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[at-l] Quelling fears and cell phones

Just a suggestion...

I've found that calming the fears of parents and friends was best 
accomplished by educating them about the trail and trail culture rather than 
let them impose their suburban fears on my hike.  I highly recommend Larry 
Luxembourg's book, "Walking the Appalachian Trail" as a book which fairly 
accurately describes the trail and its culture.  (They wanted to read 
Bryson's book so I told them to read it AFTER Luxembourg's book.  When I 
called them from Neel's Gap, they laughed and told me they understood why I 
told them to read the Luxembourg book first.  ;-)

When most people hear that you are going to be hiking the AT for six months, 
they think you are out of touch for six months.  Explaining that it is 
really just a series of 3-5 day hikes can alleviate a lot of concerns - 
especially if they are already used to you taking off for long weekend 
hikes.  If you haven't done some weekend backpacking, it might be a good 
idea to test both yourself and your equipment.

Another thing is to explain that 2000 people or so will be starting in the 
March/April time frame.  They can do the arithmetic and realize that should 
something happen, there will always be plenty of people around.

Once hiking, if possible, have them visit you in a trail town where they can 
meet some of your trail family and see how you function along the way.

My parents who live in CT met me in VA for a few days.  They slackpacked me 
and went shopping with me.  They hung out in the laundramat with me and my 
friends and saw how we shared loads of laundry, shared information about 
getting around town, and shared information about the best restaurants.  :-) 
  They gave rides to hikers when they could - around town and to/from 

One day while they were visiting in VA, I suggested that they might like to 
meet other hikers by doing some trail magic while I was out hiking for the 
day.  They did and had a great time.  When I got to CT, I made plans to meet 
them again.  They were going to pick me up at a trailhead.  When I got 
there, they were handing out sodas and cookies to the thruhikers - doing 
trail magic on their own.  :-)

In one sense, you're at an advantage because your parents hike and can at 
least understand why you would want to be out in the woods.

My parents never admitted to not worrying, but it was apparent in their 
phone calls with me that after they visited me on the trail, they stopped 
dwelling on whether or not I was OK, and started asking after the people 
they had met and the people I was writing about...  and had I met any 
interesting people in the towns along the way.

Oh, and about c*&^ p&*^(s, the only two times I know of them being used on 
the trail, they had to be used from ridges and did not work from shelters.  
One hiker had left on the AT with (less than?) a week's notice and needed 
the phone to help tie up loose ends at work.  The other set up camp at a 
shelter and then walked back up to the ridge just to make a call.  The 
phones just don't work well in the forest.  Others I know sent them home 
(always an option) rather early on in the hike.  It's possible there were 
others that I just didn't know about.

As always, YMMV, HYOH, and have a great time.

Stitches, GAME99

>From: "Kenneth R. Knight" <krk@home.msen.com>
>I have been asked, asked again, and asked again, to take my cell phone on
>my AT hike. My parents are concerned. They have a right to be especially
>given that I've not done anything like this before and limited vision
>does play a role in my life. They want me to carry the cell phone so I
>can call for help should something dire happen. I completely understand
>that concern. But, I'd really rather not bother carrying the thing.
>If I can convince them that the coverage in the trail itself just won't
>be found that'll do it. The seciton of trail that I'll spend most of my
>time in is in Vriginia. So, if we ignore moutain tops just how spotty is
>   ** Ken **
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