[at-l] But!

RockDancer rockdancer97 at comcast.net
Tue Jan 19 06:29:42 CST 2010

>Here is another discussion I'd love to see: Does a single hike of 
>2,200 miles improve one's outdoor skills more than a number of hikes 
>equalling the same miles? 

Well, I improved my skills substantially by doing my '97 thruhike! Up to that point I had acquired all the skills & leadership needed to guide for the AMC in the Whites, in Winter! (At the time there were only about 100 people Winter-qualified)

But when I got to Springer I was unprepared, in a way, for what was to happen. The difference, was all of those hikes, over 14 years, had been planned 2-3 day events. Yes there were times when I had to modify my approach because of terrain, weather, or (more commonly) problems with the participants. And I'm happy to say I never lost a hiker, and only 1 case of frostbite.

The difference meant I was out there in all kinds of weather, trying to make progress up the trail. I was up to the task but it was definitely a challenge. Usually the bad stuff was around wet weather unexpectedly getting to my gear & the anxiety of planning & making the town stops as needed. I also had trouble with maintaining a good attitude as times got tough.

But I learned, and I continued to hike & improve on subsequent trips. Each trip has been a chance to refine my gear, and to build in quality on the hike. I enjoy the long hikes more, partly for the familiarity of it all. I have thought of the other big trails on occasion but the AT is a useful tool for me as it is. To vary things a bit I also use the blue blazes and road walks as I wish to. I agree about the walk from Tesnatee Gap to Hog Pen, just watch out for the motorcycles!

(I'm more curious about personal experiences than opinions on this one. I could have said that the general hiker would undergo skill improvement but of what sort, how much? And why would you agree with my statement?)

RockDancer (Arthur Gaudet)
Rockdancer97 at comcast.net
"The chalice from the palace has the brew that is true."

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