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[at-l] R&R..the unanswered points....
Well, all I do is ask for clarification and I get accused of interpreting
R&R's opinions in the worst possible way, as usual, and then had thoughts put
in my head and words in my mouth.
There's no "as usual" in my case, as I've not been involved in this
discussion before. And my question was not designed to push R&R into a corner
or make him reply in any particular way or p, as he claimed. He said that by
"accepting all forms of hike," we are contributing to lower trail standards.
To me, "all forms of hike" means day hikes, weekend hikes, section hikes,
I thought I was being pretty reasonable in asking if that's what he actually
meant. And I asked simply because I wanted to know. Much better than jumping
to conclusions, getting insulted, and blowing up about it.
I'm sure part of my confusion was due to there being a lot of roundaboutation
in the definitions of HYOH and traditionalism.
Frankly, I feel like I'm grabbing gravy. Every time I think I know what is
meant by HYOH or traditionalism, it turns out it is something else--and
usually something I don't include in my definition. Like including
destruction of property as HYOH.
In one paragraph, traditionalism means not getting drunk, not getting naked
and not tearing up a hostel. In another place, traditionalism seems to mean
not using a cell phone.
In my mind, those things are miles and miles apart, and I couldn't see the
connection. And I don't see that any reasonable person would take acceptance
of a cell phone as a direct or implied permission to wreak havoc with other
Then I thought that maybe there was supposed to be a causal relationship, but
that didn't make sense either. It would be kind of a modern Reefer Madness.
"See this derelict? He was once a good and honest hiker, just like us. It all
started with just a cell phone. He bought one and it turned him bad. Now he
tears up hostels for fun."
Nah. None of the things I think of as part of a HYOH philosophy would lead to
the kind of wanton destruction and boorish behavior that R&R believes come
from a HYOH philosophy.
Destruction of hostels comes from being a jerk, not from being told it's OK
to slackpack. I would guess that the bad attitudes that lead to such
destruction were there in other forms long before the person hit the trail.
I have wondered what kind of standard should be set that is actually
hiking-related rather than simply life-related. I can see a standard of
respect for private property, respect for others, honest actions, good
manners, etc. But it's hard for me to see that a hiking-related standard--no
slackpacking, no cell phones, no blue blazing or whatever--would lead, or not
lead, to behavior I would expect from all people whether or not they are
This discussion has made me think a lot about traditionalism and what I mean
by that. If I were to travel in a traditional way, to me that would mean what
I learned from my brother the Boy Scout. I would trench my tent; I would cut
pine boughs for my bed; I would wear cotton; I would use a bed roll, not a
sleeping bag; I would cook over an open fire; I would use a rucksack; I would
dig hip holes; I might even carry a cast iron skillet; and if I were staying
a couple days, I'd lash a table and a chair.
Yeah, Yeah. I know I'm old. ;-) But that's what I first learned.
And a traditional AT thru hike might mean wearing Keds, spending a lot of
nights in homes along the way, sleeping in barns, carrying a rucksack, or
using a shower curtain for covering.
My point is that traditionalism is somewhat in the eyes of the beholder and
most of us would not go back to that tradition. And most of us are not
bothered by stoves, silnylon, Lekis, Gore Tex, fleece, or other
non-traditional things. Often, the only reason earlier, traditional hikers
didn't use them was because they did not exist. The traditional way isn't
always better--just traditional.
I think cell phones and other electronic devices bother many of us because
they provide a link to the world most of us are trying to escape for a while.
This is oversimplifying greatly (and with many exceptions), but when I hit
the woods, I want to break ties--not keep them. I think that's why I don't
mind if a fellow hiker says to a companion, "Isn't that a beautiful view,"
but it would bother me a lot if he called somebody on a cell phone to say the
I've wondered a bunch about that seeming discrepancy.
Anyway, while I agree that it might be hard to codify, it would be nice to
see a something more concrete about what is meant by traditionalism and HYOH
and what standards should be followed. I have just read and re-read many
times the post in which my question was answered, and, like I say, it's like
grabbing gravy. Whenever I feel like I know what is meant, something in the
next paragraph changes it.
If nothing else, it would eliminate confusions like my own. A list of
standards, even if there were many qualifications and exceptions, would at
least get us closer to a meaningful discussion.
> Vcat asked:
> > I do feel that much more approving of socializing hikes is encountered
>on websites by people intending well by accepting all forms of hike but
>not realizing they are lending assistance to lowering Trail standards.
> My impression from this statement is that you believe people who weekend
>or section hike, and those who accept such hiking, are lowering trail
> Is that what you're saying?
> +++ This is my post. Wrong impression and, as usual, interpreting my
>opinions in the worst possible way in order to attach extreme connotations
>to make them unpalatable. The response is designed to make me say "all
>non*through*hikers are illegitimate." 'Come on, I think we know better
>than that. It was meant more towards roving party, frat bender type hikes
>the other mainstay usage's you speak of. These hikes will probably always
>be there, but seeing people enforce HYOH in defiance of persons actually
>attempting to establish a standard (not a dirty word) creates an atmosphere
>of permittance and indirectly contributes to the problem.