The Thruhiking Papers

Questions and Decisions

Now -- let's get down to some "QUESTIONS". There are a tremendous number of details that need to be considered if you're disrupting your life for six months of hiking. What follows is a series of questions that you may want to consider before you go. These are questions that only you, the thruhiker, can answer. They're taken directly from the notebooks that I used when I was getting ready for the AT, the PCT and two CDT hikes. Some of them concern the trail - but a lot of them concern the rest of my life - and maybe yours.

If you're gonna thruhike any long trail, what you're doing will require that you cut or suspend the links to the people, activities, and organizations that presently consume your time and your life. If you can't or won't cut or suspend at least most of those links, then you'll spend your thruhike being torn between two worlds - and both worlds will suffer. And your thruhike will be less than "All it can Be".

Personal opinion is that some significant percentage of those who leave the trail before finishing a thruhike do so for this reason.

What some people don't realize is that every person, every object, every relationship or connection that they deal with in their life consumes some part of their time and life and energy. And breaking or suspending those "links" also takes time and energy. Start now - if you're hiking next year, you're already late.

The questions are divided into three parts - "on-trail" questions, "home" questions, and "after-the-trail" questions. Some of these questions will apply to everyone hiking a long distance trail; others are based on our personal experience as working adults, trying to figure out how to deal with all the detritus of modern life, and some are "situation-oriented". Some of these are questions that I've had to answer in the past - and some that I'll have to answer in the future.

How many of them will apply to you will depend on your situation. If you're a 20 year-old college student living at home and don't own a car, a lot of them will be meaningless. Students, hikers whose spouses or parents will take care of most of these issues, minimalists with few possessions - your experiences, and your questions, may be different. So use your red pen and cross out the ones you don't understand or don't care about and you'll be left with a list that you might want to consider.

Then add your own. There are people who have complications in their lives that I don't have to deal with - so you might not find those questions here. For example, I don't have to deal with children this time - either taking them with me or leaving them at home - so you won't find any "children" questions in here. And you might need to add those questions to your list if that's one of your concerns. After reading them all, can you think of some that we may have left out?

So -- on to the questions - and I may add a few comments along the way - they'll be in brackets [....]

The Trail World

There's more - on the next page.

Created: 30 June 2004
Revised: 30 Sept 2016
Copyright © 2004-2017 Spirit Eagle