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Re: [at-l] Computers on the Trail, yea or nay?
- Subject: Re: [at-l] Computers on the Trail, yea or nay?
- From: "Coosa" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2000 21:25:43 -0500
> 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?
******My computer weighs in at about 6-7 pounds or more, plus the
peripherals, so if someone wants to haul all that weight, PLUS the
backpacking gear --- OH, I'll bet you mean the light (lol) weight pound and
a half laptops, right? Or the Pocketmailers? As Highly Opinionated as I
am, right now, with the world in the situation it is in (I won't get
political, but I'd like to), and after reading so many "hike yer own hike"
posts with all my diatribes about being ethical in reporting and not using
the AT for commercial gain -- I see a computer as a very miniscule issue.
If someone wants to haul one and a power pack along with his gear, my only
statement is DO NOT EVER EVER COMPLAIN about the weight! (or the long
> 2)Do you feel computers and other hi-tech links to the outside world
>intrusive, harmful to ones' "wilderness" experience, and are out-of-place
******To WHOSE? If a person is taking up all that time using the SiLeNt
(let's hope) keyboard, then they're really missing out on the Community
Experience of the hike if they're emailing at camp or on breaks. You all
know that I do not feel that the AT is Wilderness Experience, anyway -- if
you want Wilderness go to the PCT and the CDT where there are no Trail
Towns, few Road Crossings, etc. The AT is a Community Experience and a
hiker would lose a lot of that if too busy to enjoy it because of being tied
(so to speak) to a computer. I think that OTHER hikers might think that the
computer and other linkages are bringing in the outside world to THEIR hike,
however. Is it out of place? Today, maybe, in 5 years it may well be the
norm! And the question will be "do you think bringing your one quarter
pound satillite link on a thruhike is out of place on the AT?" After all,
we've had similar discussions in the past but they centered on other forms
of gear. What today we take as 'gear' just a few years ago we looked at
askance and with eyebrow raised.
> 3)Do you feel that if used discreetly and privately that it's OK to
>carry and use a computer?
******How do you want to define OK? To whom? The user or the other hikers
in the shelter? Ten years from now, for all we know, the 'management' may
well decide to put a computer terminal room on every shelter on the AT --
well okay 20 years from now. WE are looking at this thing as adults who
didn't grow up with computers from the babycrib onward. The NEXT generation
of Backpackers may well EXPECT to take computers or other High-Tech gear
without giving it any second thoughts, just as we debate the various
manufacturers of Ti-pots, they will debate the various computers. AGAIN, if
it's a REALLY hike yer own hike, are we to be judgmental? Do we give the
other hiker the benefit of choosing his or her own gear or do WE sit as an
"advisory board" and tell hikers what they Can and CanNot put in their
> 4)How do feel the majority of the A.T. community feels about this?
*****I think that it will be debated. That some who feel one way may well
change their minds --perhaps if they just ask their own children these
questions. I think those of us who are vocal will speak out and those who
don't like people telling them what gear they can and cannot carry or
telling them how to Hike, may well decide that the choice must be left to
the individual hiker.
This leads to a question you failed to ask: If the ATC or some organization
felt that it was for the Common Good NOT to carry a high-tech item, would
you still carry it? And you know the answer to that one! It's for the
common good for NO fire arms to be carried on the AT, yet there are those
who do and you and I NEVER know that they did -- ONLY THEY know! Can a
computer carrying backpacker handle his gear in the same manner or will he
pull out the keyboard while sitting at the picnic table in front of the
shelter and start typing? And if he does, some of the young hikers (those
who grew up from the crib with computers) may say "can I just get online
for a minute (aka hours)" or "can I check my email?" While some of the
older hikers may walk away shaking their heads.
> 5)Do you not really care one way or the other?
******I care about the AT, I care about being able to choose which amenity
near the Trail that I want to use, I care about ethics in reporting one's
hike, I care about being a Trail Angel and not being told by anyone that I
cannot be one, I care about this AT Community, I care about ThruHikers being
stuck in freezing weather when I have a warm house near the Trail, I care
that the AT is being and has been used Commercially and for Monetary Gain.
(aka Pay Me, I'm ThruHiking) BUT do I personally care if someone carries a
computer with them on their hike? I care MORE that they're carrying too
much weight in their packs and will ruin their knees or fall coming down one
of our rocky mountain trails, or give up their hike before they get started
because of a heavy pack or feet ruined by a heavy pack. I care MORE if
they're being paid to sell something while hiking or if they're selling
something by using the computers. I REALLY CARE that the AT has already
become Commercialized to the point where people hike to raise money for
themselves. At first it was Volunteers hiking for Non-Profit
Organizations, NOW, the CEO's and Presidents hike and raise their own salary
while on the Trail.
So, which is worse? Computers or Commercialization? Computers or
Controlled Access (ATC or some organization telling you which amenities you
Only the individual hiker can decide. And let's also remember this E-List
is a Minority of Hikers on the AT.
aka Highly Opinionated Woman Living In North Georgia WOLF
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