the rain, eating 
cold scrambled eggs off of the fender of a jeep ... and think he was 
cheating the government.

You know, some people still don't understand why military personnel do what 
they do for a living. This exchange between Senators John Glenn and Howard 
Metzenbaum is worth reading. Not only is it a pretty impressive impromptu 
speech, but it's also a good example of one man's explanation of why men and 
women in the Uniformed Services do what they do for a living. And it's an 
example of what those who have never served think of the Military.

Senator  Metzenbaum to Senator Glenn:  "How can you run for Senate when 
you've never held a real "job"?"

Senator Glenn: "I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps.
I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by 
antiaircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the space program.
It wasn't my checkbook; it was my Life on the line. It was not a nine to 
five job where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank. 
I ask you to go with me ... as I went the other day to a
Veterans Hospital ... and look at those men, with their mangled bodies, in 
the eye and tell them they didn't hold a job. You go with me to the space 
program and go, as I have gone, to the widows and orphans of Ed White and 
Gus Grissom and  Roger Chaffee ... and you look those kids in the eye and 
tell them that their dad didn't hold a job. You go with me on Memorial Day 
coming up, and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more 
friends than I'd like to remember, and you watch those waving flags. You  
stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell me that those  
people didn't have a job. I'll tell you, Howard  Metzenbaum, you should be 
on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men - 
SOME MEN - who held a job. And they required a dedication to purpose and a 
love of country and a dedication to duty that was more important than life 
itself.  Their self-sacrifice is what made this country possible... I HAVE 
HELD A JOB, HOWARD!  "What about you?"

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