Assessment of Readjusting to Life after Completing a Thru-Hike of the Appalachian Trail


  • Benjamin Turley California Polytechnic State University
  • Marni Goldenberg California Polytechnic State University


Appalachian Trail, qualitative research, readjustment, hiking


Hundreds of individual participate in the outdoor recreation activity of hiking the entire length of the Appalachian Trail each year. Research had been conducted on various aspects of hiking, but limited research is available on the post thru-hike experience. Research on place attachment and culture shock served as a basis for this study to uncover how individuals readjust to life after hiking on the AT. Ten telephone interviews were conducted during the winter of 2011 with hikers from 2009 or 2010. Themes emerged from the data to show similar outcomes. Results indicated that thru-hikers have difficulty with the readjustment process, experience personal life changes, miss aspects of the AT and have motivation towards other long term goals. This study shows that hikers feel a strong connection to the trail, thus more efforts should be taken to protect such an important place to many individuals.



Regular Papers