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Re: [at-l] "Survey"?

At 10:05 AM 3/10/00 PST, Jack Tarlin wrote:
>    And here's the news:  An awful lot of folks view computers, and other 
>high-tech links to the outside world in the exact same light. 

Might I suggest that the "survey" was not at all scientific so it's
statistical significance is probably around "0". I could add that from the
replies I read there was both considerable variance in the attitude to high
tech devices and considerable tolerance thereof. I did not see anything
like the generalized level of intolerance you extrapolated from the replies.
>    1)  Most people go into the woods and mountains, in part, to leave this 
>sort of thing behind for awhile.  They do not need, or want, permanent 
>reminders or electronic umbilical cords that would remind them of the world 
>they've left, and will have to return to so soon.  In short, most folks DO 
>NOT welcome the sight or public use of these items.
Again I did not see that level of intolerance in the responses nor is it
common among those I hike with.

>    2)If computers and phones must be carried, they should be used 
>discreetly, and PRIVATELY.  Nobody goes out in the woods to see other folks 
>yakking on the phone, or tapping away in a shelter or while sitting at a 
>scenic vista.  The public use of these items, their noise, their very 
>presence, even, is viewed by most folks as intrusive, unnecessary, and 
>absolutely destructive of their "wilderness" experience.  It is not behavior 
>that others should be compelled to witness.

The use of laptops, palm PCs, Palm Pilots, etc *cannot* by any stratch of
the imagination be described as noisy. While one can be inconsiderate in
the use of cell phones or insisting on watches with the alarm turned on I
fail to understand how anyone can be offended by the mere sight of someone
using an electronic device. Nor can I understand why even an occasional
encounter with a truly rude hiker (and rudeness need not involve electronic
devices) should "ruin" one's hike. If your emotional state is that fragile
the hike can't be doing much for your equanimity. Perhaps you should try
another activity that doesn't involve the possibility of meeting anyone you
might not like. That would not include anyplace as public as the AT.
>   3)In that it's very clear how most folks feel about this, then it's also 
>clear that anyone who willfully and purposefully disregards this established 
>etiquette is selfish, thoughtless, and rude.  People like this should 
>rethink what they're doing in the woods.  If this is your attitude and 
>mindset, then a well-travelled, public Trail, especially a highly social one 
>such as the A.T., is NOT for them.

"Established etiquette"? I don't recall any section in Emily Post's books
about hiking etiquette or for that matter anyplace except TP. I have met
numerous rude and inconsiderate people in the woods and the only one (a
c*** Ph*** user) involved an electronic device. The vast majority somehow
managed to be *naturally* obnoxious without any technological assistance
whatever and, incidently, the CP user was the least offensive of the lot.
>   4)If, after knowing all this, one still continues to use one's toys 
>wherever and however they see fit, without thought as to the felings or 
>concerns of anyone else, well, this to me brands one as an asshole of truly 
>extraordinary proportions.  Happily, tho, in my experience, people of this 
>sort are easily recognized by other hikers, and are treated as though they 
>were carrying typhoid.  They generally don't last very long, they tend to be 
>whiners and very high-maintenance types, and they usually can't hack more 
>than a few weeks on the Trail.  They tend to slink back home, telling 
>friends and family about some spurious injury that ended their trip.  But in 
>any case, they can't hack the Trail, and they don't last.  And if they do 
>stick around, they tend to hike alone.  People like this are poison and 
>everyone knows it.
You're sure big on generalization Jack. Again I did not see the replies as
supporting your contentions. I suppose in your book I must be one of those
whining, wimpy, high maintenance types who can't hack it because I don't
agree with your  attitude. I'm amazed that you can be so judgmental about
people you haven't taken the trouble to get to know. Too bad. If you did,
you might actually find out that there a lot of very nice and interesting
people out there and most of them aren't totally freaked by using/seeing a
laptop/cell phone/GPS/or whatever in the woods. 

If you would reread my second response to your "survey" you will note that
the experience which I recalled as being the being the most disruptive of a
hike was listening to an intolerant, know-it-all companion rant for hours
about the behavior of someone else whom we had already left behind (again
no electronics involved by either party). It didn't "ruin" my hike. I still
recall the hike fondly (no thanks to the know-it all) and I simply avoided
hiking with her in the future. So... to make a long story short, if we
should meet in the woods and you decide I'm "poison" because I don't agree
with your condemnation of those who use technology in the woods, please do
avoid me. It'll make us both happier, or at least it'll make me happier. If
you're still fuming, that's your problem. 

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