The thru-hiker had it in them to hike either the whole or a large extent of the Trail over the course of days, weeks, months, and even years. The thru-hiker lives for the Trail. Their heart is for the Trail.
And thru-hikers do not stay in cabins.
Instead, when they’re not tenting or hammocking in the woods, thru-hikers stay in structures called shelters. These are half-open, half-covered small buildings that stand at certain points on the trail. They have no running water or heat or kitchens or furniture because their purpose is not the same as the cabin. Shelters are just that—shelter from the wind, the rain, and the cold. They are a place for hikers to congregate, to swap stories, to share a campfire and sleeping space, all before they part ways and head out on the trail the next morning.
Cabins are for people who want to take a holiday from the world. Cabins are buildings for comfort and stability. They’re for hunkering down with people you know.
Shelters are for people who see the world as their mission. Shelters are buildings that are never quite closed off from their environment. They’re for gathering with people you don’t know, in preparation to go out on the trail again.
Cabins and shelters. Two buildings on the Trail. Two structures operating in two different ways.
Just like church buildings.