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[at-l] Beware of people packing PC's

I have to say I've been reading the posts over the last few days with a
mixture of interest and dismay. It almost seems as if this list is beginning
to take on a little flavor of that other one we like to criticize so much. 

The one where the expert with thousands of trail miles drops in and bless us
with his appearance. All the while informing us that because he done so many
miles of trail he has a better sense of the true trail experience than us
mere mortals. As such he should be allowed to speak for us. 

Whenever someone supposes to speak for me, my guard has a natural tendency
to rise.

Despite the well meaning banter on the place of technology on the trail, I'm
here to say the discussion has absolutely nothing to do with technology at
all. In fact technology is merely a smoke screen for deeper more fundamental
issues. Yet, as usual, we seem to like to dance on the surface of issues.
Thoroughly convinced that we've had an epiphany (A sudden manifestation of
the essence or meaning of something.).

Before moving on to the real subject at hand, I'll site a couple of examples
of why technology is not the issue here.

First - Consider a person traveling through the wilds of interior Alaska
packing a PC and hundreds of miles away from the nearest person. Would
anyone here give a rat's ass as to what he was carrying. No! We would be
concerned if he was lighting fires, cutting down tress or all other forms of
mischief. But do you honestly care if he's packing a PC.

Second - There's far more technology in my wrist watch and camera than in
the largest mainframe computer of 50 years ago. And my watch doesn't even
include a compass, thermometer, altimeter and whatever else they toss in
these days. In another 10 years my everyday workstation will be reduced down
to the size of a watch and with come with its own audio interface. Yet I
haven't heard word one about frisking people and confiscating their watches
or cameras. 

The real issue here is one of "Political Correctness" not "Personal
Computers". It's about what happens when two or more people collide in the
wilderness and one doesn't like what the other is doing. You could just as
easily substitute computers with snores (which I do to excess) and the
discussion would be the same. We wouldn't touch that issue because it deals
directly with people. 

The fact that these issues continue to arise shouldn't really come as a
surprise to anyone. The trail is becoming more populated each year. Will it
eventually taper off? I don't know and wouldn't put money on it.

The really funny thing about this issue, is that the US is literally blessed
with thousands of miles of trails that rarely ever see visitors. In fact
many of them are in danger of disappearing while the AT gets overused. 

If you choose to hike the AT that's fine. Just remember that there are of
hundreds of others out there hiking too. Whither or not they share your
reason for being there is irrelevant. They belong just as much as any of us.

On the other hand if the crowded trails are not your thing, you are invited
to take the road less traveled.

Ron "Fallingwater" Moak
PCT 2000 Journey - http://www.fallingwater.com/pct2000

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