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[at-l] Reason for thru-hiking



<After that 1985 hike Ithought I would have a more profound answer, but I
could never quite pin itdown to more than, "I just wanted to do a big
adventure." The 1985
thru-hike was indeed profound, as have been all the rest, but I have never
been able to put my reasons for doing it into words that make any sense to
anyone else. It's just something that I understand but can't really
communicate.>

I've had the same experience of trying to explain, even to myself, the
purpose of these long-distance hikes. It's certainly not to put another notch
on my hiking stick. Nor is it because it's "fun." (If I thought that, I'd
never get a week up the trail.) For me, (this is my latest take on the
question) thru-hiking is a complex issue with many fundamental purposes and
benefits. I think the chief  one is the feeling I get of being completely
aware of being alive. Life on the trail is intense . . . the hunger, the
pain, the excitement, the longing, the accomplishment. At home, whole days go
by, and I can't tell you what I've done. It's as though I'm sleeping through
life. On the trail, every hour is lived fully and memorably. It all gets
scrambled around in the brain over time, but I still feel that I was truly,
completely alive during each hour I spent on the trail.

All this talk of the trail is waking me up. Wish I could be off with the rest
of you '97 hikers. Best of luck.

Dean "Antaeus" Wooton
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