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Re: [at-l] Buffington's thru-hike prep / web journal

On Tue, 7 Mar 2000 09:54:12 EST ATnavi@aol.com writes:
> They plan to recount the hike via a web journal at 
> http://800WeSweat.com

> My concern is that a focus on producing an online journal can be 
> detrimental 
> to the focus on the hike, ala our buddy Sly, who opted to drop off 
> Trailplace. Their current plan is to ship a laptop ahead to towns 
> they'll be 
> staying in a motel, and type up trail notes there. I'm reluctant to 
> condone 
> this plan...but hey, I'm anti-technology on the trail, as some of 
> you know. 
> So...comments on how some of you interacted with getting your 
> journal notes 
> to the web, eventually?

Sandy - and Gary and Millie - 

We didn't try to do an "on-line" journal for the CDT because we knew that
it would be a distraction from our hike.  Ginny kept a journal because
that's something she enjoys doing.  After the hike, she typed it up.  
But doing it because it was expected by others would have made the
experience and the output different than doing it because she wanted to
keep the memories alive after the trail.  We did call Kahley and
occasionally manage to put out an e-mail message.  Even that little
involvement changed the nature of our hike somewhat.  The following is
something that I wrote for publication on another list - even though it
never went out.  

But first, one other point - Town time is for resupply, getting clean,
fed and rested.  It's hard enough to get that done in the short time
available. Anything that interferes with those functions is an
interference in your hike.  The time necessary to type a journal is time
that you're not performing one of those prime functions (yes - sleeping
is a "prime function").  I still remember Waldo on his first hike
attempt, trying to answer all 150 people who had e-mailed him as he was
hiking.  That happened every time he went to town.   So instead of
resting and eating, he was sitting and typing.  

Bottom line is that if the journal/email/anything else
interferes/delays/prolongs what you need to do in town, then it might be
in your best interest to get back to basics.   We made decisions about
our level of involvement with the 'outside' world - and we're happy with
what we did.  You're the only ones who can make those decisions about
your hike.
Walk softly,

We found a gaggle of places even along the CDT that have public Internet
access and therefore, access to e-mail.  We used it as another way to
communicate with family and friends, and as it evolved, with a lot of
other people, many of whom we don't even know.  For better or worse - it
DID change the nature of our hike somewhat.  As little time and energy as
we put into it - it was still another thing to think about when we got to
town - where could we find a computer, what were the hours, what was the
  Just the knowledge that e-mail was available at some point in the
near future, led to lines of thought and the expenditure of mental energy
that would not have been possible when Karen and Dan did the CDT. I
don't know whether that's good or bad - but it's a fact of life now.  And
I KNOW that it changes the nature of the experience somewhat.  Two small
examples.  First, we arranged - via e-mail with his mother - to meet
Willis Whoa at Wisdom, MT.  Not something that's normally done when
you're in the middle of a thruhike.  The meeting never happened - but the
very fact that it was possible to arrange it was an indication of the
changing nature of the "world".  The second example was in New Mexico -
we were cooking dinner at the community well at Cabezon when Charlie
McDonald drove up.  We had no idea who he was - but he "knew" us through
the posts that Kahley put out to cdt-l.  That was a surprise to us, and
while it was a good one, it also was a change
in the nature of what I expected out there.   I'm not saying that the
communication was bad, just that it made the hike different. 

Later on, we hit a long string of weekends, holidays and "down" computers
- much to my relief - but it was also rather frustrating.  Not having to
arrange our schedule to fit library hours, wander all over trying to find
a computer that we could use, not feeling guilty at not being able to
answer any of the messages that we received in the half hour to an hour
that the library computer was available, was a relief.   But not hearing
from friends when we expected to be in contact was really disappointing.
We enjoyed hearing from people, and most of the people we know are much
more comfortable typing an e-mail than writing a letter - so we ended up
more connected with the world we left behind than we would have been
otherwise. That was good but it also made for a different hike.

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