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Sun Apr 29, 2012, 09:28 AM

Economic devestation has created a thru-hiker population that has increased significantly...

I was talking to a friend of mine on Friday night about his thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail he completed last fall, amazing story.

However, he knows a few folks from his travels this year who decided to double-back and have met an extrodinary amount of individuals who lost their jobs, homes, families, everything; and simply went backpacking.

While I'm positive these numbers pale in comparison, here's yet another example of the 'invisibility cloak' of the economic situation that I wouldn't have thought about otherwise...

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Reply Economic devestation has created a thru-hiker population that has increased significantly... (Original post)
Earth_First Apr 2012 OP
JNelson6563 Apr 2012 #1
RKP5637 Apr 2012 #5
JNelson6563 Apr 2012 #6
RKP5637 Apr 2012 #9
JNelson6563 Apr 2012 #10
KansDem Apr 2012 #2
MrsBrady Apr 2012 #3
Quantess Apr 2012 #4
Tesha Apr 2012 #7
Tace Apr 2012 #8
Mendocino Apr 2012 #11

Response to Earth_First (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 09:32 AM

1. It seems more younger people

are sort of choosing this situation (or something like it) voluntarily. I know some here in northern MI who have no use for society as we know it and I don't blame them one bit.

Julie

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Response to JNelson6563 (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:17 AM

5. I think more and more people are just saying F it ... the American

Dream is a joke and are fed up with the propaganda. If young today, I would try to seek out an alternative life and just say F it to the crap programmed into ones head from birth. Also, if none buy the crap pushed on us that's going to rattle the pilings some. A bad situation today, I think, is getting married and working ones ass off to strive for the American Dream delusion. What a joke, begging like a good little lamb for some crumbs.

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #5)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:25 AM

6. Youth is smarter than we often think.

I see more and more college age kids here making choices to disengage. The common view seems to be "Who wants to win a rat race anyway?"

I say more power to 'em!

Julie

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Response to JNelson6563 (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:38 AM

9. Yep!!! "... more power to 'em!" I think as we age we dig our

ruts deeper and then wander in them sometimes digging them deeper. Subliminal programming + rationalization and intermittent reinforcement is sooo powerful. And the profiteers know that ever so well, the stick and the carrot so many strive for.


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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #9)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:54 AM

10. Yes, they bank on it.

I do my best to listen and learn from these kids. I have been working on changing my own ways because I agree with them! Fighting the dreaded "rut syndrome", as it were.

Just my little way of stickin' it to the man.

Julie

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Response to Earth_First (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 09:39 AM

2. I wonder if we're going to see communities of "backpackers"

...spring up along these trails.

I wonder if more folks thrown out of jobs and homes are going to pack into trails like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, and find areas to "camp" indefinitely.

Having packed into California's ranges several times, I know they are clean and beautiful, and could prove to be a good alternative to "civilization."

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Response to Earth_First (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 09:46 AM

3. someone i met here at a local mom-pop coffee shop

is in her early 20's.....
she got tired of working 3 part time jobs after college (I don't know what she studied)
I know she was working coffee shop, valet, and was also doing massage therapy.

so here is this college educated young woman with also a massage license...
who can't find solid work....

saved up a little bit, moved in with some people she knew in Pennsylvania, and
has been posting pictures of their hike there on the trail.

perhaps there is something to what you are saying

although I have my own "screw it" plan in place, if what I'm trying to do doesn't fall into place soon.
there is only so much one can take. I'm almost 40, though...so I can't just drop everything anymore...
but you know what I mean.

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Response to Earth_First (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 09:51 AM

4. What is a thru-hiker, and why would economic devastation increase their numbers?

I am guessing that a thru-hiker is someone who is traveling for entertainment / exercise?

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Response to Quantess (Reply #4)


Response to Quantess (Reply #4)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:26 AM

8. Thru-Hiker Hikes End-To-End...

...sometimes in segments, sometimes not sequentially. But a simple thru-hiker starts at one end and hikes to the other.

Camping regulations along the AT allow only thru-hikers to camp in some places along the trail. Regulations can differ from state-to-state and within states, but, for example, in some places a thru-hiker can camp anywhere at least 20 yards off the trail. Printed trail guides (also available online) detail just about every water source and campsite along the trail, and nearby towns, stores and motels along the way. Many, but not all, thru-hikers stay one or two nights a week in a motel, getting a hot shower, and stocking up at a local store, or picking up supplies that have been mailed ahead of time to post offices and other places along the way.

Edited to add: Resourceful hikers can do it pretty cheap. Most important thing is good shoes. : )

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Response to Quantess (Reply #4)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 12:39 PM

11. They usually start at the southern terminus

in Georgia. When I was hiking there years ago, the shelters would be filled with stuff that people got tired of carrying. Some of it was truly ridiculous like cast-iron fry pans, gallon jugs of stove fuel and machetes. Also lots of spare clothes, nature books and canned food.

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