Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thru Hiking a Long Trail

This may be your year to thru hike an entire trail.

One or two companions are good, more will just complicate matters. Be true to yourself, and hold your goals paramount.
It is a little known fact that the more people in your group, the harder it is to move it down the trail, into town for supplies, or maintain the wilderness experience.

A loose confederation of trail friends will naturally occur, people hiking at your speed, people who may not resupply in the same towns you do, yet you will end up camping and meeting over and over.

The saying "hike your own hike" is important because when you meet belligerent people who try to change your vision, talk you into skipping trail, slack packing, or otherwise compromising your dream, you can use this reply.
In my travels, I've met many people who for one reason or another missed sections of trail. Sometimes, I encounter them because they have decided to return to the place and hike those missed miles, the trail gods nagging them to close the breach.
I've encountered hikers who blame their dogs for forgoing the deserts of the Pacific Crest Trail or must skip the Smokies because no dogs are allowed. This negates a thru hike.
I've met folks who skipped trail due to fires ahead. Instead of finding alternate routes, even if this means a road walk, they take a bus. A reroute is sometimes necessary due to wash outs, missing bridges, forest fires. Being a purist is sometimes not possible, but being a continuest nearly always is.

My main objective of this essay is not to tell you how to hike your hike. I want to encourage you to stay true to yourself, and refuse to be co opted into a lesser vision, one you will regret when its over.
There are always ways to overcome obstacles.

My mentor told me early on,"the more complete your hike, the more complete your joy".

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