“You’re Going to do What?!” Responses Everyone Says to a Potential Thru-Hiker

When I tell people that I’m going to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, I get a mountain of questions. Some are basic questions because they don’t know much, if anything, about the Appalachian Trail. On the other side, there are questions that seem to be asked only because I’m a female hiker. 

The Questions

What’s the Appalachian Trail?

How many miles is it?

How long will it take you? 

Why do you want to hike it?

What about food?

Where are you going to sleep?

Then, of course…

You aren’t going alone right?

Aren’t you scared of ?

Are you bringing a gun or knife for protection? 

I don’t mind answering some of these questions. In fact, sometimes I am really excited to answer them. My favorites to answer are the general questions about the Appalachian Trail. It makes me feel like all my knowledge is finally useful. Some people’s faces light up with amazement that I plan to do the entire trail and that it will take me half a year to complete. Others begin asking all those worrisome questions and questioning why I would even want to do this in the first place. I understand those questions but at the same time, I don’t like them.

The Responses

I get a lot of positive responses. Everyone who knows me personally seems to think this will be an amazing adventure for me. They tell me how excited they are for me and that they can’t wait to see all my updates from the trail. I haven’t had any negative responses to my face but I can tell some people are leery about the whole situation, primarily about my safety. I tell them about how I’ll meet plenty of people along the way, and that I’ll end up in what’s known as a tramily. Statistically, I am safer on trail than I am in the city. The crime rate on trail is pretty low. It’s hard to have people question my intentions but I try to take it as best as I can. Not everyone will be 100% on board with my decision but I have to understand that they just want the best for me.

My Feelings

I know why I want to do this and I just want people to understand and support that. I’m thankful for the  support and concerns that I’ve received, but I want them to know that I’ve done my research. I would be happy to share it with those concerned about me. Just know that I wouldn’t be doing this if I thought it was a bad thing. Everyone is entitled to opinions, but sometimes it’s best to keep them to yourself. I am doing exactly what I need to do for me, and not anybody else. 

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Comments 9

  • Avatar
    Emily and Parkes : Jan 12th

    I have gotten a lot of the same questions from the few we have told. I tell my boss next week and then we are finally able to tell the world about our plans. This has helped me prep for the unrelenting questions I am sure we will receive once we announce our hike! Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Tim : Jan 12th

    You’re an inspiration. I always wanted to do a full hike through the Appalachians one day but financially can’t at the moment. Best of luck hope all goes well

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Tim : Jan 12th

    Also, adding you on Instagram hoping to see your adventures and maybe one day our paths will cross on the trail

    Reply
  • Avatar
    John Mecklin : Jan 14th

    Love It! I’ve been getting all of the same questions and all of the same hesitant “good luck” wishes. Can’t wait to find you on trail! Happy trails

    Reply
  • Avatar
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  • Avatar
    FM : Jan 27th

    Food? Just tell them there’s plenty of wild turkey and deer on the trail, and grubs are an easy fallback.

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  • Avatar
    rio : Aug 22nd

    Also, adding you on Instagram hoping to see your adventures and maybe one day our paths will cross on the trail

    Reply
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