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[at-l] Computers on the Trail, yea or nay?

    As most of you may know, there will be several folks hiking the Trail 
this year packing computers, in order to keep and transmit on-line journals 
for various Internet sites devoted to the backcountry.

    I've been in correspondence with several of these organisations, and 
had, in fact, been actively looking into working with them, in terms of 
keeping a journal, promoting the web site, sending them photos, gear 
reports, etc.  From the outset, tho, I'd made it very clear that I felt a 
"live" journal, thanks to a portable computer, was a bad idea, and that this 
was not something I'd be comfortable with.

    In my last correspondence with some of these folks, I was told that a 
hand-written journal, to be transcribed and printed later, was out of the 
question as the site was seeking to back a "high-tech" trip.  To be fair to 
these folks, the co-ordinator of the project made it very clear that they 
were aware of the question of the propriety of a computer on the Trail, and 
would make every effort to keep its use as discreet and inobtrusive as 

    In the course of my last letter to these folks, I made the observation 
that I felt that the vast, vast majority of folks in the
A.T. community feel strongly about this: They feel that computers have no 
place in the Trail, in shelters, hostels, etc., and that their presence 
would be resented by most of the other hikers, and that this would, in fact, 
reflect poorly on the company sponsoring the trip.  The introduction of such 
gadgets was NOT something that most folks would welcome or appreciate.

    I'm now wondering if I was speaking merely for myself.  I like to think 
I'm reasonably in touch with what most of the thru-hiking community is 
thinking, but maybe I'm wrong.  So here's my questions to you guys:

    1)Do you feel comfortable with hikers who are packing computers?

    2)Do you feel computers and other hi-tech links to the outside world are 
intrusive, harmful to ones' "wilderness" experience, and are out-of-place on 
the A.T.?

    3)Do you feel that if used discreetly and privately that it's OK to 
carry and use a computer?

    4)How do feel the majority of the A.T. community feels about this?

    5)Do you not really care one way or the other?

    Anyway, I'm really curious as to what other folks think about this, and 
will probably forward some of the comments to the Company in question.  I'm 
NOT going to be keeping an on-line Journal this year, or if I do, I will not 
be carrying a computer.  My sole intent in initiating this dialogue is to 
see what other former thru-hikers think, and to pass this information along, 
so that if computers do start appearing on the Trail, it's important that 
their users and thier sponsors know what people think.

    P.S.    This is NOT a discussion of cell phones, CD players, GPS 
trackers, digital cameras, etc.  I'm concerned specifically with people 
carrying computers in order to have daily and constant contact with the 
outside world.  The other gadgetry can be discussed at another time!

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