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Philosophy of Thru-hiking
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Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
equilibrium on 04/15/2013 21:37:44 MDT Print View

btw, nice post James.

I don't think this a sufficient definition of a "thru-hike", but I have found (similar to Paul above) that there is an important "boundary" reached after a certain amount of time where you start feeling like you are *part* of the environment instead of visiting it. Colin Fletcher wrote about this quite a bit. I think this is actually more progressive than is sometimes credited, but there is often a specific point where you suddenly *notice* it, and that seems major. For me it is the point where the dirt falls OFF of you as fast as you acquire it and you reach equilibrium. Up to then you feel like you are dirty because you are always getting dirtier. I find it is impossible to feel the (essentially abstract idea) that you are "dirty" once you have achieved that equilibrium, and I suddenly feel like I'm part of the environment, in balance with it. It is hard to describe, but there is a definite demarcation point for me. There is also a definite *mental" version of this equilibrium as well that takes a bit longer.

Then there is the other side of the coin, as soon as you get back to civilization, even if you can avoid the upturned noses of the washed "city-folk" as you can now rightly refer to *them*, once you get to a shower and then turn to look at the pile of clothes you just took off, which are ready to walk away by themselves, and find yourself suddenly utterly repulsed by them - then you are suddenly jerked back in to the "civilized" world view.

Edited by millonas on 04/15/2013 21:44:07 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: equilibrium on 04/15/2013 22:04:24 MDT Print View

To me a thru-hike is hiking a long trail (several months). The goal is to get from point A to Point B, which requires a structured time table and planned re-supplies. Seems like most thru-hikers enjoy the social aspect of life on the trail with other thru-hikers, but this is not necessary. For a non-social thru-hike google Buck Nelson Desert Trail. Buck's Mexico to Canada via deserts is absolutely awesome.

When I was younger I did two separate 6 month trips in the Sierras and had little interaction with other people. I don't consider either a thru-hike. No goal, no defined route, no defined ending point. But these were the highlights of my hiking experiences.

I don't care for the label "thru-hike." Actually I don't like labels. 11 years ago a good friend of mine disappeared from contact. When I eventually caught up with him, I asked, "Where have you been?" He answered, "I took end some time off and hiked the PCT." I understood exactly what he meant without the label. Sort of like UL, SUL, etc.

just Justin Whitson
ok, i finally get it on 04/16/2013 15:50:09 MDT Print View

"PS - I'm pretty sure those are footwear of some kind in the photo. The shape is right and it looks to me like you can see the contrast between the soles and the uppers."

Ok, i think i finally understand what people are looking at and commenting on. Yes, those are hiking shoes hanging off. Ecco's to be exact. My brother worked at the Walking Co at the time and got me a great deal on them.

I had a "system" down, that i thought up before hand. Wear the Hiking shoes in the morning or on days when it was cooler, take off shoes and socks for lunch, turn socks inside out, then when lunch was done, put on socks and sandals.

I was the only person i met, the entire time, that didn't get one blister the whole time. And those hiking shoes had goretex! (silly me, i know that's stupid now.) Course now, i wouldn't bring two pairs of anything, but one light and very breathable pair.