Navigating the Challenges of the Multi-Phase Thru-Hiking Experience
Keywords:thru-hiking, nothwest, national scenic trail, challenges, long distance trail, hiking
AbstractThru-hiking is an immersive recreational activity that involves hiking over long periods and often traversing thousands of miles of trail across multiple states. This unique recreation activity is growing rapidly, yet there are limited studies in the outdoor recreation field about the short- and long-term challenges and how individuals navigate challenges during the different phases of the thru-hike experience. To better understand the multiple phases of the thru-hiking experience, this study focused on the thru-hikers of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (PNNST). Multi-phase semi-structured interviews were conducted with PNNST thru-hikers before their hike (anticipation phase), directly after completion (on-site phase), and two months after completion (recollection phase). The research illuminated the importance of physical and psychological preparation, how thru-hikers navigated challenges while hiking, and how hikers transitioned to everyday life. These findings contribute to the outdoor recreation field’s understanding of the unique aspects of thru-hiking as a recreational activity and can inform management practices to support a positive, safe, and transformational experience across the different phases of recreation.Subscribe to JOREL
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