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Re: [at-l] Technology on the Trail

Paul A Magnanti <pmags@juno.com> wrote:
> As Ron has said, ten years will change th equation. Right now, the
> biggest problem with cell phones in the woods is that celluar technology
> will more often than not reach into the woods.  But what will happen ten
> years from now when sattelite phone technology is afforable for Joe
> Shmoe?  We will literally be able to call Aunt Matilda from anywhere!
> THat will also mean that people being able to communicate at all times
> will be a common day occurence. And that will happen everywhere....in the
> mall, in the city park, on the Applachian Trail.

This past year I hiked with a guy who was still running his business from on the
trail. He was only frustrated that he could not call the office from every place
he stopped; his cell phone coverage was not nearly good enough.
His satellite pager reached him each and every day, multiple times a day,
everywhere on the trail.

In the very near future, I can see people hiking the trail who do NOT intend to
leave civilization behind, who ARE planning on being in constant contact with
their lives back home, and who WILL do so wherever and whenever they so please. 
You see these same people power-walking down the sidewalks in San Jose, ignoring
everyone they meet because their cell phones are stuck in their ears. These same
people drive bumper to bumper on the freeway while on the phone, only taking
time out to honk at someone else in an expression of their road rage.

The world is getting smaller all the time. This is something we need to figure
out how to live we on the trail. It's not going to go away, as much as some of
us would wish it were so.

I've shared my story already of the hiker last year who consumed the only public
pay phone in Damascus for hours without end while he was sending email to the
hundreds of people he had committed to stay in contact with. No the pocket
computer was not at fault, the person was. This person was one of the most
self-centered individuals I met on the trail, and I made it a point to never
hike or camp with him, he annoyed me so much.  You can expect to see more of
these people out in the woods - people who are not there for the same reasons we
are, and who do not share our values. 

Life is too short to get overly concerned about it. It will impact your hike,
it's your duty to yourself to limit the impact by staying the #%!! out of their hike.

Tim Hewitt, Editor
Appalachian Trail Stories
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