Robert Sutherland

Robert J. Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life in Gainesville, GA. Robert has two adult daughters, seven grandchildren and a zippy Kawasaki. ~~ RJSutherland@hotmail.com

Comments (13)

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    oso_loco

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    From a multiple thruhiker to a non-thruhiker – DAMN good post. I’ve gotten into furballs with prospective thruhikers over every one of your points in the past and I enthusiastically endorse this post.

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    Andrew

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    It’s not the rain I hate, it’s putting on all the crap that goes with it, rain pants, poncho, pack cover, etc. Then again, hypothermia sorta sucks worse.

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    Joanna

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    I don’t think part of #7 is necessary. Nothing will physically prepare a future thru-hiker other than getting out on the trail itself. I sat on the couch all winter and spring leading up to my April start date. And I had never gone backpacking before. Slept in my tent one night in my backyard after setting it up a few times that day. Anything you might not know, SOMEONE out there will know and will be more than willing to help you out. If you’re not physically fit, just start slow and keep going slowly for about a month. I do think mental preparation is the most important so I agree with that whole-heartedly.

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    Brad Aikins

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    Agree! Nice post.

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    Monica

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    Loved this article! My son finished the thru hike in Sept. I drove to Maine to pick him up. There were so many highs(the birds in the mornings) and lows(thank you mrs bear) but He had the time of his life! I would like to point out….. IT AINT CHEAP! He had money saved up for it but he said many people along the way had to quit because of no funds or they would practically beg you for food. He would do it again in a heartbeat but alas mama says you gotta get a job. We’ll see…….. the call of the wild is pretty loud in his ears!!

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    Kaitlin Blazejack

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    Doctor Grumpy is the best. His blog is awesome. And this list is simply awesome sauce. Happy trails, Doctor Grumpy! 🙂

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      Robert Sutherland

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      Pfft. Leave me alone.

      Love,

      Doctor Grumpy

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    Pen Mar

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    Live on trail in Pa. More power to all. Have helped a few. Keep on Walking we love you all!

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    Michael Shields

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    Best thing I have read about the reality of what hiking is. Thank you.

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    john_c47

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    Loved it.

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    George Richard

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    Dr. All is true, I’m a volunteer ranger at clingmans dome each yr we rescue dozens
    in 8 plus inch of snow. Some warm up and move on some say I Quit.

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    Melvin Shadowen

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    Well Dr. Grumpy you seem to attract the best kind of people I like your common sense approach and I got a lot of that hiking in the 7th SFG around Ft, Bragg an 80 pound pack plus all the extras had me hauling over 100 Lbs. for over 18 hours a day to see if we were tough enough I was simply to insane or to proud to even think of giving up . It truly will be a mind game as are all such endeavors and its one step at a time with only 40 or so extra pounds . I am retired older beat up and scarred my debit card says money is there and I can walk all day and move at what ever speed the hills will allow . I do want to start in Maine though and would like to know whats been happening weather wise on the mountains as of late .I simply do not want to get snow bound.

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    Robbie B

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    Your guide is great! A lot of really practical advice.

    I wanted to kindly point out that in bullet #5 (“Ladies: Don’t waste time wondering if the Trail is dangerous.”) was tough to read. As a woman who regularly solo hikes, it is important for me (and other women) to think about and plan for safety – and we are not wasting time evaluating new situations for danger. The reality is that women need to think about this ALL the time, regardless of we’re in the woods or not. The best advice here was, “Trust your instincts, but learn to defend yourself.” Learning how to defend yourself would also be most effective with professional guidance. Backpacker also has an article online, “18 Tips From Female Solo Hikers” that has a lot of great advice as well.

    Also, I know that Dr. Grumpy is trying to insert some humor into his post, but “No, do not pause to smirk while he writhes in pain before you get away.” truly misunderstands how terrifying it is to be in dangerous situations of assault and how women actually react.

    Some advice I would also give it to be aware that many trekkers may have different boundaries of what they consider safe, and being conscious and respectful of those boundaries (regardless if it’s a man or woman) will keep everything going smoothly.

    Either way, I appreciate the tips – thank you for taking the time to write this.

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